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Wes Craven's bad dreams established a studio and unleashed one of the late 20th century's most iconic horror figures. Sleep tight....
Warner / 1984 - 1994 / 702 Minutes / Rated R / Street Date: March 5, 2013
"Sleep...those little slices of death. How I loathe them."
If there was a single horror icon of the 80's that ruled above all others, it had to be Freddy Krueger. Sure, that Jason guy was all right, and Michael Myers had his moments. The Re-Animator, The Blob, The Thing? Yeah, whatever: they were either nutty professors or tired remakes of old 50's monster movies. No, the name of the game in 80's horror was undoubtedly one Mr. Fred E. Krueger (and the "E" stands for "Evil," thank you very much!)
What was it about these seven (!) Nightmare flicks that clicked with audiences? Perhaps it was the combination of dream imagery, Freddy's charming personality and good old-fashioned haunted house scares. However, it was not all smooth sailing for the Nightmare flicks. To be truthful, the Nightmare films actually started to reach their saturation point around the time of Nightmare 5. Until then, starting with the original Wes Craven low-budget shocker, each film in the series found an increasingly wider audience, up until the very smart and MTV-ish Nightmare 4. Once the subsequent sequel failed to perform up to snuff, New Line decided to retire the whole franchise with Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare in 1992. But, just when you thought it was safe to turn off your nightlite, Wes Craven himself came back to finish him off yet again in the postmodern, Scream-lite New Nightmare.
So in all, it was quite a ride for the sharp-fingered one. Aside from the millions the movies made, the series made Robert Englund and Freddy a star, and jump-started the careers of Johnny Depp, Patricia Arquette and Heather Langenkamp, as well as future big-time directors like Renny Harlin, Chuck Russell and Stephen Hopkins. And let's not forget the spin-offs like the Freddy's Nightmares and Wes Craven-produced Nightmare Cafe TV series, as well as s the endless Freddy merchandising which included comic books, records, T-shirts, posters, bed sheets, a nightlite and even a talking Freddy children's doll! A Nightmare On Madison Avenue is more like it.