Nightmare On Elm Street, the 1985 flick that spawned a seemingly endless stream of sequels, is still considered one of the best horror movies of all time. I had a chance to watch it again the other day, and I've come to see that it's also potentially one of the funniest movies of all time.
If Nancy Doesn't Wake Up Screaming.....She Won't Wake Up At All!!!
It's easy to make fun of a movie on a relatively low budget that tried to engage itself in some pretty risky special effects while lacing it's content with bad acting and Johnny Depp, but you have to admit, the concept's unique as hell. Now we have all the sequels to make it all clear, but watching this movie alone, all you know is that some scary guy in a red striped sweatshirt likes to kill people when they dream at night.
Nancy isn't the only one having her sleep invaded by the murderous rampages of Freddy Krueger, her friends are being subjected as well. Only since they're not the main stars, they get butchered on top of it. The police are no help, especially when you consider some of the cardinal rules of movies from the time period:
1.- Cops hate all children. All children are lying assholes.
So Nancy's really on her own here. Yeah, she's got Johnny Depp, who makes his acting debut here. But is Johnny really enough? Think about it, at least 5 people had to have their heads chopped off before Johnny became even remotely helpful in Sleepy Hollow, and he was far more experienced by then. In this movie, Johnny's idea of 'helping' is rubbing his hands in Nancy's crotch whenever the camera goes near it.
There's also a blonde and a guy wearing a leather jacket with no shirt underneath! Machismo. So it's not like Nancy doesn't have backup here...it's just unfortunate that the backup is too stupid to keep themselves awake. It seems pretty simple, right? Fall asleep and you'll get murdered by a demon from Hell...stay awake and you get to liberally fuck your brains out just like in every other 80s flick? That'd be enough to keep me awake, but everyone in the cast seems to have mono, because they can't seem to keep from falling asleep everywhere from prison cells to bathtubs. Who the fuck falls asleep there?! You'd think that combined with the whole Freddie threat would keep you awake till the day you die, but lo and behold, the cast manages to sleep through 40% of this movie.
Freddie didn't eat the personality pill till later sequels, he's a pretty standard freak here. He definitely looks the part of a charming demon, but his lines were usually reserved to him saying his name once in awhile. Other than that, he doesn't do much but stalk people entirely too slow, or simply slicing them up. It's also important to note that the stunt double they got for Freddie was about two feet too small for the role - in some scenes it looks like a squirrel is chasing Nancy.
Still, the movie does have it's moments. The murder scenes scare you and then make you laugh for 15 minutes...for it's time, the effects really aren't all that bad, and of course, there's scenes with Johnny Depp managing to fall asleep while a television is on his crotch.
Most of you have probably seen it. Some of you haven't. But even if you did, you may have forgotten some of the movie's best scenes. So let's take a look!
It's important to know your cast. Watching the flick, you'd think the blonde on the left would be the main star. After all, she's showing some leg. But no, she's just another hapless victim. Our star is on the right, a lovely young girl named Nancy who manages to wear the most springtime of wardrobes even in situations like this movie. You know the type of girl who can't seem to help looking disgusted at everything she looks at? That's Nancy. Even when she smiles she looks completely dissatisfied. I don't know if I could call the girl a great actress, but remember what she has to work with here. On the right we see Johnny Depp messing around with a phone. You really shouldn't fuck around with phones. They're not toys. Freddie realizes this, and so, must find and kill him for it.
It didn't take long for the movie to turn into a laugh riot. It is scary when the blonde chick falls asleep and gets cut up by Freddy, but it's hard not to laugh when she kicks her boyfriend into the walls and starts rolling around the ceiling covered in blood. Her boyfriend's only reaction is to hold out his hands as if he could reach her. That's just his way of looking like he's trying to help when he's got no intentions of touching the bloody mess. But the joke's on him - no one's going to believe that poor Blondie got strangled and mangled by oxygen, so he's off to jail. With leather jacket, of course.
There's Nancy's alcoholic mother. Later in the movie, she'll supply us with the greatest sequence of events in cinematic history. But for now, she's an oblivious nuisance. As if it's not bad enough that she drinks straight from the bottle at 9 AM, she's got it in her head that all of Nancy's alleged problems are due to a lack of sleep. So her mission in life is to make Nancy sleep. And we all know what that spells, right? Trouble! It doesn't help when Mom later goes insane and puts steel bars on all the windows of the house to guarantee peaceful sleeping with no escape, but you know how these alcoholics are. They get an idea in their head, and the next thing you know, there's all these completely negating additions to your house.
Uh oh, time for another amazing scene...
I told you, these kids just don't get it. Nancy knows that falling asleep means she'll have a choice meeting with a certain demonspawn from below, but that doesn't stop her from taking a little catnap in school. The horror here is twofold. First, she might get killed by Freddy. Secondly, how's she supposed to ace the algebra test and get into an ivy league school if she keeps falling alseep during the lessons?
In her horrible dream sequence, Nancy chases after a trail of blood and runs into the Hall monitor from Hell. On the laughter scale, Nancy running into this girl face first nails a perfect ten. Even after Nancy tells her to 'screw her hall pass', the scene manages to get even better...
Why, that wasn't the hall monitor! It was Freddy all along!!! The Freddy Hall Monitor makes the most priceless face of all time, but doesn't get the job done. After a few minutes, the people in Nancy's classroom realize it's probably not a good idea to let her sleep through class, especially when she's having seizures in her chair. So they wake her up, thus ending Freddy's temporary reign as the best damn hall monitor...there ever was.
It doesn't take too long for us to get another amazing scene. Again, this takes us back to the theory that everyone in this movie was an idiot. Nancy knows she's not supposed to go to sleep. Sure, she's tired from all these battles with Freddy in the netherworld...but Christ girl, put on an I Love Lucy marathon or something. And above all else, it's probably not a good idea to bring a comfy pillow in the fucking bathtub.
Nancy manages to fall asleep while bathing, promting Freddy to show up yet again in his neverending quest to kill people. He doesn't succeed, but he probably got some pretty nice visuals from the position he was in. I guess he was going for the male moral victory.
No, we're not done. The best scenes are still yet to come! But this page is long enough...to see more, you're going to have to go to part two!
Bonus #1: Freddy Products!
There's only so many ways you can scare your little sister with a Teddy Ruxpin or some other talking doll. That's why the Talking Freddy Krueger Doll is so ingenius. Let's face it, you can scare your sister with a non-talking Freddy doll, but after awhile, it's going to lose it's effect. My suggestion? Don't put the batteries in this doll for the first month. Scare your sister with it as if it was any old normal Freddy doll. After she stops getting frightened by it...it's time to put the batteries in and leave it in her bedroom. By the time Freddy tells her that he's going to rip her lungs out, you'll have secured your spot as your parents' most well adjusted child. And you'll probably have just enough time to point and laugh at your sister before she dies of fright. Finally, a toy with true domestic uses.
Oh yeah, the macho kid with the leather jacket and the no shirt and the haircut thing got hung and killed in prison by Freddy. Cool, huh?