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A Nightmare on Elm Street is iconic and weird

Updated on October 13, 2011

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When talking about scary movies, it's inevitable that certain movies will be brought up. One of those movies in question is Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Now, as far as scary movies are concerned, I lean toward those with a supernatural aspect to it, but I also tend to lean a bit away a from the "killer on the loose" stories, so I'm just a little torn on this one.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past twenty years, the story follows young Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) and her friends who have recently begun dreaming about a creepy burn victim (Fred Krueger - Robert Englund) with knives on the fingers of his right hand. He stalks them when they sleep and when they're killed in the dream, they die in real life. Kind of like The Matrix if Agent Smith had killer acne and a cutlery fetish.

Given the setup, it's a perfect invitation for some unusual visuals and a not-a-little-bit confusing ending.

Now, I like weird. I enjoy The Yellow Submarine, Legend, Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. For my taste, however, this movie could do with just a little bit more of the trippy dream sequences. There's plenty of time with the teens walking around in a rather normal looking dream world. It just feels a little bit like a missed oportunity.

Not that I'm blaming the movie makers here. This is still a seminal movie in its genre and it has rightfully earned its place.

And there is definitely something to be said for avoiding the unusual.

There are real scares here. However, the surreal atmosphere can have a tendency to dilute some of that sense of threat. Halloween benefits from the fact that its killer is a masked man with a knife. That can actually happen. Most of us are at least 75% sure that there's nobody living in our dreams to kill us. They may be invading our mind to steal our ideas or incept us, but they're not going to kill us.

But it's still an effective movie and it has created one of the most iconic figures in horror. And that ain't something to sneeze at.

It's also interesting to see a young Johnny Depp in his first feature film.

For me, this one goes up and down on my rating scale based on how I feel at the time, but in general, it's a solid 7 / 10.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is rated R for language, violence, gore and a little bit of nudity.


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    • Garlonuss profile image

      Garlonuss 6 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah

      Interesting. I'll have to try that one out. Thanks.

    • FilmRebel profile image

      FilmRebel 6 years ago from Ohio

      If you like Wes Craven's work as well as the surreal check out his earlier movie Serpent and the rainbow. It is clearly influenced by Last house on the left but has the dreamlike atmosphere of his later works.