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Nightmare on Elm Street, A
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Nightmare on Elm Street, A (1984)

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Plot Summary:
"Nancy Thompson is a typical American kid. Her idyllic existence is abruptly shattered by a series of horrible nightmares - the monstrous stalking by a fierce cold-blooded killer. Her closest friends have also been plagued by the same hallucination. Their only defence is too try and stay awake."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 29 September 2005 My Rating: out of 5


Wes Craven's classic horror movie terrified a generation of cinemagoers and has managed to attain its cult status despite the last sequel appearing in cinemas over a decade ago (excluding Freddy vs. Jason).

The premise pits terrified teen Nancy Thompson and her friends against a deceased child killer who has returned to haunt the kids of Elm Street in their dreams, effectively turning them into nightmares.

Robert Englund proves how vital it is to the success of your movie to cast an actor as the villain as opposed to a random stuntman, as he brings Craven's demonic killer to life with gusto.

Heather Langenkamp provides the kind of performance that leaves you wondering why we haven't seen more of her, and the rest of the kids including Johnny Depp in his first film role, are all now recognizable faces within the horror genre and beyond.

The film is most notable for its highly imaginative set pieces, which include Johnny Depp disappearing through his bed and reappearing as a geyser of blood, and that infamous first death which sees Amanda Wyss dragged across the ceiling as she desperately tries to hold her innards in.

As with the rest of the films in the series, there are plenty of subtleties and metaphors to be found, but this film for one reason or another is probably the only time Freddy was truly scary, as he soon became a part of pop culture, and fans soon began rooting for him as opposed to his victims.

Definitely one of Craven's better works, in fact I would actually go so far to describe it as a modern masterpiece. It may have aged a little, but taken with the spirit intended and remembering when it was made, it's no wonder this captured the imagination and hearts of horror fans across the world.

Reviewer: Josh Winning @horrorasylum
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5

As a friend of mine recently pointed out to me, A Nightmare on Elm Street is where 'slasher' movies decided they actually wanted to tell a story. Even the infamous Psycho had very little story, and all the slashers that followed it were all about murder and nothing else. And then along came A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the slasher genre was altered forever!

The thing that I love most about this movie is the stylish directing. Wes Craven really creates an intense atmosphere of unease, with the dark corridors and dancing shadows. There is a real feeling of fear about it - the premise alone is one that is haunting; after all sleep is where everybody escapes from their day-to-day troubles, and if we don't have that what do we have? Also the script is surprisingly clever, throwing everything at us with no end of shocks. Even the gore - which there is a lot of - is done stylishly and not too gratuitously. The haunting melody of the main theme is also a great aspect of this movie, and although the music is a little cheesy at times, it compromises perfectly the darkness of the movie.

Surprisingly, the acting is of a remarkable standard as well. Particularly, I enjoyed Heather Langenkamp's portrayal of Nancy Thompson - a truly gracious heroine who also has a smart head on her shoulders. Robert Englund, of course, gives a fine performance as Freddy Krueger - and in this, the first of the series, the Freddy character is far darker than the corny pun-thrower that he becomes in the sequels.

A horror classic, and featuring one of the most reknowned movie killers of all time - Fred Krueger. It looks a little dated now, but get past that and you'll be scared stupid.

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