Thursday, April 29, 2010

Scared Sheetless

By introducing surrealism into the staid n' stagnant slasher formula in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), writer/director Wes Craven put to bed the cycle of copycat cinema that had dominated the horror genre since the success of John Carpenter's Halloween (1978). In place of a prosaic, everyday world where overall-clad killers lurked behind shrubbery, hid in closets, and raided kitchen drawers for knives, there was a fantastical new 'rubber' reality.

Freddy Krueger wasn't just some lumbering party crasher, invading our space...

Instead, he forced his way into our world, stretching it out of shape.

Post-Halloween, slasher films had stuck to the same old tricks...

With A Nightmare on Elm Street, the slasher genre dramatically shed its skin, ripping its way free.

It was a call to action...

...For horror filmmakers to wake up and start dreaming again.

That nothing like that happened and that - rather than leading to adventurous films out to follow their own individuality - A Nightmare on Elm Street simply inspired imitations, shouldn't be a surprise. Horror has eternally been a genre cursed by sleeping potential...and lulled by borrowed dreams.

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