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On Its 30th Anniversary, Revisit A Nightmare On Elm Street And Its High-Art Inspirations

On Its 30th Anniversary, Revisit A Nightmare On Elm Street And Its High-Art Inspirations:

While Halloween just came and went, there’s no reason to stop watching horror flicks because this November, hardcore FredHeads will celebrate 30 years of the pop-slasher classic A Nightmare on Elm Street. Released nationwide November 16, 1984, Nightmare was one of the best and most indelible major horror franchises ever.

If you’ve been living under a rock or a blanket and don’t know who Freddy Krueger is, he’s the sometimes funny, sometimes frightening child murderer/molester that haunts your dreams. A modern, wisecracking boogeyman with razor fingers, dusted fedora, and ratty sweater. Oh, and the look of his burned body was inspired by pepperoni pizza.

The special effects (mostly practical) and surrealist production design — along with the iconic look and performance of Robert Englund as Freddy — were the reason the films were so powerful and have remained profitable three decades in. Bob Shaye — then-head of New Line — and writer-director Wes Craven were art history buffs in their own rights and established a very sophisticated mainstream slasher flick by mining art history.

The images stuck with us, like pizza to a napkin.

So, here’s a list of fine art’s influence on A Nightmare on Elm Street. Some are verified influences, some probably subconscious influences, with a couple “reaches” in there for good measure. Happy Birthday, Freddy.

“Pieta” by Jean Fouquet (c. 1445)

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Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

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“The Great Red Dragon and the Beast of the Sea” by William Blake (c. 1810)

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Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master (1988)

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“Face of War” by Salvidor Dali (c. 1940)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors

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“Modern Rhapsody The Seven Arts” by Salvador Dali (1957)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors

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“The Tooth Puller” by Michelangelo Caravaggio (1609)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: Dream Child (1989)*

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“Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion” (detail) by Francis Bacon

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors poster

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“The Nightmare” by Henry Fuseli (1781)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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“Your body is a battleground” by Barbara Kruger (1988)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors

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“Woman in Tub” by Jeff Koons (1988)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street

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“The Scream” by Edvard Munch (1893)

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Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master

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“Rock ‘n Roll” by Salvador Dali (1957)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street

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“The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa” by Gian Berninin (1652)

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Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master

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