Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) remains one of the great films of the slasher genre, I actually taught it back in the Summer of 2000 as part of a discussion of recent Horror film cycles. Not only does it pick up on all the sins of the landmark slasher film Halloween (1978) as a more generalized suburban malaise of alcoholism, alienation, and divorce—all of which is back storied by a group of vigilante, murdering parents—but the real impact and horror of this film is located in the brilliant blurring of the real and imaginary—sleep and waking—with a believable and deadly push towards the interpenetration of the two. When I first saw this film at the age of 13 it truly horrified me, and it had everything to do with a Freddy Krueger flirting with camp, but never committing. Fact is, Freddy’s jokes, like “Hey, Nancy, no running in the hallways” or the kiss through the phone can’t be considered camp when they so deeply scare the shit out of you—yet at the same time they add a significant amount of depraved depth to his monstrosity.
They remade and re-released Nightmare on Elm Street just last month, and the last two years has seen a long line of 1980s, b-movie slasher re-makes: Prom Night (2008), My Bloody Valentine (2009), Friday the 13th (2009), and Last House on the Left (2009). I’m sure there are at least a few I am forgetting, but the whole re-make culture right now for these films fascinates me, and I want to spend this Summer re-watching each of the originals and re-makes back to back, it might make for an interesting series about the idea of the re-make, our current sense of culture, and whether the sneaking suspicion I have that Hollywood is shamelessly cannibalizing itself by pushing out brand film names in hopes of quick profit, with very little thought and imagination behind the product, might be the case. Could be, but until then, enjoy the old gold Freddy.
“No Running in the Hallways” scene