RIP Wes Craven source: imdb
After a lot of struggle with the other production companies, director Wes Craven (Scream series, Hills have eyes, Last house on the left) convinced not-that-well-to-do producer-then Robert Shaye (Founder of New line cinema) to produce his original theme about a serial killer haunting people in their sleep. For Robert Shaye, this movie was a leap of faith as the production almost had him bankrupt. But the success of this film brought the new line cinema and another decade of horror, to life. A nightmare on Elm Street is one of those films with an original idea. Who will want to go to sleep after seeing the outer beauty of Fred Krueger?
The movie begins with Tina (Amanda Wyss) waking up from a nightmare where she witnessed the disfigured serial killer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) with a gruesome smile. She meets up with her Friends Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), Glen (Johnny Depp) and boyfriend Rod (Nick Corri) for a sleepover, where Nancy reveals that she had a nightmare herself where she saw a guy and finger knives that made a horrible “screeeeeeeech” sound. That night Kruger ends up killing Tina successfully with Rod next to her in bed. After that, Kruger started haunting Nancy and the rest of the movie deals with how Nancy confronts her fears.
The movie begins in Psycho style where the seemingly lead actress Amanda Wyss’s character is killed, then Ms. Langenkamp AKA Nancy steps in to take us through the journey of her sleepless days (and nights). That was a smooth shift of POV and the pace of the film is very fast and you won’t notice the time going. It has the texture of the ’80s, from the culture, type of score used and the cinematography style. The technology used for the technical side is only meager but still Wes Craven’s vision and Robert Englund’s haunting performance as Krueger manage to keep one at the edge of his/her seat. Some visual effects were amazing, like Tina’s murder scene where she is dragged to the top of the room and the sequence where a jet of blood is shot to the ceiling after the murder of a main characters. Charles Bernstein did a wonderful job creating an eerie environment onscreen with the captivating yet creepy BG score.
The movie had the perfect concept that is more energy you give to the negative force the stronger it gets, but the sequels in a way spoiled the charm of this, especially the third movie. There are symbolic messages in this film about teenage sexual promiscuity and issues related to being raised in a broken home.
Heather Langenkamp is the main attraction. She plays an iconic character for every teenage girl. Nancy is a strong female character who is initially despondent but then later she becomes a self-made intrepid and determined fighter. It was difficult to find female characters like Nancy at that time. The 1980’s also witnessed a change in the involvement of females from a mere “trophy” to a central audacious individuals. Wes Craven’s A nightmare on elm Street succeeded to bring out that. Nancy is one of the first feminist figures in a horror film. This is Johnny Depp’s first starring role. For a guy who’s never been to acting school or acting experience, Johnny managed to keep up but it is not his best work. Who is Johnny Depp? If you asked that then you must be joking… Ronee Blakley was good but sometimes her performance was a bit inauthentic for an Oscar-nominated actress. Her performance in the scene where she gets drunk is less impressive. John Saxon kept up his reputation with his steadfast performance. The one who steals the show is Robert Englund himself. Who else will be able to make Kruger blood –curdling like he could?
So horror movie lovers, go check it out. Will it make one sleep with their lights on? That’s up to you folks… Nancy herself advises us, “Whatever you do don’t fall asleep”… And, it is any day better than the 2010 remake.
Disclaimer: This is an updated review that was first published in Author’s personal blog.
Featured image credit: whatabouttwinkle