A suburban street (Elm Street, to be precise) falls prey to an old foe. A dead child-molester of yesteryear, Freddy Krueger (Englund), returns to haunt the dreams of the teenage offspring of those that burned him to death years before, going about a deadly revenge with his ingeniously-adapted gloves and scarred sense of humour.
Wes Craven blurs the boundaries between dreams and reality in his groundbreaking, artery-slashing piece of mid-Eighties horror. Bookended by the infamous kiddies’ rhyme (‘One, two; Freddy’s comin’ for you…’) much of the key action takes place in a terrifying variety of dreamscapes that any child (or adult, for that matter) would do best to avoid. Of course, obeying Horror’s Third Law of Motion, no one does this, and most are picked off one by one in a selection of horrific treats; slayings which are made all the more unpleasant by the knowledge of Freddy’s unsavoury past.
In between the murders are some stunning special effects (the scene where Freddy threatens to burst through a bedroom wall is a stand-out) and genuine characterisations of our sleepless teenage crew of Freddy fodder. Add to this a truly repulsive anti-hero-in-the-making and the eery ease with which Craven can turn dream into reality, and you’re left with a modern horror classic.
Turning slumberland into a twisted murderer's den is a masterstroke by Craven, who has brought new blood to a genre that seemed as if it might choke on it's own excesses.