by Ian Sputnik
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Directed by Wes Craven
New Line Cinema
Teenagers start to see the same character in their dreams; a badly burnt man in a hat, red and green striped jumper, and a glove complete with bladed fingers. This is Freddy Krueger, burnt to death years ago by a group of parents delivering vigilante justice to this child killer, who managed to escape criminal justice on a technicality.
The teens are unaware of who Freddy is. It’s their parents’ dirty secret, and the whole sordid Krueger affair has been kept secret from their offspring. So when they begin dying in their sleep, the teens take it upon themselves to investigate and find out more about this ethereal man who invades their nightly slumber.
Freddie can’t break through to the world of the living, but what he can do makes for an incredibly original storyline. The more the children fear him, the stronger he becomes. Once asleep he transports them to an eerie, distorted and nightmarish setting. It’s a dreamlike version of the place where he committed his crimes in life.
He then sets about feeding off the group’s fears and attempts to kill them. If they die in their dreams, they die in real life. It’s the perfect payback for his own murder.
Robert Englund is cast as Freddy Krueger, a role he was born to play. He went on to reprise this role another 7 times. Freddy instantly became a classic horror villain, even spawning the horror series Freddy’s Nightmares, presented by Englund in his Freddy guise.
The film also features Johnny Depp in his first major acting role, playing teenager Glen Lantz. He’s only 21-years-old in the movie, so you’d be forgiven for not recognizing him.
A Nightmare on Elm Street excels in special effects and makeup. Englund had to endure three hours in the makeup chair each day, and his dedication to the role certainly pays off.
So this Halloween season, be sure to enjoy this masterpiece of horror.
Just don’t fall asleep!