31 Days of Scares- #2 ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ The Legacy of Tina’s Bloody Death

Jason McDonald

The 31 Days of Scares isn’t a countdown of the best horror movies.  In fact, it’s not even about the best movies. It’s simply about some of my favorite “scares” or scenes from horror movies and they’re in no particular order.  So there’s no need to debate countdown order. It’s pretty random.  With that said: on to the countdown!

Just like in yesterday’s “Evil Dead” post I’m giving you several films for the price of one today.  For number 2 on our Halloween countdown I’m delving into the world of dreams and nightmares.  Today we’re looking at the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series and examining three kills that share a lot in common.

In the first “Nightmare on Elm Street” film Freddy is a sadistic bastard.  The only thing he seems to enjoy more than killing people is torturing them.  And that includes both mental and physical varieties.  Up until this point in the film we haven’t had a chance to see how vile Freddy could be, so Tina’s death gives us that opportunity to experience his brutality.  First Freddy toys with her by chasing her through her dreams and when he finally catches her she has to endure a long and painful death.  The worst part is that she isn’t alone in the room, but she’s still all on her own.

When you contrast this scene with the “Nightmare on Elm Street’ remake you see remarkably significant differences. The first of which is that Kris’ mental torture goes on for much longer and the tension lets out for a longer period as the film tries to lull you into a false sense of security.  When Freddy does strike, though, the violence isn’t nearly as gruesome as the original scene.  The singular slash across Kris’ body is still horrific, but it’s quick and efficient.  This Freddy doesn’t prolong the violence and attacks more like your standard slasher villain.   All in all, it’s a poor imitation of the original scene.

I think a better “remake” of Tina’s death is done in another Wes Craven film: “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.”  Admittedly the scene in question isn’t really a remake of Tina’s death, but it’s certainly a spiritual successor.  I’m, of course, talking about Julie’s death in the hospital.  When Freddy starts to attack Julie he toys with her like a cat who has caught a little bird.  He drags her around, bats at her, and when he’s had his fun he quickly kills her.

This scene shares a lot in common with the Tina scene.  There’s the prolonged violence as the victim is dragged and tossed about the room by an invisible attacker and then there’s the male figure who can only helplessly watch.  This time it’s much worse, though, because the male figure is actually a little boy watching his caretaker die.  Even the way they reach out to each other is a homage to the original film.

This is how you properly remake a scene.  You put in enough details to make it a call back to the original, while also ensuring that there are enough details to make it wholly unique.  Check it out below.


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