Year Of Release: 1984
Director: Wes Craven
Budget: $1.8m (Estimated)
Gross/Box Office: $10.8m (USA)
A Nightmare On Elm Street was released in a period that is widely considered the end of the slasher genre's boom, and managed to breathe new life into the genre. The film was very successful and many remakes and sequels have been attempted, sparking a franchise.
The opening credits are played as we see what appears to be in basic terms, a glove with blades on the end., being created. This was later known as the 'claw' of Freddy Krueger's and is pivotal to the film. After that we see a young woman in front of a white backdrop, possibly to suggest a dream sequence, in a close up. An eerie non-diegetic backing score is continuously played so we know everything is not well for the girl.
The next shot is an extreme long shot of the girl running towards the camera down a large dark corridor, and the location is hard to discover at this point. The shot becomes a mid shot of the girl before the angle changes to a quick close up, then back to the mid shot. The credits are still rolling albeit on the right hand side of the shot, possibly to attract attention to the fact they are in white lettering, placed in front a large part of darkness in the corridor. Darkness is a common convention in slasher and horror films as it gives the audience a sense of unknowing.
A sheep then runs across the path of the girl, giving her and the audience a false scare. In our production false scares are key as to keep the audience guessing, and this one is perfect if you actually analyse carefully. The sheep, although at first seems an extremely odd thing to use as a false scare in that situation, is actually representing a sacrificial lamb in my opinion, showing the audience how the killer thinks of his victims.
The next sequence is of her wandering around what appears to be a boiler room due to the fire and the pipes, and many horror fans will know this scene and location extremely well. The girl ends up at a clearing and then suddenly Freddy's 'claw' rips through a large piece of cloth nearby, from which he emerges from.
The girl is then chased in a shot that is Freddy's POV with a high angle added to show vulnerability. The girl hits a dead end and turns to face Freddy, who quickly walks past the clearing, with a key bit of mise-en-scene, his red and black striped jumper, being revealed. Just when we think that the girl may have got away from him, he jumps up from the ground behind the girl and 'claws' her.
The girl then wakes up, and grabs a crucifix, before praying to God, indicating that Freddy is representative of the devil, or just evil itself.
(The opening scene only lasts for 3:45 of this video)