A Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t my favorite horror film, I don’t even think it’s on the list of slasher films I enjoy. But it has an interesting concept, developed characters, and like Psycho it pulls one of the biggest twits on the audience with the role of Tina.
We are introduced to an interesting, scared young girl named Tina (Amanda Wyss) who has been having horrible dreams of a burned man with a claw-hand chasing her. Unfortunately, little does she know, this man is actually real and a danger to her. Truly afraid she has her boyfriend and two friends sleep over with her and that night her dreams take a drastic turn for the worst when she is brutally killed all about her room in a manner that would leave CSI baffled and probably should have precluded her boyfriend from being a suspect.
With no one believing Rod (Nick Corri), Tina’s boyfriend, he is arrested and Nancy and Glen (Heather Langenkamp and Johnny Depp respectively) are skeptical as things start to get strange around them. By the time Rod has bit the dust in jail, it’s no longer a question of who is killing them but how this person is killing them.
While I don’t particularly care for Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund) I can safely admit that he makes up a part of the trifect of serial killers that are most famous in the slasher genre, including Jason Voorhees and Michael Meyers (With Leatherface sometimes around for the ride and sometimes conflated with Jason despite the fact that Jason has never once used a chainsaw). His series has a unique concept, something other slasher films can’t say or blatantly pirated from one of the four killers just mentioned. Supernatural, determined, laced with quips, and a weapon that makes me question his manhood much like Kia did in Freddy vs Jason. Of course it didn’t really end well for her.
Slasher films are a huge part of our culture and because of that they have fallen into disrepair over the years. We no longer want new and original concepts but franchise mills that will keep our appetites whetted so we can feel good when we complain about them. I dislike The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise but that doesn’t make it a bad one. It is actually original in concept, features well developed characters in its first installment (something that Friday the 13th can’t share in but Halloween can), and blurred the lines between horror and comedy in a believable fashion that never dulled the wow factor. Then the sequels happened and that is a completely different conversation that we can have later in the month.
For now, it’s October, the month of scary images and tricking of friends and strangers alike. Enjoy the crisp autumn season as it begins to come to a close and hopefully join me in on a Halloween marathon this upcoming October 31st!