So once again we have survived.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

tn_newnightmareI’m not sure why I’m okay with the title WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE. It’s one of those dated titles, because it’s not new anymore. And is the actual title supposed to be “New Nightmare” and it’s presented by Wes Craven? Because I always think of Wes Craven as being part of the actual title, that it’s about his nightmare. I don’t know. Anyway, it fits.

WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE by Wes Craven is easily the smartest Freddy sequel and the one that most sounds like it could never work. I guess maybe some people might consider the premise ridiculous, but I always just went with it, it works like a charm on me (a very effective charm – I don’t actually know how charms usually work but this one works real good is what I mean). It’s the story of original NIGHMARE ON ELM STREET star Heather Langenkamp (uncannily portrayed by Heather Langenkamp) trying to stay sane in the face of some harassing phone calls, a series of earthquakes, some strange dreams and increasingly creepy happenings with her son. She and others keep having strange dreams – Freddy dreams. Meanwhile, Robert Shaye (Robert Shaye) and Wes Craven (Wes Craven) want her and Robert Englund (V’s Robert Englund) to return for a new Freddy sequel that Craven is writing.

mp_newnightmareSo in a way this isn’t even a sequel. It takes place in a world where Freddy is a fictional character, at least at first. It tells us that the character of Freddy is a reflection of some ancient evil, and by telling his scary story we can keep this evil at bay. But if the story becomes too familiar or watered down (or just turns into a bunch of sequels where the evil is just used to dress up in different outfits and make bad puns related to gimmicky special effects sequences) it loses its power over this entity and we’re fucked. So really this is about the NIGHTMARE series becoming so lame that it forced Freddy to “cross over into the real world” for revenge.

You know what, I think I blame the Fat Boys for making Freddy real. If they hadn’t made that video with him I’m not sure he would’ve become real. I know DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince did it first, but the Fat Boys probly pushed it too far.

Then again maybe it wasn’t the video that did it. It could’ve been the pinball machine:

freddy-pinball

Or the novelty record:

freddy-album

Or the yo-yo:

freddy-yoyo
Maybe the toy van:

freddy-van

Or the doll that dresses up as Freddy:

freddy-maxxfx

Or of course we should consider the, uh, Fright Squirter:

freddy-squirter

You know, in retrospect maybe it’s irresponsible to put all the blame on the Fat Boys, but I still think they contributed. If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series becoming watered down and unleashing an ancient evil entity into the real world to cause havoc. Sure, it seems fun at the time, all that rapping and yo-yo-ing and squirting, but next thing you know you’re screaming and bleeding and dying.

After ten years of fright squirters, WES CRAVEN’S was a smart idea. It was a unique combination go-back-to-square-one and completely-reinvent-the-thing maneuver. Postmodern before SCREAM but also back to the original flavor. And it made Freddy pretty scary again. He’s still played by Englund but you’re not even really sure if it’s him at first because he looks different – bulkier, more demonic in the face, wearing a coat (now he can slash you outdoors during the winter! He’s unstoppable!)

But he stays carefully out of the spotlight, you don’t see him all that much until the climax. He’s like a guitar player who knows how to go to the back and play rhythm and doesn’t always have to roll around on the floor playing a solo making a stupid face. A team player.

So the movie doesn’t follow the sequel formula. While previous sequels were trying so hard to repeat what they think you liked in the previous ones this one tries something different, more personal, and therefore more authentic. Instead of yet another story where older people try to relate to kids this one is about what was going on in their lives: worrying about their kids seeing their movies, or about people thinking they’re bad parents for making those movies, being uncomfortable with fans treating Freddy as a hero. Heather and Robert do a talk show appearance for the 10th anniversary. We watch distanced and creeped out as the crowd goes crazy with their Freddy costumes and memorabilia. Afterwards Heather waits while Robert is mobbed for autographs. Everybody wants Freddy’s autograph, not the clever girl who defeated him. (until the last shot)

This is all real to them. In real life (not just the real life of this movie) Langenkamp is married to a special effects guy, and she did deal with a stalker (although it wasn’t a Freddy fan, it was somebody who knew her from the sitcom JUST THE TEN OF US), and of course being in California they all experience earthquakes (including during the production of the movie). That’s also a subtle reference to the original, which had a line about weird dreams happening before earthquakes. I like that this really celebrates and revisits the first movie in a way that only the originator really could, returning to the mindset of the first time around without being tainted by what other people did with the sequels. Freddy is back to being a little-seen, little-heard mystery man, dark and vile and not at all funny.

The dreams aren’t as literal in the sequels. Yes, Heather is a movie actress but that doesn’t mean Freddy gives her a dream where he’s in a director’s chair yelling into a big bullhorn and shoots knives at her with a red and green movie camera. It’s more like real dreams, primal imagery like snakes and fire and shit. Much earlier though there’s a dream that impressed me because it has the type of logic that makes sense in my dreams. It involves special effects technicians building a Freddy glove that has the nerve bundles of a real doberman so it can move more realistically.

And the way they talk about dreams is real too. I remember one time I had dreams about a plane crash and the next day I saw on the news that there had been a plane crash. It freaked me out until I figured out I heard the morning news on my clock radio while I was half awake. So I appreciated her husband suggesting a similar explanation for how she dreamed the cuts he got on his fingers.

The biggest scares in this one aren’t in the dream world, though. Heather’s kid (played by Miko Hughes, the killer baby from PET SEMETARY) is a sleepwalker, and he ends up doing some dangerous things, possibly under the influence of primal pre-Freddy. When she’s having a conversation with John Saxon in the park and doesn’t notice her son somehow climbing to the outside and top of some very tell playground equipment that’s obviously a universal parental fear. I mean in most people’s imagination it wouldn’t necessarily be John Saxon they were talking to, but it might be. The main thing though is the kid being endangered.

It’s kind of weird because Craven didn’t have anything to do with creating the script for SCREAM, but he did alot of the same shit already in this movie, just without trying to be cute about it. It has the idea of people being terrorized by fictional horror movies coming to life, it has similar upper class homes with swimming pools and poor Nancy running around them being scared by scary voices on the phone. SCREAM’s references are mostly verbal, but this one has many visual echoes of things that happened in NIGHTMARE PART 1, like Freddy dragging a body up a wall onto the ceiling. But if you don’t recognize them as references they won’t seem out of place at all.

Its portrayal of small time celebrities seems much more realistic than SCREAM’s too. Langenkamp as herself makes a great horror heroine, just like she did as Nancy Thompson in parts 1 and 3. It kind of feels like we already know her even though we haven’t seen a movie about her before. But in a way she sort of slides into the role of Nancy because for some reason nobody believes her that the character from the horror movie she starred in is after her kid. So like Nancy she has to lie to doctors and take matters into her own hands. I mean it’s pretty much the same situation except the shameful event in the past is FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE instead of vigilantes burning a guy alive.

She also has kind of a daughter-father relationship with John Saxon, who gives her really good and supportive advice except that in this one particular case where Freddy is coming to life his advice is actually wrong. But usually it would right. I mean he’s the guy from ENTER THE DRAGON. You should listen to him.

I really like this movie and it was a perfect ending to the series. You wouldn’t want to go back to another DREAM WARRIORS rehash after this one, but you wouldn’t want to do a WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE PART 2: WES CRAVEN’S REVENGE either. It was fun that they brought back “funny Freddy who says bitch alot” for FREDDY VS. JASON, but let’s not get too carried away with the character, Hollywood. You fuck him up again he’ll cross over again, and it’s a pain in the ass when that happens.

http://youtu.be/L3F6auMKH7g

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, May 3rd, 2010 at 12:06 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

65 Responses to “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”

  1. So is that like a mini Freddy child rape-van/toy? Nice find.

  2. The Pinball machine seems totally legit to me, I’m not blaming that for any Freddy-real-world-crossing-over-type-stuff. The Yo-Yo I agree does deserve some of the blame.

    I love this movie, personally I think it’s held up better than the original (although the original has been a little devalued mostly for reasons beyond its control) and I certainly think it feels fresher these days than SCREAM

  3. Never made it to this one. (But I did see Freddy vs Jason) A few years ago, somebody had gotten a hold of the entire Nightmare box set, and I watched a few of them with a friend. We made it to part 3 before we all stopped caring, but my roommate was sick one weekend and I think he watched all of them. Probably even went and got Freddy vs Jason afterwards.

  4. I remember seeing parts of this movie as a kid and the post-modern premise really fucked with my head

    unfortunately I still haven’t seen it in it’s entirety, are there any plans on releasing the rest of the Nightmares on blu ray?

  5. caruso_stalker217

    May 3rd, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Freddy’s big intro was pretty cool, coming out of the closet or whatever.

    “Miss me?”

    Yeah, Freddy is badass.

  6. ChopperSullivan

    May 3rd, 2010 at 3:14 am

    But is this Freddy a child molester? I only ask because clearly a dream demon guy who can do whatever he wants and murder you in your sleep isn’t scary unless he was originally a child molester. And in this one he’s a fictional character that comes into the real world, so he’d have to have done some molesting after he broke the plane of reality, right? Otherwise, why would you be scared of a guy who can slip into your subconscious and turn your thoughts against you in a way that will harm you in real life if he didn’t molest kids before that?

  7. a movie about a serial killer…
    our species is really wierd.

  8. Primal pre-Freddy must be very angry about the remake. He´s gonna kill Michael Bay in dreams. Megatron-Freddy attacks!

  9. I can’t 100 % agree with what you said about the “funny Freddy” in Freddy Vs Jason, because while he isn’t the dead serious one of the two Craven movies, he also isn’t the goofy one from the sequels. It’s like a mix between the two. He is more sinister and serious again and not as obnoxious as usual when he cracks a joke from time to time. It’s a funny Freddy I could live with. Kinda best of both worlds. (I re-watched FvJ last Friday, so I thought I should mention this.)

  10. I think this is a really great lost classic that’s never gotten half the recognition it deserves. It’s like those genius B-movies of an earlier era that were totally ignored in 1947 and had to be rediscovered by Godard and Scorsese in the 70s, like DETOUR or something.

    Nightmare 1, Dream Warriors and New Nightmare are, in my opinion, the real Nightmare On Elm St. Trilogy. Nightmare was the original vision, Dream Warriors the true continution of the story in that it feature Nancy (and was the beggining of jokey, comic-book supervillain Freddy) and then New Nightmare really rounds it all off. And for anyone who works in the film industry this film has added appeal in that it’s one of the few movies that really captures the literal behind-the-scenes action of making movies. Not just the bussiness deals but the atmosphere on set, the guys working out of the grip trucks, actors and actresses being confronted by fans, Wes Craven working on writing a script, ect ect. It’s a horror movie about making horror movies and works as both a film about films and just a horror film itself.

    Wes Craven has made at least five classic horror movies: LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE, and SCREAM. They’re not perfect, they’re maybe not all the scariest films ever made, but the ideas they contain are so complex and interestingly articulated, and three of them had such a major impact on film history, that you can’t approach the genre without reckoning with them to some degree.

  11. wow, Robert Englund is a better rapper than the Fat Boys.

  12. No love for PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS? It’s no classic, but damn, does it have it’s moments.

  13. I will second PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS. Basically as soon as the gimp suit comes out it’s fucking on.

  14. “Yeah, and maybe the President will make me Secretary of Pussy.”

    Best line in any Wes Craven movie.

  15. The timing is uncanny, since i saw this movie for the very first time yesterday. And Vern is completly spot on about it. It’s one of those movies that’s smarter then at first sight, and doesn’t hammer it’s smartness on the head of the audiences. It can even work if you had never seen a Freddy movie before.

    Uncanny timing, Vern, uncanny.

  16. BTW, in Germany this movie is known as “Freddys New Nightmare”.

  17. And look at what i did above, i wrote “It can even work if you had never seen a Freddy movie before.” A Freddy movie!! There’s something pretty wrong when a diabolocal child murderer becames the franchise’s hero. It’s just wrong.

    And i tell you, if i ever found Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund, i would want the autograph of Langenkamp instead of Englund. For starters, she is far prettier. Far far prettier. She is quite a darling, a beautiful woman. I was always a fan of her girl next door beauty, the type of girlfriend one would love to call your own (in a non-sexist, non-chauvinistic way, of course (Damn all this PC cuations!) .
    And secondly, she is the hero of the first movie. She is the one i’m supposed to root for, not the fucking monster! Not Freddy. Really, there’s movies where i actually almost feel the impulso to root for the villain, they cause they are cool, charismatic and smart, villains like Hannibal Lecter or Agent Smith. But Freddy is disgusting! A child murdered, for christ’s sakes! That crap would even give pause to Hannibal Lecter! And as a hero, Nancy, played by Langenkamp, wa smemorable, not just because she wa splayed by a sweet looking young woman, but because she was smart, resourseful, and a danger to Freddy as much as Freddy was to her.

    And Heather in NEW NIGHTMARE is even prettier then she was in the first movie, young adulthood fit her nicely. She or Englund, i would chose Langenkamp in a heartbeat. Screw Freddy, really!

    And by the way, i’m really curious about the documentary that Langenkamp produced and presents about the phenonemon of the Nightmare On Elm Street series.

    P.S.: Wasn’t Langenkamp married to Wes Craven at some point?

  18. “Freddys New Nightmare”

    The acusation rests.

  19. PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS! bill cobbs!
    that punk kid sucks, though.

  20. Daniel Strange

    May 3rd, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I met Robert Englund once and I was pretty excited to get his autograph, not because I idolize Freddy but because in a weird, symbolic way it was – okay, I am about to lay my psychology completely bare here – like gaining the upper hand over the monster that terrorized me in my childhood. I was a kid when I saw the first Elm Street and, I’ll admit it, I had some trouble sleeping afterwards. By the time I got Englund’s autograph I was in college, it had been many years since I’d seen an Elm Street film or even really thought about Freddy, but there was a little tiny part of me inside that appreciated the closure. The point I’m trying to make is that maybe a lot of the people who focus on Freddy instead of Nancy or whoever is the de facto hero of whichever installment they’re watching isn’t because they idolize a creepy child molester/killer, but because they’re trying to gain the upper hand over the boogeyman by taking “ownership” of him. Then again maybe they do just like what he stands for, there are some fucked-up people out there. But also maybe the reason people like Freddy is because he’s the most interesting character in the movies. I mean let’s face it, Nancy is a little boring. (In fact really the only interesting non-Freddy character, at least to me, is Kincaid, who is amazingly effeminate for a “tough guy.” The inherent tension in that character is fascinating to me.) Anyway I don’t think we should come down too hard on Freddy fans is what I’m saying.

    P.S. – Oh yeah, I like Taryn a lot too. Because in her dreams she’s beautiful…and BAD!!!

  21. I guess I’m alone in thinking this one is pretty terrible. I feel like it gets a pass because it has a serious tone and the idea is interesting, but it looks and feels more like an episode of a mid-90s prime time soap opera than a serious horror movie.

  22. Ok this is really off-topic, but I just wanted to brag about it. I’m holding in my hands what is probly the first copy of YIPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER! WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS to enter the country of Chile. It sucks having to go through a day’s work with this baby staring at me on my desk. It looks fantastic, Vern. Congratulations.

    Carry on.

  23. PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS is like SCREAM 2 and SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW–second tier Craven, a good film with a lot of very intelligent subtext but something keeps it out of the top level of his best work. SCREAM 2 is actually better in sections then SCREAM–the Greek drama scene is fuckin’ GENIUS, as is the opening with Jada Pinkett literally falling through the screen of a horror movie–but it unfortunately still feels like a retread of the first film’s freshness and originality. Still, if I had to add one film to the ones I cited above, it’d be SCREAM 2.

    A lot of directors, usually at around the 20 year mark in their careers, make a film that isn’t neccessarily their best movie, isn’t maybe their scariest or funniest or most exciting or most powerful or whatever, but somehow is the summation of their body of work. In terms of themes, filmmaking technique, signature moments, stuff that obsesses them, even certain locations, there’s that one film that puts it all together.

    For Scorsese it was GOODFELLAS, for John Carpenter, I think it was THEY LIVE; for Bertolucci, THE LAST EMPEROR, for Micheal Mann it was HEAT. For James Cameron, it seems to have been AVATAR. Wes Craven’s “thesis” film was, in my analysis, SCREAM. (although he’d probably vote for MUSIC FROM THE HEART.)

  24. They could have at least put blades on the yo-yo or something.

    I have to give a bit of love to Freddy’s Revenge and especially Dream Warriors. Revenge had a Freddy who wasn’t quite the jester of the later editions and a great bit where he bursts out of the lead dweeb and into the real world. Plus, an exploding budgie. And Warriors plays like a great superhero film where all the kids have got their own special powers but since they’re not established heroes you don’t know which one will die first or at all, and it’s got John Saxon fighting an Argonauts-style skeleton.

  25. That’s what I’m talking about ! I was in an argument two days ago , and New Nightmare was mentioned. I don’t care all that much about the Scream movies , I find them mostly annoying and I think the real deconstruction of the horror genre by , Wes Craven , was this movie.The meta-movie element and breaking of the 4th wall is much more enjoyable in this that in later Scream movies . Plus in this one there’s a more critical view of horror movies and their sequels , with a new and enjoyable twist , in the Scream movies , sometimes , there’s just a list of the rules of horror movies , spelled out for us , and i prefer a clever new spin to a list of classic horror elements .

    And this movie is also the reason why I think that the new movie is absolutely pointless. Wes Craven himself already gave us a new , interesting , version of Freddy for younger audiences a couple of years ago . This character is already at his second reboot : give it a fucking rest people !

  26. Forget Freddy Vs. Jason: I wanna see Wes Craven do WES CRAVEN’S NEXT NIGHTMARE: NEW FREDDY VS. PLATINUM DUNES FREDDY, in which the evil archetype Freddy rips up the Platinum Dunes Jackie Earl Haley Freddy.

    Haley’s can be seriously creepy, but I’m sorry, he’s the same height now that he was in Breaking Away when he was 14. How scary is a 5’1 serial killer, even one with supernatural powers? Please. It’s like if they’d hired Danny DeVito in ’77 to play Micheal Meyers.

  27. And Dream Warriors is pretty awesome. I describe it to young people now by saying, “It’s like a really good episode of Buffy.”

  28. CC – A midget was scary in Don’t Look Now and a 2′ doll was scary in Child’s Play. Give JEH a little slack.

  29. Had the good fortune to see this at the Toronto Film Fest, with Langenkamp and Craven sitting right behind me. The auditorium was packed and the audience stoked – they must have been pretty proud of their baby right about then.

    I haven’t seen it again since so I wonder how it’ll hold up but I do remember thinking SCREAM had both extended the meta elements to their natural conclusion (re: scene where the watchers are being watched in the van and the killer appears in bg) – and flopped the reality grounding with a few goofy details and the unnecessary exposition at the end. It would have been *perfect* if they boys didn’t go on, and on, and on about why and how and when they had done it all, blah, blah, blah . . . shit the 70’s Wes Craven would never even have shot.

    Keep your eyes peeled for a little DePalma moment as well (“I thought that was obvious!” the man said at the Q&A)

  30. Never seen or heard of this one, yet everyone seems to regard it as something akin to a close friend.

    I’d love to see a proper well-written deconstruction of “Scream 2”. Not #3, I don’t think it’s worth it; but Scream 2 was a much-underrated movie.

  31. You never even heard of it?

  32. Frankly, if they remake “Don’t Look Now”, Haley should play that role. The original red robe would probably fit him fine.

    Okay, apologies to Jackie Earl Haley. : )

    What a horrible thought, a remake of DON’T LOOK NOW….And yet I’m sure somebody’s trying to do it even as we speak. It’d be like a remake of PERFORMANCE or WALKABOUT. Those films are entirely of their moment, you can’t recapture the combination of cast, creative crew and historical era. Then again, I think you can say the same about TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, and DAWN OF THE DEAD–and I also think those are as much “art” films as any of the above Nicolas Roeg films.

    Y’know who the midget in DON’T LOOK NOW really was, actually? It’s a woman, beleive it or not, who was an Italian nightclube and circus performer: she was a singer and a dancer and reportedly quite talented. Apparently Nicolas Roeg was friends with Fredrico Fellini, and Fellini knew her and had used her in one of his films somewhere: when he heard Roeg was looking for someone to play this bizarre killer dwarf he recommended this lady to him. I think she’s wearing makeup and didn’t look quite that weird in real life. Scary as hell, anyway–see that with an audience and they go crazy at the end. That’s gotta be one of the scariest, saddest, greatest horror films ever made.

    And I’ve long wondered if DON’T LOOK NOW and THE BROOD didn’t influence CHILD’S PLAY.

  33. NEW NIGHTMARE was pretty terrific, but because it defied the horror nerds’ required quota of mindless gore and jump scares, you know something quite different than the usual genre shit, they ignored it in theatres.

    Good stuff.

  34. Oops, I didn’t mean THE HILLS HAVE EYES–I meant LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, although frankly the first one works too.

  35. If they remake DON’T LOOK NOW, I hope they make it a psychological thriller and not a gorefest like the last time.

  36. Scream 2? don’t waste your time.
    i haven’t seen New Nightmare in almost a decade. and after this review i really want to revisit it as soon as possible. good call vern.

  37. CrustaceanHate

    May 3rd, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I really like NEW NIGHTMARE, so it bugged me when I heard those Platinum Dunes guys talking about getting Freddy back to his roots, making him more scary and serious again. Yeah, it’s already been done, fellas.

  38. You don’t remake Roeg. One of a kind. It could happen but…please no. Pre-internet I as a 13 year old somehow found ten dollers for a Fangoria with Wolf on the cover but inside the first look of the New Nightmare Freddy. It’s why I had to have it. It was a big deal to me. Still really like it. If all goes well I’ll have a signed poster from Lanenkamp in a week or so. If you order the new doc. from the official site you get one. It’s supposed to have 8 hours, all told, of info. I read Englunds’ book hoping for a lot of new info but there really was not that much.

  39. Maybe a DON’T LOOK NOW sequel, where Donald Sutherland returns for revenge? The twist is that its an all-dwarf cast, and there’s a tall, lanky killer in a red coat murdering dwarfs.

  40. Of Craven’s more recent movies, I really liked Red Eye. It’s a modest, small B movie that gets the job done. (It seems like Hollywood’s forgotten how to make just straight up genre pictures). Also, Rachel McAdams has a line that, I think, is a great “Fuck you” to the kind of victim fetishization that a lot of horror movies (not mention our media gurus) traffic in regularly.

  41. I just watched DON”T LOOK NOW a short while ago, hoping for an obscure, unsung seventies gem. What a meandering mess it was. A few good ideas. Good acting. Some nice photography and locations. All for naught. It wandered around it’s own ass looking for I don’t know what. I’ll take THE OMEN over that pile any day.
    They can remake it if they want. It’s not like it’s some grail-like classic that’s held in reverence. If the story was tightened up considerably they might even have something there.

  42. I remember when I first read in a Fangoria magazine that they were making this. I was psyched that Freddy was coming back, but I thought the idea was really stupid, would not work, would ruin Freddy, etc. It just doesn’t really sound like a very good movie on paper. Then I watched it in the theater and thought it was actually pretty good but kinda weird. Then it aged really well. That darker, bulkier, more demonic, overcoat-wearing, laconic, lurking-in-the-shadows Freddy was really effective. A really great movie.

    But then I also liked FvJ. Good, fun summer popcorn movie. FvJ was like the Chinese Democracy of slasher flicks, and if you look at the box office for the previous few Nightmare/Friday movies, there was really no reason to think that anyone cared about this anymore. Then to have it come out and be so much fun, and to have so many people turn out to see it and have a good time. That was special for me. A fine way to end the series. Looking back, I think FvJ was a fun and fitting way to say goodbye to two franchises that had run their course.

    These remakes really suck. I know that’s neither controversial nor eloquent, but I’m on that bandwagon. I’ll catch this new one on Netxflix, but I know I’ll be bored 30 minutes into and regret having wasted my time.

  43. Daniel Strange

    May 3rd, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Remaking “Don’t Look Now” is EXACTLY the kind of thing Platinum Dunes would do. “Oh, that’s a title for a horror movie that people have heard of? Let’s buy the remake rights, shoot enough slick-looking footage to make a cool trailer, call it a REIMAGINING, and make our money back on the opening weekend.” And we’d go see it because we love the original, then we’d be shocked an disappointed when they spend 30 minutes at the beginning showing an unimaginative explanation for why the dwarf is a dwarf, and turn the ending into a gorefest, and pad everything in between with unsympathetic characters getting killed every ten minutes and random jump scares.

  44. I feel the same way about Tarkovsky’s films, Daryll. If they could just cut every shot down by about two-thirds, and then maybe put in a chase or two and a digital Jabba the Hut and an explanation at the end…

    NEW NIGHTMARE is a good idea, but the execution doesn’t quite cut it for me. It’s half of a good movie. Craven does a great job of re-building Freddy and making him scary again. But then when he finally shows up, we get a “greatest hits” routine. Freddy Astaire on the walls and ceiling, Freddy snake, giant Freddy. Craven had a bigger budget and post-T2 digital effects; he should have bowled us over with some surrealist imagery we’d never seen before. Somehow, he did more with no money the first time around. There’s nothing half as creepy as the lamb — or Tina in the body bag — or Englund’s zig-zag alley run — in ANY of the sequels.

    Finally, I have to ask — why is there a doll of some guy DRESSED as Freddy? That makes no sense at all. It’s like Freddy Barbie.

  45. Since everyone seems to be in a Platinum Dunes bashing mood I thought I would fan the flames and share that at the AICN NIGHTMARE remake screening I went to last week the Platinum Dunes guys revealed they were trying to do a NEAR DARK remake but the deal fell through (thank goodness). The funny thing is I guess we partially have the TWILIGHT films to thank for preventing them from remaking another Horror classic that does not need to be remade. They said the studio told them that because of the TWILIGHT films they don’t believe audiences want to see vampires portrayed in the way they are in NEAR DARK. Those studio execs sure know what the audience wants!? At least their ignorance prevented NEAR DARK from getting remade. I can’t believe I am typing this but, thank you out of touch studio execs and terrible TWILIGHT films, because of you at least for the time being NEAR DARK is safe.

  46. Charles – Any idea what the general opinion of the picture was at that screening? Any boos?

    Someone please stop these Platinum douches. It’s not that I hold these older films sacred or anything it’s just that this PD business model is the kind of thing that prevents new, original, fresh material from seeing a theatrical release. Hollywood is going to cannibalize itself to death. And audiences are eating it up too. That bugs me. They go not because there is demand for this stuff but because there is absolutely nothing else on offer. But that is the worst kind of consumerism. Taking what’s offered rather than demanding quality.

  47. Darryll, I wrote about it in the talk back for “I think I’ll be sitting out Freddy”, but overall I was surprised how kind the crowd response was for it. It seemed like they were ready to hate it and give the Platinum Dunes guys a piece of their mind, but in the Q&A after the screening everyone was pretty complimentary. Either they genuinely liked the film or they didn’t have the guts to say anything to their faces. My brother and I both found it to be OK but forgettable.

  48. Another movie my dad dragged me to. Dad was hip to Wes Craven and John Carpenter. I remember dragging my dad to the 3d Nightmare on elm street (The Final Nightmare) and then when New Nightmare came out my dad was like, wanna see something scary? And he was right.

    This movie, along with watching Twin Peaks, fucked me up for bed time guaran fucking teed.

  49. Hi Vern,

    Is prob. not the right place but I wanted to let you know that I just got the
    new book, I’ve recently broken up with my wife …….without getting all
    melodramatic your book has kept me going, kept me away from the
    bottle………………anyway I know your a busy guy just wanted you to know
    how much I like it

  50. I can’t understand soembody finding Nancy from the first elm Street movie a boring character and thus, turning to Freddy as the most interesting character. for me, Nancy is the most interesting character in the movie. i liked the movie because of Nancy. And not because she’s a cutie, but because she’s an intelligent, smart, resourseful and a damn interesting non-anoying teen character who actually acts like a real teen instea dof one of those anoying movie-teens. And the fact she’s a cutie helps, of course.

  51. oh man, I could kick myself for forgetting to mention THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, I loved that movie, it’s one of the first horror movies I remember seeing as a matter of fact, I’m sure it warped me good (although I saw the tv version)

    RED EYE is another good and unfairly forgotten Wes Craven movie, I remember I was the only person in the theater when I saw it

    p.s. this is off topic, but I just wanted to say that I watched Die Hard tonight in honor of you Vern, it had been a really long time since I’d seen it and I had forgotten a lot of it

  52. Completly out of topic, but has Vern ever reviews CYBORG 2? I say this because i watched it recently, and the movie is famous (so to speak) because it’s a sequel of sorts of of the Van Damme “classic” and because it was the first staring role by a then very young (and completly gorgeaus) Angelina Jolie. And it’s a damn fine movie on it’s own right, a pretty good cyberpunk story. Far better then the first movie, anyway (i know, not much of a stretch, is it?).

  53. Vern – if I’d heard of this one, it must have made such a small impression on me that I didn’t remember it. Honestly, for most of the review I thought you WERE reviewing the Platinum Dunes thing after all.

    I can’t share the “Red Eye” love. To me it was a below-par stalker movie that didn’t really make the most of a premise that wasn’t that great in the first place. The three leads – Cox, McAdams and Murphy – were all great, but the script gives them nothing to do. I think Vern’s review hit this one on the head for the most part – I like the subplot regarding “asshole customers” and the opening scenes where it looks like a rom-com as well. But for the most part it bored me. Sorry to rain on your parade Griff, but that wasn’t close to being a return to form.

    And while I find your sentiments endearing, does one really need an excuse to see “Die Hard”? It should be an occasional pleasure, like a glass of fine wine in front of an open fire.

  54. well to each his own Paul

    I enjoyed Red Eye, but of course I haven’t seen it since 2005

  55. Verbal Hooligan

    May 4th, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Where’s the love for DEADLY BLESSING people? Amish Ernest Borgnine, AND chickens from beyond the grave!

  56. This is one that was a big letdown for me when it first came out but it has grown on me in time. I still think it’s the weakest of the lot (haven’t seen Remake on Elm Street yet though), mostly because it moves at a snail’s pace and all the good stuff is weighted in the beginning and end.

  57. Red eye was dope.

  58. I got really into red eye after it came out (it was the first movie I bootlegged, I mean… bought? on PSP). “Oh, are you gonna watch RED EYE? hehehehe” She’d go.

    One day I put it on. She was scared shitless and then admitted it was a quality flick. I was right. But then I rubbed it in and I didn’t get laid that night. Meaning, she was right.

  59. [SPOILERS GALORE]

    I had this movie in my stash for a while, and never felt the need to watch it until this review. So I put down my copy of YIPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER and gave it a chance. And it hurts my heart to say it, but I found it to be goofy as all fuck and not good at all.

    In all fairness, I did appreciate all the clever things Vern rightly points out. The commentary on horror, the reinvention of the franchise and the way Wes Craven spins the story back to his own obsessions and all that. I did love Heather Langenkamp as Heather Langenkamp, and all the callbacks to the original (not only in actual cameos and snippets, but also in the structure and images), but… I fuckin’ hated the damn kid. He was incredible as Gage (killer baby in Pet Sematary) but here it just bugged the hell out of me, increasingly as the minutes went by. This might be a minor quip, but when all the suspense is based around the kid being in danger, well, it hurts the experience overall to be thinking “somebody should make a YouTube clip of how unintentionally funny this kid acting is”. All the yelling, posing and kicking around really took me out of the movie.

    And I also hated the overall execution. I can’t buy into the “this is REAL evil Freddy” thing if he looks so awfully fake and silly next to original Freddy. True, he was already a joke at the time, but how is this rubber bulking demon-eyed any better? I love the fact that he’s not a comedian and doesn’t talk that much (although he did manage to squeeze in a “bitch” there), but come on. He looks like a damn Power Rangers villian, and wasn’t kept in the dark at all. Except for the gimmicky deaths, al the stuff he does in the dream world is as silly as the sequels. I couldn’t take seriously the sequence where giant Freddy emerges from the clouds to start grabbing the kid, or that tentacle tongue he tries to choke Nancy with, nor the faces he makes when the kid starts stabbing it. And don’t get me started on the fuckin’ demon he morphs into right before exploding.

    Still, I bet this has ten million times more imagination and ideas than the remake. The execution kept me from enjoying it though.

  60. Well, I agree with you about giant Freddy in the clouds.

  61. Nobody’s mentioned the parallels to Hansel and Gretel. I thought that was an interesting choice and a nice touch. Nancy’s son hasn’t seen any Freddy movies so he doesn’t see Freddy that way, he identifies him more as the wicked witch from his bedtime story.

  62. Having revisited a number of times over the years, I’m sticking to my guns–it’s good all over. REAL Freddy, make-up, imagery, tone, acting. All good. Except maybe Robert Shaye.

  63. I’ll always remember that Entertainment Weekly wrote a negative review of this movie and called it a “navel-gazing Pirandellian hall of mirrors” and then I saw it and was disappointed that Heather Langenkamp didn’t rock a bare midriff and I didn’t get to see her navel. I was a kid at the time, give me a break.

  64. this movie always sort of rubbed me the wrong way. when i saw it i didn’t like the look of the updated freddy, and the repeat of the wall-drag scene seemed lifeless compared to the original, but i will have to give it another look.

  65. Suitcase Murphy

    June 1st, 2010 at 2:51 am

    “(V’s Robert Englund)…”
    Classic, Vern! I laughed out loud and I think this one goes down as one of my favorite reviews. Very entertaining and spot on.

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