Thursday, October 16, 2014

Film Screening: A Nightmare on Elm Street Double Feature

This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, one of the most popular and enduring American horror stories. Please join us for a double-bill of A Nightmare on Elm Street followed by Wes Craven’s 1994 follow up, New Nightmare.

The films will be shown in the Science Lab Auditorium on the Winona State University campus on Thursday, October 30th starting at 7:00pm. This event is free and open to the public. A brief educational presentation will occur between the screenings.

A Nightmare on Elm Street tells the story of teenagers who are stalked in their dreams by Freddy Krueger, a mysterious figure who wears a glove with knives fashioned onto the fingertips. If the teens are killed in their dreams they die in real life. Writer and director Wes Craven executed this novel premise with near perfection, combining thoughtful storytelling with skillful cinematic craft.

Originally released in 1984, A Nightmare on Elm Street was a hit and a series of sequels followed, although creator Wes Craven had little to do with them. Throughout the second half of the 1980s, the Nightmare series grew into a cultural phenomenon and Freddy Krueger became one of the most recognizable figures in American culture. However, in the effort to turn the character into a corporate logo, Krueger and the Nightmare series gradually lost much of the edge that had made the concept interesting in the first place.

Ten years after the original picture, Wes Craven returned to the series with New Nightmare, which tells the story of an actress terrorized by a specter who looks a lot like Freddy Krueger. Craven took the opportunity to correct the course of a series that had veered drastically from his original conception but instead of rehashing the original film, the filmmaker adopted a radically different approach. By taking the film outside of the continuity and diegesis of the existing series, New Nightmare reflected on the success of the series and what it meant to its makers and to the audience. The film is a smart riff on the original picture, prefiguring the rise of self-referential trends in popular culture, which Craven would do again two years later to great commercial success with 1996’s Scream. The film is also a thoughtful dramatization of the psychological and social function of fairy tales and horror stories and what happens when icons of evil are commercialized.

You can find additional information about the screening and the films here and join the Facebook event page here.

A Nightmare on Elm Street and New Nightmare are rated R by the MPAA.

This event is sponsored by Winona State University’s Darrell Krueger Library, the University Programming Activities Committee, and Sounds of Cinema.

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