To get ready for the remake, I had to sit down and watch the original again. Freddy was one of the first horror icons I got to watch, so he will always be one of my favorites. Freddy has changed somewhat throughout the years, but I wanted to see him from the beginning again. I wanted to see what makes Freddy, Freddy?
The important thing about “A Nightmare on Elm Street” was the story of Freddy, and how they developed his story. At the beginning, we really don’t know a great deal about Freddy. They show him making a glove with blades, and then it jumps into Tina’s nightmare. While Tina wonders around, you hear him laughing, and scratching his gloves against metal pipes before Tina eventually woke up. It wasn’t too much longer before Tina has her final nightmare. More laughing and scratching of the gloves, but Freddy had more to show this time. For the hell of it, he showed Tina how he could cut off two of his fingers, and just laugh about it. His face even slid off in a tussle with Tina. One thing I have always enjoyed about Freddy is that he seems to have fun scaring, and intimidating his victims before killing them. Now we know that Freddy can change your dreams into nightmares, basically do whatever he wants without being hurt, and kill you.
One thing Freddy eventually becomes notorious for is using people to get to their friends, and then using their friends against them. As we saw, Freddy jumped from Tina’s nightmares into Nancy, Rod, and Glen’s nightmares. In Nancy’s nightmares, Freddy continually used her emotions towards her friends to torture her. Nancy saw Tina in a bloody body bag several times, which was a nice touch. Nancy finds Glen’s headphones at one point, which really upset her. Another important thing we learned was that you can bring things from your dreams back into reality when you wake up. This later becomes one of Freddy’s greatest weaknesses.
Throughout the movie, you got the feeling that the parents knew something that their children did not. That was until Nancy’s mother finally told Nancy the real story behind Freddy. Freddy was not just killing these kids because he felt like it, but he was continuing what he was doing before he became “Freddy Krueger.” He was a child killer that got off at trial on a technicality, which the parents in the town were not pleased with. The parents took it upon themselves to trap Freddy in his boiler room, and set it on fire, killing him. This explained his burnt skin, and why the characters keep ending up walking through a boiler room. So now Freddy appears to be out for revenge on the children of the people that killed him.
Besides the glove, one of Freddy’s most important tools was controlling people’s nightmares. As the series grew, those nightmares developed into all kinds of crazy things, but most of the nightmares in “A Nightmare on Elm Street” ended up being in Freddy’s boiler room. The boiler room was not all that exciting, but a little creepy. The real fun was watching what was happening to the people in real life as Freddy was killing them in the nightmare. It was different watching the strangeness of the nightmare unfold in reality. Take my favorite death, which was Tina’s, for example. While Freddy was apparently thrashing her with his glove, and dragging her all around, you saw Tina get sliced up, and dragged from the bed onto the ceiling of her room. Or you could take the scene where Glen got sucked into his bed, and then turned into a fountain of blood. Even simpler, my favorite shot of the movie, when Freddy’s glove appeared between Nancy’s legs in the bathtub (I’m sure that gave people the chills).
When they made “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” I’m sure they had no way of knowing it would be a big enough hit for a second movie. Yet, they laid a terrific foundation for Freddy to become a horror icon. A child murderer killed by parents trying to protect their children, only to have him come back deadlier than ever. Armed with a glove with razor sharp knives, and the ability to strike when you are in your most vulnerable state, Freddy was just beginning his reign of terror. In no rush to kill, he taunted his victims, striking at their emotions before putting an end to their lives, and dreams. This was what was on display in “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” This was what set up the franchise, and why so many people like the original over the sequels. With that said, lets hope the remake can portray these characteristics of Freddy, and maybe even enhance them. I give this movie a bias 5 pools of blood.