Friday, October 1, 2010

Bald Mountain Night 1: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Each day in October, intrepid blogger Alex Boivin will watch a horror movie. These movies are all new to him and are part of his month-long effort to fill in his gaps in the horror canon. If he doesn't die from fright, you just might get to read about about his exploits in cinema during the Halloween season.

A few years ago, before Nights on Bald Mountain's frutition, I made the ambitious move of watching Halloween and Friday the 13th because I felt I had gone too long without a proper understanding of the 80's slasher film. Unfortunately, the third great pillar of that storied genre, Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street franchise remained unwatched...until now.

I was reasonably acquainted with the Elm Street series as it had generally seeped its way into pop culture by the time I was growing up. Heck, it has both a Will Smith and a Fat Boys novelty rap song commemorating it! Mostly I knew of it through the Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" episode where Groundskeeper Willie becomes Freddy Krueger, which for those of you who haven't seen this movie, is probably how you know about it too. Heck, I could probably sing you all of the "One, two, Freddy's coming for you" song by memory before I saw this movie.

The story is simple enough, Freddy Krueger is an undead serial killer who invades teenagers' dreams and kills them in surreal, gory ways. I mean, it's a slasher: the story is that someone is killing teenagers, all these things need is a gimmick, right?

As cliched as the slasher has become, I found quite enough to like on Elm Street. The dreamscapes that Freddy kills his victims in were pretty creative (it's like Inception!) and Craven does some pretty sweet stuff such as turning Johnny Depp (in his first screen role!) into a giant pillar of blood. It may look kind of dated and I may be so jaded as to see right through the cliches, but I can understand why this is considered a classic and I probably would have been scared if I were born in 1970.

But was it scary? You can generally see the jump scares coming and I don't think I'll have trouble falling asleep tonight but that's not to say it isn't worthwhile; sometimes things are cliched because they're good.

Final Verdict: 59 Congos