Take a Drink: for each dream
Take a Drink: for attempts to stave off sleep
Take a Drink: for Johnny Depp… just whenever that seems weird
Take a Drink: whenever somebody wakes up screaming
Do a Shot: Oops, had sex!
By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
It’s Halloween Season again, and since in previous years I ran through the Scream and Halloween franchises leading up to the Horror Film Holiday, I was all set for another series. With Wes Craven’s recent passing, there was only one choice.
Shine on, you disturbing diamond.
A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced the world to Freddy Krueger, the disfigured, knife-gloved child killer haunting the dreams of four teenagers living on nice and pleasant Elm St. When those nightmares start crossing murderously into reality, the survivors must figure out how to kill a killer that is impossible to even find. After all, you can’t stay awake forever…
The two elements that made the A Nightmare on Elm Street series one of the longest-running and most financially successful horror franchises of all time were a lock from the very beginning. First off, the conceptual hook of death via your dreams is as freaky as it gets- if you can’t trust sleep, what can you? Secondly, Robert Englund’s Freddie is a fully formed, bona fide star from his first minute onscreen, disgusting, disturbing, and oddly charismatic with a devilish twinkle in his eye.
Looks like somebody who can move some Happy Meals to me!
We don’t get nearly as much time with Krueger in this as future installments, for better and worse, but what we do get are some of the most inventive kill sequences ever put to film. Craven revels in taking symbols of domestic bliss, childish innocence, and sexual awakening and crafting both goosebump-inducing imagery and immensely bloody Grand Guignol massacre. The twisted nursery rhyme score is just icing on the cake. Craven’s not only reinforcing the tropes of the slasher canon, but already starting to subvert them.
The debt owed to Halloween is impossible to ignore, from the juxtaposition of horror with suburban normalcy to even specific shots and set ups. If you’ve got to borrow, borrow from the best, though. Another issue typical of this brand of horror is the fact that none of the principal teen actors are very good; no, not even an insanely baby-faced Johnny Depp (playing more of the “Friend Zone” role from It Follows than the teen heartthrob you’d expect).
Shirts are hard.
Perhaps this is because of the dialogue they’re given, which often falls into “this is what kids say these days, right?” cluelessness. 213’s (yes, I’ve never heard of them either) awful credits song fits right into “this is what kids listen to these days, right?”. The special effects can be wonky in parts, too.
“This is what kids bend like these days, right?”
While not as thematically ambitious as some of its Horror Great contemporaries, not many could bring the pure skin-crawling horror and mind-blowing gore like Wes Craven.