Freddy Krueger – one of the scariest movie images in American film history. Created by horror master Wes Craven and brought to life by Robert Englund, Krueger embodies our worst fears. The idea that the monsters in our bad dreams can actually harm us is a terrifying one and has been a basis for several recent horror movies including 2002’s They and 2005’s Boogeyman. Freddy, however, is the original boogeyman. He’s the monster under the bed and the knife-wielding maniac in our dreams.
The film is a classic one, and for good reason. It terrifies us, it chills us to the bone and it introduced us to Johnny Depp. That alone is reason enough for this movie to have a place in American film history. Beyond Johnny Depp‘s first film performance, this movie is the epitome of the classic horror film. This film helped to establish The Rules of the Horror Movie as they appear in Craven‘s 1996 smash hit Scream. Any character that has sex winds up dead. Characters that investigate strange noises or ask “Who’s there?” end up dead shortly afterwards. In addition to those, the boyfriend-as-first-suspect was established, as well as several other motifs that continue throughout Craven‘s film career and other horror films. The idea that facing the boogeyman, and stating that you don’t believe will make him go away most likely started with this film. The same idea is used in Boogeyman, and I’m sure countless other films. The film is scary. Freddy is scary. If you can suspend your disbelief for an hour and a half, this film will creep you out at the very least. Being prone to nightmares myself, the movie scared me for a couple of days. Having had film students as former roommates, I did notice several instances that interrupt your suspension of disbelief. There are a few shots where you can see the landing pads for stunt actors or other film-making necessities. The gory scenes are in no way as realistic as other popular horror movies like Friday the 13th or even Scream. Something about knife-fingers ripping through flesh seems like it should be gorier or bloodier. And I don’t mean the giant geiser of blood that comes late in the film. You can’t even try to do that realistically.
All technical and personal things aside, I think this is the perfect movie to rent for Halloween, or even Friday the 13th, or Scary Movie Night. If you like it, I highly recommend buying the deluxe box set. After all, they are classics.
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