A Nightmare On Elm Street

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An analysis of the opening scene of 'A Nightmare On Elm Street'

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A Nightmare On Elm Street

  1. 1. A Nightmare On Elm Street. The 1984 version, of course.With Freddy the ultimate supercrip.
  2. 2. The Opening.If that doesn’t work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn_DjzN8410
  3. 3. The Opening.• The main focus of the opening is the girl, as she features through most of it.• The opening shows her being chased by Freddy through a factory. She then wakes up and finds that the cuts she gained in her dream have followed her into the real world.
  4. 4. The Credits.• The first credits are shown in white writing below a box showing the film. This is so that only a little of the scene is shown, adding to the mystery of the opening (as my mum pointed out to me, that jumper and the claws wouldn’t immediately have people going ARGH FREDDY when it first came out…).• The rest of the credits are shown in white writing, as that makes them stand out against the black background.• The long shot of the girl in the black corridor allows time for the credits to show.
  5. 5. • The red is significant here, as red is a colour associated with danger, violence and blood; themes important to the film.• However, the red can also be a representation of Freddy himself, as his jumper is red.• The writing is quite child-like and jagged, which is in keeping with the film, as childhood memories and childhood are important to the film.
  6. 6. The bit with Freddy. (I have no idea how to split this one up)• The close ups of Freddy in the beginning don’t give too much away in the first few minutes of the film. The only parts of him that are shown in this clip in detail are his hands (and glove-claw- things), showing that these things are going to be important to the rest of the film. It also gives the scene suspense and mystery, because we don’t see very much of him, and most of the scare comes in not knowing what’s coming after you (this is carried on in the film – once you see Freddy, he suddenly becomes less scary and more laughable).
  7. 7. Editing/Transitions.• Once the title credit is shown, the cuts are quite long, which is reminiscent of a nightmare you can’t get out of. The first scene is meant to be a nightmare, and the long clips reflect the feeling of being trapped in a dream. This sets a tone for the audience.
  8. 8. Camera Angles.• There are a few close-ups of the girl, to show her fear and facial expressions.• The long shot in the corridor helps to give a sense of isolation for the character, which is an important theme for the film. It also gives the sense of being very small in a very large place; with nowhere to hide and not knowing where to go.• The rest of the shots are mainly midshots of the girl, but there are mostly things obstructing the view of her. This shows her running, but also the obstructions add to the mystery of the piece and carry on the theme of not showing everything. It could also represent that somebody is watching her from behind the obstructions.
  9. 9. Mise-En-Scene• The white dress the girl is wearing symbolises the innocence of the girl, as white is a colour associated with purity and innocence, and the nighty is something you’d associate with a child wearing. This ties in with the child- like writing in the title credits.• The lamb that pops up and scares the girl can be seen as a visual metaphor of the girl. She can be seen as the ‘lamb to the slaughter’. Lambs can’t stop themselves from going to the slaughter, just like the people in the film can’t stop themselves falling asleep and being killed by Freddy.• The lighting is quite dark, keeping in with the horror genre, as you can’t see everything. This also keeps in with the ‘nightmare’ feel, and unsettles the audience.• The crucifix is an important prop, as it establishes the blurry lines between dreams and reality. She is holding the crucifix when she is awake, showing that she thinks it will protect her when she is asleep in her dream, and also that she feels the danger is very real. This can be seen as a scare tactic for the audience, to make them feel like the danger is real.
  10. 10. • I think it’s a very effective opening, as it establishes the main focus of the film: dreams. It establishes some of the characters, and gives very little away about the killer. It shows just enough to make the audience interested (such as the claws, or the rips in the dress being carried through to the real world), but not so much that most of the film is given away. It also uses the imagery of the lamb to be a metaphor, but also establishes a ‘dream’ feel, as in dreams, there are often weird images.
  11. 11. In Comparison To Our Film.• This has an aspect which is similar to ours, in that it does not just have one event happening in it. We also have a darker aspect to ours (theirs was the dream, ours is the ritual), and we also use dark lighting (for one part, at least).• We also use the close up shots of objects, although NOEM uses it to keep the mystery of Freddy under wraps, whereas we use it to establish setting and create suspense.• Our film, and NOEM, both have an opening sequence where somebody is attacked. In our film, the murderer succeeds, but in NOEM, it is only the beginning. We show a whole killing to show what Jess is capable of (whilst still retaining some mystery), whilst NOEM shows that Freddy likes to toy with his victims. This also separates the kind of murderers we have set up: ours wants to get it over and done with, with no physical contact; Freddy likes to toy with his victims.• Both have supernatural themes to them, although I’d say ours is more in your face, as it involves rituals and all that. Freddy is supernatural, because he’s in dreams and stuff, but it’s less in your face.

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