A Nightmare on Elm Street: 1984 vs 2010

This article contains SPOILERS

This article contains SPOILERS.

Before we dive into the original and remake of this epic franchise, just thought I would share that I found out Christian Slater and Brad Pitt were dropped for the role of Jesse in A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy’s Revenge. And they wanted Charlie Sheen to have Johnny Depp‘s role in the first film, but wanted $3,000 a week which was not possible for the team at that time.

I had the joy of watching A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Freddy’s Dead 3D at age 4, thanks to my responsible father, so I have experienced a lifetime of Freddy whilst awake and asleep. I am still convinced he was under my bed some of those nights all those years ago.

The score to this movie is so memorable and always makes me stop and think Freddy’s coming when I hear it. The Freddy Krueger glove is probably one of, if not the most iconic horror weapon in history. Debatable between a kitchen knife, machete and chainsaw. If we’re going for originality I would say Freddy’s glove takes it.

Freddy was to dreams what Jaws was to swimmers. Fucking terrifying. And I would like to add, whenever I hear someone called Nancy, what I instantly think of is A Nightmare on Elm Street.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) had a budget of $1.8 million and 26 years later the re-make had a $27 million budget with 26 years more experience, more technology, resources and the use of CGI which would suggest the remake is far better. Not even fucking close. The 2010 Nightmare is not a terrible movie but isn’t even a touch on the original.

Everyone thought Jackie Haley would of been the perfect casting choice as Freddy. I actually disagree. I could agree if in make up he actually looked a little more like himself and didn’t have such a technology enhanced voice but he didn’t because I’m sure Michael Bay just wanted to ejaculate CGI all over Freddy’s face and fuck up his voice, which not only takes away Jackie’s natural look but reduces the gritty dirty look and sound that the original Freddy had. The remake just made Freddy look like a CGI mess.

The main problems with the 2010 Nightmare in comparison to the original is that Freddy is just not as menacing or terrifying. I think in comparison to the 2010 remake, the 1984 Freddy Krueger make up was far superior. If I had to choose the 1984 Freddy or the 2010 Freddy to be in my room trying to fuck me up I would gladly have Jackie Haley instead of Robert Englund. I just think a dark figure that you get a few good shots of is far more terrifying that a CGI burn victim that isn’t hidden in darkness. The new Freddy just looks like a bit of a pussy in my opinion. If you watch the making of the 2010 nightmare you will see half of Jackie’s cheek is covered in green paint so Michael Bay can CGI it because that makes him look? Scarier? Go home Michael.

Freddy Krueger 2010 with CGI face

Freddy Krueger 2010 with CGI face

The use of shaky cam in the original and how Robert Englund moves when running in the alley scene where his arms extend is flawless. The way he moves his arms and legs whilst running is so simple but terrifyingly effective. Well shot with the light behind him so you only see this truly scary figure racing toward you.

The opening scene of 2010 Nightmare sets a great tone for the movie and is pretty close to excellent. Also it is a real diner so don’t go and eat there. I would even go as far to say I preferred the opening scene in the remake a little more than the opening scene in the original. I don’t think it is better as it is not scary but as for personal preference, I prefer it.

The use of practical effects vs the CGI effects play such a big part. The scene where the girl is lifted and dragged across the ceiling in the 1984 Nightmare murder scene actually happened without wirework or CGI. They rotated the entire set while she crawled around the walls and ceiling covered in blood which gave the illusion of it really happening and what made this scene so realistic, believable and arguably one of the greatest horror scenes of the 80’s. They also used this tactic when Johnny Depp got sucked into the bed and his blood shot all over the ceiling. The entire set was rotated so the bed was on the ceiling and they poured gallons of blood through the hole on the bed which actually unbalanced the set and the crew had to jump away to safety through cables and beams. Good old 80’s film making.

The 2010 movie tried to duplicate the scene where the girl is dragged across the ceiling but they failed miserably to top the original. It just looked like she was being pulled by wires and didn’t have any realism to it.

Another CGI disaster is another scene duplicated from the original where Freddy pushes himself through the wall overlooking Nancy while she is asleep. The original was a shot where the actor actually pushed their hands and face through a latex sheet. In the 2010 remake they make this look like a complete CGI piece of shit, probably again thanks to Michael Bay.

Nightmare 1984

Nightmare 1984

Bringing micronaps into the 2010 remake was a great idea. It removes the safety of staying awake because their brains will automatically shut down to get rest when it can. This makes every moment a little more suspenseful and unpredictable.

The only time the 2010 remake really utilizes CGI is when Nancy’s micronap kicks in whilst she is in the pharmacy and the shot changes from the reality of the pharmacy to Freddy’s dream world boiler room. Freddy scrapes his claws across a pipe in the boiler room thus knocking medicine off the shelf in the pharmacy. This sequence is extremely well done and perfectly utilizes the CGI available to film makers today.

Nightmare 2010

Nightmare 2010

A lot of people have a problem with the story telling and certain scenes in the remake where the parents are chasing Freddy and you see them corner him in a boiler type room and burn him alive. This back story was also mentioned in flashback scenes of him portrayed as a pedophile in the school.

I don’t understand this because having more of a back story of Freddy gives fans what were told about but never actually saw for 26 years. I understand the scenes aren’t perfect but at least you finally see the origin story on the big screen. The negative comments about the pedophile scenes (which have no sexual content) are not out of place, nor do they make the movie worse. I think they are relevant and some what necessary for the remake. And as Robert Englund said in interview… “Invading someones dreams and being in their bed is more of a violation than rape”.


The original changed the horror genre forever and despite it turning into Home Alone for the last 20 minutes it is still a very well made movie and I will never forget it. A lot of good things have come of the original. From the epic knife glove, the theme, Freddy Krueger’s memorable character, Johnny Depp’s first appearance which has blossomed into a huge movie career, and the sequels to the original. Thank you Wes Craven you little genius.

The remake is pretty well acted with an okay script; it has over used CGI, it looks a bit too clean and, well, just isn’t that scary or memorable. It does bring a fresh look to the franchise but it was a bit of a disappointment and getting Michael Bay to produce it leads me to believe they were in a nightmare whilst making that decision because the man just isn’t cut out for producing horror movies. I think a lot of the fans of the remake supported it simply because of their pure love for the franchise over the years. I own the 2010 remake of this movie; I enjoy it, but it is more of a guilty pleasure than an iconic or memorable horror movie. I own the original and that comes out when I want to stay up for hours and torture myself.

Robert Englund: THE Freddy Krueger

Robert Englund: THE Freddy Krueger

My score:

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): 7.8/10

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010): 5.6/10

Get it here:

1984 Blu-ray

Boxset Blu-ray 

2010 Blu-ray

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