Tag Archives: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven – Bringer of Monsters and Nightmares

Nightmare on Elm Street Movie PosterNovember, 1984. My grandfather and I were in the restroom of the Crest Theatre in San Bernardino, California after seeing Madman. When I noticed in the newspaper that the movie (it had become a sleeper/cult classic of sorts in the early ’80s, playing with other horror films around the country long after its initial release) was playing at the Crest, I asked my grandfather to take me – and away we went. As we washed our hands, my grandpa asked if I wanted to stay and see the movie that Madman was playing with as a double-feature; something or other about Elm Street. Neither one of us really knew much about it, but figured we’d give it a shot; if it sucked, we’d leave.

That second-thought film was indeed, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, and for the next hour and a half, we sat silently in that theater, completely transfixed by what we saw on the screen. We left the Crest that evening buzzing about this new monster – with a charred red and green sweater, crumpled fedora, and a blade-tipped glove that slashed his victims in their dreams as they slept. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we’d just witnessed the birth of one of horror’s most iconic characters – Freddy Krueger.

Wes Craven’s career was a good one – and he unleashed an impressive list of terror on moviegoers that includes The Last House on the LeftThe Hills Have EyesSwamp ThingThe Serpent and the RainbowShockerScream, and Red Eye, to name a few. His films were mostly all received very well by horror fans, and the character of Ghostface from the Scream series arguably has become the most famous mask in cinema since John Carpenter’s Halloween. In my mind however, what towers above all else is the Gloved One – Freddy. And this is where we can easily bridge Craven’s world to that of themed entertainment.

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