I recently spoke to my editor Shelby B. Scott about our site and how we haven’t talked about the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. We agreed that was a travesty since we got our site name from that very movie. So we decided to split the responsibility in covering the series of movies. I’m up first with the one that started it all.
By 1984 Wes Craven had already shocked the world with “Last House On The Left” and “The Hills Have Eyes”. While those had moderate success, his next movie would become a cultural icon of the 1980s. Sit back, and DO NOT fall asleep as we take a look back at “Nightmare on Elm Street”.
Fred Krueger was a child killer who got off on some technicality (for the life of me I can’t remember if it ever actually said what the technicality was). The parents of the children in the neighborhood didn’t like that. They decided to take the law in their own hands and execute Freddy themselves in a trial by fire.
Years later Nancy Thompson, her boyfriend Glen Lantz, her best friend Christina “Tina” Gray, and her boyfriend Rod Lane are haunted by nightmares of a burned man in a dirty red and green sweater and fedora, with “knives for fingers”. Nancy, Tina,and Glen are so shaken up by the nightmares they decide to spend the night at Tina’s house. Rod later crashes looking for a little personal time in the bed room with Tina. As they sleep Tina starts to thrash violently and is cut to ribbons. Glen becomes the prime suspect because he was the only one in the room at the time, and he owns a switch blade.
Nancy begins to realize her friends are dying in their sleep. After some convincing her mother comes clean and tells her what the parents did to Fred. At one point when Freddy comes for Nancy she rips off a piece of his sweater before waking up. She brings the piece of material into her waking world. She devises a plan to next time bring Fred himself into her world and finish him once and for all.
A Nightmare On Elm Street is my favorite series. In a genre where most killers were silent, masked, and virtually unstoppable, Freddy talks, is witty in a dark way and toys with his victims. Eventually the movie lost its dark tone and Freddy became a burned clown, but that’s for another time.
It’s interesting to note Fred Krueger was the name of Wes Craven’s childhood bully, and he had read a study on teens dying in their sleep. eight movies later (eight counting Freddy vs Jason because let’s be honest the plot was more Freddy centric than Jason and nine counting the remake) Freddy Krueger is a household name with tons of merchandise ranging from dolls, shirts, action figures, costumes, make up kits, replica gloves among other things.
It would be a mistake to write this and not mention the man who brought Freddy to life, Robert Englund. While Jackie Earl Haley did a respectable job in the remake, in my mind and I’m sure there will only ever be one Freddy, and that is Robert Englund. You can see the fun he had with the character in every little nuance from body language, the laugh, the jokes, and still being able to come off as menacing. A nightmare on Elm Street is a classic of the horror genre and will be watched and loved for many generations to come.