OBJECTIVE: Watch a popular or critically acclaimed film we’ve never seen to the halfway point. Pause it. Work together to predict the ending.


elm-street-1984-poster halved

THE LAST THING WE SAW: We paused at 00:45:30, directly after Freddy Krueger makes it appear as though Rod has hanged himself in the jail cell.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Last Seen

And now… discuss!

Phil: Wow! For a guy who really doesn’t do horror, I am digging this movie!

Ben: I really don’t dig horror either, but I am liking the pace of the movie, and the effects are really gripping me!

Phil: Yeah, these practical effects are really fun to watch!

Ben: Totally. It must have been a lot of fun designing those marshmallow stairs!

Nightmare Stairs

Phil:  So in terms of predictions, are there any more people who are going to die?

Ben: I’d like to think that this is the couple that makes it. I don’t know if Glenn is the guy to root for—he’s not really an inspiring dude. He’s just kind of there.

Phil: Yeah…

Ben: He screwed up the sleeping/guarding thing, he screws up coming in the house quietly (he yelps and complains about roses)—he can’t even get a phony call to his mom right!

Phil: I think you’re right that these two are the ones who will succeed for most of the movie. Nancy is going to survive.

Nightmare Nancy Survives

Ben: Yeah, Nancy’s definitely going to live. With Glenn I’m more on the fence—I wouldn’t be surprised if he ate it; in the horror movie world, you’re like, “That guy’s gone.”

Nightmare Glenn

Phil: I’m with you: he’s toast.

Ben: This was the time before when horror movies were intentionally trying to subvert expectations and the genre was self-aware of its tropes.

Phil: Here’s something weird: when Glenn is asleep, he’s actually asleep—he’s not part of these nightmares or able to interact with them.

Ben: I’m not sure he was necessarily dreaming: it seems like the moment every other character falls asleep, he or she is dreaming.

Phil: Oh, that’s true!

Ben: But I don’t know if he was dreaming, because wouldn’t that mean they were having the same dream?

Phil: Yeah! Remember, he said that he “slept like a rock.” So you’re right: maybe when he sleeps, he actually sleeps, and when anyone else sleeps, they interact with Freddy Krueger.

Ben: Yeah, and Glenn was sitting there in her dream, but I think that was just her dream.

Phil: Exactly.

Ben: And I think Glenn is immune.

Nightmare Glenn is not Immune

Phil: Well, next she’s going to start doing some tests.

Ben: Yes. She’s doing the science right now.

Phil: But Glenn’ll be more on the qui vive, a little more vigilant.

Nightmare Glenn Snoozing

Ben: Yeah, he doesn’t want to let her down.

Phil: You know, she needs to set up a whole bunch of buckets, so that when she flails in her nightmare she pours cold water on her head.

Ben: That would be very smart, and insanely cheap, but I don’t think she’ll have thought of that, because, you know, horror movie teenager.

Phil: So anyway, she’s going to go off and do these experiments.

Ben: You’re right, and she’s going to find a way that she can wake up, and she’s going to trust Glenn with it.

Phil: Yeah, and he’s going to do a good job with it, in part because he seems to be immune to Freddy’s invasion of dreams. In fact, here’s a question: why is it that only these three are infected by Freddy Krueger?

Ben: Why is there a nursery rhyme about a guy named Freddy?


Ben: That they skip rope to?

Phil: That’s a good second question. Um…

Ben: Sorry, what was your first one?

Phil: Why is that that only Tina, Rod, and Nancy are the ones with their dreams infested with this zany manicure fiasco?

Ben: Going in the whole Friday the 13th vein, maybe the three of them were partying in that little shack where that guy lived, and they accidentally killed him.

Nightmare Mom Explaining Freddy Krueger

Phil: Could be.

Ben: I mean, it’s a horror movie from the ’80s.

Phil: And now he’s just seeking revenge?

Ben: Yeah.  Found some power in the underworld.

Phil: Yeah, entirely possible. Anyway, I feel that this question has to do with it, because why aren’t the parents affected, why isn’t Glenn effected?  Who knows: maybe it is Glenn! (I’m kidding.)

Ben: Hey, it’s possible in a movie like this. It could be, like, a relative of Glenn, or Glenn’s subconscious, or something.

Phil: Oh!

Ben: What?

Phil: Yeah, because he wasn’t even dreaming at all!

Ben: Gasp!

Phil: So maybe it is his subconscious! What if it is his subconscious infecting these three people?

Ben: Although, was he sleeping when Tina was killed? He wasn’t when they were having sex, but was he during her murder scene?

Phil: He was clearly being kept awake during the first scene, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t fall asleep after that. Yeah, if it is his subconscious, that would be a neat twist!

Ben: Yeah! Everybody’s asleep, his subconscious is trying… to kill… his girlfriend? And her friends? Because, wait, why though?

Phil: Because he’s jealous of how much cooler they are?

Ben: Um, yeah, that’s it, Phil.

Phil: He’s on the chess team, and—

Ben: None of these people are cool! “Hey, modern 16-year-old girl! What do you want to wear to school?”  “Pleated khakis!”

Phil: It was the ’80s, man. You know, Annie Hall had just come out, like, a decade prior.

Nightmare Annie Hall

Ben: Yep, and Woody Allen, the king of cool, was obviously influencing all the teenagers.

Phil: Fair point. Next step: she’s going to go back to sleep to find Freddy Krueger.

Nightmare Looking For Freddy

Ben: Right. She’s going to try another experiment.

Phil: Good, so we both agree on that. Next?

Ben: The police will put out a statement about Rob’s death implying that he committed suicide out of guilt for the murder.

Phil: I agree.

Ben: After that, Nancy’s dad will harp on her even more and trust her even less, and this will stress her out more.

Nightmare Father Stern

Phil: Her parents will encourage her to sleep, but she can’t do this unless someone’s watching.

Ben: The mom’s going to keep making her warm milk, and her dad’s going to keep on her.

Phil: She’s going to use those Sta Awake pills. It’s like Chekhov’s pills right now.

Ben: Yeah.

Phil: And then, do you think her parents will send her to a psychologist or psychotherapist? “Look, Nancy, your dreams are really weird!”

Nightmare Katja Institute of Sleep Disorders

Ben: Very likely.

Phil: Oh! And what if the therapist gets her to sleep in the session, like through hypnosis—

Ben: And then, in her dream, the therapist becomes Freddy Krueger and tries to kill her—

Phil: And then, in real life, the therapist will actually see all the dream’s manifestations.

Nightmare Nightmare

Ben: Ooooh!

Phil: But the therapist will wake her up before she starts freaking out too badly, and will assume it was only a really violent nightmare.  He is not going to think that she’s got this Freddy Krueger running around in her dreams.

Nightmare Hat

Ben: He’ll assume it was a psychotic episode or a night terror or something. (That would have been a good title for this movie, too: Night Terrors!)

Phil: It’s at this point she’ll have Glenn come back.

Ben: And try the bucket of water thing or something.

Nightmare Freddy Hit By Hammer

Phil: And that’s when it will turn out it’s Glenn’s subconscious? That would certainly make a good flick!

Ben: That would be amazing!

Phil: And then… what, she kills Glenn?

Ben: She and Glenn get into a fight, but I feel that the Freddy aspect of all this actually does have legit supernatural powers, so he might be able to come back. You know, for the many sequels.

Phil: So wait, does she actually kill Glenn? I mean, if it is his subconscious, does she kill him or does she just wake Glenn up and then get rid of Freddy Krueger from him?

Nightmare Freddy Flames

Ben: She’s probably got to kill Glenn to have any source of power over the situation.  Because, otherwise, what is the ending of the movie?

Nightmare Mom

Phil: So she does kill Glenn, and then it turns out that Freddy Krueger was actually simply infesting poor Glenn to begin with. So Freddy Krueger is still around.

Ben: Yeah, it could totally be that.

Nightmare Car

Phil: And then the movie ends with Freddy, say, peering around a corner laughing, and it goes black.

Ben: Yeah: Nancy is finally getting a restful sleep, and then he emerges from behind the cross or something—and then, fade to sequel!

Nightmare Ending