MOVIE REVIEW: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Day two of our Halloween movie watching lead us to an absolute horror classic. Unbelievably Mr O had never seen A Nightmare on Elm Street but it’s an old favourite of mine from my teenage horror movie watching years.

When a group of teenagers is terrorised in their sleep by a man with a melted face and knives for hands, they must try to stay awake or face what happens in their dreams transferring to reality.

Freddy Kruger (Robert England) is one of the most iconic horror villains of all time, with good reason. Not only is he physically repulsive, he is also malevolent, creative and super creepy. The fact that he accesses his victims through their dreams gives him immense power and also allows for many crazy and disturbing visual imagery and happenings.

We’ve all had strange and upsetting dreams so there is something very visceral and horrifying about the concept that your dreams could follow you into reality and hurt you there. Sleep is also an absolutely essential human need so being forced to stay awake is almost equally horrible. Ask anyone with a small child.

Nothing gratuitous about this at all…

Pair this up with some truly gruesome, brutal deaths (talking about the bed volcano here), a creepy synth backing track and the ever present children’s nursery rhyme about Freddy, it’s a winning formula. The first time I saw this movie it scared the absolute crap out of me. This time less so as I have been largely desensitised by endless episodes of American Horror Story.

On the downside, the performances from everyone other than England are really, really hammy and when the reason Freddy is chasing these particular teens is exposed, it isn’t given enough room to breathe. The film has a short running time and consequently feels a bit rushed. I am not sure if that is better or worse than mountains of long, rambling exposition. Either way it doesn’t take away from the horror, the overall concept or the creepiness and the film deserves to retain its classic status.

4/5

4 Comments

  1. I went to see this on release, at Streatham Odeon! (I don’t even know if that is still there)
    I really enjoyed it, as it was as much humour, as horror. But I have never seen it since that night.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I Googled it and it is indeed still there!

  2. It’s been years since I last saw this film. So, I can’t remember much but I think I enjoyed it. Thank you for reminding me to give it a re-watch!

    1. It’s a good one. Definitely reccomend it for your horror binge.

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