One… Two… Freddy’s coming for you, Wes. Three… Four… Better write one more. Genre-bending1, innovative, and masterful, the late great Wes Craven defined, re-defined, then re-re-defined the horror the genre, bringing to life one of cinema’s most iconic characters and villains of all-time, and one of the most recognizable faces to ever grace the silver screen… Freddy Krueger. Before turning the genre completely on its head with the Scream franchise, Craven had already started to show a penchant for creating self-referential works with one of the best horror sequels put to film, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. A horror film so meta, even the title itself is meta, but we’ll get to that later. In 1994, Wes Craven returned to the franchise he launched a decade earlier, with the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), taking the helm of a Freddy flick for just the second time. He took a franchise that had gone completely off the rails, turning from straight horror, to horror-comedy, to whatever the hell Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare was trying to be when it decided to include cameos by Tom Arnold and Roseanne Barr, and he breathed new life into his original creation in the best way possible. Like Scream, New Nightmare took apart its own genre and put it back together in a way that made everything feel fresh and new while playing with conventional tropes and keeping the audience guessing and on edge. The joke was over. The scary had come back to Elm Street. In New Nightmare, Heather Langenkamp, playing Heather Langenkamp, who played Nancy in the original film (see where this is going yet?), is an actress leading a normal life with her husband and her sleepwalking son, when she starts to have nightmares from her old, fictional life. Freddy Krueger is invading the dreams of his old nemesis, the only person to ever defeat him, blurring the lines between waking life and the dream world. But he isn’t real… Right? Strange happenings and many dreams later, Heather fears for her son’s life, so she reaches out to the man himself, Wes Craven, played by Wes Craven, looking for answers as to why she’s suddenly got Freddy on the brain, only to find out that he’s writing a new entry to the franchise. He tells her that he has to do it, and asks her if she’d be willing to play Nancy, one last time. To battle the dream demon, one last time. It’s the only way to stop him… To tell you any more about the plot would be spoil the many, many wonderful surprises that this amazing film has to offer. Many familiar faces pop up throughout the film, playing themselves, as well as some faces that aren’t that familiar, but whose names would be recognizable to fans of the original. In addition to Heather Langenkamp and Wes Craven, the film features John Saxon, Nancy’s dad from the original, Robert Shaye, producer of every film in the Nightmare series, and, of course, Robert Englund joins the fun as both Robert Englund and Freddy. In bringing them all back together, you can feel the love that they all have for the material, the characters, and each other radiating through the screen. No one feels like they’re here for a paycheck or out of obligation. Fun fact; Freddy Krueger is actually credited as “Himself,” continuing the illusion that he’s been real this whole time. Breaking from the naming convention of most of its previous sequels, by including Wes Craven’s name in the title, was not an ego-driven decision. Having his name in the title does so many things to define this movie, without the audience even knowing it. First off, the title is different, letting you know that you’re in for a different type of experience. Second, it brings Freddy into our world, like a dreaming teen grabbing onto a piece of his burnt flesh just before waking up. It puts Wes and Freddy on the same playing field, telling us that this is going to take place in our world, the “real” world. It’s also just plain accurate. It’s not Wes Craven’s New Nightmare in the way that Signs was M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs. They’re not just telling us that this is Wes Craven’s movie. They’re letting us know, up front, that these are Wes Craven’s actual nightmares, that Wes himself is in this film, and playing a major role. Finally, it tells us one very important thing about this movie from a marketing standpoint… that the original creator, Wes Craven, is back! But did he really create Freddy Krueger? Or did Freddy create him? If you haven’t seen this movie, and you are a fan of the original, go watch it. It’s on Netflix right now. Don’t pay attention to the poor box office performance, which is likely the only reason the franchise did not continue beyond this film, save for Freddy vs Jason a decade later and then a dreadfully awful, humorless, careless, Englund-less reboot. New Nightmare did not receive the audience it deserved during its theatrical run because the franchise had previously been so thoroughly run into the ground by a series of directors who did not have nearly the same care for the characters as Wes so clearly did. Craven tried to resurrect the franchise with New Nightmare and succeeded in doing so on an artistic level. Just not financially, which is where it really counts in Hollywood. And, if you do plan on watching this, please don’t read anything containing heavy spoilers. It’s impossible to describe this film without giving away some of the many cool things that make this such a special experience, but I was very careful to not give too much away, because this movie is so much fun, especially as it revisits lines, locations, and scenes from the ’84 classic. The more fondly you remember the original, the more the hair on the back of your neck will stand up, and the more chills you’ll feel throughout your body, particularly in this film’s third act. For maximum feels, I would recommend re-watching the original A Nightmare on Elm Street followed by Wes Craven’s New Nightmare back to back. If you have the stamina for a mini-marathon, sandwich in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, as it is the only other film in the franchise to be co-written by Wes, and to feature Heather Langenkamp in the role of Nancy. New Nightmare has an incredible premise and a very meta, self-referential storyline, blending reality with fiction, and having fun with its own genre, as Wes would do four more times with Scream. It features a brilliant cast portraying heightened versions of themselves, perhaps helping to inspire Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s comedy hit This is the End. And finally, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare gives us one last look at the icon, Freddy Krueger, arguably one of the greatest cinematic, monsters, villains, and characters, of all time, through the eyes of his creator. The way Freddy deserves to be seen: purely evil and scary as hell. Won’t you join Wes Craven for one last nightmare? See larger image A Nightmare on Elm Street Collection (All 7 Original Nightmare Films + Bonus Disc) [Blu-ray] Nightmare on Elm Street Collection (1-7)(BD) New From: $34.88 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.