This is where we first met him, the man with the hat, the gloves and that unmistakable sweater, one of the most famous horror icon, forever etched in pop culture: Freddy Krueger. In 1984 a very low budget Wes Craven (The Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Scream) film called A Nightmare On Elm Street made its debut introducing Krueger. To me ANOES was a very different horror film because of not only the villain but its universe. Freddy is not a faceless killer like Michael Mayers or Jason, he’s a horribly burned, creepy, disfigured villain with those knives who reigns in the world of dreams. He’s a child murderer, he’s witty with expressions and loves to tease and play with his victims, in my humble opinion he’s one of the greatest villains ever created. I thought it was brilliant how they played with dreams, we all dream right? There’s just something about dreams and nightmares that we can all relate to and this film goes into just that. This movie spawned 6 sequels, Freddy V.S. Jason and the 2010 remake, but this is the best and where it all started. Some of the sequels could also be very funny at the time but the first one is mostly just horror and the creepiness and jumps are there. You definitely find yourself thinking “no, not that way! Don’t do that!” a few times.
I think the story is already well-known by now. Freddy Krueger haunts teenagers in their dreams and if he kills them or does any damages to them the consequences will transport to reality. The parents don’t believe what they say is true although they reveal that they killed a man who was a child murderer named Fred Kruger. It’s a survival test where sleeping isn’t recommended! Heather Langenkamp was just the perfect Nancy, young, good looking, innocent, strong, she made a convincing Nancy and she’s the star of the film. Robert Englund delivers a stunning performance as Freddy, I don’t think anyone else could play that character like he did and he deserves full credit. It was great that they got John Saxon who was someone, to agree to do the film, he was excellent as Nancy’s father. A Nightmare On Elm Street is also notable for being now world-famous actor Johnny Depp’s very first role (and acting).
Wes Craven read about people dying in their sleep and thought that there might be an idea for a movie there. He wanted Freddy to be the worst villain you could imagine, the burned appearance, him being a child murderer, the boiler room and so on. Craven’s vision was great and the results still stand strong decades later. The special effects were remarkable for 1984 and were highly creative effects at that, they’re all very memorable and there are plenty of them. It’s even more impressive when you consider that they had a VERY low budget and couldn’t afford anything expensive, the effects we’ve all come to enjoy where made mostly by hand on a shoe string budget. They make you go “how did they do that?” like blood gushing out of the middle of the bed or Freddy appearing to come out of the wall. Every death since in ANOES is memorable and are hard to forget, they’re some of the best and most creative death scenes I’ve seen.
I remember when I was little kid going to the video rental stores and I’d often see VHS boxes with the gross man with the hat and the knifes he had on his hand and I was scared and intrigued thinking “I’ll watch those movies someday when I’m brave enough”, back then the covers were enough to give me nightmares. A Nightmare On Elm Street is a horror classic and it aged rather well, some of the effect still stand out and it’s still creepy but with years of more hardcore and torture horror it may not seem as scary as it was when it initially came out. Even legions of sequels couldn’t ruin this first and absolutely best nightmare. This one is worthy of a 5/5. Also, If you can get the Blu-Ray it’s absolutely worth it, the image quality is amazing the restoration was great and the sound is excellent, this is worth the upgrade from the DVD and VHS!