Overall | A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) | Nightmare on Elm Street 2, A: Freddy's Revenge (1985) | Nightmare on Elm Street 3, A: Dream Warriors (1987)

Nightmare on Elm Street, A-The First 3 Nightmares Collection (1984)

Nightmare on Elm Street, A-The First 3 Nightmares Collection (1984)

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Released 13-Oct-2005

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Overall Package

    The Nightmare on Elm Street films are a popular horror series that began with Wes Craven's low budget classic original in 1984. This original and subsequent sequels were pivotal to New Line Cinema's financial security during the mid to late 1980s. Seven films have been made but this boxset contains only the first 3 films. Read the individual reviews below to learn more about the first 3 films in this cult horror series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
waste of review space - REPLY POSTED

Overall | A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) | Nightmare on Elm Street 2, A: Freddy's Revenge (1985) | Nightmare on Elm Street 3, A: Dream Warriors (1987)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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Released 6-Oct-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Menu Animation & Audio
Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Audio Commentary-Cast And Crew
Featurette-Making The Glove
Featurette-Welcome To Prime Time
Featurette-The Revolving Room
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 87:30
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Wes Craven
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring John Saxon
Ronee Blakley
Heather Langenkamp
Amanda Wyss
Jsu Garcia
Johnny Depp
Charles Fleischer
Joseph Whipp
Robert Englund
Lin Shaye
Joe Unger
Mimi Craven
Jack Shea
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Charles Bernstein
Steve Karshner
Martin Kent


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

One… two ... Freddys coming for you. Three… Four… Better lock your door.”

I remember sitting in a darkened bedroom with my younger sister when I was around 11 years old and watching this film on a small 34cm TV when it was first shown on television in the mid 1980s. This was the first horror film we had ever seen and it scared the hell out of us. Subsequently I watched it and some of the sequels again when they were released on VHS tape and it was certainly a horror favourite of mine as a teenager. It’s always interesting revisiting these pivotal experiences later on in life, although you sometimes worry that they will not live up to your memories. In the case of A Nightmare on Elm Street I am glad to report that this film does stand up as a great low budget horror film.

The story centres on Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), a high school student who has been having nightmares inhabited by a dark and disfigured man who has knives on his fingers. She soon learns that some of her friends, including boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp in his big screen debut), friend Tina (Amanda Wyss) and her boyfriend Rod (Jsu Garcia) may be experiencing similar nightmares. They soon find that the injuries sustained in these nightmares manifest themselves in real life when they wake up. Tina will come to learn that the man in their nightmares is Fred Kruegar (referred to as Freddy Kruegar in later films) (Robert Englund), a brutal murderer of children. Why is he haunting their nightmares, what does he want and how can he be stopped?

If the idea of people being harmed in their dreams seems a little clichéd then you’d be wrong. When it first came out the idea of a “boogie man” getting people in their dreams was quite original. The script for the film had actually been shopped around the various studios by Wes Craven and had been rejected because it was thought that people would not buy into this concept. When it was finally made and released audiences not only bought into the concept but totally embraced it. The film was a huge success and in true horror style launched a swag of sequels (of varying quality) onto the market.

What really makes this original film work so well is the fact that it relies more on atmosphere and psychological fear than on gore, although there certainly is some of that. The acting performances are all quite reasonable for a horror flick. Heather Langenkamp is particularly good as the film’s protagonist Nancy, managing to play a character with both vulnerability and great inner strength. Johnny Depp in his debut role as her boyfriend Glen is a little less convincing. He seems a little uncomfortable in the role but we do get to see a few glimpses of the talent that would be shown in his later performances.

While A Nightmare on Elm Street may not appear on many lists of great horror films it is nonetheless a landmark horror film of the eighties and it has been extensively imitated and parodied since. For fans of the horror genre this film should without question be added to your DVD library.

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Transfer Quality

Video

For a film just over 20 years old the transfer is reasonably good and stands up well when blown up onto my 2 metre wide screen where, while a little soft, it exhibited a nice film-like appearance.

The film is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 which matches the original aspect ratio of the movie. The DVD is 16x9 enhanced.

While the image may be a bit soft it still displays reasonable levels of detail considering the age of the film. Black levels are fine although some of the dream sequences had rather greyish blacks such as at around 36 minutes. While black levels were quite good the actual shadow detail was only average although this may have been deliberate, as horror films are often as much about what you can’t see as what you can. No low level noise was noticed in the transfer.

Colours were nicely saturated, exhibiting a colour palette common for the mid 1980s Skin tones were fairly accurate although sometimes they took on a slightly over-ripe appearance.

The film print used is quite good. Some minor instances of dirt were observed with the worst artefact being a small glob on the screen at 29:13. MPEG artefacts are kept well under control for the most part and the image is free of edge enhancement. The only thing I did notice was the effects of noise reduction a few times such as the Toshiba logo on a television at 19:46 and the bars of a window at 37:40 which twitched and pulsated a bit. I doubt this would be noticeable on a normal sized TV unless you looked for it but I did find the effect a bit distracting on my 90” screen.

Only English subtitles are available on the disc. They are white and easy to read and are mostly word for word verbatim with the on-screen dialogue.

The film is presented on a dual layer disc. The actual film fits entirely onto one layer with the bonus features on the other and therefore there is no layer change to report.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

Two English soundtracks are provided (excluding the audio commentary), a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack in its entirety and sampled the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Both are reasonable, although they sometimes seemed a little thin, especially the dialogue. The remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 is the more dynamic of the two.

Audio sync was generally quite good although I did observe a few scenes where the dialogue had obviously been subsequently looped in, such as the scene at the beginning of the film around 5 minutes into the movie.

The original music in the film by Charles Bernstein is fairly typical of horror soundtracks of the 1980s with a fair amount of emphasis on electronic synthesiser music which, while effective, does tend to date the film a bit.

The remixed 5.1 soundtrack is fairly aggressive and I felt the surround channels sometimes drew unnecessary attention to themselves. The surrounds are used for both music and adding atmosphere to the scenes which they do accomplish quite well.

The subwoofer was used fairly extensively to add tension to scenes although I felt the actual quality of the subwoofer channel was fairly average and lacked real definition.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Despite the cover for this DVD listing only an Audio Commentary and Theatrical Trailer as the extras on this disc, in reality it also includes a number of interesting featurettes including a 45 minute retrospective documentary that fans of the film will not want to miss.

Menu

The menus are 16x9 enhanced, nicely animated and feature atmospheric music.

Audio Commentary - Wes Craven (Writer and Director), Jacques Haitkin (Director of Photography) and Heather Langenkamp (actress, Nancy Thomson).

This is a fantastic audio commentary featuring Wes Craven (Writer and Director), Jacques Haitkin (Director of Photography) and Heather Langenkamp (actress, Nancy Thomson). This was obviously originally recorded for the Laserdisc release (they make several mentions of the Laserdisc) but it is nonetheless essential listening for fans of the film. They primarily discuss the actual production of the film and give the listener many insights into how the film was made including many of the creative methods used to achieve the desired results given the lack of budget. In the words of Jacques Haitkin, the Director of Photography, “we did it on the sushi budget of a real feature”. They tell a number of interesting anecdotes including one about a poison bug getting loose on the set and how it was because of Wes Craven's daughter and her friends that Johnny Depp was chosen to play the character of Glen.

Making the Glove (1:08)

This short featurette shows Lou Carlucci, who handled special effects on a number of the Nightmare films, discussing how he created the original Freddy glove and the subsequent changes that happened to it over the franchise. It is presented at 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Welcome to Prime Time (46:30)

This is by far the most substantial of the extra features and is a retrospective documentary that includes participation from all the major players in the original film. This documentary includes discussions of the genesis of the film, the problems faced getting it made, the actual production of the movie, how it was received and how the participants feel about the movie now. Fan of this film and the Nightmare series will not want to miss this fascinating documentary. It is presented at 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

The Revolving Room (1:53)

This short featurette is about how one of the bedroom sets actually rotated. It is presented at 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Original Theatrical Trailer (1:39)

This is the original theatrical trailer presented in 16x9 widescreen and with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. It seems pretty dated by today’s standards.

Easter Egg

As if the declared features are not enough, there is also an alternative ending lurking in there too. For those too lazy to look, (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) from the Documentary Vignettes menu highlight Special Features, press the left arrow key to highlight Freddy and press Enter.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Nightmare on Elm Street films are available on individual barebone Region 1 DVDs featuring only the films or they are available as part of an 8 disc box set featuring the 7 movies and an 8th disc titled “The Nightmare Series Encyclopedia”. I was unable to find reliable information about the exact contents of this 8th disc but I think it’s a fair assumption that the bonus features on our region 4 discs are the appropriate material for each film from that DVD. Therefore, if you wish to buy one of the films separately then the Region 4 versions are by far the best of choice. If, however, you want to buy the whole series then the 8 disc Box Set from Region 1 is the only way to go.

Summary

A Nightmare on Elm Street may not appear on many lists of great horror films but it is nonetheless a landmark horror film of the 1980s. The video and audio transfers are both very good but do show their age a little. The extras package is excellent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS575-S Progressive Scan, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE900E HD LCD Projector onto 90" 16x9 Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Elm Street R1 extras -
R4 Cover labelling -
Only ONE of the alternate endings...? -
Alternate endings ARE on DVD (Response to Wilson Bros messaget): - REPLY POSTED
Like I said... - capone (they're some fine antibiotics you got there..) REPLY POSTED
Elm Street R1 extras - REPLY POSTED
Elm Street R1 extras -
2-disc special edition - chaossphere
Re: 2-disc special edition -

Overall | A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) | Nightmare on Elm Street 2, A: Freddy's Revenge (1985) | Nightmare on Elm Street 3, A: Dream Warriors (1987)

Nightmare on Elm Street 2, A: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

Nightmare on Elm Street 2, A: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

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Released 6-Oct-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Menu Animation & Audio
Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Featurette-Heroes And Villains
Featurette-Freddy On 8th Street
Featurette-The Male Witch
Featurette-Psycho Sexual Circus
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 81:56
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jack Sholder
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Mark Patton
Kim Myers
Robert Rusler
Clu Gulager
Hope Lange
Marshall Bell
Melinda O. Fee
Tom McFadden
Sydney Walsh
Robert Englund
Edward Blackoff
Christie Clark
Lyman Ward
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Christopher Young


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge was prompted by the success of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. Wes Craven, the creator of the original, was not involved in this sequel in any way and it’s widely regarded as one of the lesser films in the franchise.

    Jesse (Mark Patton) is the new kid in town whose family have just moved into the house that Nancy from the first film previously lived in. Like Nancy, Jesse’s nightmares are being plagued by Freddy Kruegar (Robert Englund). Unlike the original film where Freddy can only get to his victims through their nightmares, he is now able to possess Jesse and use him to kill other victims in real life.

    Thus we get to the thing that really lets this sequel down. It rejects the constructs and rules of the original and creates its own. Furthermore, where the original used atmosphere and psychological suspense, this one relies far more heavily on gore for its cheap thrills. The characters also have far less depth in this film compared to the original and this makes it hard to really care that much about them.

    The fun in this movie comes more from the unintentional. The homoerotic overtones are thick and fast but apparently completely accidental. Just when Jesse is about to get intimate with his girlfriend, he panics and rushes to be with his male buddy. In another scene he ties up his male gym teacher, strips him and then whips him. There are many more examples just like this and watching out for them can be fun.

    Overall, however, this film just didn’t work for me. There were no real thrills or scares and if it were not for the fact that I needed to watch it in order to write this review I doubt I would have sat through it under normal circumstances. I should however point out that while I enjoy a good horror film, I am not necessarily a fan of the genre. Fans of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise may share a different opinion to mine but this film really did nothing for me.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The second film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series sports a sharper image than the original but lacks the general film-like quality of the first.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 which matches the original theatrical aspect ratio of the film. This DVD is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is reasonably sharp but the fine detail tends to be lost in what I can best describe as digital grain. Shadow detail is only average and I suspect this image may have had the brightness boosted resulting in a brighter overall image. Compare the image in the main film to the trailer provided and you’ll probably see what I mean. It’s impossible to say for sure but I suspect the trailer is more accurate in the way the film was intended to be seen.

    The filmmakers have made extensive use of red as a motif throughout the film and I suspect the colour red has been boosted to emphasis this point. This tends to result in reds being a little oversaturated at times and tends to give flesh tones an overripe appearance.

    The overall image has the appearance of slight overcompression which mostly takes the form of fine digital grain. This was certainly evident on my 90” screen but will be far less of a problem when viewed on a standard size television. Minor edge enhancement was noticed such as on a lamp post at 49:00.

    Only English subtitles are available on the disc. These are white and fairly easy to read. They match the on-screen dialogue quite well but often skip lines that are only one word like “yes” or “no” and I think this may be annoying for the hearing impaired who rely on the subtitles.

    The film is presented on a dual layer disc. Like the first film the actual movie fits entirely onto one layer with the bonus features on the other so there is no layer change to report.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Two English soundtracks are provided; a Dolby Digital 5.1 Soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and a Dolby Digital 2.0 Soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack in its entirety and I sampled the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Both are very good though they tend to show their age a little, having a slightly thin quality.

    Dialogue was mostly easy to understand and audio sync was generally fine although there were a few instances where the sync wasn’t quite perfect, probably due to looping of the dialogue after filming.

    The original music by Christopher Young is effective at creating tension in the film but does sometimes come off a bit clichéd and a tad derivative of past horror film classics such as The Exorcist (Tubular Bells) and Psycho. Interestingly this is the only film in the franchise to not feature Charles Berstein’s original and familiar theme.

    The surround channels are used primarily to convey music and atmosphere, with sound effects and so on still being fairly front oriented.

    For a horror film the subwoofer was not used nearly as aggressively as I would have expected, but nonetheless does add to the tension in a few scenes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Contrary to the DVD jacket the disc contains a few featurettes as well as the listed theatrical trailer.

Menu

    The menus are 16x9 enhanced, animated with appropriated atmospheric music from the film.

Heroes and Villains (6:25)

    This features various participants in the film discussing their involvement in the production. It opens with New Line Cinema CEO Robert Shayne discussing how with the success of the first film they realised that they may have a usable franchise on their hands. Wes Craven talks about how he was asked to be involved but declined the offer as he didn’t really like the script and felt it veered too far away from what he felt was the essence of the story and the characters. While he is complementary of director Jack Sholder I can’t help but feel Wes was right. Direct Jack Sholder seems pretty defensive of his participation in the film and tries to explain why the film ended up the way it did. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

The Male Witch (2:46)

    This is primarily about the make-up for the Freddy Kruegar character in this film. Make-up artist Kevin Yagher discusses the changes made from the first film including his focus on making Kruegar look more like a male witch. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Freddy on 8th Street (5:29)

    Director Jack Sholder, publicist Jeffrey Wells and actor Robert Englund discuss the marketing of the film. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Psycho Sexual Circus (3:27)

    This short featurette is primarily focused on the homo-erotic overtones of the film. Production assistant Rachel Talalay talks about how it was a mistake to not have a female lead while director Jack Sholder discusses the feminine qualities of lead actor Mark Patton. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Original Trailer (1:20)

    This trailer is somewhat dated by today’s standards but is otherwise a fairy standard trailer. The trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Nightmare on Elm Street films are available on individual barebone Region 1 DVDs featuring only the films or they are available as part of an 8 disc box set featuring the 7 movies and an 8th disc titled “The Nightmare Series Encyclopedia”. I was unable to find reliable information about the exact contents of this 8th disc but I think it’s a fair assumption that the bonus features on our Region 4 discs are the appropriate material for each film from that DVD. Therefore, if you wish to buy one of the films separately then the Region 4 versions are by far the best choice. If, however, you want to buy the whole series then the 8 disc Box Set from Region 1 is the only way to go.

Summary

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge is widely regarded as one of the lesser films in the series and it certainly did very little for me. The video and audio transfers are reasonable and the extras package is quite good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Monday, November 28, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS575-S Progressive Scan, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE900E HD LCD Projector onto 90" 16x9 Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Buy the R1s - UberAspie

Overall | A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) | Nightmare on Elm Street 2, A: Freddy's Revenge (1985) | Nightmare on Elm Street 3, A: Dream Warriors (1987)

Nightmare on Elm Street 3, A: Dream Warriors (1987)

Nightmare on Elm Street 3, A: Dream Warriors (1987)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 6-Oct-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Fan Mail
Featurette-Snakes And Ladders
Featurette-The HouseThat Freddy Built
Featurette-Onward Christian Soldiers
Featurette-That's Showbiz
Featurette-Training 8's
Featurette-Burn Out
Music Video-"Dream Warrior" - Dokken
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 92:31 (Case: 82)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Chuck Russell
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Heather Langenkamp
Craig Wasson
Patricia Arquette
Robert Englund
Ken Sagoes
Rodney Eastman
Jennifer Rubin
Bradley Gregg
Ira Heiden
Laurence Fishburne
Penelope Sudrow
John Saxon
Priscilla Pointer
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Angelo Badalamenti
Wild Mick Brown
Don Dokken


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    After a disappointing sequel the third instalment of the Nightmare on Elm Street series brings things back on track with the return and writing of Wes Craven, the creator and director of the original movie. Principles and rules set up in the original movie, but ignored by the second, are back in force in this third instalment.

    Also back in this third movie is Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), the central character from the first film, who has now grown up and has accepted a position as a research scientist at a psychiatric institution. There she finds that a number of the adolescent patients are the children of the group of parents who murdered Freddy Kruegar (Robert Englund) and that he is now plaguing their nightmares.

    The first patient she meets is Kristen (Patricia Arquette) who has just been admitted, presumed suicidal, after having had her wrists slashed during a nightmare encounter with Freddy. On a ward tour with orderly Max (Laurence Fishburne) she meets the rest of the young patients being terrorised while they sleep. Joey (Rodney Eastman) is a mute who lusts after one of the ward nurses. Taryn (Jennifer Rubin) is a tough young woman who would be in juvenile hall if she wasn’t in the hospital. Phillip (Bradley Gregg) is a sleepwalker and his room mate Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) is constantly getting thrown into the quiet room. Rounding out this motley bunch are nerdy paraplegic Will (Ira Heiden) and aspiring actress Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow).

    In order to help these kids Nancy will need to convince her colleagues (Craig Wasson and Priscilla Pointer) that Freddy is not just a figment of their patient’s imagination but that he poses a real threat to their wellbeing. She’ll also have to enlist the help of her father (John Saxon) who since the first film has lost his job as a cop, hit the bottle and is now working as a security guard.

    This third film in the franchise marked the beginnings of Freddy Kruegar as the joker character and he now takes centre stage instead of being the shadowy menace he was in the previous films. While this film does rely somewhat on gore like the second film, psychological suspense is also used effectively here, reminiscent of the first film. This film also creates a nice story arc for the character of Nancy and the first film viewed in conjunction with this movie can be considered a good double bill. (The second film can be safely ignored).

    While I feel it doesn’t quite live up to the quality of the first film, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is a good fun horror film that partners nicely with the first film. It establishes the role of Freddy as the joker figure and provides further information regarding the origins of the character. This is the film where Freddy Kruegar became the true star of the series. It’s an enjoyable horror film that fans of the genre will enjoy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is probably the best transfer of the first three Nightmare on Elm Street DVDs to be released. It is both sharp and clear with a nice film-like quality.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 which matches the original theatrical aspect ratio of the film. This DVD is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is reasonably sharp with good levels of fine image detail. Some edge enhancement can be observed such as at the edges of a building at 9:10 and a door frame at 16:48 but these are very minor and never distracting. Black levels and shadow detail are both excellent.

    Colours were generally well saturated and free of colour bleed although, like the second film, reds seemed to have been boosted a little which occasionally gives skin tones a slightly over-ripe appearance.

    MPEG artefacts are kept well under control and the film print used is very clean and free of obvious marks, dirt or damage.

    Only English subtitles are available on the disc. These are white, fairly easy to read and match the on-screen dialogue quite well.

    The film is presented on a dual layered disc and like the previous two films the actual movie fits entirely onto one layer of the disc with the bonus features on the other.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Two English soundtracks are provided; a Dolby Digital 5.1 Soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and a Dolby Digital 2.0 Soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack in its entirety and sampled the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is by far the more dynamic of the two. Both are of reasonable quality although the Dolby Digital 2.0 sounds a bit thin compared with the 5.1 soundtrack.

    Interestingly there are differences in the music on the two soundtracks such as at around 3 minutes and again at 68 minutes where the 5.1 track features the song “Into the Fire” while the 2.0 soundtrack features instrumental music.

    Dialogue was easy to understand and audio sync was generally fine, although there were a few instances where the sync wasn’t quite perfect such as at 11:02. This may well be due to the dialogue being looped-in subsequent to the scene being shot.

    The original music by Angelo Badalamenti is quite heavily reliant on synthesiser music which dates the soundtrack somewhat, but it is still fairly effective at heightening the tension.

    The surround channels are used very well on the 5.1 soundtrack to carry sound effects, music and atmosphere which creates a very effective overall sound field. For a horror movie I was surprised by how little the subwoofer was used as it was utilised only very sparingly.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:28)

    This is more of a teaser trailer than a full theatrical trailer which shows a girl on a bed cradling a model house. Eventually Freddy’s bladed hand bursts out through the roof of the model house. It is presented 16x9 enhanced.

Fan Mail (0:34)

    Talk show host Dick Cavett talks about his increased popularity after making a cameo appearance in the movie. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Onwards Christian Soldier (9:01)

    This featurette discusses the pre-production of the film and the development of the script. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Snakes and Ladders (6:04)

    Discusses some of the special effects puppets used in the film including the barking pig and the Freddy snake. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

That’s Showbiz (2:01)

    Robert Englund talks about some of the more unglamorous aspects of shooting the movie. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Training 8’s (4:09)

    Looks at how closely the shooting followed the script, where small changes were made and where small improvisations were done. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

The House that Freddy Built (3:04)

    This featurette reveals how the Nightmare on Elm Street movies were pivotal to the financial success of New Line Cinema in the 1980s. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Burn Out (1:13)

    John Saxon who played Nancy’s father talks about the burn-out of the production crew towards the end of filming. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Music Video – Dokken “Dream Warrior” (4:52)

    Pop Music Video Clip that was tied in with the movie. It features clips from the film and footage of the band performing. Freddy makes an interesting appearance at the end. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Nightmare on Elm Street films are available on individual barebone Region 1 DVDs featuring only the films or they are available as part of an 8 disc box set featuring the 7 movies and an 8th disc titled “The Nightmare Series Encyclopedia”. I was unable to find reliable information about the exact contents of this 8th disc but I think it’s a fair assumption that the bonus features on our Region 4 discs are the appropriate material for each film from that DVD. Therefore, if you wish to buy one of the films separately then the Region 4 versions are by far the best of choice. If, however, you want to buy the whole series then the 8 disc Box Set from Region 1 is the only way to go.

Summary

    After a disappointing sequel, the third instalment of the Nightmare on Elm Street series brings things back on track with the return and writing of Wes Craven, the creator and director of the original movie. I quite enjoyed this film and when viewed in conjunction with the first movie it makes a good double bill. The video and audio transfers are excellent and the extras package is very interesting too.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS575-S Progressive Scan, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE900E HD LCD Projector onto 90" 16x9 Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Still Banned In Qld? - Ozconnor
Re: Banned in Qld -
Not banned in Queensland - UberAspie