A Nightmare On Elm Street

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A Nightmare On Elm Street (NOES for short) is a series of horror films that were exceptionally popular in the 1980s. The series takes its name from the first film, A Nightmare On Elm Street, which was released in 1984 and was written and directed by Wes Craven. The central character of the films is supernatural serial killer Freddy Krueger, played by Robert Englund. Krueger is able to attack and kill people through their dreams and does so with considerable violence and gore.

This debut film featured actress Heather Langenkamp as a teen named Nancy who lives on the titular Elm Street, located in the fictional city of Springwood, Ohio. It is revealed that, in the past, a serial killer (Krueger when he was still alive) was burned to death by the parents of his child victims. He comes back through the dreams of Springwood's youth, and is able to kill them there from beyond the grave. Eventually, Nancy finds the strength to confront Krueger in the dream realm and successfully asserts that he can never hurt her because it's "only a dream".


The original film was directed by Wes Craven and remains among his most famous features. A Nightmare on Elm Street was followed by five sequels culminating in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991). Craven was largely not involved in these sequels, but did receive a producer credit for Part 3. In 1994, Wes Craven returned to the series with Wes Craven's New Nightmare, in which Krueger appeared in (a fictionalized version of) the real world, plaguing Craven and the actors who had appeared in the original film.

As the series progressed, the films got gorier as new, creative ways were found to slaughter teenagers. The series managed to feature many up-and-coming young performers before their rise to fame (notably Johnny Depp, Patricia Arquette, and Laurence Fishburne).

Almost every director involved with the sequels has gone on to direct higher profile films, as opposed to the fates of other slasher film directors, including veterans of the Friday the 13th series. The most successful among them was Renny Harlin, who would go on to direct the enormously successful Die Hard 2: Die Harder and the Sylvester Stallone vehicle Cliffhanger. Chuck Russell, the director of Part 3 directed 1994's The Mask starring Jim Carrey and 1996's Eraser with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead.

Eventually, a declining interest in gory teen slasher films towards the end of the 1980's led to the series' fade in popularity. Though the films still make profit when released, they have never matched the success they found in the first four.

Over the years Freddy has become a cult figure with his burnt face, red and green striped sweater, brown hat, and the metallic glove with sharp knife blades attached to the fingers. In the original film Krueger was a nearly silent, remorseless killing machine. As the series progressed, Krueger became a progressively more wisecracking, black-humoured character - frequently making a short witticism as he dispatches each victim. Englund described the character they had turned Krueger into as "Shecky Green with claws" (later apologizing to classic comedian Shecky Green, who took offense at the remark.) Part 6, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, represents the zenith of this trend. Horror critics and fans, claiming it to be a lazy way to reach potentially wider audiences and appeal to the lowest common denominator, have often criticized the sequels for this reason. Part 5 and 6 are the most common targets of this disapproval.

A constant feature throughout the series of eight films has been the nursery rhyme, which Krueger's victims hear in their dreams shortly before being confronted by Krueger. Sung by a group of young children (usually young girls) in the films and set to the rhythm of One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, it runs

One, two, Freddy's coming for you
Three, four, better lock your door
Five, six, grab a crucifix
Seven, eight, better stay up late
Nine, ten, never sleep again!

There was also a TV series Freddy's Nightmares that featured Freddy introducing scary stories involving the nightmares of the citizens of Springwood, in the style of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The show managed to produce 44 episodes over the course of two seasons, before being canceled.

In 2003, the Krueger character was pitched against Jason Voorhees from the popular Friday the 13th film series in Freddy vs. Jason. The film opened on August 15 and was immediately the most financially successful film in either series. It cost $25 million to make and grossed $47 million in its opening weekend. Englund suggested in an interview that a further sequel may be planned. Further, a script entitled A Nightmare On Elm Street: The First Kills, describing Krueger's 'real-life' years set before the time of the first film, is currently under review by New Line Cinema.


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Title screen from the NES Nightmare on Elm Street game
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984, $25.2m US box office takings
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, 1985, $30.0m
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 : Dream Warriors, 1987, $44.8m
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 : The Dream Master, 1988, $49.4m
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 : The Dream Child, 1989, $22.2m
  • Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, 1991, $34.9m
  • Wes Craven's New Nightmare, 1994, $18.4m
  • Freddy vs. Jason, 2003, $115m

External links

fr:Freddy Krueger nl:Nightmare on Elm Street pl:Koszmar z ulicy Wiązów sv:Terror p Elm Street


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