Its past midnight, but the TV is still on in your room with the volume turned up high. Coffee and caffeine is running through your veins, but what you are trying to stave off keeps coming back. Your eyelids get heavier and heavier, and every time they close, you immediately re-open them. You’re afraid of what awaits you in your dreams, because once you slip off into your fantasy realm, he will be there, waiting. Eventually you will fall asleep. It’s an inevitability of life. And Freddy Krueger knows this. All he has to do is wait.
Freddy Krueger from “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is close to reaching his 30 year mark. For three decades, this film has been haunting people’s dreams and keeping them awake all through the night. While other horror movies kept people awake because of the lurking horror outside of their bedroom, this horror was inside your head. No matter how hard you tried, your basic instinct for sleep would always force you to see Freddy.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” came out when the horror genre was full of Slasher films. Slasher films were movies that had a serial killer, a body count, and a young heroine known as a final girl who would defeat the evil. “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” were the prime examples of Slasher films. What “Nightmare” did though was it took the familiar premise, and tweaked it just a bit. There is still a serial killer, a body count, and a final girl, but the place this person attacks his victims is completely different. Krueger attacks you in your dreams, not while you’re awake. What is more terrifying than being attacked while you sleep in the comfort of your own bed?
“A Nightmare on Elm Street,” directed by Wes Craven, is about a group of teenagers whose dreams were being haunted by a burned figure named Freddy Krueger, who has a biting wit and wears a glove with knives attached to his fingers. One by one, they start to be killed in their dreams, and they have to band together to stop Freddy.
The unique idea of having a supernatural being kill people in their dreams was terrifying enough, but what also made Freddy Krueger memorable was he was able to talk. Played by Robert Englund, Freddy’s antics and dark humor made him a more enjoyable being to be afraid of. Unlike Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees, Freddy taunted and joked with his victims before he brutally killed them. Freddy could also do whatever he pleased in a dream, which made him even more powerful. He wasn’t a big, hulking being that didn’t say a word. He was short in stature, but his grotesque appearance and gallows humor made him an icon.
The setting for the film even made the film more relatable. Elm Street could be in any town in America. The horrors of the film wasn’t just contained in Camp Crystal Lake or Haddonfield, it could have been in any town that had an Elm Street in it.
While the score for the film is a bit dated now, the dream sequences are where this film excelled at. Some scenes the audience could tell the person was dreaming. Freddy’s home is a dark boiler room filled with steam, pipes and fire,and it is pretty obvious this isn’t a normal setting. But other sequences made the audience question if the character was sleeping or not. Some dreams were just normal situations until something strange started to occur. The main character and final girl, Nancy, would one second be in her classroom in school, and then the next she would be watching a body being dragged across the floor. The realistic portrayal of dreams made the premise more believable.
The success of this film launched an entire franchise, and the sequels eventually turned Freddy into a comedy routine instead of a menacing figure. A remake was recently made, but it didn’t have the originality of the first one.
But the Freddy Krueger that is turning 30 will still haunt people’s dreams. The creativity of the original film still makes it a must watch, even if some things are a bit dated. The premise though can never get old.