Every Halloween if I’m able to I like to write an essay on one of the great horror movies. This particular one is very important to me in part because it’s the specific movie that turned me into a horror fan. I’ve written about it before but here I try to get at both why I still love it and how it speaks to me about the world today. Hopefully I’ve done it justice. Happy Halloween, everyone.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET begins either in the past or a dream. A montage plays inside a rectangle within the larger frame, in which the hands of Fred Krueger (Robert Englund, SLASHED DREAMS) construct what will be a major element of his iconography: his four-bladed right-hand glove. Maybe the thought at the time was that a horror movie couldn’t just jump out with a crazy weapon like that – they had to establish it.
The scene fades to black as the title comes up, and the next shot, of the blades cutting through fabric, fills the screen. We’re definitely in a dream as Tina (Amanda Wyss, FORCE: FIVE) runs from a white void into a flooded, steaming, labyrinthine boiler room where she’s stalked by Freddy, who calls her name, cackles, makes his (new?) claws squeal against metal like fingers on a chalkboard. Right when he grabs her she wakes up, escaping into reality, but she finds four slashes in her nightgown. (read the rest of this shit…)