As a huge fan of the 80s Horror genre of movies, I’ve decided to go through one of my favorites, A Nightmare on Elm St. This movie was released in late 1984 and I feel it is the best of the series. It was done very well, although I do have gripes with it that I would like to see changed if the movie was ever remade. What I will do is run a play by play of the movie, raving about what I like and ranting about what I do not. Let’s get to the flick.
The opening shot we get is our unidentified friend making what looks to be a glove with knives on the fingers. That’s all we get. That’s all we need. We are in a very unsanitary looking place, and one of our little starlets is wandering around it in a night-gown and barefoot. She seems as confused as we are, various noises and things are happening that make this setting all the more creepy. Our friend with the claw reveals himself to her (but not us). She runs for it. Just as she stops to catch her breath, our still unknown villain jumps up behind her and grabs her, she wakes up and we discover she was just dreaming…or was she? Her gown is torn, for parallel slashes to be exact. Nice touch.
We meet the rest of our team of teens. Of course a conversation of the dream comes up. We move to later in the evening, Tina is having a sleep over to feel better about what is taking place. More detail of the dream is discussed. Turns out that the girl we have met already (Tina) and the second one (Nancy) both dreamt about this creepy gentleman with the claw. Better yet, Nancy’s boyfriend (Glen) flashes them a look while they’re describing this man as if he has too seen him. Freaky huh?
Rod shows up. Although we weren’t 100% sure, Rod is more or less Tina’s main squeeze, as they go off into the other room and do it. Glen and Tina don’t, Glen is bummed. At this point in the movie, Rod and Tina talk a little bit, one of my favorite lines of all time is delivered by Tina, “Jungle man fix Jane.” Not “Tarzan” but “Jungle man.” But she’s Tina, not Jane! Anyway, Rod eludes to the point that he has had nightmares too.
Everyone is now asleep. Tina is woken up by someone throwing things at the window. We then cut to Nancy sleeping, above her the wall starts moving and we can make out an outline of a person within. This was pointless. She’s either sleeping, or dreaming, she isn’t dreaming of sleeping. On a side note, they throw Jesus on a crucifix into this mix a few times. Dumb.
Back to Tina, she decides she is going to go outside and investigate this disruption. She is wearing shirt, that’s all. She’s a 15 year old girl and she is going out to find out who is throwing rocks at the window in the middle of the night by herself…no one ever accused her of being smart I guess. This is probably my favorite scene in the entire movie. Our villain’s official debut. We can tell this is where we will be confronting him. I love this scene. We see his shadow, followed by his appearance. In nightmare-like fashion, he is sporting arms that stretch for a long time.
Does it look goofy here? Yes. This was the 80s, however. The concept is perfect. This can’t happen in reality. She is dreaming. A subtle touch like this makes it clear that we are no it the realm of safety and logic. After informing her that he is God, he runs after her. She runs away and he’s in front of her. She runs in a different direction and he pops out from behind a tiny tree like in a cartoon. Although unlike the lovable Bugs Bunny, he slices his fingers off and reveals he has slime, not blood inside of him. Wow. How do you screw with that? Finally, Tina reaches a dead end and he grabs her. The wrestle around on the floor and she tries to claw at this face. She succeeds in pulling it off, but we discover he doesn’t care. Brilliant use of the nightmare thing again. We then see her from the perspective of someone who is awake. She is getting torn to shreds, levitating and moved up along the wall. She seems to be awake, but it is too late. Rod is confused obviously. He flees. Obviously he is suspected.
Nancy goes to school to forget about this stuff. On her way Rod stops her and tells her he didn’t do it. The cops grab him. We see Nancy in class, she falls asleep and things start happening. The reading aloud one of her classmates was doing becomes a haunting passage about bad dreams. She sees Tina in a body bag and then follows a trail of blood outside in the hall. She’s greeted by a hall monitor who is wearing similar threads to our villian.
After the walks away, the hall monitor is sporting the glove. Yep, we’re dreaming. She ends up wandering to a boiler room, similar to the place we saw in the intro of the movie. She is now face to face with the killer. Again he cuts himself to reveal slime… and maggots.
Finally our villain says “Come to Freddy.” In a panic, Nancy burns herself on a pipe. She awakes screaming in class and takes off. Outside she discover she is actually burned.
She visits Rod who is in jail. He tells her how he saw Tina die and describes the cuts appearing on her body. He now opens up and talks about the guy with the “knives for fingers.” Nancy goes home takes a bath.
After a gratuitous happy shot, her mom wakes her up and tells her she has “heated up some warm milk.” This is a lie, she heated up milk, it is now warm. Nancy is pulled under water and Freddy makes another attempt to at her life. He fails and she begins drinking a lot of coffee and taking pills to stay awake. Glen sneaks over to her house and they talk more. The stress is apparently taking its toll on her. She looks in the mirror and says “I look 20 years old.” This is funny because she actually was, that actress that is. She was playing a 15 year old. She tells Glen to watch her and he falls asleep as well. In her dream she goes to Rod’s jail cell. Freddy walks right through the bars and makes a noose out of his bed sheet and hang him…or does he? He’s no longer a one trick pony now. He is not even sporting his glove in the scene. I like him even more.
Suddenly he is gone and Rod is fine. Nancy then sees Tina standing in the body bag again atop snakes and mud. Freddy makes his attempt at her again. She runs back home. When she gets to the stairs, her feet go through them as if they are marshmallow. Freddy begins breaking into the house, now sporting Tina’s face and speaking in her voice. She says “Save me from…” the voice becomes Freddy’s and he finishes the sentence with “Freddy!” She gets to her room and closes the door. After telling herself this is just a dream while looking in her mirror, Freddy flies out of said mirror They wrestle around and when she wakes up. She chews Glen for sleeping before they rush to the jail just in time to see Rod hanged.
At his funeral, she tells her parents what she’s been seeing. Based on the look they give each other, they know something. By the way, she is wearing a really stand outish blue dress at the funeral where everyone else is wearing black. Her mom takes her to the hospital. She’s having her dreams measured somehow by the guy who did the voice of Roger Rabbit. Her dreams of course go off the scale. We just hear sounds. She wakes up with several cuts on her hand, gray hair, and she is holding the hat we have seen atop Freddy’s head. Back home her mom hides the hat. Something is up here. Nancy apparently sees that the hat reads Freddy’s full name inside of it. Any good dream demon writes his name on his clothes. ROFL
We see Glen and Nancy talking about dreams. Glen seems to know some stuff about dreams and dealing with them. Apparently when you meet a monster in your dream, you turn your back on it, taking away it’s presence and it goes away. Later that night, Nancy’s mom tells her the story of Freddy Krueger. So he was real. Apparently he was a child killer in the neighborhood, and on a technicality was found not guilty. The parents then found him in the boiler room that he hung out in and burned him to death. Another great line, “He’s dead honey because mommy killed him.” Priceless!
She then reveals the glove.
Glen is home watching TV and listening to music. Nancy warns him to not fall asleep. She calls him and the parents don’t want her to talk to him, they keep the phone off the hook. Glen falls asleep. Nancy gets a call from … well, sounds like scraping of knives against metal. She rips the phone out of the wall. It rings again. Freddy delivers the message, “I’m your boyfriend now” and the mouth piece of the phone becomes Freddy’s mouth, with tongue action. Classic!
We seen Glen get pulled into his bed and basically a volcano of blood emerges from it.
Nancy makes a game plan. She sets traps all over the house. She plans to fall asleep for ten minutes and try to wake up while having a hold of Freddy, therefore waking up with him and he will be stuck in reality. She tells her dad (the sheriff) to be at the house at 12:30 exactly to arrest him. Of course he thinks she is nuts and has no intention of doing so. Bad dad.
She finds him. Finally she wakes up while they are wrestling on the ground. We get a classic, “He’s not here…or is he?” She beats him up real good for the next few minutes, the whole time screaming out the window at the cops outside at the recently departed Glen’s house and telling them to come help her. They continue to ignore her. After throwing everything she can at Freddy, she sets him on fire. His reacting is priceless. He seems genuinely scared of fire. Finally they get there. He has found his way up to Nancy’s mother’s room. When they get there, he is on the bed strangling her, still on fire. This is where it falls apart.
After Freddy is struck with a wooden chair, he falls limp and on top of Nancy’s mother. Nancy’s father grabs a blanket and smothers them both to put the fire out. When he pulls it off only the burnt body of the mother remains and under her is a void-looking…thing. She soft of picks her hand up and begins slowly sinking into this void before the surface of the bed disappears and she is apparently gone. The father looks stunned, Nancy asks, “Now do you believe me?” The father doesn’t communicate with her at this point and frankly, I can’t tell what is real and what isn’t at this point. The mom disappearing into the bed is strange as well. Where did Freddy go? Well Nancy tells her father to go downstairs and she will follow. The door closes by itself and when Nancy turns away from the bed, Freddy returns, coming from underneath the sheet and slicing it with his claw to get out. Nancy states that she isn’t afraid, this is just a dream and that she demands her mother and friends again. Freddy makes one more attempt at her and disappears before he can get to her, we hear him screaming. Nancy opens the door and we are outside during a bright morning. Everything seems perfect. The mom is being nice, proclaims she is going to stop drinking and everything. Her friends all pull up to take her to school. As soon as she gets into the car, the top to the convertible closes, red and green stripes like Freddy’s sweater. Apparently this is all happening without anyone’s actions to make it so. The doors lock, windows roll up and the car drives away with them all screaming. The mom waves and Freddy’s arm comes through the window on the door and pulls the mom through. The end.
WTF was that!? So she was still dreaming when she thought she woke up with Freddy? She woke up, everything happened and it was too bad? She fell back asleep? This ending is so lousy! This is the only thing I would change in the movie without any doubt. Either she overcame Freddy, or she didn’t. If you take the answer that she never actually woke up, that would be really neat, but it doesn’t make that clear and doesn’t seem to make any sense. The whole movie I was so happy feeling like we were getting somewhere and then this has to happen. Killing him and being done with it would have given us a good ending with closure. Making it clear that she never woke up would have been cool too. Well a remake is in progress, I guess we’ll see if someone smartened up this time.