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Nightmare on Elm Street, A (Blu-ray Review)

9 Apr, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 4/13/10
$24.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R.’
Stars Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, John Saxon, Amanda Wyss.

To state the original Nightmare on Elm Street is the best of the franchise isn’t saying much. Its tone is much more serious than the campy sequels, and its thrills rely more on suggestion than blatant gore (though it does have its share of that as well).

Looking back 26 years, Wes Craven’s legendary horror film, about a killer who stalks children in their dreams, made two major contributions to cinema lore. The first is obviously Freddy Krueger, who as portrayed by Robert Englund has become one of the most iconic villains in movie history. The second is springing Johnny Depp on us.

The picture quality of this Blu-ray edition is incredibly clean, looking rather outstanding for a mid-1980s movie. The film had been remastered for a 2006 DVD, and the results are top notch.

The extras on the Blu-ray are all recycled from earlier DVD versions. Everything here was included on the 2006 Infinifilm DVD (though that disc’s trivia game did not carry over). The film offers a “Ready Freddy Focus Points” mode that lets the viewer watch alternate takes and filmmaking clips during the film.

Most notable are three featurettes: “Never Sleep Again,” a very good 50-minute making-of program; “Night Terrors: The Origins of Wes Craven’s Nightmares,” which looks at the phenomenon of dreaming; and “The House That Freddy Built: The Legacy of New Line Horror,” a blatant promotional reel for the studio.

Also held over from the 2006 DVD are a few lame alternate endings, a trivia text track and a commentary track assembled from interviews with the cast and crew.

A second commentary, with Craven, stars Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon and cinematographer Jacques Haitkin, has been found on the past few DVD releases and dates back to the 1996 laserdisc of the film. Apparently there are several extras from that laserdisc, such as deleted scenes, that never found their way to DVD and thus are not included here.

The Blu-ray also contains a $7.50 coupon for a ticket to see the new Nightmare remake, in theaters April 30.

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