A Nightmare on Elm Street

I think by now, my love for all things A Nightmare on Elm Street has been fairly well documented here.  I love it so much, in fact, that I received this for my birthday:

How wicked awesome is this??

So I want to start Halloween month off here (a little late but better than never) with the entire run of “Nightmare” including the documentaries “Never Sleep Again” and “I am Nancy”.

Nightmare: the Young and Innocent Days

First the backstory of me:  Nightmare was one of the first ever horror movies I watched.  IN COLLEGE.  Funnily enough, I didn’t start watching scary movies until college because I was banned early on from anything remotely scary after a bad experience around the age of 7 that was a result of watching The Monster Squad(I stayed up all night waiting for Dracula to come and get me, ergo my parents were also up all night and none too happy about it).  My next scary movie would be Carrie at my 16th birthday party and then after that it was fairly horror free until college were I was strongly corrupted my freshman year by The Exorcist, Halloween, The Evil Dead (my friend, Brad, had to come spend the night with me the night I watched that one…) and finally someone introduced me to Freddy Krueger and I watched the majority of the films one after the other and found my movie monster love.

Maybe I loved it so much because I can relate.  I’ve had horrific nightmares the majority of life.  Really f*cked up shit.  Or maybe it’s because it was (loosely) based off a true story.  I actually don’t know the reasons, all I know is that the Nightmare series is by far my favorite horror series of all time.

One, two Freddy’s coming for you…

I’m guessing everybody’s seen this one by now (and if you haven’t, why the hell not??) so I’ll skip the synopsis but suffice it to say – you sleep, Freddy gets you.  And everybody’s gotta sleep sometime right?

The basis for the film was actually a series of articles in the LA Times in the 70s about a group of Khmer refugees who were suffering nightmares and all refused to sleep.  Some of them eventually ended up dying in their sleep soon after.  It was attributed to Asian Death Syndrome which affects men between the ages of 19 and 57.   The final nails in the coffin were “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright and (supposedly) Craven’s studies on Eastern religions.

Freddy himself was based off an incident that occurred when Craven was a child where he was startled by a random man on the street and originally Freddy was supposed to be a child molester (they brought this back into play for the remake) but was changed to child murderer so as not to be accused of sensationalizing a particular trial that was happening at the time.

The first and original Nightmare was and still is terrifying.  The idea of a monster who kills you while you sleep gets to the heart of terror – the unavoidable.  You can get by with no sleep for maybe two days tops but after that it’s unavoidable or you’ll die anyway, not to mention the fact that it can literally make you go insane.  Remember Fight Club? Which actually raises the question – if you don’t take Nightmare literally can it instead be taken as a tale of group psychosis related to the onset of hallucinations due to lack of sleep? It’s certainly plausible (although entirely less fun) to think that really our gang hallucinated Freddy and his shenanigans and instead began killing themselves and/or each other in a insomnia induced daze that could perhaps have been caused by nightmares they’d had as a result of learning about their parents having killed a man years ago.

Way more fun than the average slasher!

And that’s another thing I love about Nightmare.  There are layers.  Easily missed on a first, second or third viewing but more easily seen in the 800th viewing.  What you’ve got here is a film that can be taken in more ways than one with a villain who loves to be a villain.  And what could be better than that?


About mistylayne

I'm a Z movie loving, horror hound, Buffy quoting, Dr. Who watching, geekazoid and seeker of all things unusual. I'm a gypsy wanderer, lover of words, Wendy of the damned and all that jazz. What can I say? I'm complicated.

Posted on 2012.5.October, in American Cinema, Horror, Oldies but Goodies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. Yay! I love these movies. I even memorized the skip rope rhyme because I thought it was cool. I look forward to more Nightmare on Elm Street reviews.

  2. Please excuse my language before I begin my comment here Misty but I FUCKING love this film. During my interview with Eric, he mentioned about his terror of The Shining because of his young years. I was the same with this. I seen this really young and it’s affected me ever since. I’ve not seen it in years as I need to prepare myself beforehand but this is the SHIT! This is what good horror is all about. No escape and pyschological! Pure class.

    • AWESOME! I am loving the love for Nightmare! I hope you watch it again soon!!

      • Again, recently with Eric’s “double take” on Escape from New York I was reluctant to revisit a film that held good memories for me. I was pleasantly surprised how well it stood up though and i hope this is the same. I aim to do it very soon.

      • Cannot WAIT to hear how it goes! I’ve literally seen this probably 30 times and it’s never once let me down. I highly suggest “Never Sleep Again” too – it’s an almost five hour documentary covering the whole empire but even if you just watch the parts about the original one, it’s still wicked awesome.

      • I’ll keep the documentary in mind but where I’ll find the time is the problem. Sounds great though. That’s it though Misty, you’ve put me on the path of an urgent revisit to this horror classic. Watch this space, you may (or hopefully) see a review in the near future. I just need to get my hands on it first.

      • Excellent!! Job well done! Will be on the lookout for the review. 🙂

  3. Victor De Leon

    Awesome Post, Misty! This movie or one of the sequels is always on in my house. I have a 14 and 16 year old that both love Freddy. I’m glad that you mentioned the articles from the LA Times. Not many know about that and you just gave us an education on the inspiration for this Wes Craven classic. I’ve always thought as well that the film had great depth and subtext. The subject of sleep and dreams is timeless and the way the movie delves into the mythos is amazing. Once again, great job! I take you are feeling better, right? 😀

    • Thanks Victor! 🙂 Glad to hear you’re passing it along to your kids too! 🙂 I do feel better – at least getting out of bed and moving to the sofa better, lol.

  4. Number 3 on my list of all time favorite movies. Awesome post.

  5. A Nightmare on Elm Street is in my stack of films to review this month. lol As is Freddy vs. Jason. And The Exorcist, that you mentioned earlier.

  6. Hey Misty! I just launched a campaign for an anti-bullying horror film that I call the next Freddy Krueger! It’s about a high school kid who get bullied to death and then comes back as an evil spirit to seek revenge on all bullies! I know how much you love Freddy so check out the trailer on http://www.redheadrandy.com and http://www.indiegogo.com/redheadrandy – If you like it please post a review. I would love to add you on as a team member. Thanks so much! Ill also put a link for your site on my official site:)

  7. First was great, the sequels got more and more ridiculous as they went on haha 😀

  8. OK, so am I the only one who thought this series was a little lame? Freddy’s awesome, and I can’t say a single bad thing about him, but more than half of these movies (in my opinion) do his character no justice. And the remake was just painful to watch.

    • Oh, I totally give you that. The longer it goes on, the lamer it gets and half of them don’t do his character justice. And yeah, the remake was terrible, I thought. It’s the only one I’m not planning on reviewing for this series.

      • Granted, the remake taught me a valuable lesson. Having ignored the Twilight series so far, I wasn’t aware of what a Kellan Lutz was. Now I know to avoid this with that name in it.

      • “I wasn’t aware of what a Kellan Lutz was.” – HAHAHAHAHAA! That was the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

  9. just had a Nightmare marathon and the series is as good as I remember it, love The dream warrior one the most (of course no 1 is stlll the best one…)…

  10. I watched A Nightmare on Elm Street for the first time this year — my own exposure to horror came even later than yours, as I was out of college even (other than Army of Darkness, which I saw thanks to a friend of mine.) It’s a pretty good film, the fear potential is definitely there, and it’s also fairly fun. I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of the series some time.

    Good examination of the different layers in this film; I caught a little bit of that as Nancy was clearly coming unglued as she went without sleep, and it was (for once) easy to understand the parents overlooking the problem since it was so easy to blame it on her insomnia. I didn’t know about the Asian Death Syndrome… interesting little tidbit to turn up.

    • So glad you were able to watch this! Hope you enjoy the rest of the series as well. 🙂

      And thank you! Yes, Nancy was definitely starting to come unglued and yes, easy to understand because insomnia can definitely do that to you.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting and following – it is greatly appreciated! 🙂

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