It finally happened. After five sequels, one meta-sequel, and a crossover movie, the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise was finally dead. And what does hollywood do nowadays when a movie franchise dies? Fucking reboots it, of course. And so not even a full decade after Freddy Vs. Jason, we have this crap. This movie had a lot of potential. A chance to take the series back to a simpler place. After all the over-explanation of the last few sequels it was great to see Freddy just killing kids in their sleep again. Another spark of brilliance was to incorporate the idea of dreaming while awake. As the kids stay up longer, they start to become delirious and Freddy can start to attack them without having to catch them asleep. That alone would have made for a really good movie. Unfortunately, the idea is underdeveloped and has no real payoff. The movie ends up being a generic blur of CGI blood and bad acting. But my biggest complaint of all is the re-imagining of Freddy Krueger. One of the most iconic characters in horror history, known for his burnt face, clawed glove, and sick sense of humour. In this movie not only is the makeup terrible (seriously, his face looks like melted cheese) but he lacks all of the charm of the original. I guess Freddy just isn’t Freddy without Robert Englund. But my complaints go beyond that. The established mythology of Freddy’s origin is that he was a child murderer when he was alive, and the parents in the town got together to kill him. It’s the same in this movie; except that the word murderer is swapped for rapist. Yeah, Freddy was a huge pedo. And now he’s come back from the dead to kill the kids who told their parents about all the butt fun. Kind of puts a weird spin on things, doesn’t it? In fact, the climax of the movie involves Freddy literally trying to rape Nancy in her sleep. He even uses the line “I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy” which was funny in the original, but not so much here. I can’t really say a lot more without going into every single thing I hated about it, but if the idea of Freddy Krueger diddling kids isn’t enough to make you steer clear of this movie that nothing I say will be. Not the worst horror remake ever (cough, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, cough) but definitely not one worth seeing.
Overall Rating: Rapey/10
While Freddy Krueger was killing teenagers on Elm Street, Jason Voorhees had been killing teenagers on camp Crystal Lake. In 1993, they released the ninth and (supposed) final movie in the Friday the 13th series: Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday. In the final scene of the movie, Jason’s mask lies on the dusty ground, and Freddy Krueger’s gloved hand reaches up from below and pulls it down in to the dirt. Ever since then horror fans anxiously awaited the crossover. Ten years later, they finally got their shit together enough to make it (during which time they made another Friday the 13th movie, Jason X). After such a long wait, it was inevitable that fans would be disappointed, and the movie doesn’t do a good job of preventing that. It starts out on Elm Street, where Freddy has become forgotten. There’s never really any reference to Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, where the town is empty of kids. I guess, like me, they wanted to pretend that movie never happened. Anyway, Freddy’s lost his powers, and needs the kids on Elm Street to fear him in order to return. So he resurrects Jason (still dead after Jason Goes To Hell) to scare the kids on Elm Street so Freddy can come back. But of course, Jason goes out of control and won’t stop killing Elm Street kids. Freddy wants him to back off his turf, so they fight. What sucks about this movie is that they only fight during the last twenty minutes. It spends so much time on the stupid kids who no one cares about, and goes too deep in to the mythology of how Freddy’s powers work, which is actually completely different from how they work in the other movies. Actually, Freddy looks different too. I guess that makes it a reboot? Whatever, if the filmmakers don’t give a shit I’m not going to either. The actual fight between Freddy and Jason is everything you would hope it to be. It’s pure awesome. Unfortunately, the hour of complete bull crap that comes before it is not worth waiting through.
Overall Rating: Disappointing/10
Did you really think Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare would be the last one? Actually, this isn’t just another shitty sequel meant to cash in on the success of the original. Coming out on the ten-year anniversary of the first movie, this is Wes Craven’s final send off to the series that made him famous. But it isn’t exactly a sequel. It’s actually what you would call a “meta-sequel”. If you don’t know what that is, you obviously aren’t as huge of a nerd as I am. Basically it’s a sequel that doesn’t take place in the same universe as, and usually even makes reference to the existence of the original film. A good example is Human Centipede 2, in which someone watches the original Human Centipede, and is inspired to copy the experiments from the movie. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare centres around Heather Langenkamp, the actress who played Nancy Thompson in the first and third movie. Except in this one she’s playing herself. That’s right, Heather Langenkamp, Wes Craven, and Robert Englund all play themselves, making a seventh Nightmare On Elm Street movie. Sounds weird, right? You don’t know the half of it. As they’re making the movie, Freddy starts to become real. He comes right out of the movie and starts terrorizing Heather and her family. The explanation is that Freddy is actually the embodiment of an ancient demon, and that his evil has been held captive inside the movie universe for the last ten years. Now that the movies are over, he’s been set free, and so Wes Craven has to make a new movie to keep him from escaping into our world. What I like about this movie is it’s mix of originality and familiarity. If you look back at the original Nightmare On Elm Street, the whole premise is essentially about blurring the lines of reality. The dream world starts to spill in to the real world. But now that the movies have become so successful, they’ve become their own fictional universe, and the angle is to have the movie world spill into our world. Brilliant. Not to mention the countless references to the original, such as the babysitter getting dragged up on the ceiling and ripped apart just like Tina in the first one. This movie is kind of slow moving, and the plot gets pretty confusing, but the creepy and disorienting tone never lets up, and that’s what makes it a good horror movie. Wes Craven managed to make Freddy scary again, a difficult task after how goofy he became in the last few sequels. Whether or not you would count this movie as part of the original series is up for debate. In many ways it’s a reboot. But in my mind it puts the franchise to rest far better the Freddy’s Dead. If you loved the first Nightmare On Elm Street, then definitely check this one out.
Overall Rating: Meta/10
This one sucks. It’s really just terrible. The movie starts with the town of Springwood completely empty of chidren. That’s right, apparently between movies Freddy killed literally every single child or teen in the entire town, and now no one who lives there is under, like, 30. Why Freddy can’t kill the adults is beyond me. He could kill adults in the other movies. But that’s only the beginning. There’s one surviving kid from Elm Street, and he winds up in some halfway house for troubled teens, having lost his memories. The social worker lady who runs the place thinks the best idea is to take the kid back to Springwood to try to jog his memory. And of course, she brings all the other troubled teens, because the movie needs a body count. Once back on Elm Street, the kids start getting killed quickly and predictably. We eventually find out that the social worker is Freddy’s daughter, and that he needs to inhabit her dreams in order to start killing people outside of Springwood. (Yes, there’s actually a giant forcefield around the town that Freddy can’t go through). If all this shit isn’t stupid enough for you, they actually explain how Freddy is able to enter people’s dreams. Apparently there are these three little flying tadpole looking things that have magic dream powers, and when Freddy died they inhabited his body because he was so evil. And if The Phantom Menace’s “midi-chlorinas” taut us anything, it’s that it’s really stupid to try to create some half-assed explanation for a vague mystical concept. Anyway, they have to destroy these tadpole things to kill Freddy, so they lure him into the real world and then blow his ass away with a bomb. (Yes, that is actually how they finally kill Freddy). Other than being a complete insult to anyone who was a fan of the original, the characters are flat, the deaths are predictable, and the overuse of bad early 90’s CGI is visually appalling. The only explanation I can possibly imagine for why this movie is so fucking bad is that they wanted to make sure no one would try to make another sequel.
Overall Rating: Fuck You/10
This is where things start to go downhill. After four movies, the Nightmare On Elm Street series was begging to end, but they just kept pumping them out, with less time and a smaller budget for each entry. The fifth one centres around Alice, the “dream master” girl from the last movie. Now she’s pregnant (and only just out of high school, how scandalous) and Freddy is using the dreams of her unborn baby to attack her and her friends while they’re awake. Sounds like a good premise right off the bat. Original, and with a good excuse to really bend the rules of reality. Well, the first twenty minutes or so are pretty good, with lots of scenes where you’re unsure what is and is not a dream, but the idea becomes way to complicated and the movie gets completely lost up its own ass. There’s all this stuff with the ghost of Freddy’s mom, who’s body the have to find so she can go into the dream world and fight Freddy. Like, what? And Alice keeps getting visited by the spirit of her unborn son, who for some reason is like, eight. Then there’s this little baby version of Freddy running around at the beginning, and this whole thing where Alice has to rip Freddy out from inside her (actually, it’s kind of like the second movie). I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but by this point in the series I don’t really give I shit about the mythology of Freddy Krueger. I just wanna see him gut people in interesting ways. This movie spends so much of it’s runtime on all this confusing bullshit, and then we don’t even get, like, a single good kill. Oh, and that comic book kid is super annoying. Overall this movie is bearable, and it’s certainly not as bad as the next one, but it feels like maybe they should have stopped at four.
Overall Rating: Confusing/10
The third Nightmare movie brought an interesting new perspective to the series. It expanded on the premise of the original and re-defined the franchise. Then the fourth Nightmare movie just kinda ripped it off. The movie does the same thing as the third one, with each kid having their own special dream power. The twist now is that every time a character dies, their dream power is absorbed by one girl. By the end of the movie, all her friends are dead, and she becomes the “Dream Master. Then she goes and fights Freddy with all her new powers. One thing I hate about this movie is what it does with all the surviving characters from the last one. In Dream Warriors all the kids are really well developed characters, and I think it would have been really cool to see the remaining ones continue to be fleshed out through the sequels. Unfortunately, (spoilers) Kristen, Joey and Kincaid are all killed within the first half hour of Dream Master, making way for a set of similar but blander replacements. I don’t think I would call this movie bad. It definitely has some really good kills, and Freddy is awesome as ever. Not to mention it has one of my favourite lines of the series when one kid’s dying and he goes “I’ll see you in hell” and Freddy goes “Tell ’em Freddy sent you”. Awesome. But overall it didn’t really take the series anywhere new. It’s essentially the discount version of the third movie.
Overall Rating: Repetitive/10
It’s thanksgiving right now, so maybe I should give you a good thanksgiving movie to check out. But I kinda decided to devote October to horror movies. I guess watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Anyway, the third Nightmare On Elm Street movie marks the return of Wes Craven to the franchise. He was only a co-writer, but his presence in the creative process still shows through in the final film. This one is about a bunch of kids locked up in a mental institute because they all share the same delusion about a man trying to kill them in their dreams. We, the audience, of course know that this is not a delusion, but Freddy Krueger back to his old tricks. However, none of the adults running the mental hospital believe it. That is, until the Nancy Thompson (the main girl from the original movie, now a doctor specializing in dream research) shows up to help the kids. This movie takes the whole concept of the dream world to another level. One girl has the ability to pull other people into her dreams, meaning they can all go up against Freddy at once. And each kid in the group has a different power in the dream world, based on their personality. I.e. the kid who like dungeons and dragons is a wizard, the kid who doesn’t talk has sonic screams, ect. This is a neat concept but it kind of makes some of the deaths predictable, like the girl who wants to be a TV star getting her head smashed through a TV with the accompanying line “Welcome to prime time, bitch!”. This movie is also responsible for making Freddy funny, rather than scary. It sort of redefined the franchise as more action comedy than horror. That being said, I think it’s my favourite of the series (other than the original, of course.) It’s a fresh new take on the series, we get to see some of the main characters back, find out a little more about Freddy’s origin, and it has some really cool sequences, like the kid being pulled around by his veins like a puppet, or Freddy Krueger’s skeleton re-animating and beating a guy up. I actually think this would have been a good end to the series, leaving it as a nice little trilogy. But of course, this is the horror movie industry, and nothing even remotely popular gets any less that five sequels.
Overal Rating: Not Gay/10