YMMV / A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

  • And You Thought It Would Fail: It took about five years for Wes Craven to get funding for the film, because no one in Hollywood thought it was scary.
  • Awesome Music: The menacing, atmospheric synth score by Charles Bernstein. For just a sample, here's his take the main theme.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • Nancy's mother's drinking problem holds another layer besides straightforward self-medication when you realize that alcohol actually prohibits REM sleep.
    • Tina mentions that nightmares sometimes foreshadow earthquakes; exactly what signifies Freddy's presence in Wes Craven's New Nightmare years later.
  • First Installment Wins: Widely regarded as the best film in the franchise and a landmark in horror films.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • At one point, Tina notes that nightmares foreshadow earthquakes. L.A. was hit by those during the filming of Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Interestingly, they actually worked the earthquake into New Nightmare.
    • During the commentary, Wes Craven notes that the old prison where they filmed was later condemned for asbestos pipes. He comments they would all die of cancer. Not so funny after his death of brain cancer in 2015.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Glen's death.
  • Nightmare Retardant: At the end of the film, when Freddy drags what is supposed to be Nancy's mother through the little window in her front door as a final scare. It's a hilariously obvious mannequin.
  • Retroactive Recognition: This was the first movie Johnny Depp played in.
    • Roger Rabbit is the lead doctor at the sleep institute where Nancy's dreams are studied.
    • Elise Reiner is Nancy's teacher.
  • Special Effects Failure: Freddy's stretching arms look rather shaky by modern standards. The mom mannequin at the end doesn't hold up either. In two scenes where a character jumps, you can see the mattresses.
    • When Freddy is set on fire at the end, it is painfully obvious that it is a stunt double.
    • In the scene just before Tina's death where Freddy chops his own fingers off, causing green ooze to spew from the stumps, it is painfully obvious that the effect is not working properly: only his pinky bleeds the ooze, even though he also cut off his ring finger. The problem is even clearer if you watch Freddy's face as the effect occurs- Robert Englund's eyes quickly dart back and forth from the camera to the hand, as though he's nervously observing the flub.
      • Robert's expression kind of works and even makes the event more horrifying if you consider that, in a certain way, Freddy looks as if he's excited about harming himself, and wants to see both his hand and Tina's reaction to it for his own enjoyment.
  • Tear Jerker: Nancy's reaction to Tina's death:
    Nancy: You know Tina, she dreamed this was gonna happen... She had a nightmare, that someone was trying to kill her. (breaks down sobbing) That's why we were there, mom. She just didn't wanna sleep alone.
  • Vindicated by Video: The movie did solid box-office business for a low budget 1984 movie, but it was the home video sales that really demonstrated what a money-maker Freddy could be.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Glen's death and the epic geyser of blood that follows.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: While such notions have been lost with the overdone franchise, critics and film historians have stated that the movie represents the struggle young people have to see the distinction between fantasy and reality.