Wes Craven's New Nightmare
|Wes Craven's New Nightmare|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Wes Craven|
|Produced by||Wes Craven
|Written by||Wes Craven|
|Based on||Characters by
|Music by||J. Peter Robinson|
|Editing by||Patrick Lussier|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Running time||112 minutes|
|Box office||$18,090,181 (Domestic)|
Wes Craven's New Nightmare (also known as A Nightmare on Elm Street 7: Wes Craven's New Nightmare) is a 1994 slasher metafilm written and directed by original creator Wes Craven who wrote and directed the original Nightmare on Elm Street film. Although it is the seventh installment of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, it is not part of the series continuity, instead portraying Freddy Krueger as a fictional movie villain who invades the real world and haunts the cast and crew responsible for his films. While the canon Nightmare on Elm Street films are about dreams overlapping reality, this film is about films overlapping reality. In this film, Freddy is depicted as closer to what Craven originally intended, being more menacing and less comical, with a greatly updated attire and appearance.
The film features various people involved in the motion picture industry playing themselves, including actress Heather Langenkamp who is compelled by events in the narrative to reprise her role as Nancy Thompson. New Nightmare features several homages to the original film.
Heather Langenkamp lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chase and her young son Dylan, and has become quite popular due to her role as Nancy Thompson from the Nightmare on Elm Street film series. One night, she has a nightmare in which she, Dylan and Chase are attacked by animated Kreuger claws of an upcoming Nightmare film in which two of the workers are brutally murdered on set. Waking up to an earthquake, she spies a cut on Chase's finger exactly like one he'd received in his dream, but they quickly dismiss the notion.
Heather receives a call from an obsessed fan who calls and quotes Freddy's nursery rhyme in an eerie Freddy-like voice which coincides with a meeting she has with New Line Cinema in which she is pitched an idea to reprise her role as Nancy in a new Nightmare film, which unbeknownst to her at the time Chase had been working on. When she returns home, she sees Dylan watching her original film, when she interrupts him he has a severely traumatizing episode where he screams at her. The frequent calls and Dylan's strange behavior cause her to call Chase who agrees to rush home from his work site as the two men from the opening dream did not report in for work. But Chase falls asleep while driving and is slashed by Freddy's claw which causes him to have a massive accident; his death seems to effect Dylan even further which causes concern for Heather's long time friend and former costar John Saxon who suggests she seek medical attention for both him and for her after Heather has a nightmare at Chase's funeral in which Freddy tries to take Dylan away.
Dylan's health continues to destabilize, becoming increasingly paranoid about going to sleep, fearing Freddy Krueger even though Heather had never shown him her movies. She visits Wes Craven who suggests that Freddy is an entity drawn to his movies, released after the series completed and now focuses on Heather, as Nancy as its primary foe. Robert Englund also has a strange knowledge of it, describing the new Freddy to Nancy, only shortly after disappearing from all contact. After another earthquake, Heather takes a traumatized Dylan to the hospital where the head nurse, suspecting abuse suggests Dylan stay for observation. Heather returns home for Dylan's stuffed dinosaur while his babysitter Julie tries to keep the nurses from sedating the sleep-deprived boy. Dylan falls asleep after the nurses sedate him successfully, and Freddy brutally kills Julie in Dylan's dream. Capable of sleep walking, Dylan leaves the hospital of his own accord while Heather chases him home across the interstate while Freddy taunts him and dangles him before traffic. Upon returning home, Heather realizes that John has established his persona as Don Thompson. Upon Heather's compliance in embracing Nancy's role, Freddy emerges completely into reality and takes Dylan to his world. Heather finds a trail of his sleeping pills like the story of Hansel and Gretel she'd read to him and follows him to a dark underworld. Freddy fights off Heather then chases Dylan into an oven, he escapes the oven and doubles back to Heather, and together they manage to push Freddy into the oven and light it, destroying the monster and then his reality all together.
Dylan and Heather emerge from under his blankets, and Heather finds a copy of the movie's events as a screenplay at the foot of the bed. Dylan asks if it is a story, and Heather agrees that it's just a story before opening the script and reading from its pages to her son.
- Heather Langenkamp as Herself / Nancy Thompson
- Robert Englund as Himself / Freddy Krueger
- Miko Hughes as Dylan Porter
- Tracy Middendorf as Julie
- Freddy Krueger as Himself
- David Newsom as Chase Porter
- Fran Bennett as Dr. Christine Heffner
- John Saxon as Himself / Lt. Donald Thompson
- Wes Craven as Himself
- Marianne Maddalena as Herself
- Sam Rubin as Himself
- Claudia Haro as a New Line Cinema receptionist
Written under the working title of A Nightmare on Elm Street 7: The Ascension, Wes Craven set out to make a deliberately more cerebral film than recent entries to the franchise—which he regarded as cartoonish and not faithful to his original themes. The basic premise of this film originated when Craven first signed on to co-write A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, but New Line Cinema rejected it then.
In New Nightmare, Freddy Krueger was portrayed closer to what Craven had imagined; darker and less comical. To correspond with this, the make-up and outfit of the character was different, with one of the most prominent differences being that he now wears a long, black trenchcoat. In addition, the signature glove was redesigned for a more organic look, with the fingers resembling bones and having muscle textures in between. While Robert Englund again plays the character, "Freddy Krueger" is credited as "Himself" in the end credits.
Craven had intended to ask Johnny Depp, whose feature film debut was in A Nightmare on Elm Street, to make an appearance as himself, but Craven was too timid to ask him. Upon running into each other after the film's release, Depp said he would have been happy to do it.
All of the earthquake sequences in New Nightmare were filmed a month prior to the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles. The real quake struck only weeks before film was completed. Subsequently, a team was sent out to film footage of the actual quake damaged areas of the city. The cast and crew thought that the scenes that were filmed before the real quake struck were a bit overdone, but when viewed after the real quake hit, they were horrified by the realism of it.
New Nightmare failed to make as big an impression at the box office as any of the previous six films—the United States take was $18 million and became the lowest earning movie of the franchise; however, this amount was still over two times the budget. and debuted at number 1 at the United Kingdom box office in early 1995.
The film received largely positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, 77% of critics gave the film a positive review. Several critics have subsequently said that New Nightmare could be regarded as a prelude to the Scream series—both sets of films deal with the idea of bringing horror movies to "real life". While the Scream films appealed to huge audiences, New Nightmare has gathered a smaller, fan-led cult following.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave Wes Craven's New Nightmare three stars out of four and said "I haven't been exactly a fan of the Nightmare series, but I found this movie, with its unsettling questions about the effect of horror on those who create it, strangely intriguing." Kevin Sommerfield from the horror website Slasher Studios gave it four out of four stars and said "New Nightmare is that rare horror film in which everything works. The performances are pitch perfect, lead by a tour-de-force performance by the amazing Langenkamp. The script is full of twists and turns and the movie is quite possibly the best looking of the entire series." 
Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman however gave Wes Craven's New Nightmare a negative review, stating "After a good, gory opening, in which Freddy's glove—newly designed with sinews and muscles—slashes the throat of the special-effects guy who's been working on it, the movie succumbs to a kind of sterile inertia. Wes Craven's New Nightmare isn't about Freddy haunting a film set, which actually might have been fun. It's about Heather Langenkamp, star of the original Nightmare on Elm Street, being menaced for two long, slow hours by earthquakes, cracks in the wall, and other weary portents of doom." Gleiberman described the film as "just an empty hall of mirrors" that "lacks the trancelike dread of the original" and the "ingeniously demented special effects" of Dream Warriors.
- "New Nightmare budget". The-Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
- New Nightmare DVD commentary with Wes Craven
- A Nightmare On Elm Street : Interviews - Wes Craven And A Nightmare Of Sequels
- [dead link]
- "Scream 2". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Wes Craven's New Nightmare". Chicago Sun-Times.
- at 3:47 am (2011-05-11). "Meta Movie Magic: “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” Review |". Slasherstudios.com. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
- "Movie Review: Movie Review: 'Wes Craven's New Nightmare'". Entertainment Weekly. October 28, 1994.
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- Wes Craven's New Nightmare at the Internet Movie Database
- Wes Craven's New Nightmare at allmovie
- Wes Craven's New Nightmare at Rotten Tomatoes
- Wes Craven's New Nightmare at Box Office Mojo
- Wes Craven's New Nightmare at Nightmare on Elm Street Companion