A Nightmare on Elm Street is just one of the many iconic horror tales that Wes Craven told over his career. Some even say that the 1984 film is Craven’s masterpiece, as it cemented him as a “horror director”. The film became an instant hit after its release, spawning a franchise of several sequels and a TV show. The film even received a remake, but the original remains a true classic. It’s a must-watch for horror lovers and makes an amazing watch for the Halloween season.
A Nightmare on Elm Street came out at exactly the right period. Several other works on horror by indie directors were coming out at that time, and this film shaped modern horror cinema alongside them. Its reliance on jumpscares is applause-worthy, as it relies on its setting and its villain to scare the audience.
A Nightmare on Elm Street helped in creating many horror tropes and has served as the blueprint of many, many horror films at this point. The lone survivor trope can be found in virtually any horror film at this point, and this film contributed towards that. The film’s unexpected unending also had a massive impact on how horror films should end. Just when all the characters are happy, we’re reminded this isn’t the kind of film that has happy endings.
Robert Englund’s Freddy Krueger is the greatest part of A Nightmare on Elm Street. He is literally the nightmare of the fictional Elm Street. Wes Craven provided the blueprint of the iconic villain, which set him apart from other killers. Instead of giving him an actual mask, Craven gave Krueger a burnt face. In addition to that, Krueger isn’t killing because he’s thirsty for teen blood, but he’s killing due to his actual motivation for revenge.
However, it was Englund who brought Freddy to life. Though he is a terrible child killer, Freddy has a dark sense of humor that can actually make the most sadistic audience members laugh. This is something that sets Freddy completely apart from Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers. Though his presence and appearance are scary enough, his twisted jokes and antics strike terror. He truly enjoys murdering innocent people, and if that isn’t charismatic, I don’t know what is.
Wes Craven’s genius – A Nightmare on Elm Street
Wes Craven’s genius made A Nightmare on Elm Street a classic as much as Freddy Krueger did. Calling his masterpiece a film where a crazy killer is hunting helpless teenagers takes away the brilliance of it. How can the teenagers get help anyway? They’re just having nightmares in their sleep, and how is an adult supposed to take that seriously? The film presents itself in the most brilliant way, as none of us are really sure what part of the film is a dream and what is reality. We don’t know if Krueger is a nightmare or a genuine dream demon, just like the rest of the victims.
It really is a stroke of genius that Craven took the concept of a boogeyman and turned it around. Instead of the boogeyman sending children to sleep, we see the boogeyman being the reason children, or teenagers, aren’t going to sleep at all. The simplicity of the overall plot, and the intricate complexity of it, make A Nightmare on Elm Street a true horror classic.