The ending of A Nightmare on Elm Street has been the source of a fair amount of debate. Wes Craven wanted the film to end with the kids driving off into the fog while Freddy remains vanquished. The producers wanted a jump scare, so it was tried a few different ways. Ideas include a red and green roof slamming shut on a convertible full of kids and an obvious looking mannequin getting pulled through a small window in the door by Freddy’s arm. All the alternate endings feature some permutations of these elements.
I can’t say with any real conviction that I strongly prefer one to the other. None of them are absurdly terrible and none of them really ruin the previous 90 minutes either. The climax has never been the movie’s strong point anyway.
One thing that has never been up for debate though, is the sheer awesomeness of the song that plays over the end credits. According to the soundtrack section, it’s called Nightmare and it’s by the band 213. That’s about all I know about either the song or the band.
In this case though, that’s more than enough. This song is equal parts ridiculous and amazing. On the surface, this may sound like a short generic 80s rocker, but listen carefully. First off, the vocals bring to mind Love Is a Lie by Lion which played during Jimbo’s crazy dance scene in Friday the 13th Part IV. I don’t need to tell you how great that is, do I?
If the lyrics are any indication, it was written specifically for the movie, which is always cool. It’s short enough to transcribe the two main verses here in their entirety:
I never was the kind to sleep light/But then I never had these kind of nights/Something evil watching over me/And I’m afraid this ain’t no fantasy
I locked the doors and nailed the windows tight/I thought that everything would be all right/But when I shut mu eyes he’ll find a way/Somebody wake me help me get away
Granted, this isn’t as specific as The Ballad of Harry Warden that plays at the end of My Bloody Valentine, but it’s a solid effort. This alone wouldn’t be enough to warrant a spot in my collection, but in between the verses the song gets into an argument with itself. It’s impossible to do it justice by transcribing it. Take a listen (the song is short, but the part I’m talking about really kicks into gear just after a minute in):
I seriously cannot get enough of the guy yelling “It’s a nightmare!” followed by the voice of dissent whispering, “It’s just a dream, a dream.” Of course, the appropriate response to such an argument would be another scream, “No, it’s nightmare!” They go on like this for a while. It’s a delight.
It can be a bit confusing though. What’s the argument? In the context of the movie, it’s obviously a nightmare. But since a nightmare is a type of dream, are we just getting bogged down in semantics? I suppose the real bone of contention here is whether or not this dream (no, it’s a nightmare!) is dangerous.
Regardless, this song was never designed to make you think. It was designed to make you rock. It’s been so effective with me that I can guarantee that any time anyone in my life ever says, “It’s just a dream” or anything remotely like that, I will answer by screaming, “No, it’s a nightmare!” Go ahead, try me.