Us and Candyman paid homage to A Nightmare On Elm Street’s haunting nursery rhyme by making the music of millennial childhoods deeply creepy.
The nursery rhyme featured in A Nightmare On Elm Street is a memorably eerie piece of music, but how did this inspire both Jordan Peele’s Us and 2021’s Candyman? Released in 1984, A Nightmare On Elm Street was a terrifying shot in the arm for the slasher sub-genre courtesy of future Scream director Wes Craven. The teen horror hit reinvigorated interest in slashers by eschewing the formula popularized by much-copied sleeper hits Halloween and Friday the 13th, wherein a hulking masked murderer wordlessly stalked a slew of teens.
Instead, A Nightmare On Elm Street’s killer was both unmasked and eloquent, and the Springwood slasher used more creative methods than simple stabbing or slicing to cut a bloody swathe through his victims. Killed by an angry mob for his crimes against children, villain Freddy Krueger returned from the dead to haunt and kill the offspring of his attackers in the one place no one could stop him. Transformed into an immortal dream demon, Freddy killed the characters of the Nightmare On Elm Street series in their dreams.