“Nightmare On Elm Street” slashes its way to Blu-ray
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A Nightmare on Elm Street (Blu-ray)
One, two, Freddy’s killing on Blu.
As New Line prepares to unleash an updated version of dream stalker Freddy Krueger, the studio revisits Wes Craven’s original 1984 horror and gives it the Blu-ray polish.
Along with Michael Myers (“Halloween”) and Jason Voorhees (“Friday the 13th”), Krueger formed the holy trinity of 1980s horror icons. A child murderer who avoided jail time on a legal technicality, Krueger was hunted and mortally burned by vigilante parents, only to return and haunt his tormentors’ children in their dreams.
Sadly and surprisingly, Craven’s “Nightmare” plays better in my memories than it does in my Blu-ray player. Was Englund’s Freddy always this corny? Craven, who moved to “Nightmare” from the aggressive “Hills Have Eyes,” starts off making a pedestrian, teen hump horror film. Pert, blonde Tina (Amanda Wyss) confesses to dorky best friend Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) that she’s having disturbing dreams about a scarred stalker with knives for fingers. But both girls are too busy fighting off horn dogs Jsu Garcia and Johnny Depp (in his feature-film debut) to do much about it.
“Nightmare” takes a turn for the macabre when Nancy imagines a recently mutilated Tina roaming the halls of their high school in a bloodied body bag. At once, Craven’s vision becomes a sophisticated transition between reality and a terrifying dream-like state, with the characters (and the audience) never really sure which one is which. The groundwork is laid for a rewarding franchise that has its ups and downs but was always good for both laughs and scares.
Without having revisited it, I’m choosing to believe Enguland found hi Freddy groove in the scarier sequel, “Freddy’s Revenge,” which Craven refused to sanction. It’s unfortunate New Line didn’t use the release of the new “Nightmare” as an excuse to dive into a proper box set for the series. This original Blu-ray gave me a taste for Freddy’s carnage, but the “Nightmare” exploration ends here for now.
Special features on the Blu-ray include two commentary tracks; three brief alternate endings (including Craven’s preferred “happy” ending); clips on the influence “Nightmare” had on the health of New Line as a studio; a “making of” reel; an interactive trivia track; the feature-length “Focus Points,” which delves into behind-the-scenes features; and more.
The movie – **1/2 out of 4
The Blu-ray – ***1/2 out of 4