Review: ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ pioneered new genre of horror


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‘Nightmare On Elm Street’ is a classic scary movie.

Grace Comer, news correspondent

More than 35 years since its initial release, Wes Craven’s “Nightmare on Elm Street” continues to hold a special place in the world of classic horror. One of the most iconic and instantly recognizable villains, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) represented a new kind of horror. Rather than simply obsessing over killing, like earlier villains such as Leatherface, Freddy truly wanted to strike terror into the hearts of his victims. 

The revenge motivation, moreso than simple murder, is what continues to make “Nightmare on Elm Street” a classically scary film. Freddy was all about the show and made sure his victims knew they were about to suffer at his hands. 

“1, 2, Freddy’s coming for you, 3, 4, better lock the door…” 

Terrible and inhumane even without a mask, Freddy haunted young teens in their dreams. He sought to continue killing children, as he had during his life, and to exact revenge on their parents for his death by torturing the teens, despite their innocence. 

The dream aspect adds another element of fear to the film. The lines between dreamland and real life blur, especially as Nancy attempts to avoid sleep for as long as possible. As the viewer, not knowing what is real makes Freddy’s appearances all the more unexpected and terrifying. His appearance in their dreams negates the safety of the usually comforting words “It was just a dream,” as Tina brutally finds out. 

Freddy invades every victim’s sleep — when they are at their most vulnerable and should expect to feel safe. It also adds to the adults’ disbelief, making it impossible for the teens to get help. Their parents, who are supposed to support them, instead try to force them to sleep, believing it will help them. Being completely alone in fighting the monster, while also unaware as to why Freddy is hunting them, is the scariest part. 

The impact the film had on the horror genre is also clear. From the classic, and now clichéd, creepy music to the common invisible villain or things coming through the walls, “Nightmare on Elm Street” was a pioneer for many of the genre’s tropes. However, the obvious ’80s cinematographic style and special effects lessen the fear factor of the film, as it is easier now to see that it is nothing more than a film. 

While I would not say that this film was truly terror-inducing, or even nightmare fuel, it was still a blueprint for future horror films. Viewers get caught up in the film, especially younger viewers, can put themselves in the shoes of the victims. In the search for classic Halloween horror movies, “Nightmare on Elm Street” absolutely makes the cut.