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Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)


I felt that it wouldn't have been a proper "Terrorpolooza 2012" if I didn't watch a classic 1980's horror movie- which is why I pulled up "A Nightmare on Elm Street"...

Teenagers in a small American town are starting to dream of a disfigured man with a clawed glove.  When her friends start to die from their dreams, Nancy decides it's up to her to confront the supernatural killer and end his nightmarish reign of terror...

I'm pretty sure you, the reader, can figure out where I'm going to go with this particular review.

Yep- you guessed it.  I really enjoy this movie.

The premise is simple, but terrifying, since you're at your most vulnerable when sleeping, and we've all had those dreams that are just "too real" for comfort.  The story is well paced, with a great mixture of suspense, and plain old in your face scares.  No event is trivial, and the flow is smooth.  Just a masterpiece of writing.

The characters may seem a bit trite at times- but mostly on the part of the first couple of victims, but you come to like Nancy as the story comes to focus on her, echoing how Krueger starts to focus on her as his prey.  She grows from a mild teenager, into a strong female character.  Krueger is a well crafted character in his own right.  You come to realize that he ENJOYS the torment he's putting the teenagers through as he plays with them before the kill.

Heather Langenkamp does a wonderful job as Nancy, and is balanced out by the excellent performance of Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger.  I remember watching Englund as Willie in the TV Series, "V", and was amazed by how well he fit the role of Krueger.  I also thought that John Saxon and Ronne Blakley in the roles of Nancy's parents were great.  Johnny Depp fans will enjoy seeing his first movie role as Nancy's boyfriend, Glen.

There are some marvelous pieces of camera work that have become iconic images from the movie.  The shot of Freddy pushing through the wall above Nancy's bed, and the glove coming out of the bath water being just two of them.  Wes Craven uses shadow, light, and colour to create a wonderful sense of unreality and tension to the nightmare scenes.  And for grue fans, there's lots of blood to be had in this movie.  Tina's death and the "bed geyser" supplying more of the crimson than most horror movies alone.

So, as you can gather, "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is what I would call a "horror classic" that I would recommend to any horror fan, and would sit down in a heartbeat to rewatch.  It's assured a spot in The Good.

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