Nightmare on Upper Elm Street
Joan Kubicek, Film Critic (The Sophian, October 30, 2003, page 7)
You know those people who insist that they LOVE scary movies, can’t get enough of them, and then spend the entirety of the flick with their eyes shut and their fingernails jammed into the upholstery? I’m one of those people. I’m the chick sitting behind you at the Cineplex yelping like a sick cat every time the soundtrack sounds even vaguely ominous. I’m not proud of this, mind you. I think that dumb people getting bludgeoned to death is simply an example of natural selection doing its job. However, evidently I’m unable to convince my larynx of this fact, as it persist in emitting noises shrill enough to attract dogs.
Still, in the spirit of Halloween, I decided to swallow my pride and rent the 80s classic “Nightmare on Elm Street.” I live on Upper Elm, so I thought it would be fun to personalize the terror as much as possible. This is a film about a razor-handed killer who pursues his young victims in their dreams, and so naturally I deduced that it would be a smart idea to watch it right before bed.
Sometimes, I just don’t think things through.
00:00: I prepare for my viewing experience by assembling the least intimidating snack I can conceive of: smiley Goldfish crackers and Vanilla Coke. After devoting twenty minutes to the arrangement of my pillows and stuffed animals into a comforting little cocoon, it occurs to me to yank down my window shades before the whole campus discovers their film critic is a giant, gutless turd.
00:02: The copyright infringement message pops up on my television screen. Well, this isn’t so bad. I shut off the lights and assume a contemptuous pose on my bed.
00:06: OK. We have a scantily-clad woman traipsing around heavy machinery. This is just like Flashdance. There’s a maniac (ma-a-aniac) on the floor, and he’s lancing like he’s never lanced before. If only they’d quit playing that creepy violin music. The lights are going back on.
12:08: I’ve now been introduced to four frighteningly bad actors who fornicate and wear unattractive sweater-vests. Although I’m aware that their sole purpose is to scream entertainingly and leave attractive corpses, I think I’ll miss them. From what I can decipher in their heavy breathing, they seem like nice kids.
13:58: The dead girl’s residence looks eerily like my own house on campus. I immediately scan my dresser drawers for sweater vests. I don’t locate any, thank God. But I do uncover a striped number that looks remarkably like Freddy Kruger’s signature slaughter-garb. Apparently, I dress like a fictional child murderer, and consider this the lesser of two evils.
54:02: The parents of these ill-fated teenagers prove almost scarier than Freddy himself. One mother enjoys drinking herself into a stupor and then regaling her mentally-fragile daughter with stories about how Mommy torched a man to death and saved his razor-gloves for posterity. The father is a police officer who could have easily found his badge in a Happy Meal, so inept is he. With parents like these, you’d think the kids would yearn for the sweet release of sleep.
1:19:00: Johnny Depp has just been devoured by a bed. It suddenly seems imprudent to sit on my mattress, so I spend the rest of the movie pacing around my room and assuring myself that he is, in fact, fine and living in France with a supermodel girlfriend. Who would probably never let him out of the house wearing something so outré as a sweater vest.