Sleeping is bad for you.
I think if there's one thing horror movies have taught me it's that.
After movies like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and its badass 70's remake, it was time to freak teenagers out again with yet another film which sees its characters go to sleep and regret it instantly. A Nightmare On Elm Street also famously gave a young Johnny Depp a prominent-ish role and introduced us to one of the most lasting movie monsters to date: Freddy Krueger, a character Robert Englund would go on to play many, many times. Wes Craven's original film is a trashy but competently made and always entertaining mix of jump-scares, tense build-ups and cartoonish violence. It's one of those horror movies that isn't really all that scary unless you're a kid seeing it for the very first time. Watching it as a kid, it did leave its mark on me but revisiting it now I can appreciate it as just a solid horror movie with an enjoyably tongue-in-cheek overall vibe.
A Nightmare On Elm Street isn't one of those movies that's iconic due to its particularly disturbing content, its classic scares or its style but rather due to its creative concept and its villain. The idea of having a horrible dude come back from the dead and haunt the dreams of some innocent teenagers in order to get his revenge on their parents is pretty awesome. There are so many opportunities and this first film does well to make the most of it on a relatively low budget. Our main heroine is Nancy (played somewhat awkwardly by Heather Langenkamp) who may not be the most unforgettable horror movie character around but who does manage to shut Krueger up with the power of the MacGuyver montage. With a lightbulb, a mallet and a piece of string, she gives poor old Freddy the Home Alone treatment and it's a lot of fun. The ending remains debatable as sequels have kind of re-written it in one way or another but as a standalone thing, it works.
Overall, the original A Nightmare On Elm Street hasn't dated too badly: it's still very fun to watch, it's still a good idea and Freddy is still a worthy movie monster. It's far less cartoonish than most of its sequels (and far better) but still gets a kick out of going all goofy once in a while and having Freddy tongue someone's face through a phone, for example.
It's the little things...