Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 070: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Franchise Review Part 1 of 5

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One, two, Jay is coming for you.
Three, four, Wolfman’s at your door.
Five, six, the plan for guests was nixed.
Seven, eight, Doc’s gotta stay up late.
Nine, ten, no Walking Dead again.

Wake up, horror fans, because HORROR MOVIE PODCAST is bringing you another epic franchise review! This time we are bringing you the long-awaited five-part A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET FRANCHISE REVIEW. Just as we’ve done with the Halloween films back in October 2014, the Friday the 13th films back in February of 2015, and the Scream films last month, we’re giving you in-depth analysis of the entire Freddy franchise, including all seven core films as well as a bonus episode featuring discussion of the Platinum Dunes remake and touching on Freddy vs Jason. First up, we tackle Wes Craven’s groundbreaking original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

Horror Movie Podcast is a weekly show that’s released every Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! And remember, we love getting your voice mails, so call in with more recommendations and comments at this number: (801) 382-8789 Thanks for listening to Horror Movie Podcast!


I. Introduction

[ 00:01:33 ] II. Feature Review: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)
Jay of the Dead = 7 ( Must-see Once Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 7 ( Buy it! )
Dr. Shock = 9 ( Buy it! )

III. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending

JOIN US NEXT FRIDAY ON HMP: Episode 071: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987).

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NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, there are 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar on the right.

Leave a comment or e-mail us here: HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com


DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith): A Nightmare on My Street (1988)

Josh recommends revisiting the Foo Fighters music video for Everlong

Hear Joel Robertson’s Spooky Flix Fest coverage for Halloween!

And don’t miss Ron Martin’s The Resurrection of Zombie 7 podcast’s Halloween coverage!

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Follow Josh on Twitter: @IcarusArts
Josh covers streaming online movies on: Movie Stream Cast
Follow MSC on Twitter: @MovieStreamCast
Like MSC on: Facebook

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dave’s daily movie review website: DVD Infatuation.com
Follow Dave on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation
Like Dave’s DVD Infatuation, now on: Facebook
Dr. Shock also appears on this horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Jay of the Dead’s links:
Jay of the Dead and Horror Movie Podcast Official Twitter: @HorrorMovieCast
Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

Dr. Walking Dead’s links:
Pre-order Kyle’s new book! How Zombies Conquered Popular Culture: The Multifarious Walking Dead in the 21st Century
Order Kyle’s previous books American Zombie Gothic and Triumph of The Walking Dead
Follow Kyle on Twitter: @DrWalkingDead

You can always contact us by e-mailing HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com. Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram for the use of his music for Horror Movie Podcast.

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99 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 070: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Franchise Review Part 1 of 5

  1. I’m calling you out, Jay.

    I’m not even five minutes into the podcast, but you’ve already said something that is straight up wrong. You’ve done this several times in the past, but you did it again here. You dislike something, which is totally cool as we all have likes and dislikes, but you dismiss anyone liking it by simply stating they like it because of ___. In this case, you’re saying fans of A Nightmare on Elm Street are only fans due to nostalgia. That’s cheap, yo. That’s like someone coming up to you and saying, “Hey look, I know you think you love Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but really you don’t. You only think you do because of nostalgia. :) ” If someone said that to you, you slap them with all of your might with your soggy, hot liquid cookie because sometimes fools deserve to get payback in delicious, yet liquidy ways.

    Go ahead and disagree with anyone’s opinion, but to try and dismiss that person’s opinion by saying it’s not legitimate? That’s some weak sauce argument.

    • This reminds me of the discussion on the–was it The Thing vs episode?–that got me so upset where Jay was arguing that fandom of a classic film was only out of appreciation or respect, but not out of actual enjoyment.

      Unfortunately, as a non-fan of ANOES, I was not in a position to mount a defense, but you’ve articulated your argument well.

      Glad we got your blood boiling only 5 minutes into the first Elm Street podcast … this is going to be a LONG franchise review for both your weary hosts and exasperated Fred heads!

      • It may have been the Thing. What you’re describing does sound very familiar when it comes to Jay talking about some older movie.

        I appreciated your stance immediately after Jay’s. You’re in the same boat as Jay for not being some big fan, but you came up with a different take on why people love the series. For you, you claimed it was because of the initial premise. That’s perfectly fine since you’re not out rightly dismissing someone’s reason for loving a series, but rather trying to identity why someone does love it. One host claimed fans don’t actually love the movie while another tried to give a reason for why the fans love the movie so much.

        For Jay’s comment, I’m glad he’s being forced to have to watch Freddy’s Dead while Josh and Shock have my sympathies.

        I’ll give my proper thoughts on the movie once I get done listening to the podcast.

        In other Nightmare news, it just broke yesterday that Freddy’s Nightmares will be heading to the El Rey Network. The series might just be okay, but it’s not that easy finding good quality versions of the episodes. The copies I have look like they’re the copies from the original blank VHS’s taped when they originally aired. Until we get a proper DVD release, this will be a nice upgrade since Chiller TV ditched the series years ago.

        • Thanks for the heads up on where I can see those Freddy’s Nightmares episodes, because I haven’t watched ’em since they premiered!

        • Am I the only one who loved Freddy’s Dead? This movie gets so much hate, yet I get so much enjoyment out of it. It’s FUN, and yes Freddy is over the top silly and we’ve got Power Gloves and what not. But it’s still fun; it’s a slasher flick people, just have fun with it.

    • Well said, Sal. Jay is a lovable yet curious human being as you’ve come to discover. There was a time when I used to wonder if he really thought through the things he says before saying them. After one year and 11 months of hanging out with him (in a way), I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, everything that comes out of the man’s mouth is deliberate. I think he enjoys being challenged by the fans. It’s what he thrives on. Deep down in his heart though, he’s a Freddy fan and he knows it all too well. And so does Freddy 😉

    • I’m 100% with Sal on this. Jay has a habit of undercutting opinions different than his own by employing sweeping generalisations that tend to recontextualise genuine fandom, cheapening the form of appreciation in the process. Stop it, Jay!

  2. I’m going to start off my thoughts on this film by using one of Jay’s favorite lines against him. Horror happens to those who deserve it the least. In Nightmare, when you have the best examples of this. None of these kids in this movie deserves to be terrified by their nightmares and killed off by Freddy. Yet, they’re being punished not for something they did, but for something their parents did. It’s all about the sins of the parents. The parents did something that greatly offended Freddy (Which I think we can all agree that if someone burns us alive, we’re going to be a little upset with them), but the parents get a “Free pass” from Freddy. Instead of the parents having to worry about revenge, they just have to worry about Freddy going after their kids. Granted, that might be a crueler punishment than if Freddy went right after the parents, but the kids are still being punished for a crime committed by someone else. Worse yet, some of the kids killed aren’t even aware of why they’re being hunted and killed. It’s a weird thing, but if someone hates me enough to come after me, I’d at least like to know what I did to get myself killed. These kids are such victims because this isn’t some random crime, this is a deliberate attack against them and they’re not even told why.

    To bring this concept of sins of a parent to realism, it happens in real life all the time. Maybe the saddest example of this are the women who continue their drug abuse while pregnant and the children are born with some serious health problems. Those children didn’t do anything wrong, but because of actions by their parents, they have this huge obstacle to overcome. The HMP hosts could probably speak on this better than I could since they are parents (At least, I think Dr. Shock is?), but one of the biggest fears you can have as a parent is that you’re unknowingly messing up your kid’s life. So in that respect, Nightmare works on playing to every parent’s worst fear that something they did in the past is going to end up hurting your children. It’s no wonder Nancy’s mom is so hopeless at the end of the movie. She is going through hell knowing that she’s responsible for her own flesh and blood dealing with this…force.

    While I wouldn’t necessarily call this a feminist movie, it is very much so a strong Girl Power type of a flick. Think back to the slashers and horrors prior to Nightmare. Women were not seen as being such strong figures. At best, you’re going to have your final girl be capable of some strong defensive moves. Take Laurie Strode for example. She’d do a quick defensive move by striking Michael, but then she’d immediately drop the weapon. If it wasn’t for Dr. Loomis, she would have been killed numerous times. For so many years, THAT was an example of a strong woman. Someone who is merely tough enough to briefly defend herself in either the final moment of the movie (Alice in Friday the 13th) or until a man can save her (Laurie in Halloween). The strongest woman in a slasher prior to Nancy is likely Jenny from Friday 2 since she uses her quick smarts as a defensive move. Here, it’s completely different. Not only are the men unable to save Nancy, but they’re utterly useless as shown by the fact that Glen couldn’t even stay away while Nancy went into the dream world. Here she was putting herself in harms way and literally all a guy had to do was stay awake and he couldn’t do that. Nancy’s father works for the police, yet even he can’t help her. Nancy’s completely on her own, but rather than accept her fate or rely on a strong defense, she goes on the offense. It’s an awesome scene as Nancy researches booby traps and prepares to go after Freddy. This seemingly normal, unremarkable girl next door becomes a bad ass because she ain’t need no man to save her~! You go, girl!

    Even though Nightmare is firmly a slasher, I do agree with Josh that it doesn’t always feel like one. It’s not just a slasher, but rather a supernatural/slasher hybrid. Take away the body count and make it mostly about Freddy hunting Nancy in her nightmares and you have a straight supernatural movie. Have Freddy survive the fire and come after the kids in real life like Cropsey did in The Burning, and you have yourself a typical slasher. Together, it’s something different. After Friday the 13th, you saw all of these imitators just trying to cash in on the success that Friday and Halloween had. None of them tried to do much to make it their own film. Sure, some of them like The Burning or Sleepaway Camp ended up being good, but they don’t earn many points of originality. Instead, Wes Craven did something different. He cashed in on the popularity of the slasher boom period, but he did so by making his own film. Craven deserves some serious credit for that. It would have been so simple for him to take the script from Friday the 13th, change some names, means of deaths, and slap a new title on it, but he didn’t do that. Surprise, surprise, Nightmare ended up having more success and longevity than any of those movies that came out in the aftermath of Friday the 13th.

    I loved the focus on Tina early in the movie. While no one mentioned it on the podcast, it seemed to be directly influenced by Janet Leigh’s character in Psycho. Build up a character that everyone assumes will be the main character and *BOOM* kill her off to make it clear that no one is safe. It was done so beautifully too with an utterly shocking death scene in the revolving bedroom.

    As far as the question for why Freddy didn’t make himself more well known despite thriving on fear to make himself stronger, I think it’s more of just a case of the sequels changing things up a little bit, which ends up creating a couple of small issues for the original. For this original movie, all we know is that Freddy has four targets. We’re not aware of Freddy’s desires for anyone else. All four of those kids know about the nightmare man. So when one character is found dead of apparent suicide, the other kids will know what really happened. Once Nancy expresses the truth to the adults, the adults aren’t going to believe her which only causes a further splintering in the relationship between Nancy and everyone around her. Freddy slowly cuts off all of her ties to other people in her life. She has to deal with this all on her own and the intention is to make her feel even greater fear since she doesn’t have anyone there to tell her that they can beat Freddy. So as long as you only look at it like Freddy targets these four teens, the lack of greater presence is not a problem.

    Despite loving this film, there are a couple of small things I’m not too fond of. I hate the shot of the movie at the end of the movie. I don’t mind the Freddy car, but the visual of the doll being pulled through the door looks awful. I wish they would have just cut it out because once the credits hit, I have to remind myself that I loved 99.9% of the film before that final shot of the movie because I’m not thinking of the greatness after that shot. Ultimately, I don’t know if I’m a fan of bringing Freddy out into the real world. I suppose it’s fine for this film as they hadn’t fully figured out all the rules for Freddy yet.

    Overall, I’d give A Nightmare on Elm Street a 9.5 and Freddy is one of the most iconic characters in cinema history.

  3. I’ll stand by Jay on this one (though the timing may have been poor). Watching the original again after a long time and I kept thinking “meh” and wasn’t really impressed or scared. Totally agree with the comments that the premise is awesome, but somehow the execution falls flat for me now. Maybe it is connected to these movies being SO 80s with the music and the clothes, more than the Friday or Halloween franchises.

    And as a favor could someone please explain the ridiculous cat poster in the sleep lab? WTF? A fat cat in a Hawaiian shirt on a streetcar?

  4. I feel bad because I know you guys are going to get crushed by criticism for not liking Elm Street enough (more on that later). Having said that I do want to jump in with a correction/elaboration on the inspiration for the concept.

    The incidents of people dying in their sleep was not from Laotian immigrants but from those refugees from Cambodia who had fled the genocide by the Khmer Rouge (see the movie ‘Killing Fields’) which is arguably the worst genocide ever committed as far as efficiency and brutality by any government in history (killed at least 1/4 of the countries population in just a couple of years but possibly up to @40%). Anyway, there were several incidents of people having heart attacks in their sleep after reporting severe flashback style dreams.

    Which brings me to my opinion of the movie itself- I am pretty much right with you guys. I am not a big fan of it but I think the concept is terrific, Englund is great, an amazing Johnny Depp death scene, and the bath tub scene are all strong positives. I have a great deal of respect for it but, for some reason, it just doesn’t do it for me over all. The weird goofy moments just don’t play for me.

  5. Towards the end of the episode Josh mentioned the scene with Freddy Pushing through the wall being done using CGI (and compared it to a similar effect in “The Frighteners”) but I’m sure I heard somewhere that the effect in question was executed practically using a thin sheet of rubber or something. It stuck out in my mind because when I saw the remake I remember thinking that their attempt (which definitely used CGI) looked terribly tacky and fake compared to the originals practical approach. I could be wrong though.

    • It looks super fake. If it wasn’t CGI, it was at least shot separately and comped-in digitally, because it doesn’t have the look of being practical on that set the way the oatmeal stairs do, for instance.

      • In the remake, they did a similar shot, but instead using CGI. There’s a clear difference between the two effects with the CGI remake one being so much worse.

      • From what I can gather after a little research it was done using a spandex wall (how very 80’s). I also found info suggesting that the only effect in the movie that wasn’t done entirely practically and that involved “trick photography” was the scene of Freddy walking through the bars of the jail cell. Not sure if composite shots would fall into the rather vague “trick photography” category though so you could very well be right about that, Josh.

      • It’s 100% live on camera practical. Even up to the day of shooting they had no idea how to do it. It being 1984 they said “you know there’s this new material called spandex” they matched the color of the wall with a sheet of spandex and used very careful lighting to hide the edges. In “Never Sleep Again” you can actually see behind the scenes footage when they were filming it. Heather simply laid there while from behind the camera you hear “ok and now, push through little more little more ok and and Nancy stirs,” that’s when Heather waked up and the face goes back into the wall. They simply cut to a new scene when she placed the crucifix back on the wall and she knocks on it showing that it’s solid. Man I miss the days of enginuity like that

        • If that is true, Fritz, that is shocking to me. It doesn’t look practical to me at all. I can’t believe I’m now going to go spend hours researching composite shots in A Nightmare on Elm Street. I just HAD to open my big, dumb mouth with 30 seconds to go in the podcast. Thanks to Sal, Chris Robo, Fritz and David for calling me out! Haha

      • I think you believe it looks super fake because it happens when both he and she are essentially separated by an almost pitch black background (the room is very dark except for her bed and him), a trick often used to help cover CGI or cropped in effects. I always liked the scene but I can easily see thinking it was a CGI effect (or some other non-practical effect). I also think the remake version isn’t that bad looking but doesn’t have the same effect on the viewer due to both the mood setting and that it is so extreme (how far he comes out) that it is hard to not think about how unrealistic it is.

        • It is hard to imagine it being practical once you see it in the film, I thought for years it was some kind of effect like that used in “The Invisible Man” but after you realize it was done spur of the moment, it’s really quite impressive to me. I think it is an amazing effect. The remake though….well I won’t go there lol

          • I’m glad everyone else jumped on this one because I really didn’t want to be “that guy.” That said, it is true. Spandex wall, WMJ. I remember watching a behind the scenes special on cable when I was a teenager back in the early 1980s about how they did all the effects and they were all practical. Wikipedia has a CGI timeline and Nightmare on Elm Street is not on the list. You’re not going to dispute Wikipedia, right?

  6. I am going to echo the previous comments and agree that the premise for this franchise is great, and while I enjoy the first film, I have never been a Freddy fan. Even as a kid he didn’t worry me nearly as much as Jason or Michael Myers. I think Freddy talks way too much to be truly scary. Jason and Michael have a silent stalking reaper thing going for them which for me taps into a more primal fear. The idea of being terrorized during sleep is disturbing, but the concept here falls flat.

    • I wasn’t allowed to watch these movies when I was a kid but I distinctly remember finding Freddy the scariest of the big 3 based on images I’d seen in TV guides and what little back story I could gather from kids at school. I recall someone explaining the Johnny Depp death scene to me and it leaving me with this impression that there could be a horribly burned child killer hiding in my mattress! His smart mouth definitely counts against his creepiness factor when watching the actual films though (particularly the sequels).

    • I agree, Allyson. I have never really been a Freddy fan (never watched ANOES until last year, to be honest), but he still scared the s&-t out of me when I was a kid. I knew who he was and I knew Freddy could get you, whenever, wherever. I literally slept with my lights and TV on for awhile, like that would really save me. ? The first time I watched it I thought it was a good movie and I truly regret never watching it as a kid. I often wonder what my love of horror would look like today if Freddy had been my first instead of Michael. I still think it holds up well, and I can add this one to my arsenal. Can’t wait to hear what the next episode has in store!

  7. Gotta say, I was born in 1990 and didn’t see this until I was about 12 years old. Enjoyed it but did not consider it my favorite until I grew older so the whole nostalgia thing is NOT accurate on my part.

    I can understand not having a high opinion of this movie but there was so much going on at New Line Cinema when this was made. This movie literally made them a major studio. As far as some of the effects not being the best and maybe look a little cheesy, I’m gonna refer to the HMP golden movie, Halloween.

    Yes they were both low budget, no question there, BUT Halloween required no where near the effects needed to make this film. In the scene where Nancy is asleep at Tina’s house and Freddy comes through the wall…no cgi, no dimmer light like was used in Halloween, it was a sheet of spandex and very careful lighting that made that amazing practical effect possible.

    This entire movie to me is frightening on a completely different level than just what is seen and what happens because of Freddy. Most movies of this nature take place over a day and night. This story takes place well over a week at least. Most of the time it’s just like in the Halloween or Friday the 13th franchise “oh there’s my best friend I’ve known for years and they’re slashed up AHHHH I’m afraid…better keep running”. Where as the NoES movies always have the funeral scene, you see the coffin, often times you see the parents of the victim. I know we’ve all lost loved ones at one point or another. There’s nothing more real or more heartbreaking than attending a funeral in my mind. The fact that these movies aren’t just BAM BAM BAM bunch of people dead, but instead are a slow burn within the movie that actually shows the pain that comes with losing loved ones left and right.

    As far as Heather Langenkamp, there’s a lot of first timers in these slasher films and excuse my blasphemy but I’m not that big a fan of Jamie Lee Curtis in the very first Halloween. That being said I thought she was great in H2O, much like how Heather is so much better in New Nightmare. I gotta say though compare to Halloween and Friday the 13th, Heather is without a doubt the most attractive of the bunch.

    With the talk of Robert being short and the comedy. A huge 6’7 Freddy would not work for me personally. He’s not Jason Voorhees, he’s not some giant mental patient like Michael, he’s just a local small town guy who happens to have been a complete monster. Often times in life the scariest looking people are teddy bears and the non imposing people are the ones to be absolutely terrified of. The comedy is without a doubt that comes from a sick and disgusting mind such as freddy. As Robert once said in an interview “Freddy knows what’s in your underwear drawer, he’s in the bed win those girls, he’s in their dreams, and that is “rape” in every sense of the word”. Quite frankly if Jason came through and just knocked my head off, it wouldn’t be as scary as Freddy talking to me and taunting me and enjoying every minute of seeing my fear and horror.

    I honestly believe I could get away from Michael if I had to, same with Jason. I feel like I couldn’t knock Jason down but that I could bang Michael on the head and knock him out for a short while. There’s no getting away from Freddy, you will go to sleep eventually and when you do he’s gonna really enjoy, perhaps even sexually enjoy, slicing you up.

    Y’all knew I’d be bound and determined to comment on these films lol. Please forgive any grammar or spelling mistakes I’m once again on the tow boat and am doing all of this on my phone. Keep em coming, and like I said in my voicemail, y’all can say whatever you want about Freddy’s Dead.

    Nightmare on Elm Street.
    Never said it was the very best, but it sure is the most enjoyable for me

    • The Sci Fi podcast with Jay was excellent.

      Excited to go hear your opinion of Cooties. Haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. Should I do that before listening?

      • I don’t spoil it or anything, but I did have a lot of problems with it. If it is a movie you think you are pre-disposed to like, I’d watch the movie first. I’d hate to ruin your experience by being a nit-picker. I thought I would love it, but I was expecting more horror and black comedy. It’s a pretty straight-forward comedy with horror elements, in my opinion. A couple of our listeners told me they liked it more than me, though.

  8. I have to say, the whole nostalgia reasoning is complete dog poop. I find nightmare better written, directed and acted and ‘Friday the 13th’ which really is quite boring IMO. ‘Nightmare’ has genuinely effective scenes (such as the kill with Tina being dragged screaming on the ceiling and Freddy’s imprint through the wall’. Nancy is also a way better final girl than Laurie Strodes for the simple fact that Laurie doesn’t do anything and basically survives on a fluke.

    • I agree.

      Rating this below Friday The 13th?

      The first Friday film was average slasher fare, it’s fine, it’s a fun watch, but it’s by no means a great film; it’s only remembered for the Jason series that it spawned. Freddy was a fresh take on the slasher brand, I feel he elevated that sub-genre and propelled it throughout the 80’s. We finally had a slasher that could talk, and I feel that added more comedy than Jay was comfortable with.

      • Well … he could talk, but he didn’t say much of anything that mattered. Mrs. Voorhees had much more interesting things to say, in my opinion.

        I hated the nostalgia comment, but I think he was pretty fair in his rating. It’s subjective and the film is pretty dated for someone with tastes like Jason.

      • Ironically, one of our listeners just got mad at me on Twitter for recommending this.

        Adam Lafferty said: “I’ve now seen original Nightmare… HMP you guys are insane that crap was painful to watch! 4/10 avoid!!”

        • I’m wondering how someone can be a horror fan and never watched the first one before the recommendation of this podcast. I think you might have a troll lol

          • Ahhh … people have different tastes. I’ve been avoiding sitting down and seriously watching it all these years, myself. My lack of interest in Freddy, Chucky and Pinhead is a big part of why I didn’t feel connected to the horror community growing up, despite being a massive fan. but, then the internet happened and the like-minded could find one another. You also have to keep in mind, we have many VERY young listeners who haven’t seen most of what guys my age would call classics.

            • As truly bizarre as it sounds to have someone associate themselves as a horror fan, but not seeing one of the main horror series, it can also be interesting to hear from them. For me, I thought Solo stole the show for the Friday the 13th franchise due to his lack of knowledge of it and as a result, we got to hear an opinion of the movie from someone who hasn’t seen it a billion times and knows all of the tidbits. You don’t realize it until you talk to such people how these movies come across to the Average Joes.

          • I get what Josh is saying. Us horror fans do have different tastes, my favorite sub is the paranormal haunted house, that’s Jays least favorite. But I do feel like he wrote us Freddy fans off based solely on the nostalgia factor… I don’t feel that’s right.

          • And not being a fan of Freddy, Chucky, or Pinhead? I get that we have our different tastes, but not liking any of them… you’re a bold horror fan.

  9. The name of the institute is the Katja Institute for Sleep Disorders, not the Springwood Institute for Sleep or the Mom and Pop Sleep Institute as you implied. It’s almost as if you had a preconceived idea about the type of review you wanted to give….

    • Not really. I have hated what I’ve seen of these movies most of my life and I’ve approached them with a very open mind, actively trying to appreciate them. As I mentioned in the review, I wrote those comments down from another source because I thought it was funny. I just couldn’t remember who had said it.

      • I’m the same way with the halloween series, I love them and own all but part 3 on Blu ray, nothing against it I just can’t find it. Like par one, love part two, part four was ok but after that there’s so many scenes that for me inspire laughter, and it’s always something unintentionally funny. Friday the 13th never tried to be anything more than a slasher, and I love that. Halloween and even a couple of the Nightmare films are held up there like some great work of art. H20 and New Nightmare are the only ones that fit that category to me.

        Nightmare was serious, part two was maybe too serious up the point of absurdity. Part 3 is where they finally said “let’s make a movie to scare people and have fun doing it” which is fine by me. Despite what a lot of Fred Heads say, I really really enjoy The Dream Child.

        Halloween always seemed to take itself so seriously that it wasn’t a whole lot of fun to me. A slasher film isn’t exactly going to make me turn the hall light on when I go pee, but instead will give me a good time.

        That’s why I like a lot of horror comedy. Not like Scary Movie but one that is made with TLC, when you can tell the film maker is a horror fan, such as Shaun of the Dead, Scream, Tremors. Sometimes you just gotta enjoy the entertainment. Well that rant went on longer than I thought it would lol

  10. As always, great episode, guys!

    I first saw “A Nightmare on Elm Street” when I was in the 8th grade, and Freddy scared the hell out of me! I only like the first one though…the rest are just too funny, and that’s just not how I like my horror movies.

    In this episode, Josh mentions the documentary “The Nightmare” about sleep paralysis…has anyone seen this yet? I just watched it on Netflix a few nights ago, and I’m curious what everyone thought about it. I belong to a facebook group called ‘Okgoreberfest 2015’ (run by a friend of mine who started the ‘Green Mountain Gore Society’) where we vow to watch at least one horror movie everyday in October and post about the movies in the group. Everyone really seems to love this documentary, and I didn’t really like it. Am I missing something?

    You should check out the group though…it’s really fun, and it’s the reason why I started listening to ‘Horror Movie Podcast.” I started listening to get some

  11. I am an unbelievably huge Freddy Krueger nerd, so I am stoked that you guys are reviewing this franchise. I do agree that this film has some low points, and believe it or not, it’s not my favorite. I merely give it props because it started the NOES revolution. I was introduced to Freddy at the tender age of three with the Dream Warriors movie, which I actually think is a better flick of the two, so I won’t say too much about this one.

    One thing, though. Jay, you mentioned Freddy in passing as a child murderer/child molester in this episode. I never actually thought of Freddy as anything but a child murderer until the idea of this was implanted in my brain through that horrible 2010 re-make. Anybody else? Or was I just overlooking it because I love this character so much?

    I think Freddy is much scarier than any other villain like Michael and Jason. Not only is Freddy practically invincible because he exists through the dream world and your fear of him, but he’s a sociopath. That’s why he’s so goofy and clown like. He has no regard for human life and makes a mockery of it. That is truly frightening.

    Keep up the good work, guys! Sorry you have to suffer through these reviews, not being fans of this franchise yourselves, but I sure am loving it!

    • Well said. As far as the pedophile/murderer, it was supposed to be more confirmed in the movie but a case of teachers sexually preying on young students happened while they were filming so Wes thought it best to just gloss over it. How ever when Marge describes him as a “filthy child murderer” that’s what I’ve always imagined to be the case . The remake had nothing goin for it anyway so they just drilled that into our heads.

      • Ah, I gotcha. Makes sense, I suppose. It also makes me feel like that much of a bad person for enjoying this character so much. I think I’m just going to pretend the pedophile thing isn’t part of it…just like the re-make isn’t a part of the series.

  12. Wah-wah. Everyone has to watch the Nightmare series. Poor hosts… OK that’s sarcasm. This is a big franchise with a huge fanbase in horror that deserves a big review by the esteemed HMP crew and guests. I like this series a lot but I do like Halloween and Friday the 13 franchises more.

    As a child I wasn’t old enough to watch this series. In fact, I randomly hated Freddy and Jason because there were so many movies that it seemed ridiculous to me. Also, the kids on the playground would never shut up about Jason and Freddy and who would win in a fight.

    There’s something about dreams in movies that bore me. I’m just not a dream guy and I don’t have really have nightmares. Most of the time when someone wakes up from a dream sequence in a movie I’m like “good, let’s get on with the movie… stupid dream sequence.” NoES actually has a real threat in the dream realm which is pretty cool. I think the lack of boundaries, like JOTD was saying, bothers me a bit too. When I first watched NoES I thought Nancy died at the end. When Freddy drove up I couldn’t figure out if the whole thing was a dream or if this was just a surprise ending. I guess the ending wasn’t very satisfying to me.

    The effects and kills are great in this movie. Chris Robo and Fritz Renfield already mentioned this but on Netflix there is a LONG documentary about the nightmare series. It’s cool to see how they did the effects and there are lots of interviews with cast and crew. It boosted my appreciation for the franchise.

  13. once again , jay and the wolfman makes me sad a 7 for nightmare one , that’s just wrong , dead wrong . i think jay is missing the point about the whole nightmare movies . they are not slasher movies , they are fantasy horror just like the first preview says if u go back and look . just think of Freddy like the joker from the batman comics , he could be on joke time at one point and next time he could be gutting you the next . it does get bad near the end of the nightmare movies but that’s the charm of Freddy . and josh that was not a cgi wall ,that was a wall made of ten dollar lycra cloth

    • I think the hosts confuse “Sadistic Glee” with comedy- Freddy was an evil clown without make-up, cruel, sadistic, and playful with his victims. He enjoyed their fear and helplessness. The hosts tend to think this is the film trying to be comedic, rather than the fact that it shows just how warped and twisted Krueger can be.

  14. Wow! Great podcast… here’s my personal experience: Sleeping over a friends’ house, we started to tell each other some scary stories. He suddenly hits me with this story about a man who creeps through a girl’s dream and ultimately kills her- scares the living hell out of me. His story was basically the first few minutes of Nightmare on Elm Street, as I would come to learn a few months later when my mother’s friend rented the movie for us one night. And I see the very story that kept me up late at night come to life… I forgave the plagiarism and my friend and I excitedly watched a few more movies his parents had in their collection when they weren’t home.

    Now, years later, I’m much more of a Jason fan than I am a Freddy- but I still love the Krueger films and still love the “monster” that is Freddy Krueger. So I’d like to speak to a few points brought up in the podcast- firstly, the character of Freddy is horrifying to me. Not simply the premise, but the idea of a smaller man- skinny, burned, wearing a loose-fitting Christmas sweater, and that glove is scary enough. But it was wrapped up in a character who wasn’t just trying to kill his victims- he was stalking, taunting, mocking, and humiliating them before the kill. The scene where he cuts off his own fingers, where he slits his chest, these aren’t just “gross outs” or the killer saying “you can’t harm me” to me- this is a monster touching on nerves, plucking them like a string, and enjoying his victims’ squirming. There’s something scary about the unstoppable- there’s something downright horrifying about the giddy and eager.

    Regarding the mother character- I have always had a huge problem with the final third of this film. It felt like no one knew where to go with the character once most of the deaths happened to occur, and this is very evident with the Sleep Clinic scene and everything leading up to Nancy’s final confrontation with Krueger. But so far as the mother? AS over the top as she was- this woman is obviously an alcoholic. She’s drinking in the morning, drinking in the evening, drinking at supper time- she’s drinking when she explains, drinking when she complains, she’s drunk all of the time. (nice little ditty sung in my head there) In other words- this is going to sound cold, but some parents aren’t there for their children. They’re selfish, broken, damaged, and incapable of caring to the extent they need to. Nancy’s mother isn’t going to win mother of the year awards .

    In closing- I have to agree with your final ratings on this one, though. There are parts that are very strong in this film but there are parts where the film sort of comes loose. The final confrontation with the booby traps and such just don’t really work. The jailhouse scene with Rod always seemed out of place to me and the stinger felt (and according to most commentary, WAS) cobbled together.

  15. I’m very excited for this franchise review. As much as I love the first NIGHTMARE film, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fan of the complete franchise. So why am I excited? Well, first, I’ve only seen each of the sequels about once or twice before, so this re-watch will feel like I’m watching these films for the first time again. But, more importantly, each HMP franchise review so far has succeeded to increase my appreciation of that franchise, so I’m interested and excited to see if that happens again.

    • I like a lot of what has been said on here already, from Sal’s solid analysis on some of the themes and horror beats that hit on an emotional level to Fritz’s really interesting background info on the movie and franchise. There was a lot of great discussion on the show, too, particularly surrounding Craven’s inspiration for NIGHTMARE and the general premise. It really is such a strong premise to a horror movie.

  16. I wanted to share a few thoughts on A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)…


    A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. In fact, I have it as #2 on my “scariest movies I’ve seen” list. For me, there are three things that combine to make it such an effective horror movie:
    1) The strong premise
    2) Freddy Krueger
    3) The Freddy nursery rhyme

    The premise has already been discussed in depth, both on the show and here on the comment board, so I won’t say much more about it. It is strong, rooted in reality, and absolutely terrifying – we are at our most vulnerable state when we’re sleeping, yet we all have to sleep at some point. In fact, the only thing that would save us from Freddy – not sleeping – would eventually kill us. It’s believed the human body can only stay alive without sleep for approximately 11 days before succumbing to death, so you’re screwed either way. Once asleep, you’re not only vulnerable to external physical threats, but you’re also vulnerable to your dreams as they are not easily controlled.

    Next, the strength of Freddy Krueger, the horror icon, has also been well-discussed. Everything from his character design to his backstory make for arguably the most terrifying monster ever recorded on film. You have the iconic silhouette and sweater, his horribly burned skin and the Freddy glove. The Freddy glove is genius – there’s something more personal about killing with a stabbing instrument, but that’s taken to a whole new level when the stabbing instrument is your actual hand. Then you have his mode of attack, going after children in their nightmares and feeding off their fear. He really stalks and torments his chosen targets, too, torturing them in both a physical and psychological way. Those are strong enough characteristics on their own, but his backstory is what really makes his character so terrifying. Like Fritz said earlier, Fred Krueger the mortal man was already a monster. The effectiveness of Freddy Krueger as a horror character was so tangible and formidable that it pervaded all of pop culture.

    The third element – the Freddy nursery rhyme – might seem like an unusual thing to mention as one of the three elements that make NIGHTMARE such a scary movie, but it is effective in ramping up the horror on many levels. First, you’re taking a well-known nursery rhyme, one that many of us probably sang and jumped rope to when we were kids, and changing it ever-so-slightly. That makes it sound slightly “off” to our well-trained ears, which is very off-putting. Second, the actual lyrics to the Freddy nursery rhyme are rather disturbing, particularly the “9, 10, never sleep again” part. It really speaks to the hopelessness and inevitability of the situation. Plus, the dream sequences with the nursery rhyme disturb me greatly. Little children in horror freak me out (four of my five scariest movies of all-time feature scary little girls), and the nonchalant way they jump rope while singing the Freddy nursery rhyme is very troubling. The cherry on top is that it’s a catchy rhyme that, like Freddy himself, pervaded all of pop culture, following us even outside the film. It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen NIGHTMARE or not; chances are, you know the Freddy nursery rhyme.

    I think these three elements combine to form a strong foundation to one of the scariest movies ever made.

    Something else I think NIGHTMARE has going for it is that the movie contains so many iconic scenes and images. Perhaps the strongest is when we see Tina’s bloody corpse being dragged down the hall in a body bag by an unseen entity. That image of her legs being lifted and then dragged off-screen is absolutely chilling. Another iconic image is the Freddy glove emerging from the water during the Nancy bathtub scene. Then there’s Freddy bending over a sleeping Nancy through her bedroom wall, the “quicksand” stairs, the Johnny Depp blood geyser… the list goes on and on. These iconic scenes and images all succeed in conjuring the type of horror that stays with us.

    I would also like to mention the movie poster for the film, which I think is one of the best ever in the horror genre >> http://www.imdb.com/media/rm789023232/tt0087800?ref_=tt_ov_i

    On a personal note, NIGHTMARE was one of the first horror movies I ever saw, but I didn’t like it that much when I first watched it because the movie scared me too much. It wasn’t until I was older that I re-watched the film and came to appreciate it as a great horror movie. I do have some nostalgic fondness for it, but my appreciation for the film originates from the three foundational elements I mentioned before.

    A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) is one of the best horror movies ever made and is certainly one of my favorite horror movies, currently sitting at #5 on my top 10 horror list. It’s a 10/10 for me, and I say it is essential viewing for any horror fan.

  17. A good overview of the first film. Although now I have to wait until Wes Craven’s New Nightmare until the next I see as a horror film.
    Part 2 isn’t a good film and after that they become “popcorn movies”, great fun but lack the fear element.
    One of the reasons the first film works is Freddie’s lack of screen time.

    Great podcast, as usual, looking forward to the rest of the series

  18. Hi guys, I’m new to this podcast but having just caught up on the fantastic franchise reviews of Halloween, Friday The 13th and Scream, I felt compelled to write in to say how shocked I was by how negative the general consensus was on the original Nightmare On Elm Street. I do agree that (in the words of Casey Becker) the sequels sucked, but the original is more creative, more innovative, more original and far more expertly crafted than any of the generic slashers of the early 80s, including Friday The 13th.

    It’s true that not everything in the movie makes sense, like those moments you guys brought up in the podcast: Why does Freddy would make Rod’s murder look like a suicide? Why do none of the adults believe Nancy, even when actually they’ve witnessed her pulling a hat out of thin air while she sleeps? But to me, all these questions are what makes this film all the more nightmarish and unsettling. Nothing seems to quite make sense or add up, like the whole movie is this horrible, queasy fever dream. None of the adults in the movie, including Nancy’s parents, listen to Nancy or want to help her. They ignore her pleas, even when they’ve seen what her nightmares are doing to her. She is completely alone and helpless. The boogeyman is coming for her and there are no grown-ups to turn to. The whole movie a child’s worst nightmare.

    I think these days it’s easy to lose perspective on this movie due to the legacy it left behind, but in isolation, I struggle to comprehend how anyone couldnt appreciate what a truly dark and brutal masterpiece A Nightmare On Elm Street is.

    • Excellent thoughts on NIGHTMARE, Mikey-M. And welcome to the site.

      The “pulling the hat from the sheets” scene in the sleep clinic has been brought up a few times as a problem with the film, but I’m not so sure the adults’ non-responses to that are unrealistic. Think about various instances in your own life where something seemingly unexplainable has happened. Our first response is to think of a plausible reason for the occurrence, no matter how far-fetched it may be. We don’t normally just go with a supernatural reason.

      It’s possible Nancy’s mother and the doctor at the sleep clinic just saw Nancy as a hormonal teenager looking for attention. She could have hid that hat under her gown, just to pull it out at the most opportune time. If this scene played out in real life, that is much more likely to be the first explanation that came to mind, rather than that a monster is terrorizing her nightmares.

      It’s difficult sometimes when watching a movie to really put ourselves into the various situations that unfold, especially when we, the audience, know exactly what’s going on.

  19. Im with you Jay, while im connected to this film by nostalgia because he was one of my childhood monsters as well even as a kid I never really connected to him and thought he was scary. While you guys mentioned the premise is fantastic and indeed is scary the movies one liners and Freddy constantly speaking took me out of it and in my opinion breaks the tension of what should have been scary. So while mentally Freddy is the ultimate killer, he never really
    pulled it off in my mind. The first movie is the only one I own and I don’t need the rest. The comedy out weighs the horror in my opinion for this to be a real contender in my horror faves.
    Overall great overview guys and I cant wait to hear more on the sequels.

  20. I know I’ll catch heat for this but I just finished all the movies and the whole franchise fell flat (apart from the first movie, which I agree broke new ground). Not scary and not all that interesting, and I think I’ve stumbled onto the reason why mostly thanks to listening to Josh and Dave for so long.

    The mythology is all over the place — Freddy is a child killer, an evil spirit, a guy who sells his soul, a ghost, a monster, etc. Take people into dreams with powers to help you kill him, sprinkle him with holy water, pull him out of dreams to kill him, bury his bones, “free” his mother … it is all over the place. He’s serious, then funny. Funny and serious. By the time the film/meta stuff starts coming in with the last installment I’m totally done. Too much, too scattered, too boring.

    OK, so for some reason I get to thinking about It Follows, which was really scary yet really simple. You have a curse, and you try to unload it onto someone else to save yourself. This entity comes after you at a single speed — no frills and no real surprises but it doesn’t stop. Keeps on coming. Your most vulnerable time is when you are sleeping, because you are losing any advantage of distance you achieved while awake. Other people can’t see the thing following you and think you’re nuts. And even if you pass the curse on to someone else you’re not free — if that person dies you are back on the list.

    I find it interesting that there are so many parallels with NOES, but to me It Follows is much, much scarier. You never get confused kills like the jail cell “suicide” because the entity has a singular purpose and no extended narrative about how it came to be. Anyone else see these parallels as interesting?

    Thanks again for the great discussion!


  21. Hi guys,
    I’ve been able to listen to a few new episodes in a row, finally which I normally usually never have the time to do but I’m really enjoying listening to the cast because it’s not just fanboys talking about their favorite films but there’s a lot of insight into the genre and so forth…
    Regarding this episode, thanks @Wolfman Josh for bringing up the Michel Gondry Foo Fighters video! What’s weird is, it always reminded me more of another film, Neil Jordan’s “Company of Wolves” and I think you immediately know which scene I’m talking about.

  22. I finally started my re-watch of the NoES franchise last night with the original, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984). It had been a few years since I last watched the film, so I was eager to revisit what is one of my all-time favorite horror movies.

    There were two things that struck me upon this latest re-watch that I wanted to mention here. First, I feel JOTD’s nostalgia theory is absolutely nutballs. This movie definitely holds up against time, and is just as good as it was when I first watched it. Does it look a little dated? Yes, of course (hello ’80s fashion). Are some of the effects a little over-the-top cheesy? Yes, of course. But the film is extremely well made, the soundtrack is still creepy and fantastic, the premise is strong, the imagery is iconic, and the story progresses in a way that is always engaging. The only thing that has faded a bit for me is that it wasn’t quite as scary as I remembered, but that doesn’t detract from what is still a classic horror tale.

    The other thing that struck me was how many parallels there are between this film and SCREAM (1996). First, in both films, the killer was “created” as a result of mistakes made by the parent/parents of the high school teens being targeted. Second, you have the early head-fake with the perceived leading lady getting killed off, in spectacular fashion, shortly into the film. Next, there are a handful of scenes that remind me of scenes in SCREAM; there’s one early on, for example, with Tina, Nancy, Rod, and Glen walking into school and talking about their nightmares that reminded me of the scene early in SCREAM when Sidney, Tatum, Billy, Stu, and Randy were sitting outside at school discussing Casey’s murder. Also, the adults and police in both films are portrayed as incompetent and unable to help the situation. Admittedly, that last one is a theme that shows up in a lot of horror movies (just like the final girl trope that’s present in both films). But it’s easy to see that the same mind was behind both films and Craven’s work on NIGHTMARE was likely a major influence on SCREAM.

  23. Pingback: Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 159: The Walk (2015) and Wild Horses (2015) and Pan (2015) |

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