A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street ★★★★

Halloween and Friday 13th started the stalk and slash boom of the 70's and early 80's and soon there was a surplus of anniversary killer films and straight to video cut-rate, low budget slashers.
There were films like The Omen, The Exorcist and The Shining taking care of the more sophisticated end of the market, but by 1983 it was getting samey out there. Then Nightmare on Elm street came along and it was like a slap in the face. I saw this on video at far too young an age, like most of us. I was petrified, I was also ecstatic, it was like being on a roller-coaster. It was a world away from the formulaic videos littering the shelves. For one it had a genuine teen female lead, just about the first I had seen in any film at that time. Nancy was one of my childhood heroes. Where other horror films lingered on the girls stripping and getting murdered Nightmare had a young girl fighting the monster and the point was made over and over again that she had to do it herself, she was the strong one. Of course there are all the allusions to the psychology of sexuality and growing-up; teenagers becoming fully fledged, sexual beings separate from their parents (Nancy's dad does fail pitifully to help her) and unlike a lot of preceding horror films it does it convincingly. It isn't just a device to get some girl topless. BUT WHAT DO I KNOW

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