A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)

Director: Wes Craven
Writers: Wes Craven
Producers: Robert Shaye
Starring: Heather Langenkamp/Robert Englund/Johnny Depp/John Saxon
Year: 1984
Country: US
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 91 minutes

Nancy is having grisly Nightmares. Something monstrous wants to kill her. Meanwhile, her high school friends, who are having the very same dream, are being slaughtered in their sleep by the hideous fiend of their shared nightmare. When the police ignore her explanation, she herself must confront the killer in his shadowy realm.

As I have said on the sidebar, I am going to be reviewing the entire collection of A Nightmare on Elm Street, which has a total of eight films (counting Freddy vs. Jason) so let’s start at the very beginning where it all kicked off. A Nightmare on Elm Street is famous for being one of the most scariest and original horror movies ever to have been made. Many are scared to watch it, many love it but is it really scary? The answer in a nutshell: yes. The story is brilliant and really captures the mind and imagination of Wes Craven and his filmmaking. The characters were brilliantly written and you cared for the teenagers and you hoped that they would get away from the clutches of the villain or defeat him. The character development involved in the movie was great as we see the main character Nancy turn from a defenceless, scared girl into a fighting, brave woman and we see her literally battle her demons. The acting was brilliant, especially Heather Langenkamp who played our heroine Nancy and Robert Englund who left his mark as the terrifying Freddy Krueger. The cinematography was fantastic, the direction was brilliant and the script was great. The nightmare scenes and the effects were executed magnificently as the cast and crew really pulled it off to make the movie scary and believable.

I love this movie and this is probably my favourite horror movie. The scares are original and don’t rely very heavily on blood, guts and gore but jumpy and suspenseful scenes, which I love. The scariest thing about the movie is the fact that Freddy isn’t real in the real world but is real in your dreams, which I think, was a very inspired and original thought from Wes Craven. I’m sitting here, typing this movie review trying to think of the pros and cons but I really can’t find a fault with this movie. It has everything a horror movie should have, let’s hope the sequels keep this quality.

A brilliant, unforgettable scare. They just don’t make horror movies like this anymore.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE

Director: Jack Sholder
Writers: David Chaskin
Producers: Robert Shaye
Starring: Robert Englund/Mark Patton/Kim Myers/Robert Rusler/Hope Lange
Year: 1985
Country: US
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 87 minutes

Five years have passed since Freddy Krueger was sent howling back to hell. But now, a new kid on Elm Street is being haunted every night by gruesome visions of the deadly dream stalker. And if his twisted soul takes possession of the boy's body, Freddy will return from the dead to wreak bloody murder and mayhem upon the entire town.

So after watching the very scary A Nightmare on Elm Street, it was time to watch the sequel but did the sequel live up to the first? The story is below mediocre and pretty much goes over old ground but this time, Freddy wants to take over the main character’s mind, soul and body so he can kill again. The characters are also mediocre, Freddy is the most interesting character in the movie and Lisa, Jesse’s girlfriend, is mildly interesting but unfortunately I can’t say the same for our main character Jesse who is about as interesting as watching a brick wall for six hours. The movie lacked character development and it lacked depth in any of the characters and you weren’t interested in any of them. The direction wasn’t bad but the writing for the story and the teenagers was. It’s basically a repeat of the first Nightmare but with uninteresting characters, no imagination and mediocre acting (except for, of course, Robert Englund as Freddy).

A disastrous sequel to one of the greatest horror movies ever. I’m quite surprised Freddy didn’t die out because of this sequel, as it’s practically a nightmare to watch from start to finish. This isn’t the same quality as the first movie and it isn’t entertaining enough either. The film started out promising and starts out as a good continuation from the first Nightmare but, as time passed, it started to get worse along with the acting and started to repeat the first movie. In the end, it felt like it drifted from the Nightmare series with the only connection being the story of Freddy Krueger and Nancy’s diary from the first Nightmare. Overall, it’s a very disappointing sequel to a fantastic horror movie.

I think this is possibly one of the worst sequels to a movie I’ve ever seen in a long time. I think this is one nightmare that I wouldn’t like to visit again.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS

Director: Chuck Russell
Writers: Wes Craven/Bruce Wagner/Frank Darabont/Chuck Russell
Producers: Robert Shaye
Starring: Robert Englund/Heather Langenkamp/Patricia Arquette/Laurence Fishbourne/John Saxon/Zsa Zsa Gabor
Year: 1987
Country: US
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 96 minutes

The last of the Elm Street kids are now at a psychiatric ward where Freddy haunts their dreams with unspeakable horrors. Their only hope is dream researcher and fellow survivor Nancy Thompson, who helps them battle the supernatural psycho on his own hellish turf.

After watching the appalling A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, I decided to brave it out and carry on with the series and to my surprise, this was actually a great sequel. The story is very good and is entertaining but it isn’t really very scary although it probably was when it was released. The characters were done very good as we see our old favourite heroine Nancy return along with some ‘suicidal’ teenagers, one of which is Patricia Arquette who plays the troubled Kristen. The character development is well done as yet again you see the scared teenagers turn into…well…dream warriors. The acting was great as Heather Langenkamp returns as the tough Nancy and Robert Englund as the scary Freddy Krueger. Patricia Arquette should also be praised for her performance as Kristen as should the rest of the cast. The direction is done very well and the nightmare scenes were done brilliantly as this takes a more comedic turn to the previous Nightmares.

I really did enjoy this one, it’s definitely improved from the second one but, as expected, it doesn’t beat the first one. This one isn’t so scary but this is more of a dark horror comedy if anything because of the one-liners Freddy uses although the idea of Freddy Kruger is still quite a terrifying one. The special effects and the nightmare scenes were brilliantly executed and I loved how Robert Englund had truly left his mark as the only one who should be Freddy. Overall, this definitely beats the second and is very enjoyable but it’s not on the same level as the first, which was to be expected.

A great addition to the series and it’s improved from it’s boring second movie which shouldn’t have been made. This is definitely worth the watch, if only this was the second movie instead of the third…

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER

Director: Renny Harlin
Writers: William Kotzwinkle/Brian Helgeland/Scott Pierce
Producers: Robert Shaye/Rachel Talalay
Starring: Robert Englund/Lisa Wilcox/Tuesday Knight/Andras Jones/Toy Newkirk
Year: 1988
Country: US
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 93 minutes

Proving there’s no rest for the wicked, the unspeakably evil Freddy Krueger is again resurrected from the grave to wreak havoc upon those who dare to dream. But this time, he faces a powerful new adversary! As her friends succumb one by one to Freddy’s wrath, telepathically gifted Alice embarks on a desperate mission to destroy the satanic dream stalker and release the tortured souls of his victims once and for all.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors really set the bar high as far as the sequels go for this series and I was hoping that A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master would be the same quality as the third movie. Alas, it was not. The story is basically the same as the third minus the psychiatric hospital and with a little twist, basically Freddy is remembered and starts killing in dreams again and Alice must free the tormented teenage souls and to do that, she must kill Freddy. It’s all the same thing done with different characters who aren’t really very interesting with the exception of Alice who was a little interesting when she daydreamed and, of course, Freddy Krueger. The character development goes down the same weak-teens-become-tough road just like the third and first movie, which is fine. The acting is mediocre, Tuesday Knight replaces Patricia Arquette as Kristen and Robert Englund is great as Freddy but the rest of the cast were hit and miss. The nightmare sequences are done great and Freddy yet again makes some humorous one-liners before his kills. The direction is okay and the special effects are rather good but this doesn’t beat the first or third, not even close.

I did enjoy this movie, I thought it was a decent watch and an okay addition to the series. However, in saying this, I’m half-and-half with the dark humoured Freddy. Don’t get me wrong, I think Robert Englund did a fantastic job as the villain from your worst nightmares but I think the movies would have been much more better and scarier if they stuck with Freddy being dark and scary just like in the first movie. The first movie is truly a terrifying experience and a horror masterpiece and every horror movie could take a lesson from it but this wasn’t scary in the slightest. The one-liners are a little funny though.

Very mediocre. It’s not good but I can’t say it’s rubbish either. It’s a mediocre story with mediocre characters and mediocre acting…mediocre movie.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD

Director: Stephen Hopkins
Writers: John Skipp/Craig Spector/Leslie Bohem
Producers: Robert Shaye/Rupert Harvey
Starring: Robert Englund/Lisa Wilcox/Kelly Jo Minter/Danny Hassel/Joe Seely
Year: 1989
Country: US
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 89 minutes

Unable to overpower the Dream Master who vanquished him in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Freddy haunts the innocent dreams of her unborn child and preys upon her friends with sheer horror. Will the child be saved from becoming Freddy's newest weapon or will the maniac again resurrect his legacy of evil?

Freddy’s back in an all-new nightmare that’s supposed to scare us…but fails to fulfil its promise to do so. The story is bland, confusing and near enough ridiculous and it isn’t anywhere near interesting or captivating. The acting isn’t bad, as Lisa Wilcox had done okay as Alice and Robert Englund manages to creep you out as Freddy Krueger, otherwise the acting is just hit-and-miss. The characters and the way they’re written is another problem for the movie, you don’t really know much about them, they’re hardly interesting and didn’t have any personality and therefore results in you not caring enough for them. The character development is absolutely dire, as the characters are one-dimensional. The nightmare scenes are done well as we see Freddy’s warped and sadistic world but there were a couple of nightmare scenes that didn’t look scary but more ridiculous.

So overall, it was rubbish. This is probably the closest to be as boring and as a nightmare to watch as the second movie, Freddy’s Revenge. Robert Englund gives out a great performance as the evil Freddy as per usual but it’s not enough to save this monstrosity. Normally, the Nightmares had very good special effects but this didn’t even have that going for it. The Nightmares have been up and down but at the moment, the movies are starting to sink as they go along since the fourth, and fast! Let’s hope Freddy’s Dead can pick the series back up.

One of the worst sequels in the series. It’s boring, uninteresting and instantly forgettable as soon as you finish watching it. It truly was a nightmare to watch.

FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE

Director: Rachel Talalay
Writers: Rachel Talalay/Michael DeLuca
Producers: Michael DeLuca/Michael N. Knue/Robert Shaye/Aron Warner
Starring: Robert Englund/Breckin Meyer/Lisa Zane/Lezlie Deane/Yaphet Kotto
Year: 1991
Country: US
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 89 minutes

Just when you thought it was safe to go to sleep, Freddy Krueger is back to haunt your dreams and freeze your blood! Lisa Zane is a child psychologist tormented by recurring nightmares. But not until she meets a new patient with the same horrific dreams does her quest for answers lead to a certain house on Elm Street- where an evil that defies the greave is about to be unleashed upon the world.

So Freddy’s Dead was apparently supposed to be the ‘final’ nightmare, the final nail in the dream coffin for our favourite villain. He was absolutely terrifying in A Nightmare on Elm Street and he was disturbingly funny in the other sequels but should this really be the final nightmare? Well the story is below average and tends to bore you in some scenes. The characters were badly written with the exception of Freddy with his witty one-liners before his kills. The writing is mediocre and the direction is okay but I think what saved this movie a lot was Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger and the nightmare scenes. The nightmare scenes were entertaining enough and the last scene was executed very well. Robert Englund is brilliant as Freddy and really makes the character his own. Overall, it’s not as bad as the second or the fifth Nightmares but it’s not better than the others in the series.

I’m torn here because while I enjoyed some of the scenes, the story felt like it wasn’t done well enough. The idea of the story, of Freddy shaking up the entire town since he killed the teenage population, was a great idea but it was executed quite poorly. I did like watching the past scenes when we saw Freddy’s life and why he is the way he is. The special effects weren’t as good as the others but still, even though some parts of the movie were a little more ridiculous than the fifth movie, it was entertaining.

It’s below average and it’s not really a good addition. However, it was good to see a bit of the back-story of Freddy Krueger and how he became the man of your worst nightmares.

WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE

Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Wes Craven
Producer: Marianne Maddalena
Starring: Heather Langenkamp/Robert Englund/Wes Craven/John Saxon
Year: 1994
Country: US
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 114 minutes

Writer-director Wes Craven returns to the darkest shadows of Elm Street with "the cleverest, wittiest, most twisted scarefest in ages!". Winner of a Golden Scroll of Outstanding Achievement from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror, this spine-tingling tale reunites original Nightmare stars Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon as "reel" Freddy invades the real world with deadly results. Life imitated art during filming. Soon after shooting an earthquake sequence, the "Northridge Quake" shook Los Angeles. Says Craven, "We were about to have rubble created for the movie, but instead, we were able to just go out and film from the streets." But don't worry, Freddy fans. It's only a movie...or is it?

People out there might find Freddy a terrifying idea if he was real but luckily enough, he isn’t real…right? The story is great and I love the fact that the actors from the movie are facing the wrath of Freddy. The characters are fantastic really as they play themselves and the script was brilliantly written as we see each character interact with each other about their nightmares. The character development is almost exactly the same as the first movie, Heather (or Nancy) changes from a scared woman into the only one who can defeat Freddy. Robert Englund plays himself and Freddy Krueger but this time, Freddy turns from dark humour into the truly terrifying character that made the first one so fantastic and I welcomed back that change with open arms. The acting was great and it was nice to see Heather Langenkamp return to the series. The nightmares are very scary and reminded you strongly of the first movie and how it made you feel whilst watching it. The direction was brilliant and the writing is the same quality as the first movie but I think the biggest merits of the movie is Robert Englund as Freddy and the nightmare scenes which were fantastically executed and were just as scary as the first Nightmare.

I love this movie. I love how Freddy is back and I very much prefer the scary Freddy to the wisecracking one. The make-up is very well done and the actors and actresses did brilliantly in making their characters believable. Freddy is truly a brilliant horror villain and probably is one of the best villains known to date. I also think that Wes Craven is a genius for thinking of bringing the classic horror movie to life by bringing Freddy into the real world. I also liked how they had given him a different look too. I enjoyed this movie just as much as the first movie.

I applaud Wes Craven for dreaming this movie up. It’s just inspiring and brilliant and very scary. A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the scariest movies I’ve seen and bringing Freddy into the real world is even scarier. To all people who want to make a horror movie, you could learn a thing or two from this!

FREDDY VS JASON

Director: Ronny Yu
Writers: Damian Shannon/Mark Swift
Producer: Sean S. Cunningham
Starring: Robert Englund/Kelly Rowland/Monica Keener/Zack Ward/Jason Ritter
Year: 2003
Country: US
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 97 minutes

Freddy Krueger is in hell - literally. It's been nearly ten years since Krueger, one of the scariest horror movie characters of all time, invaded peoples' dreams to exact his deadly form of revenge and murder. But now, his memory has been systematically erased by a town determined to put an end to Freddy once and for all. Potential victims have been drugged to prevent them from dreaming, rendering impotent the master of nightmares. They've eliminated their fear of Freddy, absolute torture for an egomaniac psychopath who's a legend in his own mind. Like an inmate with a life sentence, Freddy's been reduced to plotting a fantastic revenge that will never happen. Until, that is, Freddy resurrects Jason Voorhees, an equally iconic madman. Jason is the perfect means for Freddy to once again instil fear on Elm Street, creating a window of opportunity for him to emerge from his purgatory. Recognizing how easily manipulated Jason is, Freddy tricks Voorhees into journeying to Springwood to start a new reign of terror. But as the bodies begin to pile up on Elm Street and Freddy's fearsome reputation assumes new life, he discovers that Jason isn't willing to cease his murderous ways and step aside so easily. Now, with a terrified town in the middle, the two titans of terror enter into a horrifying showdown of epic proportions, alternating between the world of dreams and the harsh reality of the living world. Who will win and who will lose in this battle to end all battles?

So Freddy vs. Jason is the last in the Nightmare collection before the new one is released but is Freddy a match for the Crystal Lake Killer Jason Voorhees? The story isn’t very strong at all but it’s good the way they tied the Nightmare series and the Friday the 13th series, it was entertaining and fun to watch. The characters were good but you didn’t care for the teenagers at all, not because they were poorly written but because you wanted to see Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees battle it out to see who would officially be the King of Horror. The acting was mediocre except for Robert Englund who, yet again, played Freddy brilliantly and really made the character his own. The actors did a good job but the teenagers look like they should have left school, they look a little older however, they did an okay job in playing their characters. The special effects were good and the gore scenes were executed well and the nightmares were great to watch.

This is a really enjoyable movie. It’s one of those movies that shouldn’t be taken too seriously as it’s just made for horror fans who have faithfully followed either the Nightmare movies or the Friday the 13th movies and they will love it. I think other people who have never watched the movies might see this as another hack-and-slash movie. The script is a little bit cheesy as Freddy gives out some cheesy-but-funny one-liners before his kills. Overall, I think it’s a bit of fun that shouldn’t be taken seriously. It’s not going to win any awards for anything and it’s definitely not up for the best movie ever but it’s just a movie to watch where you can switch off your brain for an hour and a half and relax.

For a horror movie, I wouldn’t say this is scary in the slightest, just gory. This is a horror fan’s dream come true but I think people who haven’t followed either series will find it mediocre.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010)

Director: Samuel Bayer
Writers: Wesley Strick/Eric Heisserer
Producers: Michael Bay/Andrew Form/Brad Fuller
Starring: Jackie Earle Haley/Rooney Mara/Kyle Gallner/Thomas Dekker
Year: 2010
Country: US
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 95 minutes

Nancy, Kris, Quentin, Jesse and Dean all live on Elm Street. At night, they’re all having the same dream – of the same man, wearing a tattered red and green striped sweater, a beaten fedora half-concealing a disfigured face and a gardener’s glove with knives for fingers. And they’re all hearing the same frightening voice. One by one, he terrorises them within the curved walls of their dreams, where the rules are his, and the only way out is to wake up. But when one of their number dies a violent death, they soon realise that what happens in their dreams happens for real, and the only way to stay alive is to stay awake. Turning to each other, the four surviving friends try to uncover how they became part of this dark fairytale, hunted by this dark man. Functioning on little to no sleep, they struggle to understand why them, why now, and what their parents aren’t telling them. Buried in their past is a debt that has just come due, and to save themselves, they will have to plunge themselves into the mind of the most twisted nightmare of all… Freddy Krueger.

Freddy’s back and updated for the modern times for today’s teenagers but is this a dream come true for Fred Heads or is it their worst nightmare? The story isn’t bad but it’s almost the same as the first movie except for Freddy and his past, which they have changed. The characters aren’t really very well written, as half of them seem to have much personality whatsoever and you didn’t care about them at all. The acting wasn’t very good at the start but it soon picked up and from the middle to the end, it was mediocre but the teenagers looked like they should have left school a good few years ago. The character development started picking up towards the end and didn’t pace itself, which was another problem with the movie. The pacing was too fast at the start and felt very rushed as within the first fifteen to twenty minutes, the teenagers found out who Freddy is and what he does, there was no shock or nobody denying the fact he can kill you in your dreams. Even though the start was rushed, the middle and end started to pace itself and it became a little slower. The special effects were okay and the nightmares were cool to watch but the one thing that didn’t look good was a couple of scenes which didn’t look believable as the CGI looked cheap, however the rest of the CGI was okay. The direction and the script were average. I didn’t like Freddy’s new look so much, I prefer Englund’s look.

The question most Fred Heads would have on their mind is can Jackie Earle Haley match up to Robert Englund? After watching the entire collection, I can give you an honest answer. While Jackie Earle Haley makes quite a creepy Freddy Krueger, I don’t think he could ever match up to Robert Englund, he is Freddy Krueger. It’s better and more fun than ‘remakes’ such as Friday the 13th and Halloween, but just like those remakes (or re-imaginings) it’s just as pointless too. There wasn’t really any need to reboot A Nightmare on Elm Street, as nothing needed to be fixed. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Luckily, it wasn’t disastrous and it did a mediocre job. I didn’t find this scary in the slightest because it was like any other slasher remake/re-imagining. People who are new to the Nightmare experience will probably like this but for people who loved the original like I did, I’m not so sure. What those fans must remember is that this isn’t really a remake, it’s more of a re-imagining. While it’s the same as the original, it’s different too and I think that if the fans can enter the cinema with a clear head and not compare it to the original, they could actually find it to be an okay movie.

A pointless ‘remake’ but I found it fun watching it. Jackie Earle Haley does a very good job as taking over our favourite villain. However, don’t expect him to take over Robert Englund.

Reviewed by Dazz Camponi

About The Author

My name is Darren Camponi and I run a website called Darren Camponi which can be seen here: http://innersanctumreviews.wordpress.com/

One Response

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