So I just finished watching the original Nightmare on Elm Street for what has to be the hundredth time, not even exaggerating..
And I'm thoroughly creeped out for some reason.
It's funny. It took me a really long time to get into that series. I think what really had me go into wanting to see the whole series was all about conquering fears. I was 15 at the time, and I'd just made friends with a girl that seemed, in my mind, absolutely fearless. We had so much in common, and she was just so much stronger than me, mentally and emotionally.
So who better to face my fears with than her?
Everyone my age knows who Freddy Krueger was. Hell, most people know who Freddy is, even if they've never seen the movies. But the 80's.. it was Freddy's decade. As a child in the 80's (and when I say child, I mean I was 5 in 1988), I was terrified of this man that could come into my dreams and kill me, and my parents couldn't do anything about it. And he was EVERYWHERE. Freddy Krueger ruled the world at Halloween, and those movies played all the time: night time, middle of the afternoon, whenever. I even remember when I was moving to Florida, we drove down and spent the night in a hotel... We left the television on, and when I woke up randomly at 3 in the morning, I remember seeing a scene with lockers and a big red claw mark across them (I think this was from Nightmare on Elm Street 4)..
So needless to say, I had to get over Freddy before I could really start delving into the horror genre. I wasn't allowed to see The Exorcist just yet, though my dad was ready to allow me priviledge to rent it if I wanted to, because at 15 I was 'mature' enough. (This coming from the guy that sat me down to watch Child's Play 3 to prove that Chucky was FAKE. I was 9. None of my dolls stayed in my room after that.)
My best friend and I rented A Nightmare on Elm Street in the middle of winter, sitting down on the floor in my spare room (where we liked watching movies the best, because there was a big full sized bed to lounge on), and watching this old movie. And loving every minute of it.
So here's a couple of thoughts on all the Nightmare movies, in a way, my current way of facing my fears, by thinking about the memories attached to them.
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): The first, the best, the mindblowing beginning of Freddy's reign. Even on blu-ray, it still comes off as creepy. And even though I've seen the 4 hour documentary and the little specials on the dvd I have, I still can't get enough of this. It will always be landmark.
Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge: It took about 5 tries for me and the best friend to actually see this movie, and I guess that was probably a warning. Every time we rented it from the video store, we'd come home to find the wrong Nightmare inside. The kicker was that every time, the clerks would check the movie.. but who would honestly look beyond the big NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET title inside and see that Freddy's Revenge wasn't attached to it? Honestly, I think this is one of the worst ones, and there are a ton of people that agree with me. It does have the making of what could have been a good movie, taking place in the same house and calling back Nancy's diary. But it just became a lame shadow of the original. I'm surprised the rest got made after this.
Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: I think one of the times we couldn't get Nightmare 2, we ended up with Dream Warriors. This is one of my favorites of the series, and sometimes I'll even say I like it better than the first one. It has the return of Nancy, and just so many great ideas in the whole of the movie. Though the end makes me sad (and in one overly emotional viewing, almost made me cry) but at the same time, I can't get enough of this one.
Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master: Why bother adding parts of the cast of the last movie, if you can't get Patricia Arquette back? No offense to Tuesday Knight, but it just didn't gel right. It was like reading a fanfiction where this random girl just knows all the main characters and you're left a little confused. But at the same time, it didn't really matter. The characters you loved weren't going to last long. Alice was a great addition to the group, a daydreamer and a wonderful heroine.
Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child: If anyone ever wanted a prolife vs. prochoice horror movie, it's either this one or Rosemary's Baby. Would you want to keep a baby that might be part Freddy? Or at the same time, would you abort a baby you dream about, and he tells you how much he likes you, even if you dont' like him? It's almost heartbreaking! I get weird vibes off this one, and I can't really remember my first opinion of this one. I think this one may have been in the wrong box and we just watched it anyway.
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare: This was the first Nightmare on Elm Street that I had the "pleasure" of seeing. I was at my aunt's house, and they had rented it. I was about.. 9 or 10, and my dad said he'd watch it with me to show me it wasn't that scary. I remember being thoroughly freaked out, of course, and even the fact that this movie was pretty damn lame in comparison to the others (watching the others and this last one even just shows that the makeup artists weren't caring at that point. Freddy looks terrible!), but I had my dad with me, and he promised that Freddy couldn't get me. It was probably the reason that I still watch horror movies with my Dad.
Wes Craven's New Nightmare: This one I saw on Starz or Showtime when I was about 12 or 13, but chickened out halfway through. Freddy was back, again, and he was going to get me! Because he was in the real world! This is also one of my favorites, and I even wrote about the Hansel and Gretl theme in it on one of my college papers, which my professor at the time absolutely loved. He'd never seen the movie, but the way I wrote about it made him want to do his own comparisons.
Freddy vs. Jason: The only Nightmare I saw in the theatre. I went with my dad (surprise surprise) and for some reason, the ending really unsettled me and gave me a series of bad dreams. Just shows you what a movie will do to someone years later if they've already gotten fear of Freddy in their heads from all those years ago. Freddy won, though. Obviously.
Nightmare on Elm Street (2010): Now that I've seen this more than once, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that this movie sucks. The man stalking these kids is NOT Freddy Krueger. I took all this time defending this turtle-faced growly creature by telling people that they were making Freddy darker, and that you have to forget the wise-cracking Freddy and return to the roots. I think, in this case, I was the wrong one. Also, don't name your heroine the same as the one in the first movie if she's not the same character. It just confuses people. They really could have made this a completely different horror movie, and probably a better one at that, if they erased all trace of Freddy from it. Maybe a little Hypnocil would work there...