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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Wes Craven

Starring:
Heather Langenkamp/Nancy
Johnny Depp/Glen
John Saxon/Donald
Ronee Blakley/Marge
10 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A bunch of fifteen-year-old kids (actors in their 20s) all dream about the same skinny, dirty madman with claws for fingers. The catch is that if he kills them in their dreams, they die for real.
THE LOWDOWN
This movie marked me when I was a kid and left me with many sleepless nights. It marked a lot of people cause this badboy sprang 6 sequels. It made Robert Englund (Freddy) a star, introduced Johnny Depp and set a new trend in horror: dreams versus reality. Now everybody knows that Freddy became the "Big Mac" of horror. We got Freddy underwear, Freddy dolls, Freddy lunch boxes, damn Freddy even got his own TV show (Freddy’s Nightmares). But before all the hoopla Freddy was far from funny, he was a true nightmare: A filthy child molester who comes back in dreams to murder the children of the parents who killed him. Does that sound funny? At all. The whole: are we in a dream? are we in reality? thang is fascinating and very "avant garde" for its time. The line between the two is always blurred and that kept me on my toes the whole way.

Nightmare On Elm Street wears its title well, watching it is like watching a nightmare captured on film. It’s dark, weird, unpredictable and very out there. We get many disturbing images (the long armed Freddy scene or the running lamb did it for me), creepy settings, a few gore shows, some nice surprises (Freddy phone tongue) and a messed up ending. I’m still not sure what the ending means, so many ways you can interpret it, I think the whole movie is a dream. Apart from messing with our heads Craven gets to fully explore his booby trap fetish (he dabbled with it in Hills and Last House) and it works like a charm. The film does suffer from some mediocre acting by its lead (Langenkamp) and the fire stunt (guy in fire suit) is badly done but its morbid imagination, its scary set ups and its tight pace more than make up for it. Lets stroll down Elm Street.
GORE
Some off the wall stuff. The girl being dragged up on the ceiling, being cut by the invisible Freddy. The geyser of blood that comes out of the bed. Enough here to satisfy.
ACTING
Heather Langenkamp's (Nancy) performance in the film isn't flawless but she has that special something that makes her very appealing. Amanda Wiss (Tina) is the strongest thespian here and is very credible, I liked her lots. Johnny Depp (Glen) underplays the part and is responsible for some funny moments. John Saxon (Donald) is awesome as always, he’s an actor you can’t help but like. Ronee Blakley (Marge) is very spooky looking and it works for the part. Nick Corri (Rod) does the bad boy thang to a T and comes through in his emotional scene (love the leather jacket). Robert Englund is creepy as the gloved wonder and his limited screen time makes him even scarier.
T & A
Side view of Nancy’s breasts in the tub but they belong to Cristina Johnson who doubled for Langenkamp.
DIRECTING
Craven does well. Great lighting, lots of fade to blacks, the film moves at a tight pace and Craven does everything he can to scare the shite out of the audience. It works.
SOUNDTRACK
Classic, eerie score by Charles Bernstein…chilling.
BOTTOM LINE
Of course, today the film is not as scary as it used to be when I was 15 but I can’t deny the film’s ambition and originality. I put this flick right up there with Exorcist, Halloween or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s a staple in the genre that’s still effective today. Forget the sequels, forget the Freddy "Happy Meals" and check this classic out. Elm Street wasn’t always about a wisecracking villain, it use to be about fear.
BULL'S EYE
The 1996 Elite home video re-release features outtake footage added as a bonus on a separate tape. It's also remixed for surround sound. Here are the scenes:

An extended scene when Rod shows up at Tina's, a small love scene between Nancy and Glen. The two kiss, then she stops it.

A scene between Donald and Marge in the graveyard after Tina's funeral, talking about Fred Krueger and how they "knew" Krueger was dead.

Another Extended scene is in the sheriff’s office when Nancy is begging her father, Lt. Donald Thompson, to let her see Rod. (Also seen in one of the original trailers).

A falling dream sequence with Nancy wasn't finished with complete special effects after a test screening. After Glen is sucked into the bed, and it shoots out blood, his blood soaked body rises up out of the bed, and falls limp.

And the scene in the basement when Nancy's mother shows her the claws, she also reveals that Nancy wasn't always an only child, along with every other child on the block, adding a deeper motive not given in the final cut of the film.

There are several different cuts of the ending were lighter on the scares. Originally Bob Shaye had Wes end the film with the kids getting on the bus, and Freddy turn into the bus driver, and they drive away. (much like the beginning of Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)).
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1:25AM on 04/25/2010

Still holds up for me

I am 20 and this movie still scares me :)
For me this IS the definitive horror slasher, yes, even more than Halloween in my opinion.
I am 20 and this movie still scares me :)
For me this IS the definitive horror slasher, yes, even more than Halloween in my opinion.
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1:54PM on 03/10/2010

Near Perfect Horror Classic.

Wes Craven wrote intelligent script for this movie, he directed. It is one of his best movies along with The Hills Have Eyes, The Serpent and the Rainbow, Shocker (Yes, i really love that movie), Scream 2 and Red Eye (Yes, i enjoy it too).

Heather Langenkamp gives an believable performance as the lead. Johnny Deep is likeable as Nancy`s boyfriend. Of course, Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger is one of the best things about this scary, sometimes gory [link]

My only complant from being a 4
Wes Craven wrote intelligent script for this movie, he directed. It is one of his best movies along with The Hills Have Eyes, The Serpent and the Rainbow, Shocker (Yes, i really love that movie), Scream 2 and Red Eye (Yes, i enjoy it too).

Heather Langenkamp gives an believable performance as the lead. Johnny Deep is likeable as Nancy`s boyfriend. Of course, Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger is one of the best things about this scary, sometimes gory [link]

My only complant from being a 4 star movie is Ronne Blakley as Nancy`s mother weaken the movie. Otherwise, a near first rate classic.
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4:06PM on 01/21/2009
Very creative, there could have been a bit more tension at times, but I enjoyed it, not too mention lost alot of sleep as a kid worrying if once I fall asleep Freddy's gonna get me. I liked it alot.
Very creative, there could have been a bit more tension at times, but I enjoyed it, not too mention lost alot of sleep as a kid worrying if once I fall asleep Freddy's gonna get me. I liked it alot.
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+0
12:29AM on 10/14/2008

ALL TIME FAVORITE HORROR FILM!!

This has it all, STORY, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, SCARES, THRILLS. Its even part of my top 5 fav films of ALL time. This film introduced me to the horror side of film. Craven is a GENIUS and this is his BEST imo.
This has it all, STORY, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, SCARES, THRILLS. Its even part of my top 5 fav films of ALL time. This film introduced me to the horror side of film. Craven is a GENIUS and this is his BEST imo.
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+0
1:50PM on 04/19/2008

Sweet Nostalgia

Ah, yes another classic horror film that when I watch it reminds me of what horror is supposed to be like; SCARY!!! This film, the original Halloween, The Exorcist and the original TCM will make for a decade worth of nightmares. Where have films like these gone??? Awesome movie, from the opening scene to the brutal ending (one of fav endings ever) this film kicks complete and total ass!
Ah, yes another classic horror film that when I watch it reminds me of what horror is supposed to be like; SCARY!!! This film, the original Halloween, The Exorcist and the original TCM will make for a decade worth of nightmares. Where have films like these gone??? Awesome movie, from the opening scene to the brutal ending (one of fav endings ever) this film kicks complete and total ass!
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2:18PM on 04/12/2008

best of the best

This is the film that got me into horror,Robert Englund is my fav. actor,and Craven has been my fav. director for a while too!Amazing story,kills,and everything else!
This is the film that got me into horror,Robert Englund is my fav. actor,and Craven has been my fav. director for a while too!Amazing story,kills,and everything else!
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8:05PM on 10/02/2006

classic

I watched this movie again last night, and it only seems to get scarier with each viewing. It's a shame that Freddy became more of a vaudvillian clown in the sequels, because this film reminds me of how insanely scary Freddy originally was.
I watched this movie again last night, and it only seems to get scarier with each viewing. It's a shame that Freddy became more of a vaudvillian clown in the sequels, because this film reminds me of how insanely scary Freddy originally was.
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+0
6:22PM on 03/14/2006
I haven't been much familiar with the Elm Street movies. Of course, I've heard of Freddy Kruger and seen some parts of each film here and there, but never a full movie. Not till now. I started with the movies chronologically so, obviously, it was with this one. I excpected a dated, clichd horror film and I got the "dated" but not the clichs. Not many of them anyways!
It was an imaginative, creative and oh-so-scary ride! Loved the concept of "killing-in-dreams" and there is this scene with
I haven't been much familiar with the Elm Street movies. Of course, I've heard of Freddy Kruger and seen some parts of each film here and there, but never a full movie. Not till now. I started with the movies chronologically so, obviously, it was with this one. I excpected a dated, clichd horror film and I got the "dated" but not the clichs. Not many of them anyways!
It was an imaginative, creative and oh-so-scary ride! Loved the concept of "killing-in-dreams" and there is this scene with the tongue popping out of the phone.. brrrrr.. that was SCARY.
Excellent horror film that had me buying (note: not renting) the rest of the series to watch on my lonely night in my room. I love IT!
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3:24PM on 10/08/2005

The addiction

This is the movie that made me a lifetime horror movie fan. Wes Craven and Robert Englund are a match made in heaven or in this case hell. Heather Langenkamp(Nancy) was one of the most developed characters in the franchise(The other two without question being Alice from 5 and 4, and Freddy himself)
Without this movie there would most likely be no wishmaster and to a degree scream.
If you haven't watched the first watch it now, if your not a horror movie fan or haven't watched one for a while
This is the movie that made me a lifetime horror movie fan. Wes Craven and Robert Englund are a match made in heaven or in this case hell. Heather Langenkamp(Nancy) was one of the most developed characters in the franchise(The other two without question being Alice from 5 and 4, and Freddy himself)
Without this movie there would most likely be no wishmaster and to a degree scream.
If you haven't watched the first watch it now, if your not a horror movie fan or haven't watched one for a while this is a must see.
Without question I give it a perfect four
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1:24PM on 07/25/2005

Timeless

With every viewing, i'm still amazed at how great this movie is. Freddy is scary in this flick, the gore is brutal, and the characters are worthy. I love every freddy flick (this and pt.3 being my favs) and even though the nightmare series got a little goofy towards the end, i still wouldn't have changed anything about any of them. Except maybe freddy's dead, that was a little lame. But still worth the watch.
With every viewing, i'm still amazed at how great this movie is. Freddy is scary in this flick, the gore is brutal, and the characters are worthy. I love every freddy flick (this and pt.3 being my favs) and even though the nightmare series got a little goofy towards the end, i still wouldn't have changed anything about any of them. Except maybe freddy's dead, that was a little lame. But still worth the watch.
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