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A Nightmare on Elm Street: behind the soundtrack

The soundtrack of A Nightmare on Elm Street. is one of the most bone-chlling in horror movies, and a new documentary by guitar-maker Gibson tells its story through the voice of its composer, Charles Bernstein



Charles Bernstein is responsible for some of the most unforgettable and terrifying compositions in horror film history, and he now tells the story behind his bone-chilling original score for Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street.

This is the promise of one of the most eagerly-awaited episodes of a new streaming documentary series titled “Behind The Board,” by iconic guitar-maker Gibson. It offers an in-depth look at the world of studio recording in music, film and TV, with the shows streamed free on demand via

“Creating music for Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street was one of the truly satisfying and challenging experiences in my career,” says Bernstein. “When the film was released, I never thought that Elm Street and Freddy Krueger would go on to become the cultural phenomenon that we know today. It’s gratifying to see how horror fans have kept Elm Street’s music alive and how the themes I composed for the film still seem to resonate with so many people.”

“The score to A Nightmare On Elm Street is one of the most bone chilling pieces of music ever put to tape,” says Todd Harapiak, producer at Gibson TV. “Listening to Charles detail how he wrote and recorded this score is a wonderful lesson in music composition and audio production. As we listened back to these tracks, it was evident as to why this material is still celebrated as one of the menacing soundtracks of all time.”

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Bernstein was and began playing music at an early age (bass, piano). He produced Phil Spector’s first demo at the age of 15 and learned the techniques of studio recording. A fan of Les Paul and Mary Ford, his first score was for the 1969 Oscar-winning documentary Czechoslovakia 1968.

In 1984, he wrote, performed, and recorded all instruments on the score to A Nightmare On Elm Street including bass, synths, guitar and percussion. Recently, Bernstein worked with Quentin Tarantino who has included Bernstein’s music from White Lightning and The Entity in the soundtracks of his films Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Inglourious Basterds.