Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #43: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Let me be first to say that although I am a Robert Englund fan, I wasn't always a Freddy Kruger fan. Since I was a kid, I never got too much of the appeal of these films. I knew they were a HUGE favorite for horror fans, but I was never enthusiastic to watch Freddy films. Now I have seen a few, many I can't quite remember except for specific scenes. About a week or so ago I watched 2.5 Freddy films and feel I was maybe a bit too hard on the it. Some time last year I tried to watch the first A Nightmare on Elm Street and really couldn't get into it at all. I felt it was fairly laughable and nothing grabbed me. Upon watching it again, I found myself finally getting into it. The characters were all there and the premise was in fact strong. As to why I had a dislike for it, I can't possibly say. The premise has such strong potential and a lot of promise for stories and the first did a rather decent job with that. A mysterious, burnt killer with knives for a hand invading your dreams is completely horrifying, especially for the fact that when he kills you in your dreams, you die in real life too. Upon finally giving this film another shot - a fair shot - I felt the movie franchise would have been extremely strong without the pointless sequels. Now, the third part of the series, Dream Warriors, had some great ideas and itself was a fine film, the series could have done without sequels period. The first film was a solid horror tale and by itself would have been a solid footnote of a scary movie.

Visually, this film was very well made, especially blurring the lines between dream and reality, creating some surreal scenes. Examples being the first victim's death, Freddy's various appearances, among other things. My favorite scene would surely be when Nancy, the film's protagonist, is asleep and Freddy's figure begins to slowly come forward through the wall atop her bed. Very creepy scene and very well done. Visual-wise, I'm actually looking forward to see what kind of nightmares and special effects are used for the up-coming remake despite my dislikes for the current remake genre. My biggest complaint also for the film was in fact the use of music. I felt most of the music used for this film were very poor choices and could have highly improved the creepiness of the film if a more subtly creepy type score scheme was used. The main musical theme is very good, but other musical pieces in other scenes I found to be quite jarring and sometimes nearly took me out of the scene.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a creepy fun movie that stands rather well on it's own. I'm glad I gave it another fair shot after all this time of un-interest and somehow completely disliking it last time I watched it. Heck, I didn't even bother to finish it last time. But hey, if you're like me about this franchise, give the first film a fair viewer. You may like the interesting premise and may in fact like Freddy himself. The character works better as a sinister and creepy monster then the wise-cracking joke-ster he ended up being as the franchise went on. And here's hoping the remake does some justice. I'll try to give it a benefit of a doubt.

Directed by Wes Craven.


Matt said...

Glad you gave NOES a fair chance. It's really a great film that helped set the standard for slashers to come. I completely agree with you about the sequels. Apart from NOES 2 and Wes Craven's New Nightmare, the rest of the films are laughable and become self parodies. With each subsequent sequel, Freddy becomes more of a goofy one-liner spouting jokester. The movies lose any sense of scariness. I too, despite my loathing of remakes, am excited to see if Platinum Dunes can bring the series back to its dark roots.

Greg said...

Matt1 It's great to see you around on my blog. Fantastic blog you run there, I have a ton of fun reading through it.