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Without this cult film, which gave the world one of the archetypes of the genre and an incredible number of sequels, it is unlikely that even one list of the greatest horror films would be complete. And understandably so: a more influential horror film is still to be found. The creators of Nightmare and Friday the 13th are to be thanked for shaping the uncomplicated canons of the proverbial slasher genre as we're used to seeing it. But unlike the mundane and, by today's standards, rather uninventive Friday, the story of the dream killer goes further and makes sense of the already familiar plot structure of alternating murders of promiscuous young men in a mystical way.
One of the main strengths of "Nightmare" can definitely be considered its central antagonist. Freddy Krueger, who has become one of the most memorable characters in horror history, is not a soulless killer like Michael Myers, but the embodiment of the eminently repulsive (interesting that green blood spurting out of him now seems almost a must in thrash films). In addition, Freddy plays with his victims, inventing for each one a new way of killing them. How will the next character die? That's the main point of slashers, and director Wes Craven keeps the audience in suspense by inventing for each of the characters one death more horrible than the next.
The constant balancing of the characters on the edge of reality and dreams adds extra tension to the film. This conditionality unties the hands of the authors and allows them to lead the spectator together with the characters from scene to scene in a state of constant anxiety and fear of the interpenetration of these two worlds. And the eerie and minimalistic electronic soundtrack by Charles Bernstein helps tremendously in this.
Also, Johnny Depp played his first role here - and the film is worth watching if only for the sake of his charming character in a funny short top, falling asleep at the most inopportune moment time after time.