Release Date: 16 November 1984 (USA)
Cast: John Saxon, Johnny Depp, Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund
Running Time: 1hr 31min
Springwood, Ohio native Nancy Thompson’s life is thrown into turmoil when she and her friends wind up being stalked in their dreams by a demonic serial killer named Freddy Krueger. After her friend is murdered in her sleep, Nancy’s boyfriend is arrested, but then also killed.
Nancy then begins to dream that she is in a boiler room and is being pursued by Krueger, a horribly disfigured and burned man with knives for fingers. She begins to understand that what happens in the dream world will come to pass in the real world. After going to a sleep clinic and being stalked again, she wakes up holding Krueger’s hat.
Nancy’s mother then tells her that Fred Krueger was a child murderer released on a technicality, and the parents of Springwood sought vengeance – they burned him alive. Nancy realizes that Freddy is now stalking and murdering the Elm Street children in their sleep as revenge.
Deciding to end it and confront Krueger, Nancy gets her boyfriend Glen to help her, but he falls asleep and is gruesomely killed by Freddy. Nancy enlists her police lieutenant father, Don, asking him to wake her in twenty minutes, and falls asleep. She encounters Krueger and pulls him out of the dream world just as she wakes up. He pursues her through her home, and through a set of booby traps she’s rigged up. Realizing Freddy’s power lies in fear, she boldly stands up to him, winning the battle, but not quite the war…
There’s a reason A Nightmare on Elm Street is such a seminal horror movie – it’s the genius of the premise. When human beings feel safest is when they are asleep; it’s the belief that everything will be okay when we wake up. So, what about if we never wake up? That’s the premise that late, great horror director Wes Craven explored with this 1980s masterpiece.
It’s brilliantly written, expertly directed, and contains some of the most memorable kills in movie history. Considered a classic of the genre, A Nightmare on Elm Street’s influence continues to be felt in the slasher-horror genre. Despite a dreadful remake in 2010 and seven sequels which were a mixed bag, the original movie is one of the finest horror films ever made.
As all horror movies do, the movie explored multiple themes – most notably the struggles of adolescence and sexuality. In tearing down the boundaries between the real and the imaginary, Craven manages to craft a film that is legitimately scary, eerie, and, in Freddy Krueger, one of cinema’s most iconic villains. Make sure you check this out now if you’ve never seen it before; just remember, you may not want to sleep afterward!