A Nightmare on Elm Street (Movie Poster) Homage Covers
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street, released in 1984, launched a successful film franchise and an unknown actor’s career…and lodged a new fictional child serial killer deep in the American psyche.
Written and directed by Wes Craven, who had previously tried to breakout of the horror genre, A Nightmare on Elm Street features Freddy Krueger, the film’s villain, brilliantly portrayed by Robert Englund. Craven gave Krueger a knife-tipped glove to mimic animal claws, which he felt would tap into a primordial human fear of clawed and toothed animals such as bears, wolves, and sabretooth tigers, even house cats. He dressed Freddy in a green-and-red striped sweater because he had read in a magazine article that red and green are the most difficult colors for the human eye to perceive correctly. The colors also happen to be the most popular for the Christian holiday of Christmas, which exactly contradicts Freddy’s character and crimes. Englund reprised the role of Freddy Krueger in seven additional feature films and a television spin-off. The character has appeared in comic books, video games, novels and a 2010 remake. Freddy Krueger and the stories about him continue to be popular yet today, more than 36 years later.
Unknown to many, A Nightmare on Elm Street was also Johnny Depp’s film debut. Depp plays Glen Lantz, the main character’s boyfriend, who is pulled violently into his bed by Freddy Krueger disappears in an enormous eruption of blood. Producers originally sought Charlie Sheen for the role but Sheen’s salary was not in the film’s budget. Depp returned to the Nightmare franchise for a tongue-in-cheek cameo in 1991’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Craven also wanted Depp to appear in 1994’s New Nightmare but couldn’t work up the courage to ask the now-popular actor. Depp later said he would have appeared if Craven had asked. After Craven’s death in 2015, Depp paid tribute to the horror icon for giving him his first break in A Nightmare On Elm Street.