A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – 3.5/5

Another overrated, mediocre horror “classic” that’s slightly better than “Halloween” due to its grisly, inventive imagery and clever use of gore effects, but suffers from similar poor writing and uninteresting, underdeveloped characters. It’s also, like “Halloween,” not very scary when all is said and done, and the ending has to be one of the cheapest, most nonsensical attempts to squeeze one last scare in that I’ve ever seen in a horror movie. And it’s not even that scary, or surprising. Just stupid. Bad, bad ending!

The main female lead character person is extremely pretty, though, and, to her credit, a pretty decent actress. Granted it’s very “80s teen horror” type acting, and she, like everyone else in the cast, including a really young Johnny Depp, isn’t given a whole lot to work with other than to act scared and scream, but it’s hard not to fall for such a pretty face. She has a very cute girl next door thing going for her; pretty, but not the unattainable supermodel type that often litter films like this nowadays. And Depp is good too. Again, he’s not given much to do, but you can tell there’s talent there.

The film’s imagery is where it really shines, though. It’s gruesome and downright disturbing at times, but not for the reasons you’d think. The whole scene where **SPOILERS** the blond girl gets tossed up in the air and gutted and dragged about on the ceiling was great, and all the dream sequences where she’s moaning for help from her body bag, or being pulled by an invisible figure down school hallways, leaving a trail of blood in her wake, are brilliant and creepy. And of course, Depp’s death, the geyser of blood, is one for the books. **END SPOILERS** Extremely innovative and impressive. Illogical too, sure, but this is a movie about a burned guy with claws for hands somehow coming back from the dead to kill children in their dreams, so logic doesn’t necessarily have to apply to every death scene.

Overall, not a terrible movie, just not as great as I had expected. Better than the original “Halloween,” at least, with some great imagery and fountains of gore spewing everywhere and stuff, yet also surprisingly restrained and not very graphic when you think about it. Or maybe it’s extremely graphic and I’ve just become desensitized to it all after years and years of watching sick violent stuff all the time. I guess we’ll never know.

So yeah, decent horror flick, but nothing special. Poor writing/characters, but good visual stuff. Terrible ending, though. Seriously, what were they thinking?

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