A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Horror
New Line || R - 91 minutes - $24.98 || April 13, 2010
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2010-05-10


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Wes Craven
Writer(s): Wes Craven
Cast: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Johnny Depp


Theatrical Release Date: November 16, 1984


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Alternate Endings
  • Picture-in-Picture


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

1, 2, Freddy's coming for you. Wes Craven directs this trendsetting first film in the slash-hit series. Freddy (Englund) haunts the sleep of Elm Street teens. The results are terrifying and mind-blowingly innovative.

When kids on Elm Street all start dying in strange and weird ways, Nancy (Langenkamp) takes things into her own hands to try and figure out why. What she uncovers will not only destroy her life, but the lives of others.

Is there really need for a gigantic synopsis with this film? Any self-respecting horror fan has likely seen this film numerous times and knows exactly what goes on - Nancy and her group of friends (including Johnny Depp! - what's with big stars getting their start in slasher films?) slowly get picked off one by one in their dreams because their parents all banded together and killed Freddy years ago. This is the film that spawned 6 sequels and now a remake.

One of the things I love about the first Nightmare is the fact that the plot and characters are kept very simple - just about anyone can understand what's going on and what Freddy's motives are. For some reason, most kids in my generation grew up watching the horrific sequels where Freddy becomes more comedic and have never seen the serious side of him. It's really odd to watch the first film and jump to The Dream Child (#5), and see how much Freddy has changed (and for the worse). Granted, we expect the characters to go through some changes in sequels, but even Jason remained pretty much the same throughout all of his film (11 is we count Freddy vs. Jason).

The kids in Nightmare are as dumb as they could possibly get. It takes Nancy nearly forever to figure out a way to defeat Freddy (and how did she manage to set up so many booby-traps within 10 minutes?) and Langenkamp is possibly one of the worst actresses I have ever seen in the start of a horror series. Even though I've seen the outcome many times, I somehow wished Warner went back and killed her first. Johnny Depp and the rest of the cast of idiots also grate on my nerves, which is a wonder how the series progressed and added far more interesting characters later on (Dream Warriors).

But not all is bad, Newline and Craven did get a few things right. Freddy is an amazing character that they managed to squeeze for every frickin' penny they could, even launched a TV Series and Nintendo game from him. Nightmare on Elm Street is the start of a decent series of slasher flicks (just skip #2 - what a load of garbage) if you can ignore some really poor performances.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features are presented in HD (!)

For a Limited time, the Blu-ray includes a ticket (value $7.50) to see the remake.

Commentaries:
- Director Wes Craven, Co-stars Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon and Cinematographer Jacues Haitkin
- Director Wes Craven, Co-stars Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp and Ronee Blakley, Producer Robert Shaye and Co-Producer Sara Risher

Never Sleep Again (50 Minutes) - A very meaty 'making of' which delves very deep into how Freddy came to be, pre-production, production, casting, special effects and how Freddy has evolved over many different films and generations. Any fan of the film will want to sit through this. Which goes directly into...

The House that Freddy Built (22 Minutes) - A very common quote I've heard many times in my horror-loving days, it's very true that without Freddy, Newline wouldn't exist (well, they really don't know either...). Very interesting look into how Freddy turned a very minor studio into something big. I like to use that quote with Summit (just replace Freddy with Bella/Edward).

Alternate Endings (6 Minutes) - This serves up 3 different endings that could have happened. I still prefer the one that they chose.

Night Terrors (16 Minutes) - A lame-duck featurette which discusses dreams. Yawn.

Fast Track (PiP Track) - A simple trivia track. Seems really dated now considering how lavish some of the Blu-ray trivia tracks can be, this is just simple boring text.

Ready Freddy Focus Points (PiP Track) - Not really a Blu-ray exclusive since it appeared on the Infinifilm version of Nightmare on DVD, this track pops up with various scenes/alternate takes/making of from the film.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is presented in 1.85:1 (VC1) on a 50GB Disc. It's been a real hit-and-miss with catalog titles on the Blu-ray format, but I'm happy to report Warner has done a fantastic job making this 25 year old film look as best as it could possibly be. While there is no doubt grain present, it's thankfully not been removed or altered in any way. What you see is exactly how it should look. For those that imported the Canadian version years ago, dump it - the US version is way better.

Warner has included an English 5.1 DTS MA track for this release. The good news is this films sounds really damn good, the bad news is the audio can get a little out of sync in a few instances (classroom and jail). Since this film was originally 2.0 and has been converted to 5.1...you probably can see where an issue like that might happen. Personally, I didn't hear (or it's really see) a problem, and I imagine most people won't, but felt it was worth mentioning. As for the actual track - pretty darn good. Dialog can come across as a little muted, and some of the more action dependent scenes (Freddy at the end) get a wee bit too loud, but all and all it's a pretty good track for an older film.



.::OVERALL::.

One of the best slasher flicks of the 80's finally comes home to Blu-ray. With a good set of Special Features, better-than-average Picture and Audio quality for a film of its age, and a super-low price, it's a no brainer purchase. Now bring on the rest of them!