Before a series of catchy puns and one liners transformed him into a cult hero and comedian, Freddy Krueger cut quite the terrifying figure. The first time we see him in the original film is in a dark, secluded alley and there is little that appears amusing about his grotesque, grinding laugh and horribly deformed facial features which immediately establish him as a larger than life presence who makes your insides squirm and your face screw up in disgust and horror.
The scariest thing about Krueger that we quickly come to realise is that his potential as a killer is unbound and limited only to the confines of his victim’s imagination which is exhibited in their darkest nightmares. Hence as he chases Tina his arms grow to ridiculous lengths and here the use of space is brilliantly maneuvered to make her seem alienated and his capabilities wide ranging and unpredictable.
Then there is the horrid sound of his large, metallic nails screeching along the wall with the disturbing implications of violence running steadily through the viewer’s mind. This is a man who takes pleasure in his craft and in that alone there is something deeply unsettling and intriguing about his character. As he chases her his movements are wild and animalistic again adding weight to the scary feeling that it is so hard to try and decipher what Krueger will do next because the very nature of nightmares are so tense, surreal and impossible to control.
For Tina there are no rooms to hide in nor logical ways in which to defend herself. Her only hope is to wake up and her inability to maintain authority in this situation is what really appears quite chilling from an audience’s perspective. Because just like her, we can not dictate when we wake up from our dreams or nightmares.