Horror Movie Matters: #16: A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984 Dir. Wes Craven

#16: A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984 Dir. Wes Craven

Witches, luring children to gingerbread houses. Wolves, masking as human. We can recognize these stories instantly as fairy tales. We know them for their magical setups and moralistic endings. They feature tests of strength and character and by the time the tale ends, the monster is vanquished...or not. Horror stories are natural extensions of the fairy tale, they contain within them the same themes and intentions, and these fairy tale themes are especially present in A Nightmare on Elm Street.The film begins with the teenagers of Springwood, Ohio being terrorized with nighmares, of a man with knives for fingers. As the students start dying in their sleep, young Nancy Thompson begins to unravel the true story of their deaths. A Nightmare on Elm Street is all about the corruption of innocence, and revenge both by the parents and on the parents. The 1980s were filled with slogans against "stranger danger", and this film uses those fears to craft a story that is rooted in the folktales of the past while still being modern. The villain of this film is responsible for being one of the "big three" monsters in 80s horror. Freddy Krueger, played brilliantly by Robert Englund, was a monster hewn from images of Nosferatu, James Cagney and cinema gunslingers. There would go on to be six sequels, a team-up film and one remake, but the original is still the best. If you want to see a smart, 1980s, horror classic, watch A Nightmare on Elm Street. It is a modern fairy tale where the enchanted forest is filled with cul de sacs and the gingerbread house looks like a boiler room.