A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
While it has not necessarily aged well, and has now been much-parodied, it cannot be denied that A Nightmare On Elm Street is one of the most influential horror films ever made – delivering an iconic movie villain that remains as disturbing today as he was in 1984. Written and directed by horror-master Wes Craven (The Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Swamp Thing), the film launched a successful movie franchise that had its own reboot in 2010 – but thirty years ago, it was almost a very different story.
Wes Craven wrote the script for A Nightmare On Elm Street in 1981, but his pitch was unceremoniously rejected by most of the studios he approached. Paramount took it under consideration, but ultimately turned it down because they were already making the thematically similar Dreamscape. Disney were keen to take it on, but wanted the script to be ‘toned down’ to make the story suitable for children – although how they thought it possible to extract a family-friendly flick from a story about a disfigured, child-murdering demon who slaughters people in their sleep remains unclear.
Eventually, New Line Cinema decided to take a chance on the project – and it really was a sizeable gamble. The corporation had never created its own project before, having historically been focused solely on distribution – but Wes Craven’s scary story presented New Line with an opportunity to move into production. Such was the risk that the company experienced extreme financial difficulties during the making of the film, and were reportedly unable to pay the cast and crew for a brief period. The studio placed its entire future in the gloved hand of Freddy Krueger, and continues to reap the benefit today.