Farewell from Elm Street

For a few years I've been meaning to take a photo at Leeton's Elm Street that references the horror movies that share this name with a nightmare.

Learning today that Wes Craven had died motivated me to put on my Freddy glove and wave goodbye to the horror movie director.

I remember first hearing about the Elm St movies from a friend. It wasn't until 1989 that I was 15 and old enough to see the third film in the cinema and it gave me nightmares. I saw the earlier films later and then, when studying film at university, I began to think about the 'return of the repressed' theory.

This idea suggests that at the centre of horror movies is something even more sinister. A reading of the film Psycho would conclude that Norman Bates' relationship with his mother is even more troubling than the murders attributed to her.

With the Elm Street movies it was the inference that Freddy was killed by a vigilante mob for doing something very disturbing to kids.

I don't know if I've got the Freudian-influenced film theory right, but Craven showed his understanding of the horror genre masterfully with the Scream movies. These took the 'slasher' film cliches as a textbook for explaining the genre to the audience, while thrilling them with the visceral joys of being scared shitless.

It's no surprise to learn via Craven's wikipedia page that the director also worked in porn, as the genre shares with horror a visceral reaction in viewers.