A Nightmare on Elm Street

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: John Stanley

Plot: What’s it about?

I cant tell you how much I was looking forward to doing this review. A classic film from a classic writer/director. Wes Craven brings us A Nightmare On Elm St. the original, the one that started it all. If your a fan of horror films like I am, there’s a very, very good chance you’ve seen this film already. It tells the story of Freddy Krueger played by Robert Englund, Freddy is cold blooded killer, a very special kind of killer, he kills only teenagers and only in their dreams….trippy huh? Freddy has a badly burned body and face, resides in a boiler room and who could forget the classic green and red striped “Mom please don’t make me wear that” sweater? Oh and did I mention he wears a glove that has five razor sharp knives in place of fingers? Needless to say he’s one bad hombre! And he’s after the young men and women of Elm street, in there sleep I might add. But it seems that after a countless amount of brutal graphic murders, Freddy is finally going to get the one he really wants, Nancy Thompson played by Heather Langenkamp. And why is Freddy after all these young people on Elm St. and Nancy especially? Revenge…That’s right, not on the kids but on the kids parents,it was the parents of these Elm St. kids that tortured and burned Fred Krueger so he’s going to take it out on their children…Bummer

Well, since there’s probably only about 50 people in the civilized world that have not seen any of the Elm St. movies, ill take this review as a chance to focus more on the cast,crew and the amazing job that New Line did of polishing this gem for digital video. The film was written and directed by Wes Craven a man definitely on my top ten list of favorite directors of all time. Wes’ first “big deal” movie was the ever popular (among the slightly older crowd) “The Hills Have Eyes”. Since then Wes has gone on to write and direct a whole army of horror flicks like “Deadly Friend” starring Kristy Swanson AKA Buffy the vampire slayer. Some of Wes’ other fright flicks include “The Serpent And The Rainbow” (one of my personal favs.) “Shocker” “Swamp Thing” and oh yeah what’s that one…ummmm “Scream”.

But enough about Wes,let me sum up this film. What Wes Craven did here is simple he wrote a good, original, scare the pants AND underwear off you script. He did an amazing job of directing the talent to bring the story to life (including Johnny Depp in his big screen debut). Robert Englund does a great job of animating and controlling the Freddy character. Heather Langenkamp is wonderful as young Nancy (I really don’t know why she never got much work after this) and all the other players here are solid as well. The idea for the film, well it don’t get to much more original than this. A guy that kills you in your dreams and you know he’ll be there every time you go to sleep, I don’t know about you but that would scare the hair off my head! Definitely worth adding to your personal collection weather its on VHS,DVD or even Beta!!!

Video: How does it look?

Nice! If there was ever a horror flick in dire need of a clean up job this one was in first place! (with Friday the 13th a close second). The good people at New Line Home Video have given us the choice of a 1.85:1 widescreen version or the original “pan & scan” full screen option. Either way the visuals on this disc are sweet! It definitely got the soap and water treatment, brighter, cleaner, sharper. The part of the film that benefits the most from this digital remastering job are the dream sequences, they look 100% better and you can see about 40% more of them now! Awesome video quality even considering the fact that this was a direct transfer from its laser disc counterpart.

Audio: How does it sound?

Two ways to disturb the neighbors sleep, 5.1 surround or if your a sound buff like me the original theatrical mono version (groovy baby!). Well, I viewed the film in bolth and I gotta say they were bolth great! Of course the edge as far as effects has to go to the surround sound but the mono simply did not disappoint. Nice clear vocals as opposed to the earlier version of the film where you’d have to crank up the volume to hear the dialog but turn it down when someone screamed, the balance here is good. Want a good example of the clarity, check out the scraping of Freddy’s finger knives on the rusty metal in the boiler room, it will make you squirm!

Supplements: What are the extras?

A pretty good spread from a disc that’s not even considered a “special edition” (although its pretty damn close in my opinion). Lets see what we get, cast bios, the original 1984 trailer, some dvd-rom features including trivia, and the original screenplay. And the best thing they could have added to this disc, full length commentary from Wes Craven, Heather Langenkamp, director of photography Jacques Haitkin and John Saxon who plays Nancy’s father. The commentary from Wes and the rest of the cast is one of the most entertaining and funny ive ever seen! The disc also has a pretty cool “jump to a nightmare” feature that enables the viewer to instantly select a nightmare sequence in the film.

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