Posts Tagged ‘ANightmareOnElmStreet’

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Picture this. It’s 1994. You love the Nightmare on Elm Street series but as far as you know it’s over. Then one night, during a preview on TV, you catch a glimpse of somthing…familiar. Right away you know what it is. It’s Freddy Kruger. Not only him. It’s Nancy Thompson! What the hell is going on?! It’s a brand new Nightmare on Elm Street movie and it looks scary as hell! Wes Craven, unimpressed with how Freddy Kruger had been laid to rest, had returned to his creation to see it got a proper send off and that arrived in the form of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.

The film was notable for being shot in a kind of documentary style (in parts at least but very much becoming a movie as it develops) and being set in the real world and not the fictional world of the Elm Street series. Despite the movie being a total work of fiction (I hope!) and very much being A Nightmare on Elm Street movie. One of the best in the series in fact. Another exciting aspect about the build up to the film’s release was the lack of information about what exactly it was. Check out the theatrical trailer. You can’t quite make out if it’s a documentary about the movies or a legit movie! It was very clever.

New Nightmare picks up ten years after the release of the first movie. Original Elm Street star Heather Langenkamp has a stalker. One who sounds very familiair. But Freddy isn’t real is he? Those associated with the Elm Street series are having nightmares about Freddy. Only this version of the dream slasher is darker than the one we remeber. Things turn deadly. People go missing. Heather’s son, Dylan, is acting strange and soon it becomes clear that the worlds of fiction and reality are about to collide in a very real and very deadly way.

Back in 1994 when this film was released it was a hit with fans of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series and critics. The reason it proved such a hit was the way Craven went about making the film. Nothing like this had been attempted. It must have been a massive gamble but one which paid off in a big way. This movie, the seventh entry in a franchise many assumed was over, would prove to be the installment that could stand proudly next to the original for the way it told its story, delivered the frights and did justice to its iconic characters played by the excellent Robert Englund and Heather Langenkamp. One the eve of this film’s release Freddy Kruger had become watered down. No longer scary. He had become dilluted and the biggest acomplishment of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is how it made a slasher icon not only relavent once more but absolutley terrifying. New Nightmare is one of the darkest entries in the series.

Craven is a genius. He’s an icon as not just a director but as a writer too. Nothing in horror has come close to matching his output to date for me. His ideas are always creative and not shy of thinking outside of the box. This movie acting as a great example of that. A lot of fans, rightly so if that’s how they feel, don’t see New Nightmare as part of the original series but I absolutley do. I think it fits perfectly into the Elm Street world, one in which reality can be changed and the rules can be broken. Least I forget this is a perfect cap to the series. If we never get another A Nightmare on Elm Street it’s okay because I’d find it hard to see how anyone could match the imagination Craven was able to put into his entries.

 

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When it comes to remakes or reboots of classic films I generally consider myself open minded. So if I hear, say, The Thing is getting a remake (cough) I say to myself “Well okay. I hope it’s good. Let’s see how this turns out. Heck the Carpenter classic is a remake so why not?” However cast your mind back to 2009. A remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street was on the cards. Robert Englund would not be playing Freddy.

My once open mind began to close. I had a tough time with the idea of that. Then I saw the remake and we all know how that turned out. So when it comes to Freddy I’m actually not sorry to say I just can’t see anyone else but Englund in the role he made iconic back in 1984.

Sadly there is currently no news at all regarding anything Elm Street related. The last I read were rumours that a script was in development for yet another reboot. That was around two years ago and nothing has happened. Nor does, I hate this, anything seem to be on the horizon in the near future.

Recently out on a press tour the great man himself, Robert Englund, was asked about how Freddy could work in the current climate of horror and his answer was golden. Englund said –

“If I had an Eli Roth budget I would have cast different actors to play Freddy for every potential victim, because Freddy is only alive in the imagination of his future victim. They would talk about it at a slumber party or in a locker room at school, or on the bus going home. All we know about this Fred Kruger is he wears a hat, wears a red and green striped sweater and has clawed hands. That’s the specifics.”

I love this pitch. Look back to Dream Warriors, Dream Master, Dream Child and Freddy’s Dead. The dream demon is not shy when it comes to taking on the appearance of others to fool his victims in order to secure a potential kill. This notion of different actors being the worse, most evil version of Freddy for any one victim makes a lot of sense. Imagine the creative aventues this route would open up and the endless possibilites for some classic genre actors to take a bow as Freddy. You could have a female Freddy! Hell you could even get Englund back himself for one sequence. Why not? I know he’s on record as saying he’s hung up the glove for good but I don’t buy it. You can tell he just loves the series. That won’t change.

Up and coming genre director David Sandberg has thrown his hat into the ring for a shot at bringing Elm Street back. Having watched and been impressed by Annabelle: Creation and Lights Out I would be beyond on board for that. New Line cinema should really just call Mr Sandberg and be like “What do you need to make this happen?”

If (or when) Elm Street invades our dreams and turns them into nightmares once more what approach would you like to see the series take?

 

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The last of the Elm Street teens are trapped inside a mental institution. No one will believe them that there’s a dream killer trying to kill them each time they go to sleep. That is until a new staff member starts at the institute who knows all too well that the teens are telling the truth! The man in their dreams is very real and if they die in their nightmares they die for real!

Most Elm Street fans would (rightly) state that 1987’s Dream Warriors is their favourite entry in the dream stalker franchise. It’s hard to say otherwise with original stars Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon returning to their roles as original Elm Street heroine Nancy Thompson and her father and the fact Wes Craven was a co-writer on Dream Warriors. Yet…yet I just can’t say it’s my favourite sequel. It’s boss. I love it but BUT I have a few issues with the film that stops it from being the best entry in the  Nightmare on Elm Street series since the original.

Taking on directing duties for Dream Warriors is Chuck Russell, this man went on to direct The Blob remake which is one of my favourite movies and his work on Dream Warriors is top notch. The film is haunting, in places more so than the original because the studio I guess increased the third films budget and the director was able to explore the notion of entering the nightmares of the characters more fully than in the original. The opening of Dream Warriors is easily one of the best in the entire series. The film is full of classic scenes for that matter – the final showdown between Freddy and the Dream Warriors, the idea of dream loops as one sequence replays the films opening but with a deadly twist, the now famous puppet walk of doom and one poor teen’s big break into TV to name a few! Add to it all a truly chilling score from frequent David Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti.

My issues with Dream Warriors are in the script. What I can’t quite look past is how the film depicts Nancy. Langenkamp is great as Nancy and does the best with what she is given to work with but the script looks to favour Craig Wasson’s character Dr Neil Gordon as the films lead. Dream Warriors can easily be labelled an ensemble and it is but I felt like Nancy always had to come with Neil as a duo and in some scenes she comes across like the “gal helping out the main guy” until the film’s last act and she does get to shine. I just felt she wasn’t as pro-active as in the original movie and it probably didn’t help that I read Wes Craven’s first draft of Dream Warriors, in which the Nancy character was not only front and centre throughout but much more pro active and in line with the ass kicker we knew from the original classic movie. The same applies to the great John Saxon, his arc in the original script was much more in line with the guy we knew in the first film than the drunk who turned his back on his daughter in the actual film. Cravens first draft, if you ever get to read it, is well worth a look with amazing dream sequences and a much more brutal and darker tone than what is still a pretty dark entry into the series as is!

Filling out the cast is the crazy talented Laurence Fishburne as Max the hospital orderly sympathetic to the teens woes, the awesome Patricia Arquette as Kristen who probably has the most close calls with Freddy than any other character in the entire series and Priscilla Pointer as the seemingly cruel but well meaning Dr Elizabeth Simms and she is great in the role. The rest of the cast is full of truly likeable and talented up and coming actors and features one of the most likeable casts in the series with great performances from Ken Sagoes, Bradley Gregg, Jennifer Rubin, Iran Heiden, Rodney Eastman and Penelope Sudrow. So popular were the characters of Dream Warriors that New Line at one time intended to bring several of them back (yes, even the dead ones) for Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare! Of course Robert Englund rules as Freddy Krueger and you can see in Dream Warriors that the actor has really hit his stride with the character, being able to be terrifying and at times darkly funny without the later distracting from the former scary Krueger the original movie established.

It’s hard to believe that Dream Warriors is 30 years old. Wow. The best news is the film totally continues to be not only a great entry into the Elm Street series but a good example of a strong sequel. Dream Warriors has one hell of a theme tune too!

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This is a love letter to A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Yes, Dream Warriors gets a ton (warranted) love from fans of the series as the best sequel but I would argue Dream Master is just as good. In 1988 the Elm Street series was at the height of it’s popularity and New Line were eager to get a sequel to Dream Warriors (which had proved a hit) out into cinemas. Renny Harlin was brought on board to direct a film that would see the return of the surviving Dream Warriors who must again go toe to toe with Freddy Krueger. The film would introduce a fan favourite character in the form of Alice and boast brilliant special effects (not a CGI shot in sight) from Kevin Yagher. It would also go on to be the most successful Elm Street movie at the box office bringing in an impressive $91m.

Dream Master has a likeable ensemble of characters and the fact it feels like an ensemble is one of the strong parts of the film. Each character has a mini arc, something to add to the story the point of which ties in to the theme of growth for the central character Alice. She starts the film as a wallflower only to transform in confidence and determination as Kruger takes out her friends one by one. After each loss Alice absorbs a part of her friends who all fill a vital personality trait she will need to face Freddy. I love that aspect of the film because of the way it adds a classic arc to the heroines journey. Alice is shown confronting herself several times throughout the film, a motif of pealing away the layers and walls she has put up demonstrated in her covered mirror that boasts a collage of pictures of friends and family.

Lisa Wilcox is great as Alice and her supporting cast flesh out their characters just as well. Andras Jones as Rick, Alice’s brother (and surviving Dream Warrior Kristin’s boyfriend) in particular is a stand out. The same can be said for Tuesday Knight as Kristin Parker, Knight taking over the role from Patricia Arquette. Recasting is never ideal but Knight brings an intensity to the role and contributes a belter of a song to the soundtrack. If I’d had my way I’d have followed this trio throughout the next two Elm Street sequels and feel it was a mistake not to use their chemistry and likeability moving forward. Fellow Elm Street 3 survivors Kincaid and Joey do good in their reduced roles. Robert Englund IS Freddy Kruger and at this stage he owns the role and could probably do it in his sleep. That’s meant as a compliment too because he makes Kruger’s sadism and evil seem effortless.

Dream Master has one of my favourite movie soundtracks ever. It’s a great collection of songs and artists that compliment the film and it’s bombastic MTV vibe. Yes. Dream Warriors may well be the most respected sequel in the Elm Street series (not counting the meta New Nightmare) but damn if Dream Master isn’t the most fun out of the sequels.

 

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Hello fellow frustrated and impatient Freddy, Jason & Michael fans! I thought I’d give an update on each of the big three slasher franchies and where they stand right now. So what movement there is (or not) on any of the above and what the latest up to date info is on each of them. Look I know the feeling, you get to read a bunch of rumours or supposed start dates for these movies and then everything goes real quiet for like five years. No joke. So onto the news.

First up we have Halloween. Now last we heard Halloween Returns was set to shoot last year with a release date set for this Halloween. Well we can forget about that. It’s dead. Dimension films have lost the rights. As of right now no other studio has bought them and the project isn’t likely to go ahead even if the series finds a new home. Shame.

Moving onto Friday The 13th Part XIII. This film has died and came back to life almost as many times as Jason himself! The latest is this. There’s a script. It’s set in the 1980’s. It won’t be found footage and I kind of don’t care anymore because there’s no director, there’s no confirmed start date and they’ve now passed on TWO (what were meant to be) great scripts. The film has a release window for next year which is as likely as happening as the mean girl is to survive an 80’s slasher movie.

Finally onto Elm Street. No date. No director. No news…except for this. Somewhere in L.A. right now somone is working away on the next A Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s happening. It’s being written. My guess is that after the absolute mess of the last movie New Line will be taking their time with this new reboot, remake, sequel or whatever the hell it ends up being.

That’s all the big franchise news right now. You know me and how this blog works. I don’t do click bait or post wild speculation or rumours like a lot of the bigger sites because there is nothing more annoying. I’ll give you the facts and like ’em or hate ’em this is where the big three stand right now.

 

What can I say about A Nightmare On Elm Street that hasn’t been said (and better no doubt) countless times before? The film is a classic. No film has come close to capturing the creativity displayed in this film. From the talent behind the scenes and in front of the camera, Elm Street stands out as one of the best slasher movies ever made.

Director Wes Craven created an icon with the star of the film, the burnt and horrific killer Fred Krueger. He is up there with cinematic greats – Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman etc. Decked out in his now famed red and green sweater, fedora and razor knifed glove. Freddy is a chilling figure. No lie, it took me till I was fifteen years old to be able to watch the original movie and not get scared shitless. The concept behind Freddy is so terrifying. A killer who stalks you in your dreams. If he kills you in your dream then you are dead for real. It’s this hook that Craven’s film manages to nail so perfectly.

Of course the film is populated with – modern horror take note – likeable and relatable ‘teens’. None of them have any major issues, dead parents or past substance abuse problems. They’re just regular guys and gals, care free and enjoying life. So when Freddy eventually does start stalking and killing these teens you give a shit. You don’t want to see them die. You’re not cheering Freddy on, crying out for these dumb teens to get slashed to ribbons. Final girl Nancy is more than a match for Freddy, thanks in no small part to the excellent Heather Langenkamp. The actress gives Nancy a ton of charm, wits and drive. She’s one of my favourite horror movie characters and is as important to the movie as Freddy himself. I love pro-active leads and this girl is into survival.

Freddy himself is played by genre icon Robert Englund. He injects Freddy with the perfect balance of evil and sadistic glee (a balance that would annoyingly get blurred in the sequels). Honestly, without Englund I don’t know how much of the film would have worked to the extent that it does. Rounding out the cast are cinema legends John Saxon as Nancy’s police Lt. father and Ronee Blakley as – you have to see her to believe how boss she is – Marge, Nancy’s mother. Both Saxon and Blakley are great but it’s Blakley who steals a lot of scenes with her layered performance of a woman wrestling with her own demons while trying to hide everything from her daughter.

I can not talk about this movie without mentioning the incredible score performed by Charles Bernstein. The music during the chase scenes is brilliant and overall it’s easily one of my all time favourite movie scores. They certainly don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Everyone has seen A Nightmare on Elm Street, how could they not have? So instead of recommending it all I can do is suggest you have a re-watch if it’s been a while. That is of course unless you’re too afraid….haha.