Friday, October 5, 2012

Horror Mystery - Buyer's Remorse (A Nightmare on Elm Street)

I love doing this Horror Mystery series because it allows, nay demands that I be picky. I am determined to seek out answers to all the dangling storylines and mysterious plot holes that horror movies produce. Recently I watch the first four Nightmare on Elm Street films. I enjoy this series because it is so bat shit crazy and takes such random unnecessary turns that who knows what will happen. As stated and shown in the fantastic documentary "Never Sleep Again", the Nightmare franchise was made on a hope and a prayer and continued to churn out product while the market demanded it. While parts of the production were concerned with making a great film, others were concerned with selling tickets and making a profit. The clash of these two elements led to some truly (and wonderfully) odd films.

But one thing that kept occurring to me in all four films was what was the importance of Nancy's house. In the first film Nancy Thompson is our final girl and she lives in this house:

In the second film, Freddy terrorizes the family that moves into the Thompson house (or 1428 Elm for all those playing at home) and in the 3rd and 4th film the house has made it into local lore and frequently shows up in Freddy dream settings. So what is the big flipping deal with this house?! From my understanding of the series, there really shouldn't be. It's just the house that the heroine of the first film lived in. It's never said that it's the location where Freddy died or where he lived . Luckily for us, we have the internet. And there are people out there who care as much about this stuff as I do.  And those people make maps and timelines

Throughout the series it is implied that Freddy and Nancy lived in the same house but never stated. Which makes no goddamn sense without an explanation. Nancy's parents were part of the mob that killed Freddy so why, oh why would they move into his house?  But according to some, this is actually what happened. After they burned Freddy alive, the mob made a pact to ensure that Freddy would be forgotten which included the Thompson's moving into his house and acting like Freddy never existed. Apparently it was always Wes Craven's intent to have Nancy and Freddy connected through the house and this was even more fleshed in the Nightmare on Elm Street novelizations. (don't pretend like you haven't read them) And in Freddy's Dead - The Final Nightmare 1428 Elm Street is referred to as Freddy's house. 

An alternative theory is that since Springwood is a small town, the houses (when they were initially built) were designed by the same architect, hence the similar feel. And Nancy's mom held on to his glove for... sentimental reasons? 

I fully buy the first theory. It makes sense (kind of), it's just a shame they were never able to incorporate it into the films. It would have made a hell of a lot more sense as to why Nancy was so important to Freddy which I never quite got and it actually would have helped the whole theory behind New Nightmare (1994). I do have a strong affinity for this series and since the films were made back to back there are a hell of a lot of discrepancies and for a mythology as right as the one they tried to maintain in the NoES series, I think we can forgive them their trespasses.


  1. As an Elm St. connoisseur, I've never given too much though to the symbolic representation of the house. I've had passing theories but none that made things seem to fit properly into the Elm St. canon. It was always, again, symbolic to me. I think the house became "Freddy's home" because of Nancy's defeat of him in the first one.

    Think about New Nightmare when Wes tells Heather that Nancy was the first to humiliate him. It was why he needed to destroy her to break into our reality.

    Freddy in a sense became trapped by the house because of Nancy. This could explain Elm St. 2 and why he was so desperate to possess Jesse. He wanted a way out.

    On the contradictory flipside, this in a sense was a stain/curse in a sense on Nancy. If we connect 1, 3, and New Nightmare, she's never able to escape Freddy. Not even in Part 1's ending when she's arguably still trapped in a nightmare. She comes back in 3 to save others and inevitably becomes a martyr. New Nightmare theoretically sets up the premise that even the reality of the Freddy phenomenon is inescapable for the actress and the house remains the portal in which she must enter and defeat Freddy again.

    The house as a battleground is condemned because they're equally matched.

    Wow, I have no clue if any of that makes sense to you.

    I love, love this series and can talk it to death.

    I just found your blog yesterday and I'm really glad I did!

    1. Thanks! I definitely agree with your assessment. I wish the series had invested a bit more time into making those connections because they are really interesting. But as we know from Never Sleep Again, these were done so quickly that the mythology was developed on the fly.

    2. Truly. A part of this franchise being such a cash cow and Jack Sholder, Chuck Russell, Renny Harlin all had their own visions for their particular Elm St. films that it was easy for any mythos to get lost in the shuffle.

      I feel Robert Englund put a lot of thought into his own assessment of it and some of the other actors as well.

  2. I have a theory of the House. The reason why The Thompson House became so iconic in the films is because it's the place where Freddy first was pulled into reality by Nancy. So after that transition, maybe Freddy and the location became connected with each other on some spiritual level?

    Also, you ever notice the color of the front door changed? It was blue and then changed to red. I also have a theory on that. The Blue door symbolizes the pureness of the house and then appears Red after the house has been tainted.