Stanley Scorsese’s review published on Letterboxd:
What do you do when you’re afraid to fall asleep when you’re worried about a boogeyman coming to kill you in your dreams? Just drink lots and lots of coffee and be up 24/7. I’m just kidding, but no seriously. Nightmares can have scarring effects to some people, no matter what it is. And that was the purpose of what the late Wes Craven was trying to do in his legendary slasher flick, A Nightmare on Elm Street!
A Nightmare on Elm Street is about 4 teenagers who live on the same street, and they are being preyed upon, and killed in their dreams and reality by a burnt man with knives attached to a leather glove who goes by the name Freddy Krueger.
I can actually remember getting used to watching this movie after coming out of my shell of being afraid of scary movies. This was one of the first along with Freddy vs. Jason, Halloween, The Shining, Saw, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and so many other horror flicks I can’t think of at the moment. This film has a reason behind why it remains one of the greatest horror flicks ever to be made and released in the ‘80s. As well as making New Line Cinema a money-making studio with films like Rush Hour, Dumb & Dumber, The Lord of the Rings, Elf, It, and The Conjuring.
The acting from this cast is immense for a low budget horror flick! You got John Saxon, Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Amanda Wyss, and Johnny Depp. I know almost all of these actors weren’t famous before this film, but this still counts as a good cast for a popular film. When Craven was finding the right actor to play Freddy Krueger, he was looking for a big hulking guy to play him. But when he was looking as Englund, with the help of the casting director, Craven thought he was the right guy to play him. When it came to find Nancy Thompson, Craven wanted someone who wasn’t familiar in Hollywood. So they were looking at Courtney Cox, Demi Moore, and Jennifer Grey before Langenkamp beaten 200 actresses. Did I mention that this was Johnny Depp’s first role? Well before he was chosen for the part of Glen, they were looking at Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, and John Cusack. They offered the part to Charlie Sheen, but he wanted more money for the role. Honestly, it was a good choice to give the role to Depp because he probably wouldn’t have gotten any popularity with 21 Jump Street, or work with Tim Burton.
This was Wes Craven’s passion project! He imagined it after hearing articles on an Asian boy who’s been suffering from nightmares about someone trying to kill him in his sleep, so he hid a coffee making machine under his bed and took sugar pills. But when he went to sleep, the boy’s parents were happy to see him get the rest he deserves. Suddenly, they heard him screaming and they were too late after he died in his sleep. So this gave Craven a great idea for a horror movie! After having moderate successes for The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, he was going into a career threatening slump with The Hills Have Eyes 2, Deadly Blessing, and Swamp Thing. So he sent the screenplay to A Nightmare on Elm Street to every major studio, but they all turned it down. So he was at a desperate state to sent it to a once independent and now major studio called New Line Cinema, leaving it a history of the Elm Street franchise, and other critically acclaimed films. And by God, what an extraordinary film Craven created and released in 1984!
When the film was released on November 9th, 1984, it received a positive response to a worldwide audience grossing almost $60 million! Now that the film is 36 years old, it’s now a favorite for every horror film lover, or anyone who isn’t a horror fanatic. Out of the first film, there’s a couple of sequels I like: Dream Warriors, New Nightmare, and Freddy vs. Jason. I put these 3 films above all of the other sequels. A Nightmare on Elm Street is a bonafide classic, and it’s Wes Craven’s best horror flick along with Scream! If you haven’t seen it, check it out!
I’m giving A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 stars!