A Nightmare on Elm Street title

Tag Line : Sleep Kills...

A Nightmare on Elm StreetOne of the most successful horror films of the 1980's, was undoubtedly this notorious slasher film from genre director Wes Craven. In this, Heather Langenkamp stars as Nancy Thompson, one of several teenagers living on the suburban street of "Elm Street", who have been suffering sleepless nights as a result of terrifying nightmares.

Things start to get a little weird when she finds out all her friends have been having the same re-occurring nightmares too, which all involve a horribly burned character named "Freddy Kruger" who sports a glove with razor-blades on the fingers. Co-incidentally, there was once a child murderer by the same name who lived on Elm Street some years ago, until a vigilante mob burned him to death in his house.

Well, it turns out that the character in their nightmares and the dead killer are indeed one and the same person. As is the case in most horror films, demented psychopaths never let death stand in the way of of things, and so Kruger (as played by Robert Englund) has to carry on killing the children of Elm Street, by striking at them in their dreams.

Unbeknown to our teenage friends, but known to us, it turns out that if you die in your dreams you die for real and so you can imagine the confusion when Nancy's friends start waking up to find their partners have been murdered in the most gruesome of fashions, particularly her boyfriend Glenn (played by a young Johnny Depp) who's bed swallows him up, then sprays his blood and guts all over the ceiling (very nice!).

Nancy's father (as played by John Saxon), who also happens top be the local sheriff, doesn't believe any of the Freddy Kruger nonsense and thinks that the killer is in fact her friend Rod (Nick Corri). So being a resourceful type, Nancy sets out to put an end to Freddy's reign of terror by playing him at his own game. But how do you kill something that is already dead?

I never could understand why this film proved so popular, particularly as its whole concept about dieing in your dreams had been ripped off the movie "Dreamscape" which had been released a couple of years previous. Also I had a hard time taking Freddy Kruger seriously, as actor Robert Englund, had previously played a comical alien "stooge" in the Sci-Fi TV series "V".

Love it or hate though, there is no disputing this films popularity. Nightmare on Elm Street was one of THE most popular films of the 1980's and Freddy Kruger has proved to be one of horror's most popular and well known characters, and judging by the amount of sequels we haven't seen the last of him yet.

Overall Marks: 6/10

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines, "If Nancy doesn't wake up screaming, she won't wake up at all...", "She is the only one who can stop it... if she fails, no one survives".

  • This was Johnny Depp's first feature film. He got the part through sheer chance as he was merely at the auditions to accompany his friend Jackie Earl Harley, who was trying out for a role. Craven happened to spot him and suggested he audition. Ironically, Jackie Earl Haley went on to play Freddy Kruger in the 2010 remake some 16 years later.

  • The budget for this movie was $1.8m, but grossed over $25.5m in the USA alone.

  • Director Wes Craven was previously noted for his seminal shocker "The Hills Have Eyes" and the exploitation pic "Last House on the Left", although it was this film that made him a household name and set the standard for which all his other horror films would be measured by. Something he wouldn't be able to surpass until 1996 with the release of "Scream".

  • The film ran into serious financial difficulties halfway through shooting which almost bankrupted New Line and almost resulted in the film being abandoned. Fortunately the crew agreed to work without pay for a couple of weeks until they managed to get a new distribution deal sorted and the film was eventually completed.

  • The movie Nancy is watching to try and stay awake was "The Evil Dead".

  • Wes Craven apparently named Freddy Krueger after a kid who bullied him in school. Something he also did with the character Krug from "Last House on the Left".

  • Robert Englund who played the baddie, Freddy Kruger, has appeared in numerous horror films over the years including "Death Trap" (aka Eaten Alive) by Tobe Hooper, "Galaxy of Terror" and "Dead and Buried", although prior to Elm Street, he was probably best remembered for his role as the alien comic stooge Willy, the vegetarian lizard alien in the cult Sci-Fi series "V".

  • John Saxon who played the sheriff, also has a long running association with horror and fantasy films, ranging from "Battle Beyond the Stars" to "Tenebrae" by Dario Argento and "Cannibal Apocalypse". He also starred in the Bruce Lee epic "Enter the Dragon".

  • The film also spawned a spin-off TV series in the early 90's entitled "Freddy's Nightmares". However, these owed nothing to the Elm Street films and were merely a collection of twilight-zone style tales introduced by Freddy Kruger.

  • The 1996 laserdisc released by Elite entertainment contained a number of deleted or alternate scenes as a bonus feature. These included a shot of Glenn's (Johnny Depp) blood soaked body slowly rising out of the bed after being killed, an extended scene where Nancy's mother shows her Freddy's glove in which she tells her "you weren't always an only child", plus an unfinished special effects scene showing Nancy falling through the clouds in a dream sequence.

  • The US release was cut for an R rating, which trimmed the scene where Tina is killed in the bedroom. In this, the scene cuts just as she falls onto the bed and misses out a shot of blood splashing upwards. The original UK cinema release and video on the CBS/Fox label was uncut. However, all current DVDs are of the cut US R rated version.

  • This was the first proper movie made by New Line Cinema, before this they were just a distributor for College campuses. Because of the films success, New Line were nicknamed "The House that Freddy built".

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