Kicking off this year’s slew of Halloween horror is the classic that made everyone afraid to sleep. A Nightmare on Elm Street is the hit that launched the entire Freddy Krueger franchise and propelled the late Wes Craven into a film history. Yet somehow I put off seeing this perfect piece of horror until just a few weeks ago. Think of all the childhood nightmares I missed out on. Let’s me say that at 30 years old I was thrilled and freaked out multiple times throughout the film and enjoyed being on the edge of my seat.
By now, most film fans know the basic plot of this film. Four teenage friends are having weird nightmares about the same guy, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). After Tina (Amanda Wyss) is horrifically murdered in her sleep, her boyfriend, Rod (Jsu Garcia) is suspected of killing her. His friends believe he is innocent and that something more sinister is going on. And whenever they dare to fall asleep, the same evil man tries to kill them.
When it comes to characters that inspire nightmares, Krueger may be the best. His physical appearance is just plain scary, from his burnt skin to his signature razor clawed glove. Red striped sweaters have never been the same since. He can do more than any Earthly entity. From looking down on his prey within the ceiling, jumping through mirrors and growing his arms to grotesque lengths, he is full of surprises. To top it off, his attitude is a perfect mix of enjoyably creepy and full throttle evil.
I was surprised at how gruesome this film can be. It is not so much flesh and guts, but a nightmarish fantasy of gore. Tina’s death starts things started off well, with slash marks appearing on torso and being pushed onto the walls and ceiling, screaming and bleeding everywhere. I was wonderfully creeped out when she appeared in a bloody body bag in Nancy’s (Heather Langenkamp) dream. And the image of Freddy’s claw coming out of the bath water gives me the best chills.
My favorite scene was Glen’s (Johnny Depp) infamous death. He accidentally falls asleep waiting to meet Nancy at midnight only to sink into a pit that appears in his bed. We think he’s just gone, then the pit expels his liquified blood and guts into his room like a volcano of gore. The image is so crazy, yet feels so real. I was genuinely horrified and loved it.
It is never too late to get your first taste of Freddie Krueger horror. Whether you’re fourteen or ninety-four, now is the time to enjoy some of the greatest horror movies the world has to offer. Horror films of today are rarely as enjoyable, scary and surreal as Craven’s original A Nightmare on Elm Street. But keep some coffee handy, you may not want to sleep afterwards.
“One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…”