1984 New Line Cinema
In a workshop a man constructs a gruesome weapon, a glove with blades attached to the fingers. In a boiler room a horribly burnt man chases a girl wearing a nightgown, taunting her by running the sharp fingers of the glove against metal pipes. Don’t worry though it’s only a dream.
So opens the first and best of the Nightmare on Elm Street series. After the creepy opening credit sequence we are introduced to friends Nancy, Tina, Rod, and Glen. It turns out that all of them have been having similar nightmares featuring the man with the dangerous glove and bad disposition. We soon learn that some nightmares have a lot more bite to them and you won’t be waking up if you die in dreamland. Thus begins the journey between reality and the dream world as Fred Krueger opens his bloody reign of terror on the young people of Elm Street.
The imagery is awesome. There are so many scenes full of dark visions like Fred appearing in the wall over Nancy’s bed, Tina being dragged across the floor in the bloody body bag, Freddy with long spidery arms, and a bed shooting a fountain of blood.
Fred is a grim and shadowy barely seen nightmare come alive. This is how he should be and should have been in the sequels. In this movie he kills and vanishes into the world of dreams leaving torn and bloody bodies in his wake.
The music score by Charles Bernstein is really good. The main theme is a classic.
You really can’t give enough credit to Robert Englund for the popularity of the Nightmare series. His portrayal of Freddy is just the right combination of creepy mixed with a bizarre charisma that is hard to explain. If they had miscast this part it just wouldn’t have worked as well.The not so good:
I found it hard to believe the bit at the end where Nancy booby traps her house, has a heart to heart talk with her mother, falls asleep, and manages to trap Freddy all within twenty minutes.
The ending is a little too open ended; it’s interesting but leaves too many questions hanging.
The acting is a little iffy at times.
The makers of the sequels did a horrific job of following the rules laid out regarding the dream world. It would have made them much stronger story wise if they had been consistent throughout the series.
The first and second movies are the only two with characters not defined by one character trait. All the other movies define a certain characteristic in each person for Freddy to use against them in their dreams.