A Nightmare On Elm Street

Viewed – 22 May 2010  Blu-ray

Warning: May contain spoilers

In the wake of the remake of this 1984 horror classic, watching it now with somewhat jaded horror-fan eyes is certainly a different experience to when it first freaked me out on VHS all those years before.  Wes Craven’s third movie is arguably one of the more imaginative movies of the eighties horror boom that spawned countless Friday the 13th sequels and rip-offs, and here we have a boogeyman like killer (the legendary Robert Englund) stalking teenagers in their dreams, wearing a red & green striped sweater and a dirty old fedora.  His weapon of choice?  A rather sickening glove with razors on the fingers.  Shudder.  Nancy Thomson (Heather Langenkamp) is the plucky school girl who watches her friends fall victim to this grisly menace and gradually figures out a way of stopping him, aided by her Police Lieutenant father John Saxon.

The dreamy atmosphere, the eerie music, that jump rope song and the presence of an actually scary Freddy Kreuger all come together to create a memorable and unnerving experience that with set pieces such as the murder of Tina with her being pushed up the wall and across the ceiling to the murder of a young Johnny Depp by being pulled into his own bed, followed by an eruption of blood – still shock and amaze to this day.  With some stylish camera work, believable performances (bar some cranky dialogue) this is still leaps and bounds above the remake that although trying to offer something new, never matched what this did right in the first place.  With the advent of torture flicks like Saw and Martyrs this does feel a little tame bar the above mentioned moments and the Nancy-turns-D.I.Y action hero ending always seemed a little silly, and it’s hard not to smirk at those eighties hair styles.  Meaning that yes, the movie has aged.

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you … the Blu-ray boasts a detailed if slightly soft image quality but the colours and the close-ups all look a mark up from previous releases.  The dark scenes seem a little fuzzy in places and lack some of the detail evident in other scenes, but overall this is a very pleasing HD performance.  The soundtrack, so important in this kind of flick really impresses with lots of detail and clarity and the dialogue is mostly clear if a little echoey in places.  I did notice some lip-sync issues when played back on the Playstation 3 but this doesn’t seem to be something that rears its head on all players.  Thankfully the original mono soundtrack isn’t effected.  Extras consist of two commentaries featuring cast and crew, and also we get three featurettes, the best being the Never Sleep Again: Making Of A Nightmare On Elm Street which has plenty of interviews and unseen footage.  Add to this a trivia track and Blu-ray focus points and this makes for a quality package for a deservedly classic movie.

Verdict: 4 /5

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