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Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

Even though there’s one more movie after this, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is the film that really brings the series full circle.  Originally dreamt up around the time he was writing Dream Warriors (but turned down by studio execs), this film brings back a less kind and gentle (and cartoonish) Krueger for fans.

This throwback to Tina from the first film also brings it full circle.

You might remember this one as the film where Freddy really and truly comes to life.  Heather Langenkamp stars as herself as does Robert Englund and Wes Craven.  The story starts with the filming of a new Freddy movie where Freddy’s glove mysteriously comes to life and starts killing people…but wait!  That’s just a dream that Heather is having!  Heather’s just a little anxious about all the upcoming press for the 10th anniversary of Nightmare on Elm Street.  She also has a kid now and a husband.  But she’s been having bad dreams, see?  And prank phone calls that sound like…FREDDY KRUEGER!!!!  *insert ominous music*

Honey, how many times do I have to tell you – you can’t watch Mommy kill people!

So long story short – Wes Craven is working on a new script, one that he dreams up every night and it’s all about how pure evil can be real and then defeated and this evil is taking Freddy’s form because of Heather and Freddy really thinks she’s Nancy or something and then there’s this awesome stuffed animal dinosaur that the kid has that guards the end of his bed and people die and everyone thinks Heather is crazy (cause really, you’d think that too) and then she and the kid get kidnapped to dreamscape world and apparently Robert Englund is a really freaky painter.

This kid was apparently in every movie made starting in 1989 up until he hit puberty.

I enjoy this one mostly because I think about how freaking fun it must have been for the actors to all be playing some version of themselves and then some version of a character they had played (or had been playing) for years in the past.  It’s like if I made a movie exploring my childhood and played young Misty (I wouldn’t, that would be tragic but you get the point).  This is like the epitome of t.v. reunion shows, you know?  And I like the idea of something entirely made up becoming real and everyone’s just standing there going, “WTF?  Seriously?  Dudes, this is the stupidest thing ever.”  And then of course Freddy is more like the Freddy of yesteryear – nasty and less punny.  Always a plus.

Short review I know but I enjoy this one – it’s gotta be my third fave out of the series (although technically this isn’t part of the series and is meant as a standalone).  If you’re going through the franchise, be sure to include this one! Also I find the trailer really cool…

 

 

 

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Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

 

Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is where the Freddy franchise starts to get a little silly.  Well…that’s not entirely accurate.  It was gradually getting there anyway but this one is all special effects work, less awesome deaths and a point where one says to oneself, “Self – why are we still watching this?  Self – why is that girl not leaving the shower when brown water starts gurgling up from the drain? Self – tell me again when that particular point in Freddy’s legacy came into being, please.”  Dream Child doesn’t suck it big time or anything but it’s another twist in the fun of Freddy.

This happens.

So Alice is back with Dan and all is well.  Well, not really cause the movie starts with her almost drowning in the shower.  Don’t laugh.  That’s totally something that would happen to me too!  Anyway, it’s all a dream of course and what can it mean but that Freddy’s back!! Muahahhahaa!!  Next day is high school graduation and we meet Alice and Dan’s new friends (since the other ones all died).  We’ve got Pretty Girl, Swimmer Girl and Comic Book Guy.  Pretty Girl has a bitchy stagemom, Swimmer Girl is our skeptic and Comic Book Guy is not fond of blood and violence unless it’s in his comics.

The Gang

Alice keeps having bad dreams and keeps trying to convince Dan that Freddy’s back but Dan just brushes it off as lingering post traumatic stress.  Duh, Alice.  You control Freddy.  Try to remember that, silly goose.  Dan is, of course, the first to go.  He tries really hard to fight back but Freddy has him die in a fiery car crash (coincidentally this is how my father seems to be convinced I will die.  Not because I’m a bad driver.  I really don’t know why…).  Poor Alice.  She sees the cars go boom and passes out.  She wakes up at the hospital with Swimmer Girl, her recovered alcoholic father and a doctor who informs her that she’s pregnant.  Oh, snap!

Long story short (because seriously re-watching this today it felt like it was 8 million years long but I’m also really tired so maybe that’s why):

This happens….

And this happens….

And it’s all because Freddy is able to enter the waking world and the sleeping world through Alice’s unborn child’s dreams.  Don’t ask – I have no explanation for that waking world thing I just know Alice kept yelling at people about it.  Oh and Alice and her unborn child hang out a lot in this movie except her unborn child is around 8 when she meets him.  He’s definitely the key to this whole hootenanny.  And Freddy’s mom is back and comes in for a little last 15 minutes help the heroine activity.

Underlying themes in this one?  Eating disorders, women’s rights over their bodies, abortion, lack of parental parenting and possibly comic book violence.  This one is much more middling than the last – it seems they spent the majority of their budget on special effects and while some are cool, considering the year this was made, some are just really really bad.  There’s some cool scenes but the deaths are way less fun and they’re way quicker also.

Hi mommy! What? I haven’t even been born yet? Well, this is awkward…

Random thoughts:

Freddy with no Freddy makeup!  Freddy as man!!

I wonder how much inspiration American Horror Story Asylum drew from Freddy’s backstory?

 

 

 

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is easily my 2nd favorite of the Nightmare series (and quite honestly comes very close to beating out the original even).  Why is that?

1.  Nancy is back, beyotches!!!  Nancy and Freddy are like freaking Romeo & Juliet, star crossed lovers…or something…and not only is she back but she’s older and wiser.

2.  The entire cast is amazing.  Patricia Arquette in her first role.  Laurence Fishburne as an orderly.  Zsa Zsa Gabor!  Seriously, there is no bad in any way here acting wise.

3.  In ways it’s scarier.  It’s bad enough to know that if you fall asleep you die but add to that the social stigma of being labeled “crazy”, being in a place that will consistently sedate you so you have to sleep and the ever present threat of the padded room…it heightens everything you can fear.  I mean, hell, American Horror Story is doing an asylum story this go around – there’s  a reason people fear them.

4.  Freddy’s kills here are some of the most epic of the series.  Just take a look:

Puppet Master

So you wanna be on t.v., eh?

5.  Apparently Freddy can’t do any of that voodoo bodily possession of the 2nd movie but instead we have another twist – Kristen has an ability to pull people into her dreams.  This change I didn’t mind as much because it still dealt with the concept of dreaming and though rare people do sometimes “share” dreams.

6.  Nancy tells the kids that in their dreams they can be anybody and do anything they want.  Does it save them all?  Hell, no.  But it results in some hilarious dream sequences that are super fun.

7.  This happens:

This moment has ALWAYS freaked me out on so many levels.

8.  In interviews with cast and crew in the DVD extras, it is revealed that the original idea for the film centered around the phenomenon of children traveling to a specific location to commit suicide, with dreams of Freddy Krueger eventually discovered to be a common link between the youths. Suicide, at the time, was a taboo social issue and this led to the abandonment of that storyline, though some aspects remained within the filmed version which still depicts suicide and self-mutilation, though they were deemed less controversial because these acts are committed with Freddy’s distinct influence, inserting enough fantasy into the acts to remove it from the supposed controversial exploitation of disturbed youths in America. ~Wikipedia 

This is another reason I like this film.  Even though they took a lot out, they addressed issues that are not only important but are near and dear to my heart.  Sometimes exploring issues like suicide, self-mutilation, bullying, etc. in a fantasy setting can be the only way some people can get help or help themselves.  There’s a reason people love horror so much – we can confront our fears without actually confronting them and can go through a reasoning process that can help create better coping mechanisms (just my thoughts anyway).

9.  This came about because of the movie:

10.  And finally we learn a lot more about Freddy’s past and wow is it intense and disturbing.

 

 

 

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street

I think by now, my love for all things A Nightmare on Elm Street has been fairly well documented here.  I love it so much, in fact, that I received this for my birthday:

How wicked awesome is this??

So I want to start Halloween month off here (a little late but better than never) with the entire run of “Nightmare” including the documentaries “Never Sleep Again” and “I am Nancy”.

Nightmare: the Young and Innocent Days

First the backstory of me:  Nightmare was one of the first ever horror movies I watched.  IN COLLEGE.  Funnily enough, I didn’t start watching scary movies until college because I was banned early on from anything remotely scary after a bad experience around the age of 7 that was a result of watching The Monster Squad(I stayed up all night waiting for Dracula to come and get me, ergo my parents were also up all night and none too happy about it).  My next scary movie would be Carrie at my 16th birthday party and then after that it was fairly horror free until college were I was strongly corrupted my freshman year by The Exorcist, Halloween, The Evil Dead (my friend, Brad, had to come spend the night with me the night I watched that one…) and finally someone introduced me to Freddy Krueger and I watched the majority of the films one after the other and found my movie monster love.

Maybe I loved it so much because I can relate.  I’ve had horrific nightmares the majority of life.  Really f*cked up shit.  Or maybe it’s because it was (loosely) based off a true story.  I actually don’t know the reasons, all I know is that the Nightmare series is by far my favorite horror series of all time.

One, two Freddy’s coming for you…

I’m guessing everybody’s seen this one by now (and if you haven’t, why the hell not??) so I’ll skip the synopsis but suffice it to say – you sleep, Freddy gets you.  And everybody’s gotta sleep sometime right?

The basis for the film was actually a series of articles in the LA Times in the 70s about a group of Khmer refugees who were suffering nightmares and all refused to sleep.  Some of them eventually ended up dying in their sleep soon after.  It was attributed to Asian Death Syndrome which affects men between the ages of 19 and 57.   The final nails in the coffin were “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright and (supposedly) Craven’s studies on Eastern religions.

Freddy himself was based off an incident that occurred when Craven was a child where he was startled by a random man on the street and originally Freddy was supposed to be a child molester (they brought this back into play for the remake) but was changed to child murderer so as not to be accused of sensationalizing a particular trial that was happening at the time.

The first and original Nightmare was and still is terrifying.  The idea of a monster who kills you while you sleep gets to the heart of terror – the unavoidable.  You can get by with no sleep for maybe two days tops but after that it’s unavoidable or you’ll die anyway, not to mention the fact that it can literally make you go insane.  Remember Fight Club? Which actually raises the question – if you don’t take Nightmare literally can it instead be taken as a tale of group psychosis related to the onset of hallucinations due to lack of sleep? It’s certainly plausible (although entirely less fun) to think that really our gang hallucinated Freddy and his shenanigans and instead began killing themselves and/or each other in a insomnia induced daze that could perhaps have been caused by nightmares they’d had as a result of learning about their parents having killed a man years ago.

Way more fun than the average slasher!

And that’s another thing I love about Nightmare.  There are layers.  Easily missed on a first, second or third viewing but more easily seen in the 800th viewing.  What you’ve got here is a film that can be taken in more ways than one with a villain who loves to be a villain.  And what could be better than that?