Posts Tagged ‘dreams

01
Sep
12

Gothika – High Gloss Crap

an Edge review

It’s 2003. Halle Berry has been on a roll. X-men, Swordfish, Die Another Day, X2 and then oh.. oh Gothika. Well it makes sense you can’t get to play a Mutant, Spy, and a woman who shows her breasts and not expect to get stuck into a flop. To be fair this movie isn’t a TOTALFLOP. I’d give it 4/10. It gets that extra  point taking it from a 3 to a 4 simply because I didn’t pay 10 dollars to see it in a theatre. If I have to sit in a theatre, surrounded by chatting Cathy’s checking their cellphones and playing angry birds AND be disappointed  – then it’s terrible. But if it’s a “meh” kind of flick that I can watch whenever I want for basically nothing then I have to judge it differently. Theenvironment being my leather office chair and a computer monitor vs. a huge amazingly beautiful raven black screen that depicts images and bass sounds that prove movies only have 1 volume – 11.

Above you’ll see the opening scene, yeah that’s Penelope Cruz who plays Chloe. That’s how the movie starts. 50 something seconds in and I am looking at her face, a blurred background and an amazing quote to get the ball rolling.

 

“He opened me like a flower of pain and it felt goooood. He sank into me and set me on fire, like he always does. Made me burn from the inside out.”

 

Of course this is a great catcher. I’m 50 seconds in and I’m listening to a poetic quote about fucking. If I was a fish I’ve taken the bait. I am curious, I want to know what is going on and sadly like a fish, when I finally get pulled in on the line at the end of the movie – I am not excited to learn that I am on a boat, on ice and will soon be dinner. The end is a disappointment, like the life of a caught fish. If you watch a lot of horror movies you’ll pick up on the foreshadowing, the small fragments in the first 10 minutes that reveal and open the entire movie’s plot to those who are movie fanatics (and book fanatics too you guys get to be labeled as analytical and smart!) For the rest of you – you’ll see some of it coming and even the final ending twist, well the last 2 they throw at you are predictable to just about everyone. The initial twist isn’t as predictable but the movie’s two themes do add to most of the foreshadowing.

 
The themes? Water/Reflections and that ever fun loving “Is what is going on Supernatural, Psychological, or a little of both?  Is it all in her head, is Dr. Grey crazy? Is Chloe telling the truth and what about Robert Downey Jr? Oh yeah he’s in it  playing that quirky but ever loving character minus the Iron Man facial hair and that badass suit of his. Oh and since I haven’t mentioned it yet. Dr. Grey is a head psychologist at a clinic for the insane. Her Husband played by Charles S. Dutton is everyone’s boss. Downey is her co-worker who you can tell has the school boy crush on her and the Sherriff is John Carroll Lynch.

 

The soundtrack is horror movie standards. Hard piano notes in-between conversations, whispers in the wind of a female voice and that light melodic yet haunting track to alert you that shit is going to hit the fan. Oh and Limp Bizkit’s “Behind Blue Eyes” as the ending credit track. Granted Halle Berry doesn’t have blue eyes but since Fred Durst aka Limp Bizkit does I guess that passes as credibility. This is my warning that going out to buy it for background music is a waste of your time and your money.
The movies camera angles, jump shots, fade in’s and other transitions are fine. They don’t get too annoying and there is even a scene where Dr. Grey is remembering something SUPER TERRIBLE THAT SHE HAS DONE (oh God no!) and it plays the scene backwards, aka like a VHS tape rewinding. Yes there is a fast lighted dream sequence with the expected blood thrown against the wall in long splashes, screaming,  camera shaking and more lighting gone to hell – but, BUT!!! Gothika does this right. By the time I realized this kind of shit was going on it was over with. Like seeing a TORNADO land and going “oh fuck I gotta go…” and then the Tornado is gone before you can string together a listing of your favorite words emphasized by “FUCK.”

     SPOILER ALERT – So this is where you stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie or have any intention of seeing it and want to be surprised. You should take note that you won’t really be that surprised because the movie is not as twisty in plot as a twizzler, it’s more twisty like the yellow brick road. There are some turns and twists but the damn thing’s golden and laid out pretty straightforward. (See comparison below)

 

 

The movie totally goes off its questioning if everything you are watching is either real or fake by blatantly pointing out that Dr. Grey is possessed and that’s what leads her to kill her husband the pervert who kidnaps girls, rapes and tortures them and then kills them with the help of the tattooed sheriff whose also been raping Penelope Cruz every night. Did you catch all that?

None of it is in her mind so even if she was on drugs like Thorazine that great question of “is this real?” that the viewer is supposed to struggle with is a mute point before the halfway marker. We’ll even ignore the ghost kid at the end who the bus drives right through – reaching out desperately for help from Dr. Grey. Also let’s ignore Dr. Greys ending speech about solving her problem, locking it up, throwing away the key etc. Obviously she can see dead people, it’s what happens when the head bosses daughter gets raped, tortured and killed by your ever so loving husband and then possess you and has you brutally slaughter him with an axe and bathe in his blood. Oh and for all of you who saw Halle Berry naked in swordfish, no this won’t be occurring here. Though like any good horror movie stereotype there is a shower scene. With a dozen or two women – whose faces get all distorted after Dr. Grey lets the cold water hit her face, distorting her perception of reality (or possession by evil natural spirit influenced event – whatever.) Oh and if you do see this and you can’t figure out the sheriff was in on it most of the time and is the tattooed asshole then you need to watch more horror. I feel like the first 30 minutes the movie was decent, and then it all became a huge pile of crap. Not just because I could predict and smell said shit, but because it was like they had me hooked and then this is where they lead me. They lead me here. Unlike b/c/d horror films who don’t hide how terrible they are. This is a high class trash. A huge pile of shit covered in gold glitter. Its shit but made to look nice.

4/10 if you can watch it for free and at home.
3/10 if you are somehow able to pay money and watch this in a theatre. (So instead give me your money or donate it to a third world country or a good cause.)

This movie isn’t torturous so it doesn’t get the GITMO SEAL OF APPROVAL but it didn’t leave me feeling like I just went through an excellent story, experienced some form of horror and left with a smile on my face and popcorn salt in my beard.

 

Netflix believes I would like these movies based on Gothika:

 

Haven’t seen The Glass House but the first two are true horror classics and in no way should be compared to Gothika – unless it’s opposite day.

 

 

21
Apr
11

Insidious? More like Ridicirous

a Primal Root written Review

Man, do I love a good ghost story. I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to ghost stories, haunted houses and supernatural tales in general, but that does not mean the idea of ghosts doesn’t creep me out. This is why I am so saddened that there are so few GREAT haunted house tales at the googaplex anymore.

They are a rarity.

Which is why I had moderately high hopes for Insidious, the latest film from director James Wan (First Red Flag) the director behind the original Saw and the still born Dead Silence. It is also from the producers of Paranormal Activity (Second Red Flag) . But, hey, the early reviews said it was something pretty spooky and the trailers had me curious so I figured I’d give it a go. So, my date and I curled up in our seats and waited for the scares.

"I am scared."

The story concerns a young married couple and their three youngsters who are living in an old, creaky, fire hazard home that’s obviously haunted from the second you lay your eyes on it. It’s also about twelve stories tall. The Dad (Patrick Wilson) is a school teacher who is never home and leaves his lovely songwriting, baby making, wife (Rose Byrne) home alone to deal with the supernatural happening. Early on their young son, (Ty Simpkins) falls down a ladder in the attic after his negligent parents allow him to wonder off in their death trap of a house. Of course, the kid goes into a pseudo coma that cannot be diagnosed and the haunting gets more severe. So they more to nice, boring, modern house…

And shit gets even worse.

The family calls in some paranormal investigators, psychics in gas masks and the whole things plays out like a pitch to Universal Halloween Horror Nights.

"I am concerned."

To my amazement the first half of this film did an okay job of delivering some genuine intrigue and a handful of jolts. But even as these scares were being delivered I couldn’t help but feel like there were gaping holes in the story here. Like there are entire reels missing from the story. The character development is left at establishing how everyone is related and their method of income. There’s really nothing else there for us to hold onto as far as knowing these characters. The exist, they are scared, and that’s all you need to know. And Dad’s a teacher. Okay, let’s move on.

There’s also a great example of missing film when Patrick Wilson sits on the front steps of the house with Rose Byrne as she voices her concern over the supernatural presence in their house. She tells stories of all these creepy things that have happened to her while Patrick Wilson is away at work…things we as an audience never saw. Why are you telling us about the creepy events when you could be, you know, SHOWING us these things? Isn’t that one of the first rules of screenwriting? Don’t tell us. Show us.

BUTT SEX!

But, overlooking these short falls, the movie does excel in creating some excellent nightmare imagery. This is  when ‘Insidious’ really cooks. When Rose Byrne goes to take out the trash and her record changes to a different song and as she looks in the window she sees a small figure dancing to the music a couple rooms away. Or when Patrick Wilson’s Mom, Barbara Hershey, describes a nightmare she had where she encounters a dark presence in their son’s room. All these images and the way they are filmed and presented feel exactly how nightmares do and it’s chilling stuff.

Sadly, the film faulters in it’s final act when ‘Insidious’ shows it’s cards. Patrick Wilson goes tot he other side and we are shown WAY too much of that supernatural world these creatures inhabit. Some things are so much more horrifying when left to the imagination. As Dad faces off against the Darth Maul looking, hoof footed menace who loves tip toeing through the tulips, you get the distinct feeling the flick has completely jumped the shark.  My date actually mentioned how much the second half felt like an ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ episode, and she was spot on. It’s as if James Wan wrote his ass into a corner and took the lazy way out. Rather than paying things off with scares it transforms into a snooze fest as the audience begins looking at their watches wondering when it will all come to an end.

How the audience looked during the second half od Insidious.

The filmmaker tries to pull off a twist ending like his previous films, but anyone who is aware of his penchant for ham handed twists will see this one coming a mile away, and it’s a face palmer of a way to end things. What started out modestly interesting ends in a flash of empty spook house tactics that are somewhat fun to look at but don’t really work when it comes to tapping into the psychology of those watching hoping to go home hoping for that thrill of the ghost story to still be with them when they turn out the light to go to bed…

Stay Trashy!

-The Primal Root

24
Sep
10

Rotten Review Ep. 15: Return of the Living Dead 3


Hey Gang,

The Primal Root is back after a month off and to celebrate I am showcasing a piece of Trash Cinema featuring one of my all time favorite zombie femme fatales. That’s right, Ms. Julie Walker as brought to glorious undead life by the unfathomably gorgeous Melinda Clarke.

Get ready for a Special Guest Appearance from Ms. Jessica Critten (in her final appearance), grotesque body self mutilation, angry Latinos, tortured sewer dwelling do-gooders, half naked dancing zombies in chains and lederhosen, 2-4-5 Trioxin, dumb scientists, brain freeze bullets, teenagers listening to lite rock, necrophilia, terrible government security, brain munching and plenty of slimy, freakish canned zombies.

It’s a wild, bloody, stupid ride with Julie and Curt as they tamper in God’s domain and end up paying the price. It’s not quite Bride of Frankenstein…hell, it’s hardly Bride of the Monster. But Return of the Living Dead cracks me up every time and you cannot deny the appeal of a beautiful  re-animated redheaded  zombie girl with metal stuff shoved through her flesh.

Well, I think I’ve sufficiently creeped you all out enough. Enjoy the latest offering from yours truly, The Primal Root, and The Rotten Reviews.

Stay Trashy!

– Root

06
Aug
10

Freddy vs. Jason: Adolescent Wish Fulfilled

a Primal Root review

For me, there was no bigger event film this past decade than Freddy vs. Jason. It was the film my friends I would talk about on the playground when I was in elementary school. Who would win? Who has the advantage? It was so much fun building these scenarios and debating who was the tougher monster between hanging from monkey bars and playing flag football. I think it was in those early discussions that I grew an allegiance to Jason Voorhees in a giant sandbox at DeSoto Trail Elementary. . We already had King Kong vs. Godzilla, Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman….where was Freddy vs. Jason? It was the movie all of us were dying to see. The years passed and I waited.

And then the news broke. It was actually going to happen after all these years of hoping, waiting, rumors, false reports and face palmingly weak leaked scripts it was finally happening. New Line was putting into production the one film I’d been wanting to see since I was in short pants. Freddy vs. Jason. I could not have been happier. For the majority of 2003 leading up to the release of the film I could not stop watching both franchises over and over, hyping myself up into a frenzy over the upcoming film to the point I knew my friends wished I would get caught between the two slashers and be quieted for good.

The big day finally arrived. I put on m Jason costume and hockey mask as a sign of allegiance, and headed to the midnight showing. I got there early and rushed to the best seat in the house. Turns out only myself and two of my friends had dressed up as who we were rooting for (two Jasons, one Freddy) so we stuck out like the awkward, over enthusiastic horror fans we are.

Freddy vs. Jason Opening Night!

The lights dimmed, the trailers ran…and then the movie began.

Freddy vs. Jason begins with Krueger narrating his life story over footage of his final moments and his life as the eternal dream demon, Fred Krueger. It’s been almost a decade since Freddy has seen any action, Springwood has hushed up those who remember him and white washed everything regarding his very existence. Without the children’s fear, Freddy is rendered powerless to haunt their dreams and has been dwelling in Hell ever since.

Freddy Krueger reminds you to brush and floss every day.

But, being the evil genius he is, Freddy has found a way to make the children of Springwood remember. By resurrecting the towering hunk of unstoppable rotted death, Jason Voorhees. Freddy is hoping Jason can spark some fear into the kids, and in the process, bring the legend of Freddy back to life.

The plan goes swimmingly at first. Jason rips up some Elm Street residents, the kids start getting scared and Freddy is again able to enter their nightmares. But there’s one  little bit of the equation Freddy left out. See, Jason is REALLY good at what he does. He may not be the high concept killer Freddy is but Jason knows how to get the job done, quickly and efficiently which might be why he always has the higher body counts.  Jason kills just about everyone within machete shot where Freddy brings in a kill total of…1. Way to bring your A game, bro.

Freddy vs. Jason is a blazingly cool and tantalizing idea. The simple day dreams of these two laying into each other is the stuff of childhood fantasy. And that’s what we went in expecting, a none stop battle to the death between the greatest icons of modern horror. One thing we hadn’t counted on was all the teen melodrama which makes up almost three quarters of the film.

A riveting scene with our teen protagonists.

See, there’s this plot about a girl named Lori who lives at 1428 Elm Street now with her psychiatrist father.  Lori’s Mom was murdered in the house and her pops is made up to be a red herring, which if you buy into, you’re a complete idiot. Of course Freddy killed her. Anyway, Lori’s boyfriend Will saw the murder go down and is now locked up at Westin Hills (REMEMBER! From Nightmare 3 & 5? Yay, for references to previous films!) with his buddy Mark on Lori’s father’s orders.

Jason sneaks into Lori’s house, kills a jerk, Will escapes and finds Lori and blah, blah, blah, did anyone care? Does anyone care now? It’s all just filler and a means to slow the pace of the film to a snail’s crawl and deliver inane, moronic dialog that helps to crap all over both franchise mythologies.

“Freddy’s afraid of fire, Jason’s afraid of water…how can we use that?”

And the problems roll on from there.

When the shit did Jason become afraid of the water? Sure, deep down subconsciously (does Jason even have a subconscious?) which is where Freddy is able to tap into it. It makes sense, seeing as he drowned at Crystal Lake (or, kind of drowned but didn’t and doggy paddled to shore and decided to never inform his Mom of this fact) but in the real world? Jason’s been literally living in and around the lake for decades! He doesn’t show much fear of the water in the real world during Freddy vs. Jason, but the sad thing is, that single line uttered by Lori has ingrained in many young horror fan’s minds that Jason really is afraid of water. Like, you could turn a hose on him and he’d run away like a frightened little girl. This is simply not the case and we all know better.

LIES!

Then again, I guess the writers had to give Jason some kind of weakness in order to balance the fight. Because let’s face it, once Freddy enters the real world and is face to face with Jason, that fucker’s dead as Dillinger. But of course, Freddy has taken kung-fu lessons while in Hell and busts that shit out all over Jason’s ass in a surreal and comical fight sequence at the end of the film.

It’s this battle royal that the two titans get into, Round 1 in Freddy’s Dream World & Round 2 at Camp Crystal Lake, that Freddy vs. Jason really starts cooking. The battle commenced and it was a sight to behold .It’s insane and over the top and quite cool in my book.

Freddy continually gets the upper hand thanks to his intelligence and agility but his cockiness tends to get the better of him. Jason just takes the damage, as always, and keeps on ticking. Sure, he looks like he’s hurtin’, but it’s Jason Voorhees. To him, everything is just a flesh wound.

I'm fine!

My favorite moment in the fight comes when the two are on the pier together, lit by the burning cabins in the distance, Jason rips of Freddy’s arm, Freddy sticks Jason’s machete deep int he hockey masked killer’s chest. The music sweels, the  two lock eyes and exchange hate filled glares before a huge explosion erupts sending both boogiemen hurtling in Crystal Lake. It’s almost like a final goodbye, like a strange, slasher twist on that last kiss between guy and girl before they both part ways. It was THIS moment I had been imagining for years. When the two monsters, caked in blood and gore, gasping for air and on their last leg, starred into one another’s eyes. Two legends fueled with hate, one of pure evil and the other eternally seeking vengeance, embraced in death.

I’m not going to lie, I got a little misty eyed from beneath my hockey mask on first viewing.

There’s still some debate as to who won this thing. Freddy fans will always say it was Freddy and Jason’s fans will say Jason is the clear victor. . I dunno, it’s really up in the air and it has to be by design. I’ve heard some fans on both sides griping about this but it’s fine with me. I half expected it to end that way going into the movie. The moments between Freddy and Jason were so entertaining I can forgive them for not wanting to please just one side or the other.

Freddy vs. Jason works pretty well as a Friday the 13th film but is probably around the same level of artistic merit in the Nightmare franchise as Part 4: The Dream Master. It’s an event film, pure and simple. Not something made to be anything more than pure entertainment for the masses and a tip of the fedora/hockey mask to the loyal fans who had been waiting since the mid 80’s for this sucker.

Simply beautiful...

The sad thing is how boring and lack luster the segments featuring our teen leads are. They just seem more annoying and useless than usual but that could just be because I am so anxious to see what the title of the film is promising. I just remember wishing the film would get moving whenever our teenage pals showed up to furrow their brows and talk about how much it sucks their friends are dead. Come on, Freddy vs. Jason, let’s get to the main event!

It’s old hat with a bit of a twist in matching the two guys together. Freddy’s charisma is a great foil to Jason’s silent brutality and it makes for an enjoyable viewing experience when they are in one another’s company.

This was a film I had dreamed about for years and now I own it. I have seen it numerous times, I have the poster rolled up in a tube. What was once simple childhood playground debates is now set in stone. It went down, the masters duked it out, and now it’s over. I left the theater with a smile on my face. I had witnessed what we had always talked about. I wonder what my childhood friends thought of it? It took me back to that time and I think that’s the major appeal of the movie to me. It’s not just the ultimate battle of  horror pop culture icons, but a trip down memory lane and a loving tribute to the slasher form.

Both franchises had completely run out of steam at this point. The Friday the 13th series had crapped out Jason X and Wes Craven had delivered the poetic and  darkly beautiful New Nightmare as a final chapter for Freddy. But if both series wanted to bring their heads to the surface and gasp one final breath before plunging into the annals of trash cinema history for good, I was pleased they did it together.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

29
Apr
10

Primal Root’s Rotten Reviews presents: A Nightmare on Elm Street part 2: Freddy’s Revenge

a-nightmare-on-elm-street-2-freddys-revenge-poster1

Hey Gang,

I’ve been recently experiencing terrible nightmares every night for the past couple of weeks. They all involve dream demon Freddy Krueger attacking me in incredibly vulnerable situations. Usually with me picking something up and not having pants on.

Perhaps there are some clues to be found in Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge! The notoriously homo erotic follow up to Wes Craven’s original masterpiece. We will discuss both the underlying sexual meaning and imagery in the film as well as mercilessly riffing on it. Get ready for exploding birds, extreme gym shower towel snapping, phallic anacondas, sweaty ball sack adjustments, seedy gay S&M joints, Bob Shaye in a leather tank top, a fuckable version of Meryl Streep, caramel filled killers, off road mayhem, Clu Gulager, human faced dogs, more gay subtext than you can shake a suggestively shaped stick at and al kinds of Freddy Krueger part fouls.

Check out The Primal Root’s Rotten Reviews presents A Nightmare on Elm Street part 2: Freddy’s Revenge and let me know what you think!

your pal,
– Root

 

06
Apr
10

Don’t Fall Asleep: A Nightmare on Elm Street Revisited

a review by The Primal Root

It’s easy to forget Wes Craven’s original 1984 masterpiece, A Nightmare on Elm Street. The horror audiences experienced when the lights first dimmed in theaters all those years ago and were introduced to a new boogieman. The ghost of child murderer. A man burned alive by one generation whose children’s lives, their futures, are now in danger due to their actions. Wes Craven created a classic horror film. One that holds up just as well today as it did in the 80’s. But more importantly, like Romero’s Night of the Living Dead or Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a product of it’s time encompasses the Reagan Era, post Vietnam/Cold War generation. The notion that those horrible deeds done by a generation before us will be payed for by the blood of those being born. We are inheriting new life as well as paying for the misdeeds of those fading away.

Yes, it’s easy to forget what A Nightmare on Elm street represents. In the wake of the film’s success came the assembly line of sequels incapable of holding a flickering candle to the original Nightmare. Freddy became a cartoon character rather than the boogieman and in the process diminished any form of fear the audience may have carried for the child killer. The series became less about character and more about spectacle. Less about scare and more about effects. And the genesis of A Nightmare on Elm Street, the whole purpose of the original, became more diluted and washed away…

Now, on the eve of the A Nightmare on Elm Street relaunch I feel is the perfect time to take a look back at one of cinema’s most influential and groundbreaking films. Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.

The Original Nightmare Kids : From left: Rod, Tina, Glen and Nancy

Our film begins with Tina, an attractive teenage girl, running through a dark and steamy labyrinth of pipes and metal. Running from something stalking her in the shadows. A horribly scarred and disfigured man in a red and green striped sweater and equipped with a glove with blades fastened to the tip of each finger. This is Freddy’s boiler room. A place representative of all the things our society tries to cover up and forget about.The subterranean. Freddy closes in for the kill as Tina screams in terror and jolts up in her bed…it was all a nightmare. But the four slices down the front of her nightgown are far from a fantasy. There’s something terribly wrong on Elm Street.

The very next morning as Tina and her friends Nancy, Glen and Rod head to school it is implied that they are all suffering from the same unsettling dreams. All the teens try to shrug it off until the night Tina is brutally, mercilessly butchered during a sleep over. The murder takes place before her boyfriend Rod’s eyes only he cannot see her attacker and is incapable of helping. And Tina’s bloody, mid-air death might be the best in the series. Her death scene is ferocious and disturbing and taken in from the perspective of the fully awake and helpless Rod the audience can clearly imagine how deeply mortifying this moment is.

This scene is a masterpiece in the annals of horror and sticks with the viewer long after it occurs. Unlike later Nightmare film which rely heavily on set pieces and elaborate creature effects, this sequences focuses instead on the slicing of young flesh and the spilling of warm blood. This focus on the organic, the human makes the phantasmal seem real as well as the consequences. And Craven stays true to this concept throughout A Nightmare on Elm Street and it proves to be one of the pictures greatest strengths.

Craven uses the mix of the organic and the phantasmal with an arsenal of trick shots to find unique and twisted ways to unsettle the audience, keeping them on edge. Like the diabolical murder of Glenn where a spinning room is employed and gallons of fake blood are pumped up through his mattress creating an enormous geyser of blood. As presented to the audience the bed is on the floor and the blood comes up out of the mattress with incredible force. The affect of this clever, simple idea is instant and unforgettable. It’s a shot that clearly expresses the rage and pure violence backing Krueger’s attack. He annihilates Glenn with such power that the guy comes squirting from his bed as if he was put in a giant blender set to puree.

Glen once Freddy's done with him.

But this nightmare violence would mean nothing without Craven’s intelligent and strong characterizations. One would do A Nightmare on Elm Street a great disservice if they didn’t bring up Heather Langenkamp’s portrayal of our young final girl, Nancy. A child of divorce who must cope with her alcoholic mother and an absent father. Nancy already has been acquainted with the dark underbelly of Elm Street. Of our American dream. And through her experiences in waking life she is equipped to connect the pieces between both her dreams and reality. Heather brings Nancy to life as an independent, strong, resourceful and incredibly intelligent young woman and is one of the finest , most enduring examples of slasher cinema’s final girl.

It’s also interesting to note Craven’s depiction of the family unit here. Early on the first adult we are introduced to is Tina’s mother who awakens Tina from a night terror only to scold her. She is then interrupted by an obviously drunk boyfriend who asks, “Are you coming back to the sack or what?” Later, through dialog between the teens characters, we learn Tina’s father abandoned the family a decade prior. Nancy’s father, Don, a police detective in Springwood, is comparatively absent from her life. He is patronizing and debasing towards her when she asks for his help but is quick to exploit her as bait when it helps his investigation. Nancy’s mother, Marge, is a sickeningly dependent alcoholic who hides bottles of booze all over the house, including the linen closet in the off chance she might need to swig her feel good juice while she’s walking from her bedroom to Nancy’s.

Not to mention both of Nancy’s parents, like all the Elm Street parents, are murderers. They are among the parents who took justice into their own hands and killed Fred Krueger when the judicial system failed. Their guilt, their sin, are all passed on to their children in the form of the demonic and purely evil Krueger. Thus, A Nightmare on Elm Street literalizes the notion that the sins of the father are passed on to the children. We will pay in blood and treasure for the misdeeds of those who came before us.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the most important films of the last fifty years. A wellspring of creativity and ideas which maintain great currency within the genre. It gave American culture it’s most identifiable boogieman in the form of Freddy Krueger. Although, in this original Nightmare Freddy had yet to become the fun, silly M.C. he would transform into over the course of the franchise. Instead, he is a real monster, a mean spirited creep who enjoys torturing, molesting, and killing children. He’s a sadist who delights in inflecting pain on others with a wrath that is inescapable. Maybe that’s one of the things that’s so damn scary about Freddy in A Nightmare on Elm Street. That through supernatural means Freddy, a murdered child killer, has gained almost infinite powers to haunt us forever and murdering us in our most intimate and private of places…our minds. And there’s no escape. Because sooner or later we all must fall asleep. So Freddy isn’t only eternal…he’s unavoidable.

The mantra throughout A Nightmare on Elm Street is “Don’t fall asleep.” This is Nancy’s urgent warning and her battle cry. In the context of A Nightmare on Elm Street this line means much more than simply avoiding a confrontation with our razor gloved antagonist. It’s warning us not to be lulled into a false sense of security. To dig out the truth, to question authority, to fight corruption, lies and complacency. Do not give in, do not give up and…

Don’t Fall Asleep.




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