A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street

freddy krueger still

Todd & Craig continue their tribute to Wes Craven with another look at the classic that made Freddy Krueger a household name: A Nightmare on Elm Street.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Episode 2, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd:  Okay. Welcome to another edition of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I am Todd Kuhns,

Craig:  and I am Craig Higgins. 

Todd:  Here we are. Today, as promised, we are watching another one of Wes Clay Wes Craven’s flicks, called A Nightmare on Elm Street. Probably his, the one that really shot him into the stratosphere. Yeah. 

Craig:  That’s right. A modern classic of sorts. 

Todd:  Yeah. How long had it been since you’d seen this? 

Craig:  Since I seen this? You know, I don’t Oh, when we sat down to watch it on on DVD, I thought, you know, I I don’t know if I’ve ever sat down and and popped in the DVD and watched it from start to finish. It’s one of those things you catch on TV once in a while, and it’s so familiar to me. I’ve seen it, I don’t even know, probably hundreds literally hundreds of time, at this point. But it’s been a while, and to sit down and watch it from start to finish was kinda nice. I’d kinda forgotten that I really appreciated the the Whole film in its entirety. 

Todd:  This movie was like a cultural touchstone. I mean, when it came off, it was it was huge. I mean, I think it made back its budget, which is relatively modest, like we did in the 1st weekend. And it’s known as, the that’s basically the movie that put new line on this. Right? Right? 

Craig:  Yeah. The House of the Prebuilt. Yeah. 

Todd:  They were they were basically getting ready to declare bankruptcy right when this movie came out. They’d only made 1 other movie before. 

Craig:  Yep. So it 

Todd:  was, you know, Robert Jay, the producer, and his wife is actually in the movie. He’s a school teacher. And then this movie came out, and it just it was a huge hit. And, I mean, I remember I don’t remember when this movie came out, but I was old enough to remember when the 2nd movie was being advertised. I would go My dad at the video store, and we’d see these big posters for Freddie, Fred for Freddie’s revenge. 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Todd:  You know, he’s he’s a scarred guy and all that, and I was really curious about it. But it was when the dream master came out, The third one that was just huge. It was all over the place. 

Craig:  I just remember that this was one of those movies that I was young enough. My parents were pretty liberal on letting us whatever we wanted to. I mean, we were little kids watching, you know, like, Best Little Horror House in Texas and stuff, so they weren’t real, strict about what we could watch. But this was one of those that I wasn’t supposed to watch. Uh-huh. But my dad had it, on VHS somehow. 

Todd:  Oh, yeah? 

Clip:  And 

Craig:  it was one of those that I remember, you know, sneaking around and watching kind of in clips. And, watching it again, there were these iconic scenes that I remember, and and maybe not so much iconic, But I I I remember vividly being a kid and that scene where, early in the film where where we really kind of first see Freddie for the first time, and, he just does this gag where he he chops a couple of his fingers off and this I don’t know what it is. I mean, it doesn’t look like blood. It looks, you know, very much like a practical effect, but that just stuck with me as a little kid. That was something that really creeped me out. 

Clip:  Watch this. 

Craig:  And there are so many of those moments throughout that just have stayed with me till now. Yeah. 

Todd:  It was really weird. You know? We should get into that because I I noticed that was this sort of this weird theme of this self mutilation. I don’t know what to make of it, But, you know, obviously, Nancy is this girl who’s, what it starts out with this great intro where her her friend, Tina 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Todd:  Actually is is Clearly going through this dream. This is right after we see the glove being put together over in his hands. And then, and then it really just jumps right into it. Tina has this dream. She’s cornered by Freddie. She meets up with her friend, Nancy, who’s really the star of the film played by Heather Langenkamp. And, and her friends, I mean, just really establishes immediately this Sort of force them, with these 2, Tina’s boyfriend, Rod. Right? 

Craig:  Something like that. And he would yeah. 

Todd:  Rod who comes and goes pretty quickly, Who’s kind of the jerk of the group? 

Craig:  The tough guy, you know, kind of the bad boy of the of the group. 

Todd:  I had a heart on this morning when 

Clip:  I woke up, Tina. Had your Your name written all over it.   There’s 4 letters in my name, Rod. How could there be room on your joint for 4 letters? 

Todd:  And then, Glenn, who is, sort of, the guy who lives across the street from 

Craig:  the movie. The nice boy. Yeah. A nice, young, pretty Johnny Depp. 

Todd:  You know what’s interesting? What I what I remembered about this movie and what I What I saw again now seeing it, even it’s been a while since I’ve seen it too, were different. Nancy is not She’s not the Jamie Lee Curtis of this film. You know what I mean? Like, when you look at Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, she’s sort of the sweet innocent girl. She’s sort of You you imagine she’s not gonna curse. You know? She’s not gonna whatever. The Nancy in this movie is like she’s a spunky gal. Sure. Yeah.   She’s got an to her. I mean, 

Craig:  she, you know, she wears the pretty pink cardigans, and, she’s got her hair, you know, nicely permed and whatnot, but, she’s got an edge to her too. She’s not afraid to tell Freddie to fuck off or her mom or whoever else might need being told that. 

Todd:  Yeah. And I guess Wes Craven, is this something he does often take this female. It’s not really his signature, is it? Sort of taking out strong female protagonist? 

Craig:  I don’t know. I don’t think so. I mean, obviously, you know, there was The the trend of the final girl with, Jamie Lee Curtis and and the other slashers that followed this. And to some extent, it, you know, it it follows that same formula. It’s a pretty simple formula, really. It’s it’s the boogeyman. Mhmm. And and that’s something else that I have to think about when watching the the first film again is this was before we knew.   You know, Freddy’s so iconic now. I mean, he’s a character in his own right. You know, he exists as a character really outside of these films. You know, a lot of Kids these days probably know the character. Maybe you’ve never seen any of the movies. Mhmm. But when this movie came out, you know, we didn’t know who this character was. We didn’t know what the rules were.   And I think that that probably made it a lot scarier. You know? As as the sequels went along, Freddy Became more kind of a clown of of sorts, which which was still fun, in its own way, but, here, he’s really, you know, got that dark edge. You don’t you don’t know what expect, and he poses a real threat. 

Todd:  And that’s sort of the Freddy I grew up with was that clownish Freddy Freddy. You know? He’s always making these cute cracks and funny things. You get a couple cracks in this movie, but by and large, this is a pretty terrifying guy. 

Craig:  Sure. Yeah. Yeah. And I read that, initially, Craven’s idea for Freddy was was Pretty standard. I mean, he wanted him to be the kind of silent killer, in the same vein as Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees. And, really, if you pay attention first of all, Freddie only gets about 7 minutes, I think, I read of screen time in the whole film. 

Todd:  Yeah. 

Craig:  He he doesn’t say much. I mean, he’s really quippy, in the sequels, but that’s really a product of the sequels, and Craven really didn’t very much to do with that. So Yeah. The character kinda took on a life of his own even beyond what Craven had envisioned. 

Todd:  Yeah. The seeds of that of that humorous guy are Still there, definitely. Yeah. 

Clip:  Hey, Nancy. 

Craig:  No running in the hallway. 

Todd:  Mhmm. In fact, I think he really wanted this movie to end differently. I think 

Craig:  He did. 

Todd:  He wanted to have a happy ending. 

Craig:  That’s right. Yeah. I, he wanted it to, You know, with with at the end of the film, you know, Nancy realizes what it’s gonna take to deprive Freddie of his power, and and she does that. And That’s kinda where, Craven wanted it to end on on a happy note. Robert Shea, thinking of, of of money and and all that The produce. Wanted, yeah, wanted the potential were sequels, and so he wanted a more ambiguous ending. And, apparently, they shot several endings. They shot, Craven’s vision.   They shot vision, and then they shot a couple of scenes that were kind of a compromise. And one of those is what we ended up with. And I guess, I’ve I’ve heard that those alternate, endings are available. You can watch them on YouTube. I haven’t seen them. No. But, yeah. So it yeah.   He Craven was actually very much against the idea of any sequels at all, and wasn’t pleased that they decided to continue on with the franchise, and really distanced himself from it a lot until new nightmare. 

Todd:  Yeah. Which which was a great take on it. He gets very meta. Can really kinda t talk about 

Clip:  Right. 

Craig:  About that. Well and people really kind of, credit Craven with the whole meta horror phenomenon with with Scream. But, really, he had kind of dabbled in that with new nightmare just a couple of years before. 

Todd:  Oh, yeah. 

Craig:  New nightmare is is one of my, It may be my favorite in the franchise. I just think it’s so creative. Oh, yeah. It’s such a great return to its roots, and and really made Freddie Scary again, which was a nice way to kinda cap off the series. 

Todd:  You know, we’re gonna have to watch new nightmare again because I I agree. I I would almost put new nightmare above this movie. You know, this movie, as far as modern sensibilities go, again, I don’t think kind of like we said about, about the Wes Craven we watched last 

Craig:  Right. People Under the Stairs. 

Todd:  It wouldn’t really be made today in the same way. You mentioned Freddie only had, like, 7 minutes of screen time. You know? And the other thing that was really interesting to me is is once a couple people get killed off, Rod well, of course, Tina gets killed Right. In that really iconic scene where she’s dragged up the wall on a Yeah. 

Craig:  Amazing scene with the the rotating room, and it’s 

Todd:  it’s Awesome. And that was the that was the scene that scared the heck out of me as a kid. I mean, that was the one that had the most impact on me. It was it was just horrible. Of course, it has that sort of sexual overtone to it Do you know? And when you talk about rules, that’s you know, they’re the ones who have sex for the 1st time. Right. I actually thought it was really interesting as, Tina and her boyfriend Rod are having sex upstairs and Johnny Depp’s character, Glenn. Right? He’s downstairs, and he’s kinda having to hear it and listen to it because Heather’s care, Heather Lang comes from Nancy.   Yeah. She doesn’t wanna have anything to do you know, she’s clearly got the that’s that morality part of her. 

Craig:  Right. I think, Johnny Deppie, his line is Morality Sucks. Morality sucks. Right? Isn’t that Yeah. 

Todd:  It it was, like, so blatant and obvious that you have to forget. I mean, If this had been made after Scream, that kind of line would never have felt because it’s like, oh, come on. That’s so silly. But in that case, you know, it was really setting up the rules as you said. The the she dies, and, of course, they think that it’s Rod who killed her. So Rod gets put into jail and Rod gets strung up. Right? Then after about that point, the movie really, I hesitate to say, kind of has a lull. There’s a lot of sort of tense stuff, but not a lot of reality happening.   Nancy has her dreams in the school, and she’s kind of tormented a little bit by Freddie. So there’s that, But then I would say for a good may maybe 20 minutes. It’s it’s a lot of just the drama. Yeah. The family and her trying to stay awake and what that entails and the mother saying, oh, you shouldn’t be doing this and father coming in and her meeting in the park with her friend. I mean Yeah. And you and and 

Craig:  they’ve gotta build in the Position so that we know the backstory of what’s going on, which just is very convenient. You know? The the the story is, easily told by by her mother the backstory. You know, she saved these artifacts from this horrifying moment in her life so that she can kinda have a show and tell and tell Nancy what’s going on. 

Clip:  You wanna know who Fred Kruger was? He was a filthy child murderer who killed at least 20 kids in the neighborhood. 

Craig:  And as we were watching, you know, the 2nd death, a boyfriend, did that jail cell? Yeah. In the jail cell. When that happened, I was thinking, man, this is the 2nd death in the whole thing. And and at the time, I I I didn’t remember Glenn, getting killed later on. Like, this you know, for a slasher film, the body Count here is really low. I mean, it it’s only 3, which, you know, 3 people murdered is nothing to, You know? Bad an eye at. Right. But still But as far as the slasher genre is concerned, that’s relatively mild. 

Todd:  No. I mean, it’s not like, you know, a lot movies today where you sort of feel like there there’s like a quota. You know? Every 5 pages, there’s gotta be somebody dying in some way. Here, you really only have 4 people you’re focusing on, and then the parents as ancillary characters, and 3 of them die, and that’s it. You know? The mother dies, you know, toward The end. You know, you brought up that murder that was kind of interesting because I’m trying to I’m watching this, and I’m sort of trying to figure out the rules in a way, kinda trying to remind myself of the coherency. Mhmm. And and it’s it’s interesting, like, okay.   Something can happen in the dream, and then they’ll wake up and it’s happened to them in real life. Right? So, like, she burns herself. On the dream she wakes up, she’s burned. Somebody gets sort of cut or slashed in the dream, they wake up and they’re cut too or even even Their clothes are cut. Yeah. You know? But and so you you can see that happening, but the sense is that this stuff sort of has to happen in the dream, And it only kinda manifests itself in the real world in that way when they wake up, but then you have that scene where the hanging, Uh-huh. Where it’s like in the real world, that sheet of pay that sheet, presumably is dreaming it. Right? Yeah. 

Craig:  Right. 

Todd:  But it’s it’s actually itself in the real world to the point where the sheet is wrapping around his neck. It’s dragging him across the room. It’s pulling him up, and it’s tying itself up to the top. Mhmm. You know? I don’t know. Did that seem to you like I don’t know. Inconsistent with Sort of what I would imagine the rules to be of sort of what happens in the dream or what happens in reality and how they can reflect each other. 

Craig:  Being familiar with, the whole series, I think that it does Seem a little bit odd, you know, that that scene in particular. But looking at it as a stand alone film, you know, if I wasn’t familiar with the whole thing, that’s one the things that I think is so genius about you know, he takes this kind of standard formula of the slasher. You know? High school kids being stalked by some ominous presence, whatever. But by throwing it into the realm of dreams, he opens up the realm of possibilities for anything. Anything can happen. 

Todd:  Yeah. 

Craig:  So I didn’t question it all that much. I mean, now that, you know, if we wanna sit and talk about it, it it may seem like kind of a stretch, but If you give yourself over to that that notion that really kind of anything is possible, then I true. 

Todd:  Yeah. It kinda prevents you from picking the movie apart too. Right. It really does. You’re right. Yeah. And that’s kind of what’s so terrifying about it too is this idea. I mean, we all dream.   We dream every night. And whether we remember them or not, something’s going on. We’ve all had nightmares. We can all kind of and we’ve probably all had that experience once or twice where you you think something’s real and it turns out to be a dream and you, you know, you wake up. It’s just a really neat world to be playing between, you know, for a for horror movie, and I really believe he’s the 1st person to really do that in horror. Am I wrong? 

Craig:  You know, I can remember a movie. I wanna say dreamscape. Is that what it was 

Todd:  called? That’s correct. 

Craig:  That came before this. Dennis Quaid, I think was in that film. Yep. And and they that was more of a a psychological bent where scientists were kind of syncing up with people and entering into their dreams to kinda do therapeutic things, and there was kind of a you know, it was a horror film too, and there’s a nightmarish thing going on there. I think that was before. But as far as I can remember, that was the only One that had really kind of explored this to this nature. And and and you’re right. You know? It’s really relatable.   We’ve all had nightmares. We’ve all had dreams, and and sleep is something that you can’t escape. You know? You can stay awake for as as long as, you know, you physically can keep your eyes open, but eventually, it’s gonna catch up to you. There’s no escape. Mhmm. And I think that that, You know, adds to kind of the ominous nature of of the whole situation. 

Todd:  Yeah. There’s no escape from Freddie because you’re going to sleep at some point. Right. And it’s so funny how she goes all these processes to stay awake. Yes. You got the stay awake pills. 

Craig:  Right. She’s got the pill. She’s got the the secret coffee pot on there. 

Todd:  The secret coffee pot was hilarious. There’s these little moments of, like, comedy in there, which I think are kind of cute that he entered. I I thought that was one of those funny moments where the mother comes in to to pat Nancy down. Good night. Nancy’s eyes are closed. She’s pretending she’s sleeping, and her mom is, like, quietly collecting the cup and this coffee cup And this coffee pot and her no dose pills go in the and she walks out. Nancy just wakes up immediately, goes down, pulls out Plugged in 

Craig:  Yeah. 

Todd:  Turned on. Coffee pun sets it on the top. 

Craig:  Yeah. And and I think Nancy at one point says that she, has been awake for for 7 full days that she she read somewhere that the record was 11. Now I’m no scientist, but I’m thinking that 7 days with no sleep is is probably not a healthy thing. But, you know, that also kind of adds to the mystique. Zeke, you know, all along the way, people are kind of telling Nancy she’s crazy. She starts to question it herself. I I guess as a first time viewer, some people might be wondering, is this really going on? Is something really happening or is this girl just losing it? Is this how she’s processing these tragic losses of her friends? 

Todd:  That’s true. At some level, you wonder I think you wonder, is it all a dream? Alright. Is it is it a dream from beginning to end? And I know that’s one direction that that they talked about taking it by the end. But then again, the fact that it manifests itself so physically in the real world Right. You know, is what continually shocks you out of that sort of feeling, You know, that, oh, no. This is actually happening. This is really real. 

Craig:  Right. 

Clip:  What I 

Todd:  think is kind of not as believable is sort of the parents’ reactions throughout all this. 

Craig:  Well, we talked about this last week. I don’t know if if Craven himself had mommy, daddy issues, but the parents and people under the stairs that we looked at last week, the parents in In this film, not really role models as as far as parenting is concerned, so I don’t know what’s going on there. Maybe that’s Typical teenage perspective of your parents that they just have no idea what’s going on. They’re off in their own little world. There’s no way they could relate to you. So maybe that’s kind of thing. I don’t know. 

Todd:  Well yeah. And then this one almost even sets them against the kids. I I’m thinking about when when the first murder happens of Tina, and, of course, it happens when Nancy over at Tina’s house. And she walks in, and they discover the body. And it actually, Craven’s really good about just jumping into the store getting as much information as possible in such a short period of time. Yeah. Like, through that whole sequence, what does she do? They immediately the next scene is at the police station, and we see the police chief, and he comes in, and he says, what was she doing over there? And, you know, somebody says something about, and he says, no. I mean, you, and he turns and looks at Nancy, and instantly you realize, oh, that’s his her dad.   And then she he turns and he looks at the mother. 

Clip:  Alright. Look, I don’t wanna get into this now. God knows you need time. But I sure would like to know what the hell you were doing shacking up with 3 other kids in the middle of the night, Especially a lunatic delinquent like Lane.   Rod is not a lunatic, dad.   Do you have a sane explanation for what he 

Todd:  And there’s a look there, and he starts accusing her, like, what was she doing over there? Right. And immediately, you you surmise. Okay. They’re not together. They’re clearly divorced. There clearly some tension between mom and dad here, and it it’s so neat how that scene just does that with with just a few lines in about 20 seconds. Right. But but but the thing is, here’s what they do.   They just sort of start berating her. You know? What were you doing over there? What are you doing? He killed This guy and and instead of like this I’m sorry, honey. Are you okay? Yeah. You just witnessed this terrible trauma. Your really good friend just died. Maybe we should, you know, set aside for a moment the fact that you, you know, neglected your curfew and lied to us and take care of that matter. They don’t care. 

Craig:  Well yeah. And and apart from that, I mean, over the course of time, as as she’s realizing more about what’s going as Nancy’s realizing more about what’s going on, it’s not like she’s not communicating this to her parents. You know? She’s telling them exactly what’s going on, and they know. You know? They know the backstory. They know she’s not just making this up, but they let her go on thinking that she’s Crazy that she’s just losing her mind 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Craig:  Until, you know, the the last you know, the introduction to the last act of the film when the mom finally says, oh, well, yeah. You’re right. There was this child killer, and we killed him, but he’s gone now. You know? 

Todd:  So don’t worry. Don’t worry 

Craig:  about it. 

Todd:  Don’t worry about it. Just, you know, everything’s Clearly, this is not really related to what’s going on. 

Clip:  Yeah. But   he can’t get you now. He’s dead, honey, because mommy killed 

Todd:  By the way, in our basement, I have a souvenir. 

Craig:  Yeah. Great. And I kept it. Yeah. We burned him alive, but I I sifted through the rubble and found this glove just so that I would have the opportunity to share this with you later. Nice bonding moment, mother daughter moment. 

Todd:  You know what’s funny? It was actually kind of an interesting, I was getting a little deja vu with the people under the stairs because you remember that point, when she sort of I think it was kind of a turning point in the movie where, Roach Has, the main, guy in a little boiler, kind of like a little furnace. Remember? Uh-huh. And he takes him in there, and that’s when he pulls out this Sort of rag wrapped book, right, that he hands him and says and then here’s the way out. 

Craig:  I had forgotten about that. 

Todd:  It was just like the same shot, really. You know? She goes downstairs. She Pulls out this rag wrapped claw claw and that that’s sort of the turning point of the film. 

Craig:  Yeah. We talked about last week, and, you know, you can see definite ties Between people under the stairs and and the nightmare on Elm Street, you know, you’ve got the creepy boiler room, the scene that you just described. Just the general atmosphere is is very similar and 

Todd:  Yeah. It’s just not as madcap as Right. People up to the stairs was. 

Craig:  Oh, and the one I was going for, you know, we talked last week about how Home alone really kinda seemed to rip off 

Clip:  a lot 

Craig:  of, what was going on there. We’ve got the same thing in the final act of Nightmare on Elm Street. You know, Nancy, all of a sudden, she checks a book out from the library, I guess, about the And the days of violence. Yeah. And, at the very end of the film leading right up into the final scene, she She calls her dad and says, you know, dad, please come over in exactly 20 minutes. I’m gonna go get this guy and bring him out of my dream. And then We get a nice montage of her setting up these elaborate kill devices in her house. 

Todd:  Like she’s been doing it forever. Right. Yeah. Like you said, maybe she did a test run before this. Sure. Yeah. She’s she’s got a lot accomplished in her 20 minutes. 

Craig:  But very effective. I mean, it it it works. 

Todd:  It was, but you’re right. It’s a very home alone type deal, which is exactly what we saw in people under the stairs, which is really kind of funny when you Think about it. Actually, it reminded me a little bit too of Phantasm. 

Clip:  Have you 

Todd:  ever seen you you remember Phantasm? 

Craig:  Yeah. It’s been a long time. Yeah. 

Todd:  The way the kid gets out of the room, does sort of this elaborate there’s a sort of this scene where he just sits there and starts to put together a a shotgun shell with a pin and a hammer and duct Tapes it all together to sort of stuff. He’s all kind of found in his, in his, desk and then uses that to hit the door to to get the lock open, you know, to escape. 

Craig:  Yeah. These characters are far more resourceful than I would be in these circumstances. 

Todd:  Well, that was the the neat thing about Nancy, period. Like like we were saying, she’s not She’s not sort of the run and hide final girl. Yeah. She’s not the I’m I’m lasting not so much because of my wits, but because I I’m a virgin and because I can outrun and outlast and I’m maybe a little more cautious than everybody else. I mean, she’s taking agency here. 

Craig:  You know? And I don’t know what it is about Heather Langenkamp. I just really like her. You know, I I would never go so far to say is that she she gives an outstanding acting performance in this film. There are some other, actors. Like the mother? Yeah. 

Todd:  Who definitely does not give an outstanding 

Craig:  Is, Ronnie Blakely, and I’ve read you know, I I I’m fascinated with with horror movies in general, so I read up as much as I can. There’s actually a a documentary. I think it’s called never sleep again, the nightmare on Elm Street legacy or something. 

Todd:  I’ve heard of that. 

Craig:  It’s it’s long. I think it’s, like, 3 hours long, and it’s really extensive. It the whole series, but they kinda give you a lot of just neat little trivia things. I guess Ronnie Blakely, who played the mother, was just really difficult to work with. And they and I guess Craven really kinda butted heads with her. One of the anecdotes that they said was that, she would come in for makeup every day, and she would get her makeup put on. But as soon as it would as soon as the makeup would leave. She would immediately take it all off and reapply her own makeup. 

Todd:  Well, no wonder her makeup was so horrible. Right. Wasn’t it terrible? 

Craig:  Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And it was totally a vanity thing. You I I I’ve never seen her in anything else. Apparently, she had had a big role in a movie prior to this, so I guess she must have thought she was something. Jeez. 

Todd:  It was horrible. Every every every line she was delivering was, like, deliberate and almost, I mean, over expressive, and she’s moving her head, and it was like the sort of prima donna. When you you could almost see it right through there. 

Clip:  I’ve got something better. I’m going to get her some help. 

Craig:  Yeah. And and you can tell in her makeup, she almost looks, you know, like a cadaver. It’s It’s a this shake pancake shiny makeup. My god. But Heather Langenkamp, you know, I I knew her. I think you know, I don’t know if this came before or after nightmare, but she was on a sitcom, a very family sitcom, Just the 10 of us. Do you remember this show? I do. It was a it was a spin off of, You’re right.   Of, that The oh, gosh. Growing Pains. I’ve been off of Growing Pains, and and Heather Langenkamp played one of, I think, 6 or 7 daughters in this large family, and She was the uber conservative, very religious daughter, and so I knew her from that. So I was already a fan, and so then and like I said, the movie may have come before, but not for me. You know? I saw the movie afterwards. And so I really liked her. I thought that she was believable. I mean, she seemed Mhmm.   If her acting wasn’t amazing. I mean, she seemed like a girl you would know. She she wasn’t as flat of a character as some of these typical final girls are. 

Todd:  Yes. No. You’re absolutely right. And and the fact that she looks plain 

Craig:  Yeah. 

Todd:  You know, she’s got those pretty girl, but she’s breedable. 

Craig:  She’s a she’s a girl kinda look. 

Todd:  Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Sort of in contrast to Tina who’s sort of the blonde and maybe a little more attractive, you know, in that way. She looked dumbfounded a lot. Was and I think a lot of it too had to do with the pacing of the performances, you know? Interestingly enough, I mean, he really takes his time. And in this case, I was really Getting flashes back to the original Last House on the Left. Mhmm.   I was getting flashes back to the domestic scenes when, toward the end of the film, when the killers end up at the the parent’s Yes. House of the girl. And I remember how slow paced those were, you know? Yep. And it it was almost just like somebody set up a camera in the corner of the room and was recording this conversation as it happened. And I looked at and and I was getting those feelings like these conversations between, Heather and her mom in the kitchen. Mhmm. They they were long. They were very believable dialogue.   Yeah. You know? At the same time, her mom’s trying to hide her alcoholism. You know? Almost another Another bit of comedy there I thought too, but part of that also was just the ineffective performance of the mother. Yeah. But, yeah, that that just stretches out, and it’s interesting because the mother’s sort of hiding the alcohol, and they’re having their talk, which gets more and more heated. I don’t think the camera cuts away at all. I I’m if I Recall correctly, it seemed like it was it probably wasn’t, but it seemed it had the effect of being done in all one whole take. 

Craig:  Right. 

Todd:  And and it really kinda goes the roller coaster where she comes down and mom’s like, how are you doing? And she’s like, I’m fine. She’s like, you’re not sleeping. I I know I’m not sleeping. And then she Pulls out the the hat that she’s pulled, from the dream and says, I know his name, mom. It’s Fred Kruger, you know, and you know more about this than I do, and she Kind of, goes back and forth, and then she makes a comment about the alcohol. You know? I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda watching the scene. I’m wondering. I mean, she’s not pointing out the alcohol.   Does she know her mom’s hiding it? I mean, it looks obvious to me, but maybe she’s got other stuff in her mind, but yet it’s later on. Maybe if that bottle would have some more answers or whatever she said. 

Craig:  Yeah. Well, it, it becomes almost a a a role reversal. You know? By the end of The mom is is very much the one who needs coddling and needs protected. And in fact, Nancy, you know, you know, tucks her mother into bed and and kind of eases her off to sleep before she, Nancy, has to go into this final battle. I think it it kind of sets it up, that she’s on her own, and I think that that adds to the tension. You know? You you you feel the the pressure that there’s there’s helps not coming from the outside. 

Todd:  Oh, that’s true. 

Craig:  You know, her her mom is, passed out drunk in the bedroom. Her dad is across the street, And, the watchmen that her dad has set up apparently thinks that there’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary about a teenage Still breaking out windows and screaming for help. No. 

Todd:  Who are you? Everything’s gonna be alright. Everything’s Under control. Especially considering there was a murder down across the street. Sure. Earlier across the street. Sure. 

Craig:  So she’s you know, it’s it comes down to it’s it’s her Facing the boogeyman. It’s her facing her fear, and and that’s, what she comes to realize throughout the course of the movie that she has to do. Some might argue that the film is actually kind of anticlimactic in the final battle because you’ve got Freddy chasing this girl around throughout this whole movie, and there’s Intense threat of of violence and and, you know, disfigurement. And then at the end, to defeat him, all she has to do is turn her back and, take his power away. Yeah. 

Todd:  It’s a really weird and I still not sure I’ve unpacked it, you know? It’s just a very ambiguous kind of Strange ending. I mean, when you talk about, like, what what I was saying earlier about rules being broken, okay. So she pulls him into the into the real world from her dream by grabbing onto him and by being woken up at that particular time and then takes him through this house where he’s got all the where she has all the booby traps, which actually affecting him. You know? Like, they’d affect a real person. Takes him downstairs, you know, throws the fire on him, deja vu for this poor guy, you know, and she runs The stairs and and they have that whole incredible stunt sequence, on the staircase, which I’m I believe the stuntman actually won an award for. 

Craig:  Yeah. Yeah. He did. And I I I would I had had in my mind that it was all in 1 shot, which obviously it wasn’t, but, I guess they did that whole sequence in one take. I mean, that guy was lit up one time, and they did that entire sequence. And and you’re right. He won, stunt of the year, I think, for And it it is very impressive. 

Todd:  I mean, to to be on fire that long. Oh my gosh. Yeah. He he didn’t come away from that with Burns Looking like Freddie. Who knows? You know? So anyway so that happens. The dad, across the street finally get they give gotten her at his attention. He breaks in with his buddies. They turn around.   He’s not on the stairs. He’s done a loop around them apparently, and he’s climbed up the stairs. And he’s jumped on her mother’s bed, and he’s now after the mother. And the first thing I thought of was, okay. So so he’s on the bed. He’s getting the mother. They break into the room. They see this happen.   Father throws, the blanket over to douse it, And when he pulls the blanket away, now it’s kind of supernatural Right. Weird again. Yeah. I see what you’re saying about 

Craig:  the rules. There is kind of a gray area. I mean, it’s not, Strictly, you know, free for all in the dream world and then the the constraints of reality in in the real world. I mean, when when Freddy gets pulled over, there’s still a supernatural element to it. And I and I don’t really know how to 

Todd:  And and I guess it’s just troubling to me because how can the hammers and the trip wires and the fire and stuff affect him When he can sort of disappear into the bed over the charred corpse of the mother and that just all kind of goes in there, it just Then then you really wonder what is going on. Is this a dream? 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Todd:  You know? And that was when that starts to come into play. But then I thought, well, maybe it’s because the mother’s asleep. Alright. She’s passed out. Maybe she’s having this dream, and it’s sort of a reverse effect 

Craig:  where she She’s kind of a conduit to get him back Back into the dream world. 

Todd:  And then, you know, kind of like we’ve seen with everything else, you know, the weirdness of the dream world can be reflected in the in the real world in in that sense if that person is dreaming their death, You know? Essentially. But then, of course, you know, there’s nothing. And and, after witnessing what has to be the strangest thing anybody has ever seen, the her policeman father and, and her just walks around. She’s like, I need a moment, dad, or something. He’s like, okay. Alright. We’ll leave the room. She closes the door behind her, and suddenly Freddie comes up out of the bed.   And that’s the thing. Okay. So I guess he’s come back into to the real world again. 

Craig:  Who knows? Her back’s 

Todd:  on them, but now she knows just like the Balinese do that if you know that they’re not real, they’re they don’t have power over you anymore, and that’s when he lunges at her and just sort of disappears into nothingness. 

Clip:  Oh, you die.   It’s too late, Kruger. I know the secret now. This is just a dream. You’re not alive. This whole thing is just a dream. 

Craig:  Yeah. You know, I I and I think We’re probably being overanalytical. Yeah. And as as the series went on, you know, they played with these rules. They changed the rules Yeah. Back and forth all the time. I I don’t think that anything is necessarily set in stone. I think you just kinda have to roll with it, which I’m willing to do.   The image at the end, when When the the dad pulls the blanket off, and Freddie has now disappeared, but it’s just kind of this glowing ethereal pit where, the skeleton of the mother is slowly descending. That’s worth it to me to get to get over to get over 

Todd:  Fair enough. 

Craig:  The reality of of what’s going on, know, that image. And that’s another thing. You know? You said this kind of movie probably wouldn’t be made, at least not in the same way. I think you’re absolutely right. The I don’t think the ending would ever fly today, especially the Turning your back to defeat the big monster. You know? That’s, I I like the concept of it. I think it’s a really interesting concept, and I think that it there’s message there. You know, if you don’t give your fears power over you, then they really don’t have power over you.   And I like that message, but I don’t think it would fly today. We would need a a much bigger final battle. 

Todd:  Yeah. I mean, it’s sort of a matrix y thing. Like, if you can convince and trick your mind not to be afraid because it’s all an illusion, then suddenly, you know, it doesn’t have that power over you. Yeah. It’s it’s almost akin to the, it was all a dream kind of ending. Know? We don’t give that 1. We we’ve seen it once, maybe twice. We’ll give it something, but, you know, nowadays, that seems like a cop out. 

Craig:  Yeah. Yeah. Well and and and you can See, I mean, you can see the age of the film. A lot of that, you know, is is just with the practical effects. But, again, maybe it’s just my nostalgia, but I so appreciate those things. You know, we’ve we’ve gotten to where we’re so used to, CGI. And when CGI first came around, I think we were all so awed by, oh, Look how real it looks. They can really make that look real. 

Todd:  Yeah. The abyss and and, the Terminator 2 and those kind of things where 

Craig:  And now it’s it’s so common. We See it so often that I don’t know if if, it’s just a matter of of budget constraints or laziness. You know? A lot of CGI looks far less real than some of these practical effects. I mean, these practical effects don’t necessarily look realistic in the way that if they were happening in the real world, But because they are practical, there’s a realism to them there that I think is lacking in, in CGI. Like like I said, you know, when he cuts off his fingers there in the beginning. I mean, it’s clearly there’s, you know, there’s a hose in there. It’s it’s it’s pumping something out, and it’s doing it in spurts. I mean, you can You can imagine the mechanism working underneath.   Same thing with, the first scene where we really get a full shot of of Freddie. It’s it’s in silhouette, but he’s walking down The alley with his arms far, you know, overextended way stretched out. I mean, you can tell that there’s a practical effect going on there. Obviously, you can’t see the 2 guys on either side with fishing poles, you know, holding up the arms, but it seems more grounded in reality somehow, and and I feel like that’s lacking in a lot of pictures. 

Todd:  Well yeah. And, I mean, this is something horror aficionados argue about all the time. Right? You know, what’s better? Movie movie people in particular. But it also the having the practical effects, I think, kind of forces a certain filmmaking aesthetic. 

Craig:  Mhmm. 

Todd:  Right? Because you can’t linger Too long Right? On that scene, lest you see the wires or less it starts to look a little cheesy or fake. And so you you know, that scene with him and his arms coming towards her in my mind’s eye was much longer and much more terrifying than actually it is. It’s a pretty quick shot of him. It’s a close-up shot of of, you know, him sparking up, well, you know, scraping his claws across the walls there. And then, you know, it’s a shot of her running away, and then you sort of see him back to chasing her. It it allows some space in your head, you know, to fill in the gaps. Another spot where they had that too, is when she’s out exploring. She, tries to get Glenn to wake her up, and, of course, he falls asleep.   But she goes out to the jail, and she’s looking in the window and sees, you know, the guy Freddie coming in to Odds. Cell. Cell. Yeah. And then when she turns around, she again has a vision of Tina. Uh-huh. And there’s that close-up shot on Tina’s mouth where What’s up? Centipede Centipede comes out of his her mouth. And then the next shot is a shot of just This looks like slimy slugs or snakes just sort of slid sligering away back at her feet.   Uh-huh. But the effect is that she sort of dissolved Into, you know, insects and and creatures. 

Craig:  Mhmm. 

Todd:  But I never showed her dissolving into these and creatures, but your mind sort of fills it in in a sense that makes it a little less cheesy than it would have been if we’d gotten this nice long shot of her slowly Dissolving into insects and creatures. Yeah. 

Craig:  You know? I agree. I I wonder how young people who are so accustomed to the effects of today, you know, how they would respond to I still find this to be a really effectively scary movie Mhmm. Despite, you know, some of those issues. To me, I can only imagine that this For me, it’s like the classic MGM monsters were like for our parents and our grandparents. You know? Freddy has really established himself kind of in that canon of classic movie monsters, Dracula, the wolf man, Frankenstein. And now, Temporary. You know? It shows our age, but, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, they’ve really established themselves. And, You know, the the franchise ended in, what, 96, 97, is that even something like that? 

Todd:  Quite a ways ago, actually. 

Craig:  But kids still know who Freddy Krueger is. They may never seen the movies, but, he’s still very much a horror icon. I think that’s that says something. You know? That says something about Craven’s vision. It says something about the longevity of the movies. 

Todd:  It’s it’s pretty it was great, and I’m with you. I thought it was a scary movie still today. I don’t think it would have been, I think it would have been even much more fast paced if it had done today. 

Clip:  Mhmm. 

Todd:  But sort of the slowness of discovering if I had been seeing this for the 1st time, it would have been especially Dispenseful trying to figure out, are they dreaming right now? Are they not? What’s going on, in any particular time? And is Nancy gonna be able to stay away? Right. Are her Friends gonna be able to stay away. 

Craig:  Yeah. It’s it’s it’s one of my favorites. And and, you know, another thing we were talking about, leaving things to the imagination. After this film, Freddie really became the face of the franchise. And, you know, his you know, there were The big, life size cutouts of him in the video stores. You know, he featured very prominently on the front of every you know, from the second one on. But in this one, you really don’t even get to see very much of him. I mean, he doesn’t get very much screen time, and when you do see him, he’s very much in shadows.   I mean, you get Some, angles of his face, and you kinda can see some of, the the makeup design and whatnot. But he’s really kept very much in the dark. So he’s more of an ominous presence as opposed to something that, you know, we as an audience are familiar with and kind of know what to expect. And, I think that that probably was very effective, for first time viewers. 

Todd:  Yeah. And, and now he’s in your face. Yeah. Yeah. You go to part 3, part 4, especially part 5. You know? It it’s it’s definitely he’s cemented himself. He’s able to step out of the shadows and kind of be crazy. 

Craig:  Yeah. And I like those movies. You know? I don’t wanna I don’t wanna talk trash about those movies. I enjoy them. 

Todd:  Oh, yeah. 

Craig:  I think, you know, there are some there are better entries in the franchise than others. You know? My, part 3, I think, is amazing. Dream warriors, I think, Amazing. And then there are some some duds. Part 2, Freddy’s revenge. I didn’t think it was particularly No. That great. And then 

Todd:  5 was weird with the Yeah. 

Craig:  Is that the dream child? The dream child. Yeah. 

Todd:  I kinda like 44. 


Craig:  have a special dream master, I think, was that 1. And then Yeah. Freddy’s dead didn’t really do it for me. But, it was almost An appropriate setup then for new nightmare. 

Todd:  Yes. 

Craig:  You needed Freddy to kind of become that joke So that he could come back and and really scare the shit out of you. 

Todd:  Yeah. It’s a good way of putting it. You know? And and I think happens to every horror icon. Right? You first do have Dracula, and you have Frankenstein, these people, and eventually, you got the monster mash. 

Craig:  Right. Right? Yeah. You got Laurel and Hardy, meet Frankenstein and Whatnot? 

Todd:  So he’s definitely, it’s proof positive, cemented himself in the cannon there. Well, Craig, what do you what do you wanna see next week? 

Craig:  Man, I don’t know. You got any ideas? 

Todd:  Have you ever seen deadly friend? I have not. I have not either. Nice. So maybe we’ll keep the Craven thing going. 

Craig:  Let’s do it. Let’s do it for 1 more week Least. Alright. I’ve never seen it. I would love to see it. 

Todd:  Okay. Alright. So catch us next week on 2 guys in a chainsaw. We’re gonna watch deadly friend. Once again, this has been Todd. This is Craig. If you like this podcast, Please spread the word. Like us on Facebook.   Check out our page, and, thank you for listening.

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