A Nightmare in Gautham: An Introduction
An Introduction to the Introduction
Back in 2010, when I was still using LiveJournal, I decided that I would embark on what I thought would be a cool little project to keep my mind working. I would write about each of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, leading up to the release of the remake, starring Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger. I enjoyed doing this a lot, and I had several readers who seemed to enjoy it. Since Warner Bros. has finally seen fit to release the original series on Blu-ray, I’ve decided to bring those essays back over the coming weeks. I’ve decided to revise these essays and perhaps add/excise some material. If you enjoy them, please pass the link on to other Nightmare fans, aka, Fred Heads (I guess…). Following the Nightmare on Elm Street essays, I plan on delving into Superman on film, leading up to the release of Man of Steel.
I hope you enjoy!
The Original, Albeit Revised Introduction
When I was nine years old, I got it in my head that I was ready to watch scary movies. Part of it was insomnia. I had already begun to suffer from it by then and would sneak out of my bedroom to watch TV. HBO and Cinemax had a whole bunch of interesting choices, most of them full of violence, sex, and horror. Another part of it was surroundings. Before Mom went back to work (I was eight) she would watch Dialing for Dollars on the Providence CBS affiliate Channel 6 (it’s an ABC affiliate now), which would often show (very much edited) horror films. I’m sure the last part of it was nine-year-old bravado. I was a big boy now. So I told Mom I was ready to watch scary movies with her and she nodded. About a week later, she reminded me of my claim and told me about two movies she’d watched on HBO, back-to-back.
“They’re called Nightmare on Elm Street,” she said. “They’re about this guy with a claw who kills teenagers in their dreams. If you die in a dream, you die in real life. The first one was very scary, the second one stunk. I’ll let you watch them if you think you’re ready.”
I said I was.
So the next Friday night, HBO aired both A Nightmare on Elm Street and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, hosted by Freddy Krueger. Her assessment on them was pretty accurate.
There is a belief among some people that horror movies and children don’t mix. Maybe they don’t. As an adult, I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and paranoia; but I don’t think that’s from seeds planted in my mind by Freddy but rather natural inclinations, not to mention a good five years of being bullied. I became obsessed with Freddy Krueger, which was great because a few short months later, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors came out and–after much begging–Mom took me to see it.
The Nightmare on Elm Street movies (or as people had taken to call them as early as the third flick, the Freddy movies) were something big in my childhood. Not as big as Star Wars or comic books, but pretty close. Without those movies, I may not have become aware of Stephen King, which means I may not have been interested in trying out his books, which means I may never have bought The Shining on my thirteenth birthday, and may never have tried my hand at writing, and….
Well, you get the idea. You can thank Freddy for this.
Anyway, even though I know they’re mostly bad, I still occasionally watch them. I’ll watch the first one far more than the others, though, followed by Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and then the third flick. But make no mistake, I love ’em all!
When it was announced that there would be a remake, I sighed. I’m not against remakes per se, but I was a bit bummed that a piece of my childhood that meant so much to me was going to be played with by someone other than its creator. When I saw who was behind it, I groaned. I had sat through their remake of The Amityville Horror and the most horrific thing about that movie was that I’ll never regain those precious hours of my life.
When it was announced that Jackie Earle Haley would be playing Freddy Krueger, my interest piqued. He was getting a lot of good buzz for Little Children and Watchmen (the former is a pretty good movie and his performance is great, the latter has brilliant moments but is merely good overall; certainly no Citizen Kane-of-Comic-Movies as some would have you believe, but Haley’s performance is, again, great).
Then came the Tweets and blogs and the normal press and…well…by July 2009, I was eager to see the movie. What can I say, I’m easy. To prepare, I watched all the original movies on DVD nearly a year before the movie would be released. And once the movie was released, well….
So over the course of the next ten weeks (usually on Thursdays), I’ll be releasing a newly revised essay on my thoughts about A Nightmare on Elm Street and its sequels. If you’ve read these before, I hope you enjoy rereading them. If this is your first time experiencing nightmares in Gautham, well, I’ll be here to guide you. Take my hand, but be careful for the knives on my fingers….
Posted on March 6, 2013, in Memoir, Movies, Nightmare In Gautham, Opinion, Website Fun and tagged criticism, freddy krueger, Halloween, horror, memoir, movies, Nightmare on Elm Street, pop culture, wes craven, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.