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08.23.2017
Nightmare On Elm Street, A (1984)
Movie Review by The Mortician
01.13.15

Nightmare On Elm Street, A (1984) Still a really cool movie, I grew up with this one and back in the day, it helped reinvigorate the slasher genre with its reality bending concepts. Freddy Krueger briefly overshadowed Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees when he hit the scene full-force in the war of bogeymen! (Leatherface has always been the overlooked fourth cousin, even though he was the ironically the first!) I overdosed on the NIGHTMARE movies when they first came out, seeing them all in the theaters several times and watching them endlessly on VHS. So it's with great nostalgia and fond memories that I look back on the original. That said, the thing I noticed the most as a middle-aged dork was how mediocre the acting is in this thing! Back in the day, I thought Craven was the bomb and NIGHTMARE was sheer perfection in all departments- including the supreme acting. So I was unprepared for just how forced and dated the teen actors are in this flick, especially leads Heather Langenkamp and Johnny Depp, in their first roles. Heather in particular is a struggle to believe in many sequences, completely overacting and becoming downright annoying at times. Even her reactions sometimes look wrong and her delivery of dialogue seems very forced at times. John Saxon is still great in his part, and so is the actress that plays Tina. (Maybe SHE should've been the lead?) Still, Heather is easy on the eyes and gotta love that bathtub scene with Freddy's claw coming up between her shapely thighs in the tub (and we get to see her breasts when she's dragged underwater---although they claim it's a body double, but I don't buy that for one minute. No siree!). Iconic! The eerie atmosphere and minimalist creepy antics of Robert Englund as Freddy still hold up well, especially when Englund self-mutilates himself with his razor knives and his arms stretch out like a nightmarish Plastic Man. His evil humor and one-liners are kept nicely at bay in the original film here and although he's sarcastic...it's plain scary! The music score by Charles Bernstein holds up excellent and remains a classic from the 80's and the "Freddy attacks from within a dream" scenes are stellar, especially when Tina and Depp meet their demises. It's bloody, gory, and pushes that R rating to the limit! Craven's story is still top-notch, concerning a group of parents that torched a local pedophile years ago when the law wouldn't convict him and how he comes back for revenge utilizing the dreams of their offspring. GREAT concept! The ending, or rather...ENDINGS as it eventually plays out, all work okay. I think the best one is where Nancy turns her back on Freddy and takes away his energy by not being afraid, they should've left it at that, with her taking away the energy she gave Freddy in her nightmares. But the power play between the Studio and Craven is well-documented and they wanted a FRANCHISE, so....All in all, still a great, fun movie, though a bit dated now and wow, the stage play acting...that really stood out to me. Makes one realize just how good Neve Campbell actually is in the SCREAM movies when compared to Ms. Langenkamp----now I see why she didn't get many other roles other than the ELM STREET ones. Aw well, she's still a scream queen darling and a looker, so all is forgiven! And I must admit she does well by the end of the movie, she delivers the goods in the Final Girl battle scenes. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is still a rollicking good time down memory lane with lots of suspense, action, and horrific moments---all highlighting the birth of one of the most famous bogeymen of all time! Freddy the K Master!!!! Highly recommended.

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