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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. / Three, four, better lock your door. / Five, six, grab your crucifix. / Seven, eight, better stay awake. / Nine, ten, never sleep again.

— Children

Since news of a remake to A Nightmare on Elm Street became known, I decided to revisit the Wes Craven original before watching the retread. This is not your typical slasher movie. It’s about a killer that kills you in your dreams. It’s more like mental warfare. That’s scary. This movie freaked me out when I was younger. Seeing it now, it stills creeps me out.

Tina, Nancy, Glen and Rod (Amanda Wyss, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Nick Corri) are teenagers in the neighborhood are having terrible dreams about a “bogeyman” of sorts. They realized that they were having dreams about the same disfigured man in a red and green sweater with glove made of knives. His name is Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).

During a sleepover at Tina’s house, the foursome is alone together in the house. As the night drags on, Tina and Rod have sex. Something mysterious happens in the house when pebbles are thrown at the window and nobody is there or a strange figure is coming out of the walls.

Tina hears the sound of her name whispered outside. She goes to investigate and is confronted by the monster her dreams, Freddy Krueger. Only she is not awake, she is having what looks like a night terror. She thrashes on the bed, blood coming from an open wound. She levitates and dragged along the wall to the ceiling where she dies.

Nancy’s father, Donald (John Saxon) is called to find Rod in connection with Tina’s murder. At the stationhouse, Nancy is at his office with her mother, Marge (Ronee Blakley) where she explains to her parents about Tina’s dreams about somebody trying to kill her.

The days after the incident, Rod is arrested and Nancy is haunted by the possibility that she might suffer the same fate if she falls asleep. Every time, she dozes off Freddy comes after her. She realizes that her imagination is coming true.

I heard that this was Johnny Depp’s movie debut as Nancy’s boyfriend, Glen. Huh. The movie has not aged well. It’s twenty-five years old. The special effects are a little wonky with the extending arms or the obvious stunt double when Freddy’s on fire. There is something about the way that Tina runs screams cliqued horror movie girl with the flailing arms and constantly looking back.

Judgment: I want everybody to watch this movie before watching the remake.

Rating: ****


Enter the Dragon (1973)


Don’t think. FEEL. It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.

— Lee

There is something about Bruce Lee that I can’t put my finger on. He has “it”. Whatever it is, he has it. His intricate moves, facial expressions, the cadence of his voice. He commands the screen whenever he is on it.

That being said, this is first time that I saw Enter the Dragon in it entirety.  I have seen the climactic scene with the room full of mirrors a couple of times. Wow! Even though this movie was released in 1973, that scene is still great. That is a testament to the filmmaking. The rest of movie not so much.

Like many other martial arts movies, the plot is basic. Bruce plays the Shaolin monk Lee, a master of the ways of Kung Fu. He is recruited by Braithwaite (Geoffrey Weeks), a British officer to spy on a local Hong Kong kingpin, Han (Shih Kien). Han used to be a Shaolin monk who turned into being a cocaine pusher and white slave trader.

Braithwaite wants Lee to enter a tournament that will take place on Han’s private island.

When Lee arrives he sees other fighters there like Williams (Jim Kelly), Roper (John Saxon). Han wants to have control over the outcome of the tournament. He enlists his henchmen, Oharra (Robert Wall) and Bolo (Yang Sze) to keep everyone in line.

It was a solid movie for being the first American produced one. Great fight scenes. The dialogue was wooden.

I had trouble with a couple of sequences. There is a scene in the middle of the movie when Han shows his true colors that completely bored me to no end. Also, when Lee is in “stealth mode”, he is fighting the guards and you could hear the sound effects loudly. I thought that a person trying to hide in the shadows should not draw attention to themselves.

Judgment: If you want to see Bruce Lee at his best, I would suggest you check out this movie.

Rating: ***1/2

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