A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
By: J.R. McNamara on November 12, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1m English DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 88 minutes
The Movie
Director: Wes Craven
Starring:Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Robert Englund, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss
Jsu Garcia, Johnny Depp, Charles Fleischer
Screenplay: Wes Craven
Country: USA
During the eighties, horror was all about the big three. Everybody waited impatiently for the next episode in the saga of three characters that have become horror icons: Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger. Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) rose above the others and stood out from the crowd, why? Because Freddy had personality. Originally conceived by writer/ director Wes Craven as a silent psycho to be played by either a large stuntman or a 60-70 year old, Freddy's dark sense of humor gave him the personality of a media darling with toys (Maxx FX Dolls), rap music (The Fat Boys), comics (Marvel) and even a TV show (Freddy's Nightmares) helping his rising star.

Not bad for a child murderer.

A Nightmare on Elm Street begins with Tina (Amanda Wyss), who one night has a very disturbing nightmare. The following night, while her mother is away, she invites her best friend Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) who brings her boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp, in his first movie role) with her for a sleepover. Tina's boyfriend, the ne'er do well Rod (Nick Corri) drops in unannounced and the three spend the night keeping her company. Tina has another dream like the night before, but not before she learns that all her friends shared the same monster in their dreams, the terrifying Freddy Krueger. In this dream she is killed, her body in real life showing all the wounds that were committed upon her whilst asleep. Eventually the kids are picked off one by one, and Nancy cannot convince her parents (John Saxon and Ronee Blakley) that this dream killer is real, until her mother reveals the horrible secret that all the parents of the Elm Street children have been keeping…

Wes Craven shopped the script for A Nightmare on Elm Street around until it landed in the lap of New Line Cinema, who was saved from bankruptcy by this films success, and given the nickname 'the house that Freddy built'. In 1985, it won the Critics Award at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival and was nominated for Saturn Awards for both Best Horror Film and Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Nick Corri) by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, USA.
The 1.85:1 transfer is pretty good, although I did find that on occasion the shadows lost some of their texture and looked a little flat.
A Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that sounds great.
Extra Features
There is an audio commentary with Wes Craven (Director), Heather Langenkamp (Nancy), John Saxon (Nancy's Dad) and the Director of Photography, Jacques Haitkin. This is a pretty informative talk-though, discussing casting choices and themes of the film and many other topics, both technical and script related.

There are three documentary vignettes, which are actually NOT listed on the DVD packaging:

Welcome To Prime Time (46 minutes 30 seconds) a really interesting documentary about everything Freddy with interviews with many people who have had reason to be associated with him: Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Rachael Talalay, and many others. This is a great film documentary.

Making The Glove is a 1 minute 8 second conversation with Lou Carlucci, who made the first Freddy glove.

The Revolving Room is a 1 minute 52 second documentary about the effects used to make Tina fly around the bedroom as Freddy attacked.

There is a trailer for the film. Interestingly, this trailer has Robert Englund not putting on his Freddy voice for the 'I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy.' line.
The Verdict
Finally, A Nightmare on Elm Street is released in Region 4! Unfortunately it is not completely given the respect it deserves (surely an uncut 2 disc directors edition would be more worthy of the mighty Freddy Krueger) but even after all this time it is still a real treat to watch.
Movie Score
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