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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) (Blu-ray)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) (Blu-ray)
New Line // R // April 13, 2010 // Region Free
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted April 3, 2010 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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"Everyone has a bad dream once in a while."

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This is anything but just another nightmare, though. Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) and her closest friends are all being tormented in their sleep by the same monster: a horribly disfigured man in a fedora and a ratty red and green sweater. His flesh is seared to the point where the muscle underneath is partially exposed, and attached to his gloved hand are four long, steel razors. At first, it just seems like a strange coincidence...they're rattled, to be sure, but the only thing this monster is really able to do is rob them of a good night's sleep.

...and then they start dying. The murders are grisly...impossible. Four deep slashes materialize in a teenaged girl's stomach as she sleeps, and her bloodied body is dragged -- flailing around and screaming -- up the bedroom wall and onto the ceiling. The police point the blame at the girl's boyfriend because it's the only rational explanation. Nancy, though, is quickly convinced that the real killer is the monster in her dreams...someone she soon discovers is named Fred Krueger (Robert Englund). Even just hearing his name makes the hairs stand up on the necks of Nancy's parents (Ronee Blakley and John Saxon). Nancy realizes that there's no point in trying to explain to her folks what's happening: that when Freddy hacks someone apart in their nightmares, they die in the real world too. Not only does Freddy live in a dreamscape, but there he wields the power of a god, able to distort the world around them to most effectively terrify and torment his prey. There's no escape...even a quick catnap might as well be signing a death warrant. Nancy's stocked up on No-Doz and keeps a steady stream of coffee brewing in her bedroom, but she can only force herself to be awake so long. Like that depraved nursery rhyme goes, one...two...Freddy's coming for you...

I'm a lifelong slasher fanatic, but especially leading up to this, the overwhelming majority of these movies were pretty much interchangeable. A bunch of kids trot over to some out of the way cabin to screw, smoke, and guzzle their weight in booze. Somewhere along the way, a nutjob in a mask hacks them into bloody, fist-sized chunks one by one until there's just one girl left standing. She knocks off the killer, the camera swoops in for one last scare...fade to black, roll credits, and cue up the next sequel. Since these early slashers frequently doubled as whodunnits, the killers were usually blank slates; they couldn't talk, so they didn't really have any personality aside from their movements...their death blows. A Nightmare on Elm Street breaks away from all of that. Like Halloween before it, Wes Craven roots the backdrop not in some remote summer camp but in suburbia. In the same way that Psycho resonated because of the feeling of being attacked in the shower at one's most naked and defenseless, Nightmare...'s kills also take place when its victims are at their most helpless...as they sleep. This is a particularly brilliant choice on Wes Craven's part. On one hand, it's something that feels so much more relatable. There's really no chance whatsoever of me lugging a 12-pack and a pup tent over to Camp Hackyatapieces, but I go to sleep pretty much every night, and I have my share of nightmares on top of that. That familiarity...that almost universally shared point of reference...makes the premise that much more unnerving.

Unlike the sequels that followed, A Nightmare on Elm Street weaves together the real world and the dreamscapes exceptionally well. The nightmares are a sort of heightened version of reality...nothing immediately over-the-top or surreal to give away its hand. That sort of initial uncertainty keeps both Freddy's victims and the audience on less-than-steady footing, and when Krueger does attack, it's so much more visually spectacular than just another machete to the chest. Melting floors, geysers of blood, slashes materializing out of thin air, a bloodied body writhing on the ceiling...this is an extremely ambitious effort, especially for an independent movie shot on the cheap, and its most intense moments continue to hold up spectacularly well more than twenty-five years later.

There's also
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never any question who the killer is, exactly, veering away from the mystery angle from most of the giallo-inspired slashers. We don't hear the name 'Fred Krueger' until quite a way into the movie, and his brutal, bloody backstory isn't revealed for a short while after that, but we get a good look at Freddy very early on. It's a greatly appreciated change of pace to so quickly have a direct confrontation rather than yet another red shirt saying "oh, it's you..." to some nameless figure off-screen before being stabbed in the gut. Another slasher mainstay was the revelation in the last reel that some kid decades ago suffered through something traumatic, and a decade or two down the road, he went nuts and started slaughtering everyone in sight. Freddy Krueger isn't a murderer because of some childhood trauma -- he is the childhood trauma. Even before he set up shop in dreamland, this monster lured innocent children into his lair so he could molest and murder them. There's nothing more sticky, depraved, or completely indefensible than that; if a man is capable of that, is there any limit to what he'd be willing to do? What if, on top of that, the torment he inflicted had imbued him with the power of a god? How can you possibly destroy a creature that exists only in dreams? The core of A Nightmare on Elm Street is a combination of the worst fears we could ever face in reality with the fantastic...with the supernatural.

There's also something intriguing about the motivation for Freddy's reign of terror. The victims in most slasher flicks are generally innocent, at least if you look past the debauchery and assholish streaks. They're usually in the wrong place at the wrong time and maybe remind a nutjob of someone who once crossed him. There's nothing random about Freddy's murders from beyond the grave, though. As a child molester with blood sopping from his hands, his fiery death was long in coming, but the parents of Elm Street were hardly innocent themselves. I'm not going to pretend that this makes Freddy sympathetic or anything, but it's definitely a different dynamic than what slasher flicks usually churn out. This is a very different Freddy than the one that clawed his way into pop culture. The sequels were rooted around a one-line spouting cartoon character; even with his cacklingly dark sense of humor, this Freddy is a monster in every sense of the word. As disturbing as the concept of a character like Freddy Krueger is, the reason he's endured is largely owed to Robert Englund. This isn't just another lumbering killer; there's a certain slippery sort of grace to his movements. Rather than just whip out a machete and move onto the next kill in the space of forty seconds, Freddy toys with his prey...he revels in what he does. I mean, this is a man who made the razor-gloves he used to carve apart so many children with his own hands rather than just grab a machete off the shelf in a hardware store. That additional cruelty...that deliberate evil...also sets Freddy apart from the rest of the lot. Most slashers hid behind masks of one sort or another, but Freddy's mask is his scarred face. The layers of make-up -- watching exposed muscle move under tattered flesh -- are still creepy all these decades later. The darker, wetter look here is also more unnerving than the Freddy that'd rear his head in that parade of sequels too. Even with Freddy's distinctive, disfigured appearance, Robert Englund's voice may be the most disturbing aspect of the character, immediately unsettling even when Freddy himself is far out of frame.

Again, so much of the imagery throughout A Nightmare on Elm Street is spectacular: a geyser spewing hundreds of gallons of blood onto a bedroom ceiling, the sight of Tina writhing up a wall, a bloodied corpse dragged around a high school in a body
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bag, Nancy's feet sinking into a melting staircase, and Freddy's claws emerging from between her legs in the bath. Even with a visual ambition that far outstrips its meager budget, most of what's splattered across the screen still holds up remarkably well today. There's...quite a bit that doesn't, though. One of the earlier glimpses of Freddy is of him walking down a street with impossibly long arms outstretched, scraping the walls and garages along the way. It's meant to immediate convey that this is another world...that the usual rules have been chucked out the window...but it really just looks ridiculous. Some of the work with dummy stand-in corpses leave quite a bit to be desired too. Much of Nightmare...'s young cast was green -- it's one of Langenkamp's earlier roles and the first time Johnny Depp had ever been in front of a camera -- and their performances can be pretty shaky. I really like Langenkamp in this even with some of her awkward line readings; aside from being gorgeous, there's an intelligence and defiant strength that almost immediately beams through. The heroines in these sorts of movies generally start off weak and are gradually steeled into becoming a survivor, but Nancy almost immediately goes on the attack. She quickly recognizes what she's up against, she doesn't waste an enormous amount of effort trying to convince those around her of the impossible, and she's willing to put herself at risk if it has any chance of saving her friends. Hell, Nancy bothers to think through a plan and even manages to follow it through; is that a first for a slasher flick? Even though so many of the younger cast members are relatively inexperienced, having seasoned hands like John Saxon and Robert Englund in such prominent roles more than makes up for it.

There are a few minor gripes I have about A Nightmare on Elm Street, but for the most part, I don't run into any trouble looking past them...everything else about it is so well-done. The only real misstep the movie makes is its ending. The epilogue just feels stapled on as an afterthought, saddled with the clunkiest dialogue in the entire flick as well as its goofiest imagery. There are three alternate versions of the ending elsewhere on this disc too, and none of them are any better.

I'm not going to pretend that all these years later, A Nightmare on Elm Street still leaves me fumbling for the nightlight. It may not scare me, no, but it's still easily one of my favorite horror movies of the 1980s, melding the standard issue slasher formula with something so much more inventive...so surreal. Try not to let the campiness of the sequels distract you from how great the original Nightmare... is. This is a movie that brought to life perhaps the last truly enduring horror icon, and yet as memorable as Freddy is, Nightmare... devotes much more time to fleshing out an unnerving atmosphere than it does aiming the camera Krueger's way. A Nightmare on Elm Street is a movie that's infused with a startling amount of imagination, and a few dated stretches aside, its incredible premise and the visual spectacle that goes along with it are still entrancing more than a quarter-century later. Highly Recommended.


Video
That sound you're hearing right now isn't from Freddy running his claws against a pipe in a boiler room...no, that'd be my jaw scraping the floor. A Nightmare on Elm Street looks phenomenal in high definition, eclipsing anything I ever could've expected. New Line's catalog releases to date have largely been disappointing: soft, dated transfers marred by excessive noise reduction. Nightmare..., meanwhile, stands on the brink of perfection. The only slice of '80s horror to date on Blu-ray that looks any better is Blue Underground's The New York Ripper, and even then it's practically a toss-up.

This Blu-ray disc appears to be sourced from the same high definition master used for Nightmare...'s Infinifilm release back in 2006. It certainly boasts the same color timing, leaning more towards cooler blues than the ruddier release issued a few years prior. The leap in crispness and clarity between the Infinifilm DVD and this Blu-ray disc is nothing short of staggering. Instead of fumbling for different ways to write "amazing!", I'll save us both some time and just post a screengrab that says it all.

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Admittedly, I did cherrypick one of the best looking shots in the movie, but quite a bit of Nightmare... is in that same league. Fine object detail is practically off the charts, and hopping back and forth from the DVD to the Blu-ray disc, there's absolutely no comparison. To be fair, the low budget and rushed shooting schedule do creep in at times with a handful of soft shots, and a few moments are deliberately hazy, but this really doesn't happen all that often. At its best, A Nightmare on Elm Street looks as if it may only be a few years in the rear view mirror rather than a quarter-century-plus. Its grain structure is tight and unintrusive...present enough to give Nightmare... an impressively filmic texture but never heavy enough to distract. The weight of the grain is fairly consistent throughout, steering clear of any jarring spikes even in the film's most dimly-lit shots. The clarity of this sheen of grain is proof enough of a lack of aggressive digital noise reduction, and I couldn't spot any trace of edge enhancement or any hiccups with the compression either. Even potentially troublesome imagery like a shower of feathers from a slashed pillow and Freddy fully engulfed in flames don't cause the AVC encode to ever once sputter or stutter. The image is also free of any speckling or wear whatsoever.

Considering how...well, nightmarish so many of New Line's catalog titles have turned out so far in high-def, I'll admit to walking into A Nightmare on Elm Street with lowered expectations. Not only has this Blu-ray disc eclipsed anything I could've hoped to have seen -- even the most unrealistic best-case-scenario I could've dreamed up wouldn't come close -- but it ranks as one of the most impressive releases of a film from the '80s in HD, period. Even for those of us who shelled out for the Infinifilm disc a few years back, this Blu-ray release is an essential purchase for anyone with even the slightest interest in the Nightmare on Elm Street series.

This Blu-ray release opens the mattes slightly to reveal an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and its AVC encode is given plenty of room to breathe on this dual-layer disc.


Audio
There was
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a little bit of grousing among die-hard Freddy fans when New Line hammered out the Infinifilm DVD back in 2006. A few stings in the score and a couple of scattered sound effects were reportedly missing in the mix. Even stranger, most of these were missing from the DVD's mono track too, suggesting that this might be a downmix masquerading as the original soundtrack. Well, the news is mixed. The bad...? Purists should note that the same source appears to have been used for the eight-channel, 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on this Blu-ray disc. The sound of Freddy's face being ripped off in Tina's nightmare is missing in the 7.1 track, for sure. At least the mono track is correct this time out, featuring all of these excised effects. I'll admit that these omissions were too minor to leap out at me in 2006, and they don't bother me four years later either. It's definitely appreciated that the original soundtrack slinks through without any issues, though.

Especially considering its age, A Nightmare on Elm Street sounds pretty great. The remix doesn't take too many liberties with the original sound design, veering away from any awkward or gimmicky surround effects. The rears are predominately used to reinforce the score and to flesh out an unnerving sense of atmosphere: dripping water and flickering flames in the boiler room, for instance. Freddy doesn't stalk and slash so much this time out, so he doesn't skulk around the surrounds all that much himself.

The reproduction of the dialogue varies somewhat. Many scenes are impressively clean and clear, while others show some slight strain. Some of the looping is definitely questionable, not entirely in sync with the visuals on-screen, but that shouldn't be considered a flaw with this remix. The sound effects -- particularly Freddy's scraping claws -- generally come through well enough, even if they're not sporting crystalline highs or foundation-rattling bass. It's the score that packs the biggest wallop. The more synth-driven stretches root Nightmare... pretty firmly in 1984, but they're packing a pretty hefty low-end just the same. The bass in these moments is colossal, to the point that I found myself dialing my receiver down a few more ticks than usual. A few of them coax a thunderous roar from the subwoofer but can be kind of dull and rumbly at the same time. Other sequences, such as Nancy's frantic chase after her premonition of Rod's murder, are tight and punchy.

A Nightmare on Elm Street's lossless audio doesn't transcend the film's age in quite the same way its high-def remaster does, but it's still an impressively strong effort: one of the better '80s horror remixes I've heard and easily trumping what I waltzed in expecting to hear. Along with the lossless eight-channel track and the 192kbps mono audio, A Nightmare on Elm Street also serves up dubs in German, Italian, French, and Italian. Subtitles are offered in English (SDH), French, German, Italian, Spanish, and a few languages whose characters I couldn't quite decipher.


Extras
The
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standout extra on this Blu-ray release is $7.50 in Hollywood Movie Money to catch the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street while it's making the rounds theatrically. The new Freddy make-up may look a little too much like Beaker from The Muppets, and Jackie Earle Haley's spin on his voice isn't remotely as imposing or menacing as Robert Englund's, but...hey! It's free, and that's gotta count for something. Somewhat unexpectedly, no shameless plugs for the remake are to be found anywhere on the disc itself.

This Blu-ray disc carries over almost all of the extras from the Infinifilm DVD release from a few years back. The only omissions are the DVD-ROM bells and whistles (like the script-to-screen comparison), the lame Freddy trivia game, and, somewhat disappointingly, the theatrical trailer. All of the extras on this disc are presented at 1080i, although the bulk of the footage isn't actually in high definition. The post-production work was tackled in HD, so some of the text that appears on screen, scans of a few newspaper articles, and the like are in high definition, but the interviews themselves aren't. It's worth noting that the alternate endings are in high-def, though.
  • Alternate Endings (5 min.; HD): A Nightmare on Elm Street's tacked-on ending is probably the single worst thing about the movie, and these marginally different alternate versions really aren't any better. They're all in high definition, though, so there's that.

  • Never Sleep Again (50 min.; mostly SD): Like the Infinifilm DVD before it, easily the centerpiece of this Blu-ray release is the nearly-hour long documentary "Never Sleep Again". This is a startlingly comprehensive look at the making of the original Nightmare..., delving into everything from the newspaper articles that inspired Wes Craven to pen the screenplay all the way to the specific fabrication of Freddy's razor-fingered glove. Most everyone in the cast and crew is offered a chance to contribute, and among the highlights are the seemingly endless hurdles that dragged on for years as Craven tried to get his screenplay produced, Freddy's layered make-up effects that tried to reflect the movement of muscle under scorched flesh, trying to seamlessly meld reality with the dreamworld in the editing room, churning out a parade of potential twists to slam the door shut on Nightmare..., and bringing in Friday the 13th alum Sean Cunningham to field some of the second unit work as the coffers ran dry. Each of the main actors is discussed at length, and the majority of them are interviewed, with Johnny Depp and John Saxon standing out as the only glaring omissions. It's also made clear how staggering the scale of A Nightmare on Elm Street's effects work was, especially considering its microscopic budget. The movie's littered with dozens upon dozens of effects shots, and a fair number of them are showcased and dissected in "Never Sleep Again". Also explored in detail are the cinematography, shooting in a dungeon-like boiler room in a working prison, the make-up effects, the editing, assembling the score, squaring off against the ratings board, and Freddy almost immediately cementing himself as a pop culture icon. Along with all of the interviews, the documentary also features quite a few outtakes and even the uncensored version of Tina's death that was hacked apart by the MPAA. "Never Sleep Again" is one of the most exceptional horror docs I've ever come across, and it's required viewing for anyone picking up this Blu-ray disc.

  • The House that Freddy Built (23 min.; mostly SD): "The House that Freddy Built" charts New Line's ascent from a distributor of 16mm cheapies all the way through the multi-billion dollar success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The emphasis, of course, is squarely on the Elm Street franchise, including the first sequel that seemingly no one was satisfied with yet managed outperform the original at the box office regardless. It also touches on how the kills became more personal and relied more on wisecracks as the franchise screamed along, Peter Jackson chiming in with an early script for the sixth Nightmare..., and the merchandising juggernaut that Freddy kicked off. Very briefly discussed are some of the other
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    horror movies that the studio churned out from there -- among them Critters, The Hidden, Blade, and Final Destination -- as well as the Texas Chainsaw and Friday the 13th franchises that eventually found themselves in the New Line fold.

  • Night Terrors (16 min.; mostly SD): The last of the featurettes uses the premise of A Nightmare on Elm Street as a springboard to delve into the world of dreams. "Night Terrors" starts by exploring different cultures' perceptions of the power of dreams throughout the ages, moving from there into mulling over what dreams may represent to the human mind, how dreams can be interpreted, and the impact of dreams and sleep on our waking lives. Considering the title of the movie and all, it kind of goes without saying that the conversation quickly turns to nightmares, including questions about whether or not dreams can be deadly and if someone can murder in their sleep. A slew of psychologists anchor "Night Terrors", and it does take care to bring Freddy Krueger in as a talking point even though the movie never comes close to dominating the discussion.

  • Focus Points: This feature periodically pops a golden disc icon in the upper-left hand corner of the screen, and whenever it appears, mashing 'OK' on the remote spins off into a related clip. For the most part, they're divided into two groups: excerpts from the other extras you've probably already watched and quite a few additional outtakes. The outtakes are of the most interest since they're not available anywhere else on this disc. Sometimes it'll be an alternate take, and other times there'll be raw footage complete with a clapper board and direction being barked from out of the frame. There is some additional dialogue, though, such as the reveal that Nancy and her friends all once had siblings that had been butchered by Freddy. The excerpts from the other extras are generally keyed to whatever it is that's unfolding on-screen. When a character is first introduced, some chatter about how he/she was cast might be highlighted, for one. Because so many of the practical effects sequences are tackled in the "Never Sleep Again" doc, these pop up pretty frequently in the Focus Points too. There are also some behind the scenes clips I don't remember being in "Never Sleep Again", such as the execution of one character being dragged to hell through a bed. Because so many of the sequels paid homage to the original Elm Street, high definition snippets from the movies that followed are also featured here. There's a lot of footage, and these Focus Points are lobbed out at a really steady clip.

    The downside...? Personally, I'm not all that keen on having to watch a movie again to dig into a set of extras, and I really don't like having to fumble with my remote the entire time either. I wish there had been some kind of alternate way of accessing all of this footage. The other disappointment is that some of the bigger setpieces might have four or five Focus Points in the space of one kill, and that just eviscerates any sense of tension or pacing. It doesn't matter that I've already devoured Nightmare... more times than I'd care to count...the Focus Points just seem like they're getting in the way. I really do like quite a bit of what I'm seeing here, and the volume of outtakes is really impressive for a horror flick of this vintage...it's just that the way it's presented doesn't really appeal to me so much.

  • Fact Track: A Nightmare on Elm Street also serves up a subtitle trivia track that I tore into while also listening to the Laserdisc-era audio commentary. It's kind of funny to see how closely the trivia parrots what's in that commentary, with both frequently saying essentially the same thing at nearly the same time. The trivia track does cast a wider net than the commentary, touching on Heather Langenkamp's terrifying role as a very different Nancy, the etymology of the word 'nightmare', more about the world-record for staying awake that's mentioned in the movie, when in sleep that night terrors are most likely to occur, and spelling out where pretty much everyone on both sides of the camera went to college. I wouldn't give this trivia track a spin
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    on its own, but you might find it worth pairing with one of the commentaries.

  • Audio Commentaries: Last to bat are two very different commentary tracks. The first is a holdover from the Nightmare... Laserdisc from the mid-'90s, featuring writer/director Wes Craven, cinematographer Jacques Haitkin, and stars Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon. It's a really friendly, breezy chat. The four of them are clearly having a great time piling into a room together for this track, and as fun a listen as it is, they cover an impressive amount of ground too. The only downside is that almost everything they talk about is covered elsewhere on this disc. From a completist's perspective, I'm thrilled that this commentary is on here, but the sheer volume of other extras render it a little moot. Among the highlights are spelling out the film's budget, pointing out an ambitious computer-controlled shot, noting many of the smaller cameos in the movie from friends and family, Langenkamp cracking up about a "survivalist bookstore" line, explaining exactly how Freddy's iconic screeching glove sound was recorded, and raving about the blood geyser sending a spinning room off-balance like a crimson-spewing Ferris wheel. The conversation is dominated by Craven and Langenkamp, and Saxon barely seems to be there at all. Still, there's an incredibly strong sense of personality, and that's the real draw of this track rather than the actual information they're relaying. There's also something kind of nostalgic about hearing them gush over the prospect of a Laserdisc with such a gorgeous transfer.

    The other track is pieced together from a slew of more recent, individual recording sessions and features a small army of the cast and crew: writer/director Wes Craven, executive producer Robert Shaye, producers Sara Risher and John Burrows, cinematographer Jacques Haitkin, composer Charles Bernstein, editors Rick Shaine and Patrick McMahon, special effects wizard Jim Doyle, special make-up effects artist David B. Miller, horror film historian David Del Valle, and actors Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, and Ronee Blakley. Needless to say, with fifteen people in tow, they aren't all crammed into the recording booth together, and the overall tone is more serious and scholarly than the freewheeling Laserdisc commentary. Especially once the track is well underway, much of the discussion swirls around dissecting A Nightmare on Elm Street from psychological and sociological perspectives. I'll admit to not really expecting to hear Fellini's mentioned in the same breath as Nightmare... either. There isn't all that much overlap between this second commentary and any of the other extras on this disc. Among the topics fielded here are trying to scrape together financing for the film in a climate where "horror" was a four-letter word, the genre-bending role of gender in Nightmare..., setting up shop in a house that had a lien slapped on it by the IRS during pre-production, a producer forced to smooth over a financial headache with the film's composer barely two hours after giving birth, retiming prints to accommodate theaters with underlit projection bulbs, a random messenger's key role in bringing about some of the most iconic poster art of the 1980s, and the rowdy crowd next door being instructed not to applaud at a stage show under threat of a lawsuit. It's a mix of technical notes -- such as some very detailed comments about the film slowly taking shape in the editing room -- and more personal notes such as seemingly all of the speakers describing their first times watching A Nightmare on Elm Street. I do wish some more of the energy from the first commentary had found its way over here, and I think it might take itself at least a little more seriously than it probably should, but this is still a terrific commentary and well-worth setting aside an hour and a half to give a listen.

The Final Word
With A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven carved apart the glut of interchangeable slashers of the early 1980s. Instead of a masked killer hacking apart spam-in-a-cabin for the eight quadrillionth time, Craven shifted the backdrop at least in part to something more familiar and unsettling; not everyone would lug a tent out to a place nicknamed Camp Blood, but quite a lot of us do shack up in suburbia, and most everyone dreams. What Psycho did for showers and what Jaws did for the ocean, A Nightmare on Elm Street does for sleeping...catches us at our most off-guard...our most defenseless. Intermingling the mundanity of suburban life with a surreal series of murders in a dreamworld helps set Nightmare... apart from every other slasher of the era, and even more than a quarter-century later, Freddy Krueger remains one of the most iconic butchers that the genre's ever produced. The demented child molester of the original Nightmare... devolved into a deliriously over-the-top cartoon as increasingly mindless sequels were churned out, one after the other, and it's a little tough to watch the original without being tainted by the campy stench of the sequels that followed. Still, I'm really impressed by how well A Nightmare on Elm Street continues to hold up more than twenty-five years later. A couple of the effects haven't aged well, and the green cast can be kind of shaky, but every last one of its most ambitious scares are still devastatingly effective after a quarter-century. New Line has assembled a hell of a package for Nightmare...'s release on Blu-ray too, piling on a slew of particularly great extras and putting together an almost surreally gorgeous high definition remaster. Even for those fans who shelled out for the Infinifilm DVD re-release just a few short years ago, this Blu-ray disc is well-worth the upgrade. Very Highly Recommended.
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