Editor Jacob T. Swinney has created a chilling exploration of the sounds of the horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street by director Wes Craven. Craven recently passed away at the age of 76 after a battle with brain cancer.
The first horror movie I ever watched was Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. Being a child, the film frightened me so badly that I didn’t view another horror film until my teen years. Despite the obvious tormentors of a man with a burned face, gravity defying whirlpools of blood, and a dying teen being dragged around the ceiling, I believe one of the reasons the film affected me so heavily was Craven’s use of sound. As Freddy Krueger haunts the dreams of the film’s characters, he is almost always accompanied by some sort of sound, whether it be eerie ambient noise or his non-diegetic theme. Craven made masterful use of the stinger, adding a whole new dimension to the jump scare. After the initial burst, a mechanical shrill of chirps would often linger for a few moments, creating an audio hellscape of nightmarish, arcade-like sounds. Here is a brief showcase of how Craven used sound to shape the atmosphere of his 1984 classic, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. Rest in Peace, Wes Craven.