“1, 2, Freddy’s coming for you…”
Every horror fan knows this rhyme. A Nightmare on Elm Street didn’t begin the slasher craze of the 1970s and 1980s, but the titular character Freddy Krueger is one of the best slashers to ever be depicted on screen.
Released in 1980, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street tells the story of Nancy and her friends. These teenagers being having nightmares about some guy with a burnt face and “Knives for fingers.” As her friends die one by one in their sleep, Nancy learns that the scary guy who is hunting them is one Fred Krueger, a child murder who terrorized Nancy’s small town. As it turns out, Krueger was hunted down and murdered by the town’s parents, including hers. Nancy now must come up with a plan to defeat this monster before he gets her too.
This movie, actually the entire franchise, is one of my favorites. I remember when I was three, my older stepbrothers were watching the series’s third installment. This is how I was introduced to Freddy Krueger and to the world of horror. I remember not sleeping for weeks. Now, I have nothing but love for Freddy Krueger.
The first movie in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise was groundbreaking. No one had ever thought to create a boogeyman that could only hurt you in the dreamscape. Craven had a problem getting the projected picked up by a studio. No one believed it was scary because the horror happened in dreams, but if you think about it, what’s scarier than not being safe when you’re at your most vulnerable?
After Craven left the franchise, subsequent films became vehicles for comedic one-liners. The films themselves became dull, retelling the same story over and over. The magic was gone, but the character of Freddy Krueger skyrocketed to icon status. Krueger may have been loved, but he was no longer a terrifying monster. The franchise had become a laughingstock.
But that first film is still scary. If you can forget the asinine films that followed it (aside from the third film, which had the best dream scenes in the franchise), the original Nightmare on Elm Street still has that special magic. This film is worth a watch any time of the year, but especially on Halloween.