Nightmare on Elm Street open against more controversial horror film

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A Nightmare on Elm Street is a horror classic, but a lesser-known and more controversial film overtook it when it was released.

at Wes Craven Freddy opened on November 9, 1984 and ultimately changed the course of horror. The film kicked off a pop culture phenomenon with its resident boogeyman, Freddy Krueger, spawning seven more films, a remake and a TV show, as well as a merchandising bonanza. And Craven was going to shape not only the genre for the ’80s but also the’ 90s with the Scream franchise. Today, A nightmare on Elm StreeHe’s still one of the strongholds of the genre, and yet he was overshadowed on the day of its release by yet another horror film.

Although inferior in almost every respect, Silent night, deadly night sparked a lot more controversy than Craven’s now-legendary cooler and led him to what appeared to be box office gold. In fact, if things had broken out differently, it might have overtaken its competition on the day it was released.


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Silent night, deadly night was another in an endless line of dreary slasher images that were all the rage at the time. He chose a Christmas theme as a gadget, with his killer being a deranged lunatic in a Santa costume. But beyond the value of novelty and over-the-top gore, it was a lousy effort, not even being the first horror film to use a Christmas theme. 1972 Tales from the Crypt also featured a serial killer disguised as Santa Claus and the 1974s Black christmas had a similar premise. And to make matters worse, Joe Dante’s Gremlins opened a few months earlier in the summer of 1984, showcasing both an overt Christmas theme and enough shock and gore to help spur the creation of the PG-13 rating.

None of this stopped Silent night, deadly night to generate an uproar, however. Parent groups called for a boycott, and the film’s distributors canceled their ads six days after its release. The film was even the subject of a special section of At the cinema with Siskel and Ebert, with the famous duo who tear themselves apart for their content perceived as odious. None of it was wrong, strictly speaking, but by phrasing it in such terms his reviews gave him an undeserved look that did exactly what the producers wanted him to do. Loaded with free publicity, the film exceeded Freddy during its opening weekend and had to do more before being pulled from the cast after two weeks when the backlash intensified.

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Despite more disturbing content and superior craftsmanship, the lack of Santa Claus or a similar controversy continued Freddy under the radar of censors. It ultimately grossed $ 57 million at the box office on a budget of just over a million and improved the fortunes of its distributor, New Line Pictures, with the studio known for decades as “The house that Freddy built “. Silent night, deadly night, during this time, there was little that could be done once his initial shock value wore off. Although he produced his own series of sequels, they were much cheaper and more threadbare than Elm Street, and its perceived shock value was quickly forgotten amid new controversies. He retains an unconditional cult, but more for the fury he created than anything notable in the film itself.

Ironically, A nightmare on Rue de l’Orme did more to “corrupt” the culture at the time than Silent night never could. Freddy’s success turned him into a macabre theme park mascot rather than a true terror, with products that included kids’ pajamas and lunch boxes, among other things. Craven himself was so disturbed that he returned to the franchise with Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, exploring his perceived responsibility in letting a character he created as evil incarnate to become so perversely loved.

Meanwhile, the original Freddy The film continues to share a curious release date with a film that made much bigger waves at the time. But while the story made the final call, it was much harder to see this in 1984 – a reminder that movies that stand the test of time don’t always look that way when they are coming for the first time.

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