With nine or so sequels, re-makes, re-boots, or meta-versions, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is one of the most prolific films in cinema history. It will be the signature film of Wes Craven’s career and it will also be the film that first starred Johnny Depp. Talking about the movie at this point may seem unnecessary, but historical context and some personal touches might give you a couple of reasons to bother with another post on an iconic horror film.
The horror genre in the early eighties was dominated by slasher films. Sequels to “Halloween” and “Friday the Thirteenth” came up almost yearly, copy cats like “Terror Train” or “The Funhouse” were everywhere. It’s true that occasional supernatural films broke through and grabbed some attention, but the reliable killer in a mask usually came back to haunt the teenagers of the time. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” crosses the slasher film with a ghost/demon story and then finds the perfect twist to work as the spine of the enterprise. Freddy Krueger is a slasher, but he is a dead slasher. He also has supernatural powers that he will use to take out his victims but best of all, the attacks happen in the nightmares of the kids he is stalking. This was something fresh.