Halloween Marathon: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Welcome to the Halloween Marathon! We’re officially kicking off with our highlight series: A Nightmare on Elm Street!

I’m working hard on catching up on all the horror series that I’ve missed year after year. You can see my past two years recap over in the menu under Halloween Marathon.  There’s all the reviews from the Halloween and Friday the 13th series (which you can find on the Halloween Marathon page HERE).  Now, we’re moving onto the next iconic series.  I’m super stoked for this one because this year, it gives it even more reason to celebrate this series even though I had planned it a year ago.

Let’s begin!

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

a nightmare on elm street

Director & Writer: Wes Craven

Cast: Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Robert Englund, Ronee Blakley, Johnny Depp, Jsu Garcia

Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep. – IMDB

Last year while I was doing the Halloween Marathon featuring the Friday the 13ths was the first time I saw Freddy Kreuger in Freddy vs Jason.  Freddy Krueger is a downright creepy looking dude.  I don’t know much about A Nightmare on Elm Street except for the fragmented bits here and there and some iconic scenes I’ve seen here and there.  I’ve postponed this series for a few years because I never found the movies on a reasonable price but now, we’re all assembled and to me, the best part about A Nightmare on Elm Street is the premise and the character Freddy Kreuger.  Someone who can kill you while you are sleeping in your nightmares is crazy because its something that’s basically out of your control. What is the easiest way to tap into your inner/psychological fears? Its targeting whatever is out of our control.  After all, that is the basis of fear factories, right?

A Nightmare on Elm Street

 With that said, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a different sort of horror.  Its not even really slasher and as much as there is blood and its campy and mega dated, it still keeps a fun factor but also gives a rather creepy vibe.  I mean, there’s a few scenes that while the effects aren’t great because its been like 30 years (almost), and I’m rather forgiving on that, it still got under my skin a little.  I have to admit that while this first one didn’t show Freddy much because we’re just learning about who this man is before he became the monster killer on Elm Street, he had some goofy moments like that long arm scene. But then, we have this scene below…that picture kind of gives me the creeps…

a nightmare on elm street

Most of the cast here is new to me.  I did a quite rundown of them and maybe they did some roles here and there.  Of course, we have the notable Johnny Depp who makes an appearance here.  Honestly, the cast here is rather decent.  The script itself is a little cheesy at times but the cast is convincing enough. However, what the script does have are some remarkably creative death scenes.  Johnny Depp’s character’s death scene is easily one of the best ones.  It just kind of emphasizes how Freddy Kreuger can kill in any way as long as you fall asleep.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

As a first entry into a long-running franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a strong one. While I still think, Halloween and Michael Myers offered a little more creeps, Freddy Kreuger does a good job as well.  Its all in the premise of his character and how he kills and just that disgusting look that we only ever get a glimpse of. Wes Craven is a master in horror in building atmosphere and building a legit character that is threatening.  Sleep is something that is obligatory in our lives, dreaming is a subconscious state of mind and he takes control of something we can’t control.  Just think about that. Smart move, Mr. Craven. I should’ve appreciated your work a lot earlier.

Overall, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a great first entry bring forth a memorable and effectively creepy character Freddy Kreuger.  It has a great premise and builds decent atmosphere.  It still has the campy feeling, mostly because of the supposed low budget and the dated effects from 30 years ago. However, it still made me jump a few times and the deaths were done in a rather creative way.  Definitely worth a watch!

What do you think of A Nightmare on Elm Street? How about the series in general? Which is your favorite?

**Remember to drop by tomorrow to see the review for Nightmare on Elm Street 2!!**

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13 thoughts on “Halloween Marathon: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

  1. Nice review, Kim! Glad you’re tackling these! 🙂 I LOVE the Elm Streets – far prefer them to Halloween & Friday the 13th. I hate to say it’s all downhill from here for you, though. Lol. (But number 3 is excellent! just, you know, not as good as the first one)

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  2. This is my number 2 movie of all time. Really never get tired of getting creeped out by it. Easily my favorite of the series followed by New Nightmare – that one also have a very creepy Freddy in it. This series loses steam after part four, five and six get laughable at times – just a heads up. Nice review.

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  3. Yaaaaaaaay! I am glad you are finally watching these, I remember you saying you couldn’t find them at a reasonable price. I am a big fan of this film, it is so good for so many reasons. I am glad to see that you enjoyed it!

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  4. Like you, I’m a relative novice when it comes to the big horror franchises. I’ve been knocking a few movies from each off my to-see list each year. The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise as a whole is reasonably strong (at least, so far; I’m only up to film 4), but I’d say the first is the strongest of the bunch. I also agree with you that as far as first-films go, Halloween had the best start.

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    • Definitely. I mean, Friday the 13th was a snoozefest with Pamela Voorhees. But Halloween just sent shivers down my spine. Nightmare is pretty good and yes, as a series, its rather stronger than the other two big franchises in that same time frame. But I’m thinking of what to do for next year….leaning towards Hellraiser.

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      • I actually liked the original Friday the 13th. But I find the series as a whole to be really uneven (I’m up to #7 so far; seeing #8 next week). Halloween so far (up to #5) is pretty solid throughout, but #3 is just so “off”, and #5 has a lot of cheese to it. I’d probably put the Halloween series above NoES, but I’d have to think about it, and there’s certainly time for that to change for me.

        As for Hellraiser… I’ve only seen the first one, and I wasn’t a fan. But it’s definitely an “iconic” franchise, so it’s probably worth seeing at least that one just to see what the fuss is about. Child’s Play (Chucky) is another possibility, since I think I saw you say you haven’t seen that either. Again I’ve seen only the first, but while I wouldn’t say it was great, it was at least reasonably entertaining.

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      • I’ve seen the first Hellraiser. I’m okay. Not sure if I like it all that much. But we have like a ton of the sequels in those cheap bargain bins movie packs. Its why I’m thinking about it. Child’s Play is definitely an option. If not I’d do like some of the 90s horror franchise or whatnot, like Scream or Final Destination. Not sure…still some time to think about it. I’d do Saw but I’m not sure that I want to sit through so many torture porn movies in like a month. Not sure its good for me. Haha!

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      • Ah, the bargain packs. So easy to fill up on schlock with those.

        I think I’d have a hard time doing a marathon of Saw films as well. That’s another one where even if I thought it was all right, I just don’t see the need for revisiting it through sequels.

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  5. Pingback: The Large Association of Movie Blogs | Cult Chops Round Up (October) – Slasher Movies

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