Movie Marathon #3: A Nightmare on Elm Street

by thethreepennyguignol

I like classic horror movies. I like movies starring Johnny Depp before he only played one character. I like Robert Englund running around with a spiky glove of death terrorizing sexy youths while they sleep.

No, I’m not suddenly going to turn around and admit to hating another seminal film-I love Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s absolutely, utterly, wonderfully absurd; one of the first movies to employ properly hilarious and creative methods of violent death, in the form of the supernatural kiddie fiddler Freddie Krueger.

The first of the Big Three of Horror I’ll be reviewing over the next thirty days (Halloween, Friday the 13th and Elm Street), Wes Craven’s creepy little horror comes up it around a bit, threw in a pointlessly alcoholic mother, some soft-core sex scenes, and tried to work out what they couagainst one major barrier; the film itself is pretty awful. Now, shut up and let me explain; Wes Craven is a cracking director, and his skill at shooting a gorgeous, claustrophobic chiller is evident even in this, which was one of his earliest movies. But Christ.

It’s clear from the complete lack of skilled actors that the budget went on making this a gory, scary slasher; the idea behind it is fantastic, and the film pretty much relies on the strength of the concept and Englund’s cackle (“DON’T RUN IN THE HELL-WAYS!”). The rest of the acting is pretty shockingly terrible; I know time makes fools of us all, but Elm Street looks beyond dated; it looks like someone took dated, then bashed it wround a bit, threw in an alcoholic mother, some soft-core sex scenes and then worked out what would stick to the wall with a litre of pigs blood. The writing revels in the limitations of the youthful, glassy-eyed leads, and Wes never forgets what he’s trying to do: create a new, violent, scary but ultimately entertaining movie. He’s working from his weird, pretty unmarketable idea in a genre that wasn’t really respected at the time-the peripheries, such as acting, script, characterization, etc, weren’t as important or fun as drowning Johnny Depp in a backwards waterfall of blood. All hail Wes.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Spectacle: 7
Acting: 5
Script: 6
Entertainment Value: 9
Influence: 9