Horror maven Wes Craven died today, age 76, from his battle with brain cancer. Normally I don’t post things like this but I think we all know how influential NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET has been in my life (I’ve only mentioned it a time or two…). It’s my favorite horror series; I own 2 documentaries about it (if there are more, PLEASE let me know because I need them!); have a sweet NOES shirt that I was gifted a couple of years ago; used to fall asleep to the theme song that I would play on repeat on my phone (what? It was soothing!) and had my proudest “parent” moment ever just the other day when my ex-bf’s kid sent me a story to read that he’d written for Creepypasta that had a Krueger homage in it. *wipes away happy tears* I am proud of the horror education I instilled in my kiddo.
The first SCREAM also made an impact on me as I was 16 when it came out (yes, I’m old, I know) and it was one of my first horror movies. It was so irreverent, so scary (at the time) and so fun. It made me realize movies didn’t have to come in a pre-packaged form and be like all the rest. Important knowledge for a girl who was nothing like anyone else in her small Southern town or her family.
And Mr. Craven knew that change was good such as when he wrote and directed this bit from one of my favorite films, PARIS JE T’AIME:
So goodbye, Wes Craven, and THANK YOU for all the nightmares.
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy concludes the Nightmare on Elm Street series (that should’ve been done by Halloween, damn you Frankenstorm!! *shakes fist at the skies*). I’ve pondered long and hard over just how to review this one as 1) it’s a documentary and 2) it clocks in at four hours. Obviously, bullet points wasn’t going to cut it for four hours (my gosh, can you imagine??) and with so much information it’s hard to know what to say about it. So…
That said, I love this documentary, it’s one of my favorite ones ever (and I watch A LOT of documentaries). And that said, unless you really dig Nightmare on Elm Street or are just highly interested in the movie making process of one of the greatest horror franchises of all times, you probably won’t enjoy this. What Never Sleep Again does is start with the original Nightmare and continues on with behind the scenes and cast and crew interviews all the way up through the rest of the series. It’s also the story of how New Line rose to fame.
It’s fascinating and it covers everything from how they did that totally sweet kill scene of Tina in the original Nightmare (they built a rotating room, just fyi, which I find so f’ing cool – I love old school effects!) to the homosexual undertones in Nightmare 2. The film also presents photographs, storyboards, conceptual art, publicity materials, archival documents, and behind-the-scenes footage that have never been previously shared. Never Sleep Again expands on Wes Craven’s motivations in creating the first Elm Street film. It also explores behind-the-scenes of the original film and all of its sequels. Through interviews, the film shares how cast and crew brought their own worst nightmares to life on screen and examines the impact the series and its mythos have had on pop culture and the horror genre in general. The documentary also explores the rise and fall of Robert Shaye’s New Line Cinema and its reputation as “The House That Freddy Built”.(wikipedia.org).
And really that’s all I can say. This film is a plethora of information and if it’s an insider’s look you want to have this film is the film for you.
I have to admit to being vaguely disappointed in I am Nancy mostly because it wasn’t anything at all like I was expecting and I didn’t really receive any insight into Heather Langenkamp (other than she’s either great at making fun of herself or she’s a seriously whiny and maudlin person, it’s so hard to tell at times but this whole thing is supposed to be “tongue in cheek” so I’m leaning toward the making fun of herself). This is the documentary that Heather made that focuses on her experience playing Wes Craven’s legendary teen heroine, Nancy.
IS IT FUN?
Oh hell, yes. There are references from pop culture to crazed fans at conventions who at times do some strange things to Heather wondering if anyone would ever get a Nancy tattoo instead of a Freddy one….it’s super fun. There’s also a SONG – a theme song called “I am Nancy” – that alone is worth it!
IS IT INSIGHTFUL?
Not really. I mean you learn a lot of cool random facts (Wes Craven’s daughter chose Johnny Depp and Nancy was created based off something she once said). And I discovered that Robert Englund is apparently the nicest guy on the face of the planet, seriously, dude seems hella kickawesome! There’s also an interview with Wes Craven (extended interviews with Craven and Englund can be found in the special features). But overall, I didn’t learn anything really about Heather which is what I went into this wanting to know (since she made the thing and all). If you’re not a hardcore fan, there’s really nothing here for you.
We keep on getting entries in the Nostalgiathon 2012 series and I highly recommend you check them out! Recently added include The Goonies from Rogue the Girl, Night of the Creeps from Eric over at theipc and Labyrinth from Natalie Stendall. So give them some love and then write up your own Nostalgiathon entry!
And coming up next on Cinema Schminema is “I am Nancy”, Heather Langenkamp’s documentary about her days as Nancy in Nightmare on Elm Street and the documentary “Never Sleep Again” about the NoES series. And then I’ll finally get to my own Nostalgiathon entries (including Labyrinth, Return to Oz and Monster Squad).
And the final entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (nope, the remake is NOT gonna be talked about here!) is Freddy vs Jason. So what do I have to say about this film?
IT’S MOTHEREFFING FREDDY VS JASON!!!! That’s what I have to say about it. Seriously, if you go into this movie looking for plot or underlying themes or anything at all other than the fact that FREDDY and JASON are kicking the shit out of each other then um, I think you are totally missing the point of this flick. Plus it has Ginger from Ginger Snaps. ‘Nuff said.
Wow. I really did not remember having so much hatred for Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. But yeah, if I had watched this movie in real time and this was being billed as the last one ever and I watched I would be so pissed off. It would be like watching Ep. 1, 2, and 3 of Star Wars all over again. Actually I don’t even know if I watched Ep. 3…
Anyway, Freddy’s back (duh), kids are dying, more of Freddy’s history is revealed and logic, continuity and plain common sense are missing. Read on for further thoughts (they aren’t great – just got power back yesterday and wow, do you know how dirty your house can get after 8 days with no power? Plus catching up on 8 days of work and stuff equals one sleepy girl. So I sincerely apologize for what you are about to read.):
- Yay Nietzsche quote! I so have a literary crush on him. Him and Anais Nin.
- Okay, so this movie is actually set 10 years after it is made…why does it say “10 years from now” rather than “10 years later” or something. This bugs me.
- I hate planes which is ironic given that both of my parents flew in their free time and I’ve been flying since I was 6 months old.
- “Don’t be a pussy” says the old lady – haha, I am so going to be that lady when I’m older.
- Falling out of planes is one of the reasons I don’t like them. *yeesh*
- This kid kinda looks like the dude from “Boy Meets World”…Rider Strong? Anyway, pretty cute.
- Yay, Wizard of Oz reference! ❤
- Dream within a dream? Is this Alice’s baby Jacob? Why is this movie starting this way??
- Freddy house! Tricycle!!
- Did he just actually run on air?
- I have NEVER tumbled down a hill in quite so dramatic a manner…this kid should be dead by now.
- I wonder if Robert Englund was tired of making these by now? Freddy’s doing a crappy job of killing this kid. And I still don’t know if this is dream world or real world land. I’m going to assume this will all be explained later. I do not remember much of this movie.
- Person shaped hole in the universe! Timey wimey!
- Hahaha, old school handheld video games. Dude. I have an original Gameboy – tried explaining that to my friend’s six year old – his response “Gameboy, that’s what they called them before they called them DS right?”
- Breckin Meyer!! Seriously, how old is this guy? He’s been in everything for like all time.
- I look at this therapist and all I can see is Tracy Morgan from 30 Rock – did he play this guy on SNL at some point? Yaphet Kotto, I think?
- Seriously, Rider Strong, just sing quietly to yourself if you need to stay awake.
- I totally forgot the big Wizard of Oz undertones here…
- Ah, 1991, that explains the Saved by the Bell décor and cray cray CGI.
- Where do these people live where the cops are all “Oh, another 12 year old crackhead on the streets.” and the graffiti indicates this is a third world country?
- Worst town fair EVER. Although that elderly man in a tophat riding bumper cars by himself is pretty awesome.
- DUDE, ROSEANNE!! I forgot she was in this! And Tom Arnold! *giggles* Oh 90s, you were so cool.
- Why does this social worker not notice the state of Springwood? Smoking clowns, insane Roseanne Barr…giving juvenile delinquents a van to drive back to the shelter… I am thinking someone is not the best at her job.
- Time loop! Which one was it where this became a thing? #4?
- Awww, I wanna hold an art contest for kids drawing Freddy Krueger. It would be adorable.
- Yeah, Carlos, I’m not so great with maps either. At least no map has actually said to me that I’m fucked. Misty: 1, Carlos: 0
- Gotta admit, the whole adults gone crazy by lack of kids/empty town/etc. idea is creepy but not as well executed here as it could be.
- Rider has no memory but all of a sudden he totally remembers Freddy Krueger and what happened in this town.
- Freddy had a kid!!
- Could a whole town of children really disappear with no police or government official intervention? I mean, you can’t arrest Freddy but someone would get the blame right?
- I really am way too tired to be witty tonight, sorry guys.
- Fire pretty.
- Ew, I would not sleep in a bed with dust flying up from it. I am picky though.
- Oh Carlos, why did you go and fall asleep? You really are fucked.
- Ew, I remember this part now with the qtip. Nice touch with the little chunky bits, special effects team!
- Oh Freddy, now you’re just mocking him. How rude!
- Spider ear, spider ear does whatever a spider ear does!
- There are some really bad editing cuts in this, continuity was apparently not an issue.
- Ha @ Carlos – “you wouldn’t do that would you man?” Carlos so doesn’t realize who he’s dealing with here.
- Freddy used to kill people a lot faster. And not make love to blackboards…
- Um…what kind of weed causes you to hallucinate that a broken and smashed t.v. is working?
- Oh logic, sometimes I really wish you showed up more often in film. But only sometimes. This is one of those times.
- Yay Johnny Depp!!
- Yes, Freddy, only hippies smoke weed.
- I really want to watch Laugh-In now.
- I think Freddy is playing Atari here (explaining that one to the six year old was harder).
- Wait, since when can Rider suddenly go into people’s dreams?
- Ugh, the movie has gotten cartoonish, almost literally.
- Okay, I just spaced out for like 10 minutes. I still really do not like this movie.
- Although this made me laugh – “He’s not going to get me again. NOTHING can make me leave this bed.” End of bed catches on fire. “Dammit.”
- For someone who’s scared of heights, Rider looks not very concerned about his imminent death by falling 800 million feet.
- Oh wow. That was the worst acting I have seen in awhile. Like really really bad.
- I don’t know if I can finish this. I think there’s still a half hour or more left. I didn’t remember it being THIS bad.
- Omg, I want to tear my hair out this is so bad. Someone tell me something happy, please?
- So my friends got a new kitten. They named it Meep.
- She looks embarrassed. I am embarrassed for this movie.
- Freddy’s got plans for world domination, y’all!
- Yay – tagline! “Every town has an Elm Street.”
- Kung fu this bitch. Indeed.
- This movie lacks any tenseness, any horror and leaves me with no feelings of caring. It’s kind of like watching that production of Evil Dead: The Musical all over again.
- Freddy’s listing all the ways people have tried to kill him while cutting off his own fingers. He has green ooze instead of blood in case you were wondering.
- Oh yeah, dream people gave him this job. That’s right, now I remember where this is going. 3D land, y’all, that’s where we’re headed. *sighs*
- So they’re going with the tried and true method of pulling Freddy out of the dream into the real world. Because that’s worked so well in the past.
- They certainly have some inspired casting in this one. Alice Cooper as Freddy’s father/stepfather/adoptive father?
- Blah, blah, fight to the death, blah, blah, explosion, blah, 3D, blah.
- THE END.
And of course the trailer:
In summary, eff you Final Nightmare, eff you.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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 4: The Dream Master is (at least in my opinion) definitely in the middling category when it comes to Elm Street movies. It’s nowhere near as bad as 2 but definitely doesn’t live up to 3 (even though there are some returning characters from Dream Warriors here).
Kristen (not Arquette here), Joey and Kincaid are outta the asylum and living it up as regular teens at school. The trio’s still tight but Kristen’s made some new friends too in the form of Alice (who becomes vitally important!), Sheila, Debbie and even a boyfriend, Rick (Alice’s brother). Life is swell. That is until Kristen starts having bad dreams and a bad feeling Freddy’s about to show his face again. Her dreams are getting so bad she pulls Kincaid and Joey into one where they try to convince her Freddy’s dead (silly children…) before Kincaid’s dog appears in the dream biting Kristen who awakens to find teeth mark and blood on her arm. Uh-oh, s’gettios, y’all.
Kincaid and Joey kick it pretty soon after (and Joey gets a pretty sweet death scene – just the cinematography of it is kickawesome):
Now Alice is set up as a kinda special, daydreamy kind of gal who may or may not have some sort of cool uber awareness/psychic-y powers of her own and when Kristen finally succumbs to the evil death pain that is Freddy she somehow transfers her “pulling people into dream” powers to Alice. Personally, that is one gift I would NOT want to have so if I was Alice I would be all “Bitch? Wtf?”.
People continue dying as people are wont to do in the Elm Street movies and as each one dies, Alice absorbs whatever sort of power made them unique. Even if it’s just this:
Hehehe, that scene always makes me laugh. Anyway, yada, yada, people dying, big show down with the Kruegster and (I pull this directly from Wikipedia): “But just as he is preparing to kill her, she recalls the final verse of the Dream Master rhyme. For the first and only time, someone defeats Freddy, by using the power of the spell to make him see the evil that is inside. Using her power as guardian of the gate of good dreams, Alice releases the tortured souls that Freddy imprisoned into the gates of good dreams where he can no longer harm them. Krueger’s clothes fall lifelessly to the floor and Alice kicks his glove.” Now this is where it gets questionable for me. One thing that I can’t decide whether I love or hate about this series is the way Freddy changes throughout. One minute he’s killing in dreams, one minute he’s possessing people, the next he’s suddenly all “Omg, what? I’m evil? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”. Inconsistencies of this sort are generally frowned upon. You either be evil and funny or you get the hell outta dodge, Kruegster.
Plus there’s a different gimmick in each one – bodily possession, supernatural powers, absorbing people’s powers, the potential destructiveness of hiding one’s sexuality – those I don’t mind so much. A different deeper meaning behind each one just makes a better film (although the deeper meaning here I’m not sure of….learn from the people around you? Don’t make the same mistake twice..or three times…or four? As people pass on, they’ll always be a part of us?)
Overall, not a bad addition to the series, although not as great as other entries. Definitely some good times here (oh yeah, almost forgot – the cockroach scene!!!).
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:
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:
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.
Continuing on with our look at the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, we come to A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 – Freddy’s Revenge, my least favorite movie in this series. Why is it my least favorite? Well, 1) it’s pretty god awful and 2) they take everything that was wonderful about the original and toss it out the window. If it’s ain’t broke, don’t fix it but instead we get a new take on Freddy, a reinvention and it does not play out well at all.
Five years have passed since the events of the original movie. Jesse and his family have moved into Nancy’s old house and of course strange things start to happen. Jesse is prone to nightmares but not the kind in the original. There’s a lot going on in the movie involving boiling temps in the house at all times with things catching on fire or melting. But the biggest problem here is that Freddy isn’t killing people in their dreams. No, this time around he’s decided to go for full blown bodily possession in the form of Jesse. Like literally. There’s a scene where Jesse rips off his skin and Freddy is standing in his place.
At first Jesse doesn’t know what’s happening but then there are times where people die or almost die and he comes to and realizes that he’s killing people for/as Freddy. So basically, we’ve got some heavy dissociative identity disorder going on here. Which ISN’T what Freddy is about! Grrr….Freddy kills you in your dreams, that’s why he’s terrifying. If he’s just running around possessing people, it’s not scary, that’s like your everyday stuff. I get that at this point they’re still creating the lore of Freddy but seriously. Just seriously.
So yeah, people die and there’s some stupid stuff like a crazy bird attack (because Freddy possessed the bird?) and mostly what people know this movie for is it’s strong homo-erotic undertones. While they were making the movie, they didn’t realize those were there but in hindsight they laugh and laugh about it (it gets delved into in the documentary). Some highlights include Jesse’s dance scene in his room with pelvic thrustiness, the coach at his school dressed up in leather BDSM attire (why? No reason) and Jesse running away after he kisses the girl to his best friend’s house for comfort and reassurance. In fact, some people look at this movie as a metaphor for coming out and being comfortable in your own skin (Jesse isn’t comfortable with his latent homosexual tendencies and as such starts acting out, i.e. Freddy coming out of his skin). It’s an interesting take on an otherwise forgettable movie.
Random thoughts while watching:
- Love the opening with the bus.
- Why does that girl look kind of like Meryl Streep? Is it???
- hahahahaahaaaa at the dancing around the room scene with the closeups of his pelvic thrustiness!
- A game called probe?
- Yay, Nancy’s diary!
- Can we not just THROW OUT FREDDY’S freaking glove and get it out of that boiler room already??
- What’s up with all the heat in the house? Freddy announcing his presence?
- BIRD ATTACK!! Did Freddy possess the bird?
- woot gay club
- why is the coach wearing black leather gay club s&M
- what do you expect when you move into Nancy and Freddy’s house?
Do yourself a favor and check out the epic dance scene below!