Traditionally, film is run at 24 frames per second, so the censorship Craven is about to refer to is only a half of a second long. But that half-second was enough to make New Line Cinema skittish. Craven recalls making the cut and feeling that even a half second made the scene feel different and threw off the pace. He hated it. Craven recalled:
“One of the most painful cuts is in ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ was when Tina is dragged up across the ceiling of her bedroom and then falls onto the bed and you know, we had the bed three inches deep in blood, and when the stunt woman hit it there was this startling and really shocking spray of blood all over everything. It was probably twelve frames, something like that, but those twelve frames had to go or we they would have axed the movie. Every time I see that film, I see that abrupt cut there.”
The scene is still scary, but a savvy viewer will be able to see where the cut was made. Absurd to think that the scene is of a teenage girl being sliced to ribbons, but the studio only had an issue with the blood splatter after she had already died.
This type of censorship is common in feature films. David Lynch fans may know that the only difference between the R-rated cut of “Wild at Heart” and the unrated cut is a split second wherein Willem Dafoe’s head is splattered open by a shotgun. The R-rated version of the scene merely contains an opaque cloud of smoke, covering the brief moment of extreme gore. At the very least, Craven wasn’t asked to visually obscure the blood. A straightforward cut likely functions better for the scene.