Part of the point of this blind spot series is to get me out of my comfort zone and watch movies I may have been avoiding or putting off. Horror or scary movies definitely fall into that category as I’ve always been a bit of a scary movie wimp. However, I am trying to expand my palate and as part of this series I’ve watched Scream, Halloween, Frankenstein and now A Nightmare on Elm Street.
In watching these scary movies I’ve realized something about myself. I’m actually not that scared by supernatural horror. If I can put some distance between my reality and the horror movie plot I do pretty well. What seems to scare me the most is a scary movie that could actually happen to me. A good example is a film called The Gift from 2015. This is a well done film but it gave me legit nightmares for weeks. The idea of Rebecca Hall’s character being stalked by an old acquaintance of her husband and then what he does to her was terrifying.
So I give this long introduction to explain why I actually had more fun with A Nightmare on Elm Street than I would have guessed. It is gory and graphic. There’s no question about that but it’s all in dreams and over-the-top so it doesn’t feel like something that could actually happen to me. This makes it easier to have fun with the story.
A Nightmare on Elm Street tells the story of a girl named Nancy who lives on a street where a ghost named Freddy Kruger is haunting teens in their dreams and killing them. He is doing this out of revenge for the parents who killed him for being a child murderer.
The production design is the greatest strength of this film and director Wes Craven has a lot of fun with the horror dream kill sequences. Of course, Freddy has the knives as hands but most of the kills are more elaborate than that might imply. One teen is swung around in circles, another is nearly pulled through the tub and a young man is killed in a tornado of blood from his bed. These are all so over-the-top that they weren’t scary but more fun and inventive.
There is something chilling about being haunted through your dreams- a space you have no control of and can only put off for so long. However, I think some of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers movies are a little scarier in that concept because not only do you die but you become this horrible creature that can hurt other people. It’s one thing to die but another to become a monster that hurts the people you love.
Evidently Robert Englund gets into more camp as Freddy in future installments, but he is good in this first film and all the teens are excellent including a young Johnny Depp and Heather Langenkamp as Nancy.
In the end, I’m glad I finally watched A Nightmare on Elm Street, and I can see why it is considered to be a horror classic. I’ve heard the 3rd film is the best of the sequels, but let me know what you think. And what scares you the most in movies? I’d love to know.
9 out of 10
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