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Wes Craven
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A Nightmare On Elm Street
Wes Craven unleashes a new face on the horror genre and spawns far too many a nightmare.

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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.

Reviewed by Gavin Bainbridge

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for A Nightmare On Elm Street
Empire Star Rating

"Whatever you do don't fall asleep."

Arguably Wes Craven's greatest film, A Nightmare on Elm Street remains a high-water mark of the genre and introduced to audiences one of the most sarcastic, frightening and foul-mouthed of movie villains. A multitude of cheesy sequels have done nothing to diminish the power of Craven's original masterpiece. This is intelligent, witty horror for the thinking man (or woman). ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 09:15, 09 October 2013 | Report This Post

kinda dissapointing

i watched it on youtube and although it may be better on a bug screen and in the dark, i did not actually find it that scary, don't hate its a good film just not that good a horror, im sure it was scary in its time but... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Smokinator at 20:14, 14 December 2009 | Report This Post

Nightmare on elm street (Welcome to my nightmare)

This is the first film that got me into horror: Robert Englund's performance is outstanding as he plays Freddy Krueger; the killer who all the kids are afraid of. Definately Wes Craven's finest work in my eyes and Johnny Depp was well known as the lad who got sucked into the bed (very creepy) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by deppfanatic at 16:35, 27 September 2009 | Report This Post

Every town has an Elm Street

Amazing horror comedy Robert Englund excels as Krueger and so does Heather Lagenkamp as Nancy avoid the sequels though ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Hamsterwalt at 11:09, 27 September 2008 | Report This Post

One, Two, Freddie's Coming For You...

A truly classic horror offering from maestro Wes Craven. Brilliant ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 10:15, 23 May 2008 | Report This Post

One, Two, Freddie's Coming For You...

A truly classic horror offering from maestro Wes Craven. Brilliant ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 10:15, 23 May 2008 | Report This Post

One, Two, Freddie's Coming For You...

A truly classic horror offering from maestro Wes Craven. Brilliant ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 10:15, 23 May 2008 | Report This Post

this flick has aged terribly

While i understand every convention of this genre and know exactly what type of nature this film has, it's poor in comparison to such classics as Scream and Halloween. It's tacky, boring, unable to cause any kind of genuine fear and is too complicated for it's simplistic subject matter (or vice versa) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shawshank prisoner at 15:00, 22 April 2008 | Report This Post

Badly flawed

Not seen it in ages and just watched it in a double-bill with Re-Animator. Aside from a cracking premise, I think the latter is a better film in every way. I'll call a draw on the central character (Freddy vs. West?), but Nightmare has a severe problem with logic in the final act that really put me off. That said, the seamless links between the real and the dreamworld are fantastic along with some memorable deaths. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Najemikon at 02:00, 25 November 2007 | Report This Post

A Nightmare On Elm Street

An 80s classic. Wes Craven deserves great credit for 'dreaming up' one of the most original ideas for a horror film ever. Although I thought that the ending was weak, and seemed too brief, the opening 20 minutes are some of the most tense and brutal in a horror film, and in Freddy Krueger he created a totally original horror ikon, that has perhaps been unsurpassed since 1984, though much of the credit must go to Robert Englund for his portrayal of the evil dream demon. The film has dated a littl... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by zombiewarehouse at 19:24, 06 March 2007 | Report This Post

Good idea, just not so scary. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by huny_monster at 15:56, 14 August 2006 | Report This Post

RE: An out and out horror masterpiece.

Great film it scared the shit out of me as a kid.  Havent watched it in year though.  Will have to purchase the box set as it is cheap at the min. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by goldleader at 10:25, 27 March 2006 | Report This Post

RE: An out and out horror masterpiece.

Wes Craven has done so much damage to the horror genre its taken a long time to recover.   His films are entertaining but about as scary as a particulary spooky sprout. Nightmare and Scream (s) are not horror. They are comedies and who-dunnits set in a horror world. Im not saying theres no scares but 70's and early 80's horror are horrific. There has been a return recently (thank god!) with Wesley even lending a hand in the Hills remake.     ... More

Posted by borstal at 09:14, 27 March 2006 | Report This Post

RE: An out and out horror masterpiece.

Very, very funny. The character development was great for such a film. I thought it was fantastic. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jessica_ca_ca_ca at 09:04, 27 March 2006 | Report This Post

RE: An out and out horror masterpiece.

I love this film. It's completely mental. Freddy is one of my favourite horror icons, probably because he's just so funny. Some of the stuff he comes out with is classic.his one is obviously the best out of the NoES films, followed closely by Number 3. Johnny Depp's death still manages to crack me up everytime I see it. ... More

Posted by AgentGoth at 14:16, 26 March 2006 | Report This Post

An out and out horror masterpiece.

Just when you thought all 80's horror was half a dozen nubile teens running and screaming in the woods, getting picked off one by one by some weirdo in a mask, this miracle to the genre occurred. The originality of it is genius in itself. And Robert Englund's child abducting dream demon was undoubtedly going to become an icon. The bladed glove, the screechy noise, the boileroom. All pure gold. It's a pity that the quality and genuine scare factor didn't last as little as a single year, as proved... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by coolrex16 at 23:23, 24 March 2006 | Report This Post

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