A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

In the first of the three* Elm Street movies I’ll be looking at, we get this slightly off, very spoiler filled description from Amazon:

In classic horror film genre that launched a movie franchise, a pedophile who was murdered by a lynch mob returns years later in terrifying nightmares of his killers’ teenage children.

Well, that’s nice, isn’t it?

Freddy Krueger is the pedophile in question, and man is he ugly now. The burn scars are part of his iconic look, and he starts right off with them in this, unlike the next franchise we’ll look at. He’s a very recognizable creep for every horror and slasher fan, and I have to admit: of the big three (Jason, Freddy, Myers), Freddy is the creepiest. He’s also got the most supernatural power and messes with folks while they sleep, so that plays into it.  Nobody wants someone messing up their sleep. 

This movie changed the direction of slasher films, and it launched an extremely influential series.  But where does it stand? 

There are a lot of scenes in this movie that are downright creepy.  Some of what Freddy gets up to is downright horrifying, and a lot of it is straight up gross.  There are also moments where it is over the top and unintentionally goofy – but in a way that often lends itself to the series’ charm. 

It’s also nice having a villain who can talk. 

The movie does what it sets out to do. It creates and reinforces a creepy yet entertaining villain, while also producing a few good scares and the requisite slasher gore.  Sleep is bad, parents are dumb, and if you have sex you can’t beat Freddy.  Everyone even remotely interested in these movies should see this one. 

All in all, I like this movie and am glad I have an excuse to watch more of them after the Halloween season is over.  

* I’m doing three of them because I want to give each franchise equal footing here. Friday the 13th really needs a minimum two-movie watch to even get to Jason as the villain, after all.

Report Card:
Running Time: Just over an hour and a half.
Acting: Not bad at all for the genre. Sometimes over the top. 
Effects: And how: and they were pretty great for 1984.
Violence: This is a very violent franchise.
Gun Use:
Gore: Kind of high — there’s some pretty gross burn related gore.
Creepy? Of the three big bads, Freddy is the most creepy to me.
Monster Type? A pedophile ghost.
Funny? Sometimes.
Nudity: Very brief topless female nudity.
Pacing: All over the place.

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