A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Wes Craven's tale of a handful of teenagers in the small Midwestern town Springwood who are haunted in their dreams by a murderous, blade-handed burn-victim, and must challenge the boundaries between dreams and reality, has kept its thematic and filmatic potency for 25 years. The film has mediocre acting and a highly selective regard for realism, but Craven combines smooth horror with thematics that become increasingly resonant as the film proceeds. Perhaps the most remarkable merit here is the quality of the special effects, which were inexpensive and simple by 1984's standards, but even so still hold their own against the overpaced CGI effects of more modern horror films. Consider for example how Craven dares to keep his camera resting on Langenkamp's feet as she runs up the failing stairs – it is an arguably (and regrettably) outdated horror effect which evokes desperation rather than sensuous shock. Although it lacks the little extra when it comes to suspense, A Nightmare on Elm Street was and remains trendsettingly creative and inconsiderately cheesy at the same time.