Can we experience pain when watching a horror movie? While we may not feel it physically, we can be reminded of the pain and that can be used to help us feel empathy for characters on the screen; we can feel their pain. But how is this done? In a Video Essay by Rob Ager, He goes in depth into the subtle choices used by Wes Craven and the filmmakers of A Nightmare on Elm St., to subliminally feel the pain of Freddy’s claws.
Ager uses examples of the high-pitched scrapes and synthesized echo-y notes that evoke a sense of pain. He also cites that a bright light, following a dark scene, lends itself to the psychology of pain. Ager goes further, pointing out how Wes Craven uses stripes to indicate that Freddy, while not in the scene, is an ever-present force looming over the characters.
Watching and analyzing A Nightmare on Elm St. is a good way to see how much care and thought goes into a hot, how everything is pointing to a central theme and this is usually the difference between a great movie and one the my just be par.