Wes Craven's 1984 horror film is a better movie than it is generally credited for being. Forget the tawdry sequels; this highly original, almost surrealist work stars Robert Englund as a mutilated monster who kills teenagers during their dreams. Craven, who only directed one Elm Street sequel (Wes Craven's New Nightmare), takes the Hitchcockian step of layering in psychological explanations for the terror and then proving them all irrelevant in the face of mindless evil. The horror in the film is emotionally raw, in contrast to the overimaginative set pieces of most of the sequels that followed; and the final scene is as deeply unsettling as anything Luis Buñuel ever committed to film. --Tom Keogh
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