Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)


Today we’re looking at Nightmare on Elm Street, the film that launched the career of the guy of your dreams, Freddy Krueger.


Growing up in South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s, it was difficult to resist vintage horror movie posters, which always gave me the creeps as I walked past them in VHS rental stores. Due to the advancement of technology, this has unfortunately vanished. I recall walking past posters for classics like Friday the 13th and Jason Go to Hell. There was always one poster that made me wonder what the movie was about. Even lifting up the VHS cassette and looking at the back of the box made me nervous – that movie was Nightmare on Elm Street.


I didn’t watch movies as a kid, so I don’t remember crouching under the couch with my buddies and battling to sleep in dread of Freddy coming for me. I was in my late 20s when I first saw Nightmare on Elm Street, therefore I have a different perspective on the brand and series than someone who grew up watching it.

The story of Nightmare on Elm Street tells the tale of Nancy Thompson, played by Heather Langenkamp, who along with her friends are being tormented by a murderer wearing a red jumper and a fedora for a hat, and as always, that killer right arm of his. Not many people know this but Johnny Depp actually stars in this movie and made a cameo for the ‘last’ entry in the series Freddy’s Dead: The Nightmare on Elm Street Part 6. His death in the movie is actually one of the most memorable. On the Never Sleep Again documentary they tell the story of the Nightmare on Elm Street series and tell how the effects were done – which is quite cool (they built an upside down set of the room and pumped a giant hose filled with fake blood through the bed to get the effect where Johnny Depp’s character is killed).

The movie hasn’t aged particularly well – especially if you’re a fan of how modern day horror films are made – but still it’s a must see for any self professed horror fan. So in the word of the little girls singing in the movie:

1, 2 Freddy’s coming for you..

6 Fun facts about Nightmare on Elm Street

  1. Freddy Krueger has under 7 minutes of screen time.
  2. Nightmare on Elm Street was Johnny Depp’s first film.
  3. Over 500 gallons of fake blood were used during the making of the film.
  4. The idea behind the glove was a practical one on Wes Craven’s part, as he wanted to give the character a unique weapon, but also something that could be made cheaply and wouldn’t be difficult to use or transport.
  5. The film cost roughly $1.8 million to produce, a figure it made back in its opening weekend.
  6. The scene were Freddy’s arms elongate were achieved by having men with fishing poles on each side of the alley marionetting a set of puppet arms attached to actor Robert Englund.
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