In celebration of the film’s 15th anniversary, New Line has issued a handsome DVD edition of the first installment of the far superior of the two defining horror franchises of the ’80s (the other being Friday the 13th). True to New Line form, the visual presentation is stunning; the pristine transfer is crisp, and a lot of thought went into the morphing animated menus, featuring scribbled category listings which, when highlighted, appear to be scratched out by claws–not unlike those worn by the film’s villain, dream-dwelling murderer Freddy Krueger. Other supplements are interesting and useful: there is an area where one can access each of the film’s numerous nightmare sequences individually, and the obligatory cast/crew/production info section comes from the original press notes, offering an intriguing insight into the past. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the feature-length commentary provided by writer-director Wes Craven, director of photography Jacques Haitkin, and stars Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon. None of them really have much of interest to say, a fact that could be attributed to the fact that the film was made so long ago; at certain points they have trouble recalling people’s names. But that’s the one disappointment in a largely satisfying package.

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