Friday, May 7, 2010

Elm Street's Deadliest Nightmares

With A Nightmare on Elm Street’s remake just released in theatres, and all the hoopla that it’s generated between long time fans of the Elm Street film series and newcomers to the franchise, I figured this was the appropriate time to put together an Elm Street-related list for the site.

This is a list of some of my favourite nightmare/kill sequences from the ANOES series, thus far.

5. Will – A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors (1987)

Okay, this one is kind of goofy, so I placed it low on the list - although you shouldn’t think of my lists as ranked, usually. I get a kick of out this scene, personally, so I had to add it.

In The Dream Warriors, which is probably my favourite sequel in the ANOES franchise, we meet several different kids that have these abilities they can use when in their dreams. As they start to learn about their different powers they attempt to fight back against Freddy, who is trying to kill them all off in their sleep. One kid in particular, Will, is confined to his wheelchair in the real world. In his dreams, however, Will takes on the persona of the Wizard Master, a character from a strategy game he plays in waking life. Not only is he able to walk, but he uses magic powers to fight off Freddy.

The whole thing looks pretty silly in the film, honestly, but I’ve always gotten a kick out of this sequence, and you can’t help but feel Freddy’s that much more evil for wanting to kill this poor kid. Things turn sour for Will, The Wizard Master, pretty quickly in his battle with Freddy, who turns his wheelchair into a death machine that chases Will down, before Freddy dispatches Will himself with his trusty razor glove.

It’s not a spectacular dream sequence by any means, but one I’ve always enjoyed.

4. Debbie – A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

This scene is often remembered by fans of the franchise for its really cool visual special effects.

Debbie, a tough chick, is attacked by Freddy in her sleep. As is his usual modus operandi, Freddy incorporates aspects of his victim’s lives - and fears - into their deaths. Poor Debbie gets a double-dose in this sequence, for good measure.

In an attempt to stay awake Debbie is doing what she usually does…pumping some iron. In a cringe-inducing moment the weights become too much for her to handle and her arms break at the elbows. The skin cracks open to reveal a yellow, gooey centre. As the scene progresses the wounds on her arms reveal a transformation. In a matter of moments Debbie turns into her greatest fear, a cockroach and is then dispatched in hilarious, MTV Freddy fashion: crushing her in a roach motel.

3. Glen – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Here’s a doozy: the death of Glen from the original ANOES. Everyone remembers Glen as this was the breakout role for arguably one of the most-liked actors for our time, Johnny Depp.

Glen was the lovable boyfriend to the heroine of the film, Nancy. The poor guy just couldn’t catch a break with Nancy and in the end he was dispatched in possibly one of the bloodiest scenes ever witnessed in a horror film.

Nancy is attempting to pull Freddy out of her nightmare and asks that Glen call and wake her up so she isn’t stuck in her dreams with our fedora-wearing mass murderer. Unfortunately, apparently the simple task of staying awake is a bit much for Glen and he manages to fall asleep while listening to records and watching his little TV – you’ve got to love the 80s, man.

Before he knows it he’s in Freddy’s murderous hands and is dragged into his bed. We don’t know exactly what happens to Glen, but we certainly do know the aftermath. A torrent of blood rushes from inside the bedsheets and sprays upward, covering the ceiling. It’s an amazing sequence and just one taste of the awesome imagery put forth in Wes Craven’s original classic.

2. Philip – A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors (1987)

When you ask people about the kills they remember most from the Nightmare franchise - which is an odd question when you think about - I find this one comes up an awful lot. That’s because it is a great visual effect and even in a really cool film like The Dream Warriors it stands out.

I didn’t mention it before when I was talking about Will: The Wizard Master, but the story of this flick revolves around a group of kids in a sort of hospital. They all have different issues they’re sorting out. Philip, for instance, is having problems with sleepwalking, amongst other concerns. This is incorporated really well into his death sequence in the film.

Philip is the first to go in the movie. While sleeping, Philip is attacked by Freddy who pulls the veins out of his hands and feet. He uses those veins like a puppet master, and marionettes - did I just use that as a verb? - down the hallway of the hospital and out the nearest window. The scene is memorable because it makes everyone cringe as Phil’s arteries are ripped out and watch as he’s forced to march to Freddy’s tune.

1. Tina – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

I saved the best for last. This kill is one of the most memorable of the whole franchise and has now appeared in three films: A Nightmare on Elm Street, New Nightmare and the Nightmare remake, although it was poorly redone in the remake. I would say it comes to mind second after Glen’s bloody death nearing the end of the film, but I always found this one had more of an impact.

The kill I speak of is, of course, Tina’s death in the original ANOES. After a night of raunchy sex with her boyfriend, Tina drifts to sleep. She awakens to sounds outside her bedroom window. She gets up to investigate and is stalked by our favourite villain in a striped sweater, Fred Krueger.

As Freddy kills Tina in the nightmare we also see it occur in the real world, while Tina’s boyfriend looks on in horror as she’s slashed by invisible blades and dragged up the wall and ceiling of her bedroom.

This is the first time we see Freddy do his thing on screen. He stalks Tina, playing with her, and then we watch in the real world as he kills her. You have to imagine some of what Freddy is doing to her in the nightmare, which makes it that much more effective.

It’s a great way to start this film, and the whole franchise, and I think deserves the top spot on this list.


Cole D'Arc said...

Great job. While i havent seen any of these in over a year, i'm still pretty sure i couldn't come up with a more deserving five. Number one and three are both so iconic and number two is perhaps the most disturbing - i cringe every time i see it.

Shane Patenaude said...

Perfect list, these are all the ones I'd list as well. I also cringe every time I see number 2. Hell, I cringe just thinking about it. It must be special then.