31 Days Of Horror (Day 18) – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

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At the peak of the slasher film era horror director Wes Craven, who at the time was notorious for shock value films such as The last House On the left (1972 and The Hills Have Eyes (1977), joined in the slasher craze with his 1984 smash hit A Nightmare On Elm Street. The film was a hit and launch a series spanning 3 decades from 1984-2003 with a 2010 remake. The series even had a Tv spin-off in the noughties.

Following Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) A young teenager plagued by unwanted nightmares about a strange man with a burnt face, who she soon finds out is Freddy Kruger(Robert Englund). With no one believing her stories of this odd dream man, her friends begin to get picked off one by one, each happening in sleep. This leads her to the ultimate battle with Freddy to save herself and her remaining friends.

A Nightmare On Elm street was a sleeper hit. With Cravens previous work being what it was many film studios were reluctant to touch it. But finally it got a release and the film was a roaring success.

The film is one that is unique for the genre, of course, it is, for the most part, your typical slasher flick with teenagers getting killed off in strange and awesomely gory ways. But adding the killer killing in dreams is A class Wes Craven genius. This concept had not been done before, and if it has then this was one of the bigger examples of it. Having such an original take on a genre that was starting to burn out must have been an amazing thing for everyone involved in this film.

At this point Wes Craven was a bit of a loose cannon with horror films, with most of his earlier work being banned in may countries UK Included) but this was one at would ultimately put him on the map. After this Craven continued to have mediocre hits like the 1978 Tv Movie Summer Of Fear starring Linda Blair and the 1981 Film Deadly Blessing starring a young Sharon Stone.

A nightmare on Elm Street was a stable in the genre and a film  till today people reference when talking about the hits of the genre. Leading to more slashers with originality and personality.

I think this is the perfect film for anyone to watch Halloween. It’s the perfect b of everything you would possibly want. Plus it stars a very young Johnny Depp in his first feature film role.

Overall this film is worth checking out and it gets nothing but praise and love fro me. It is one of my favourite films and is a true superstar in horror cinema.

| Ross Wilcock

Horror | USA, 1984 | Dir.Wes Craven | Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, John Saxon

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