A Nightmare On Elm Street Screen 7 articles

A Nightmare On Elm Street

1984

A Nightmare On Elm Street Poster
  • Guess you had to be there at the time. Maybe Freddy Krueger becomes more interesting when he starts cracking wise in later installments, but he doesn't remotely frighten or unnerve me here, and the whole is-it-a-dream? business is very clumsily telegraphed throughout. Shock ending makes zero sense. Only intriguing element is Heather Langenkamp, who isn't much of a thespian but startles in this context merely by looking and acting so utterly ordinary.

  • ...Nightmare's skill wasn't that it invented such associations—which had already been thoroughly mined by its '70s predecessors—but that it refined them in uniquely disturbing ways, drenching itself in an atmosphere of unreality positioned somewhere between waking and slumbering states. It's an ambiance aided by Craven's deft editing, Charles Bernstein's hauntingly jarring score and musical cues, and the film's unforgettable children's rhyme.

  • What’s so clever about Craven’s variation on teen-horror is what now seems so obvious about it: A Nightmare on Elm Street takes all of this fear of unmanageable desires and makes it explicitly, even bluntly Freudian.

  • More so than its heavy-handed commentary on the dark underbelly of the American suburbs, A Nightmare on Elm Street is more interesting as a film about how cinema is a medium which preys on the emotions of its viewers.

  • The Sandman of Reagan’s dozy suburbia... Craven builds very scrupulously on Fuseli (or is it Redon?) and arrives at the bold image of the beautiful white suburban home with barred windows, a bottomless bathtub, and a damp subterranean labyrinth for a cellar. Elsewhere, there's Royal Wedding for Wyss’ slaughter, The Exorcist for Langenkamp’s test, and Vampyr for the ultimate awakening.

  • The most disturbing and, in its way, beautiful aspect of Craven's film, what really elevates his film, is the way he depicts the "tracing" of trauma (situated in the realm of the dream and of psychology) on the bodies of Freddy Krueger's victims, doubling trauma so that we can view it in new configurations.

  • There is something primally frightening about the idea of dreams coming to life, because they can almost be remnants of previous lives—and in this case, as the haunting of Freddy Krueger comes from the errors of the parents who burned him to death in a fit of vigilante justice, fear itself becomes hereditary. Craven thereby taps into the essence of great horror, conceiving a tale that allowed him, and us, to explore the disturbing hidden depths of our humanity.

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