Thursday, 31 January 2008



The diehard geek in me screamed ‘NOOOOOO’ yesterday, when it came to light that the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise is to be rebooted. Why can’t Hollywood think of anything new? Apparently New Line Cinema, who started the franchise off in the first place with 1984’s Wes Craven helmed masterpiece, are talking to the shoddy remake factory known as Platinum Dunes about relaunching the series. Okay, can I just say this: DON’T DO IT NEW LINE!!! Recent years have shown that remakes/relaunches aren’t that great, and don’t have much in the way of longevity. They don’t hang around in cinemas for very long, and rapidly become bargain DVDs within a matter of a couple of months. STOP TARNISHING GOOD FRANCHISES!

The only two remakes that have approached the quality of the originals in this era of quick-lets-remake-it-while-people-still-recognize-the-title have been the first HILLS HAVE EYES and the first TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, both of which remained essentially faithful to the originals while adding elements that would have been difficult if not impossible to achieve when they were made the first time around.

What worries me is, with remakes of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, FRIDAY THE 13TH and even CHILD’S PLAY in the works, these once great examples of the celluloid horror genre are becoming increasingly ridiculous lampoons of themselves. These films are iconic, and remakes tend to come across as amateur dramatics productions with shinier bells and whistles on them. More gore, more flesh, more violence, a big soundtrack, all of which attempt to take the viewer away from the story, and it is the story that should be central to the movie.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET gave us Freddy Krueger, one of the most well known horror characters since the advent of the moving image. Over the course of six ELM STREET movies, WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE and FREDDY VS JASON (not forgetting the ELM STREET TV series), Robert Englund has provided viewers with scares and thrills for over two decades. Englund’s portrayal of the child killer who burned to death at the hands of his victim’s parents, only to return and stalk them in their dreams, is so much a part of modern culture that to restart the series with a new cast would be nothing short of insane.

Look at the first film. Go on. Watch it tonight, and revel in it. Wes Craven created a film stuffed with atmosphere and genuine tension. You barely see Freddy’s face other than in shadow, he rarely throws out the cheesy one-liners that the sequels became stuffed with, and it remains powerful to this day. Plus it is of historical interest to movie nerds, being Johnny Depp’s break on the big screen.

It may turn out to be fantastic though. I do hope so. Hopefully they will still cast Robert Englund as Freddy. I mean, Jason Voorhees has been played onscreen by many people, but Robert Englund is the only person that audiences will believe as Freddy Krueger. Its in the voice, the movements, the expressions, the little nuances that he brings to the part. Granted, Emglund is now spending a great of time directing movies rather than starring in them, but hopefully New Line will persuade him to don the glove and the battered Fedora once again. The remake is apparently going to deal partly with his life before he became the dream demon we all know and love. This is a dangerous area to cover, people. The man kidnapped children, took them to a boiler room and butchered them. This is something we really don’t need evidence of onscreen. Leave it be. Leave the mystery in there. It is much more effective and scary that way.

I thought that WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE (the 7th film in the series) was the perfect way of recreating the Freddy Krueger character. Putting him into the real world and having him play havoc with the stars of the original film was a genius move and if that film had been blessed with current effects technology it would be incredible. There, there’s what New Line should do. Go back to the original NOES movie, clean up the print, tweak the effects a little, beef up the soundtrack a bit, add a few scenes here and there, and you would have a brilliant new edition of the movie to release without having to make the thing from scratch and risk ridicule and derision from a fanbase that has already fluctuated in recent times.

The 18 inch New Nightmare Freddy figure from NECA is a great piece, featuring him as he appeared with his long coat, redesigned makeup and glove, and has been popular ever since it was released. You see? He looks cool as hell, and still looks like Freddy.


There is hope though. Get the right person to script it, the right person to direct, and a cast that isn’t just along for the money, and you could create something very special indeed. How about instead of a relaunch, Freddy passes the mantle of dream demon onto a distant young relative or something similar? Maybe his demonic self could sense the awakening of a new psychopath with his family blood and offer him/her the powers to slaughter everyone, not just those confined to the Elm Street bloodline?

There are many ways this could go. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be a bad dream...

Sorry, I couldn’t help that.

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