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Posts Tagged ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’

The new season of Stranger things has hit Netflix.  It’s 1984 and the kids are dressing up as Ghostbusters for Halloween.  Then, there is a gratuitous shot of a cinema showing The Terminator, it seemed like a good time to look back at my favourite movies of 1984:stranger things season two

A Nightmare On Elm Street: Wes Craven’s horror thriller about serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams.A Nightmare On Elm Street

Beverly Hills Cop: Eddie Murphy’s best movie role. Culture clash action comedy about a Chicago cop to travels to Beverly Hills catch a killer. Beverly Hills Cop

Blood Simple: The Coen Brothers criminally under-seen debut about a rich man who hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her lover (obviously things don’t go to plan). Blood Simple

Dune: David Lynch’s criminally underrated adaptation of Frank Herbert’s influential sci-fi novel. Dune

Ghostbusters: If I need to explain Ghostbusters, give up now!Ghostbusters

Repo Man: Alex Cox’s bizarre sci-fi fantasy about a punk who becomes a Repo Man.gnp-0428-dvd.jpg

Night of the Comet: Two valley girls, a trucker and a group of mad scientists are amongst a small group of survivors after a comet wipes out most of the population and turns the rest into zombies.night of the comet mac10

Streets of Fire: “A Rock & Roll Fable” Walter Hill wrote and directed the story of a mercenary who is hired to rescue his now famous ex-girlfriend who has been kidnapped by a motorcycle gang.Streets of Fire

The Company of Wolves: Neil Jordan’s Gothic horror fairy tale based on a story by Angela Carter.  A clever reworking of Little Red Riding Hood that is possibly a allegory on the end of innocence. The Company of Wolves

The Terminator: James Cameron’s seminal Tec-Noir, Cyberpunk thriller about a killer cyborg who travels back in time to change the future.

The Terminator

Other 1984 movies to check out: 1984, Tightrope, Paris Texas, Top Secret, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Romancing the Stone, The Bounty, The Killing Fields, Against all Odds, The Natural, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Purple Rain, This Is Spinal Tap.

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What will I be doing this Halloween? It won’t be trick or treating, in fact I have never been trick or treating in my life. Growing up Halloween was never really on my radar. I was aware of it but it wasn’t anything important. As I remember we grew pumpkins and made lanterns out of them one year (I think I was about eight). When I was a student there was usually something going on around Halloween, often involving lots of heavy metal music and dressing like a character from a horror movie. The most notable of these was when a couple of girls in the bar where I worked made me up to look like Eric Draven, it wasn’t difficult, I already had the hair. Fast forward a decade or so, and I have my own hallowed tradition, for the best part of a decade I have visited my local cinema at Halloween to watch a classic horror movie. Last year was Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining (1980) (on a side note, if as reported Stephen King doesn’t like the movie he is an idiot. I don’t care that it is different from his book, it is still a fantastic movie. Other opinions are available, they just happen to be wrong!). The other highlight was the first Hammer Dracula (released as Horror of Dracula in America to avoid confusion with the Universal Dracula) (1958 film) directed by Terence Fisher and starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.Dracula and The Shining

So, what am I going to see this year? Wes Craven’s seminal and influential horror A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). An ingenious and original riff on the American horror slasher film originated by Alfred Hitchcock with Psycho (1960) and perfected by John Carpenter in Halloween (1978). The notable thing I have to say I have never seen A Nightmare on Elm Street in a cinema and it has been about twenty years since I have seen it in any format.A Nightmare On Elm Street Poster

To give it my relationship to the movie a little context: I started watching Hammer Horror movies when I was bout eleven years old and then started watching other horror movies soon after. I first saw A Nightmare on Elm Street in the late 80’s when I was twelve or thirteen years old (thanks Mom for renting it for me). I then watched most of the rest of the movies as they came out but have never got around to seeing Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994). To the best of my memory I have seen it a handful of times, the last in the early 90’s when it was shown uncut on TV (I think it was Channel 4). I remember talking about it at school the next day (a biology lesson as I remember it, with Matt, Matt and John). Having all seen the movie before, we all had the same initial reaction, “fucking hell was that Johnny Depp?” beyond that, as cynical teenagers we all thought the it was fun horror movie but not scary in the way we remembered it when we were kids.nightmare_on_elm_street_johnny_depp

Looking back at the movie now my thoughts are mixed with memories of watching the Nightmare on Elm Street films as a kid, and looking at their influence now. Horror has changed a lot in recent years, many of Craven’s seminal movie have been remade, rebooted or ripped off. He was at the forefront of the so called Meta-Horror that became prevalent in the 90’s with the Scream movies. It has been suggested that on a primal level there are only two fears that we are born with, the dark and loud noises, all other fears are developed along the way. Horror movies have always played on these fears, but with A Nightmare on Elm Street, Craven took it a stage further, he took the fear from the real world into the dreams, the nightmares of the characters. And that’s the genius of the movie, Leatherface, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees all stalk the real world but Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) appears in your dreams, how can you outrun your own mind? Although groundbreaking and shocking in their day they suddenly looked quite mild in comparison to the nasty torture porn movies of the 00’s. There has been a trend more recently for more mainstream horror movies that rely on cheap jump-scares rather than tension and a sense of jeopardy. This makes me yearn more for the horror of the 70’s and 80’s like A Nightmare on Elm Street.

I look forward to seeing the movie on Thursday and hope it doesn’t disappoint me.

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