Our 9-year old niece was in town recently so we spent a lot of time touring Washington.  From the Space Needle to the Gum Wall to the waterfalls of Mount Rainier, we covered a pretty big footprint in a small amount of time.  As fun as the touring was, my absolute favorite moment was when she looked up at me and asked, “Uncle Brad, can we watch A Nightmare on Elm Street tonight?”  I seriously about fell over.  I asked her how she knew about a 32-year old horror movie, and she said she had a bunch of friends back home who had seen it and it was the topic of a lot of conversations.

It warms my heart to think that my all-time favorite horror movie is not only still relevant, but is somewhat popular.

Considering I was 9 when I first saw the movie on VHS in 1986 (a couple of years after it came out, but it’s not like I could run down to the video store to pick up a copy at the time), I immediately texted my sister for approval.  I got the green light and my niece was set to watch her first horror flick.

THE MOVIEA Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

The trailerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8TKelktHgA

As you may have noticed, I’m a little attached to the original Nightmare.  Okay, that might be putting it mildly… suffice to say I had a life-size poster of Freddy on my bedroom door when I was a kid (no joke, I lived at 911 Elm Street).  And yes, I was THAT kid, or, as my mom said to my wife when we were dating, “We didn’t know if he was going to grow up to be a serial killer or what.”  Big laughs all around (thanks, mom).

Anyway, I cannot stress enough how good this movie is.  If you haven’t seen it you should be ashamed of yourself and the rock you grew up under… now go see it.  If it’s been a while, this is as good a time as any to dust it off.  And if you are a storyteller, take notes.

The premise:  Every town has secrets – just as every town has an Elm Street – and wow does the fictional town of Springwood, Ohio (there seem to be an awful lot of palm trees in Ohio) have a doozey.  When a group of teens start having similar nightmares of the Extra Crispy Colonel… I mean, a horribly burned man in a red and green sweater, wielding knives on his fingers named Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), things go from delusional to homicidal.  Even after Nancy’s (Heather Langenkamp) friends, Tina (Amanda Wyss) and Rod (Nick Corri), and her boyfriend, Glen (Johnny Depp), are butchered by Freddy and she physically pulls things out of her dreams, the town goes deep into denial mode.

What is this secret that is so terrible that the adults of Springwood ignore the obvious?  How long can Nancy go without sleep?  Will Freddy take them all?

Watch the movie!

A Nightmare on Elm Street is the brain-child of the iconic Wes Craven (The Hills Have Eyes (both 1977 and 2006), Swamp Thing, Serpent and the Rainbow, Dracula 2000, Scream), filmed at the dawn of New Line Cinema’s rise in the horror world for a paltry $1.8 million.  Low-budget horror flicks were all the rage back then because the genre didn’t get the respect it deserved, but it did spawn Jason Voorhees, Leather Face, Michael Myers, Chuckie, so on so forth, and a host of tropes and new techniques born of necessity.  But Freddy was something special.  The villain didn’t just kill for killing’s sake; he was bent on instilling as much fear in his prey as possible.  It was cerebral, alluring.  Craven, like Freddy, plays with the audience’s perception of reality like a cat with a beetle.  He also masterfully uses the old slasher trope of morality: the more virtuous the character, the better chance of survival, which is cliché now, but that was 32 years ago (see my Amityville post).

Of course the sequels grew increasingly bad until we landed in a steaming pile of Freddy’s Dead.

Oh, and if you are wondering if the niece liked it, she was glued to the TV and had a few, “Oh…. my… gosh…” moments.  Was she scared?  Oh yeah, but she handled it like a champ.  She did have a hard time with Child’s Play the next night, though.  Must be a doll thing.

THE WINE:  Charles & Charles Rose

Rose Blend (2015) (Washington).


About $9.00 a bottle.

The latest Ghost Night meal was a lightened up version of mini meatloaf pepper rings.  For those of you not familiar (I wasn’t), you slice bell peppers into rings and fill them with a meatloaf.  Cindy made hers with ground chicken, onions, bell peppers, Worcestershire sauce, aged parmesan cheese, a spicy tomato puree, and plenty of seasonings.  They were sweet, savory, and had a spicy kick on the back end.  But what to drink?

This was a tricky one because it could go many different ways.  A red could overpower the flavors of the meal* and most whites would be lost in the background.  In this case, go rose.  The one we chose is mostly Syrah, which is a bolder flavor palate that complimented the sweet peppers that brought out the watermelon in the wine, and the sharp cheese and acidic tomato accents brought out notes of unripen strawberry.

A wonderful choice if you are looking for a wine to compliment a lighter dish with some spice.

* Completely random cooking note: when making pasta and use a wine to flavor it, don’t add a red… unless you like purple food.