As a kid, A Nightmare on Elm Street was the scariest of the classic slashers (Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street) to me. The sequels have made Freddy more funny than scary, but looking at the first film as a standalone production today, the film holds up quite nicely. It made director and screen writer Wes Craven and Freddy-actor Robert Englund household names in the 1980s, and rightfully so. A Nightmare on Elm Street is not perfect by any means, but it is dang good. What stands out to me as especially great are the atmospheric dream scenes, the kills, and the film’s antagonist, Freddy Krueger. Funny enough, I think that Freddy is also a detractor of the film, and I’ll get into that further down.
This is, to many, the only good Nightmare film. I actually love the entire series, although, I admit, the series does get pretty campy as it goes along. I agree with series critics, however, in that this is the best film in the series.