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 min.|
|Box office||$18,090,181 (Domestic)|
Wes Craven's New Nightmare (sometimes just referred as 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 series, 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. 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.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (August 2012)|
A pair of hands is creating a sleek, fully metal bladed glove in a boiler room. As the maker of the claws appears to chop off his own hand in preparation for attaching the claws to his own wrist, it is revealed to be a film set, and the people watching wince, and the director, Wes Craven, encourages the effects specialists to pump more blood. Heather Langenkamp, her make up artist husband, Chase, and their son, Dylan, are wandering around the set of the new Nightmare on Elm Street movie.
Presently the claw, which was only a prop a minute ago, comes to life and starts maiming and killing the special effects crew. As the claw advances to attack Chase, Heather screams waking up in her bed with Chase, during an earthquake in Los Angeles. After the earthquake dies down, Chase has a couple of scratches, which are the very same as he had received in the dream. This causes Heather to wonder if they were sustained in the earthquake or during the dream. Heather reveals she has been receiving harassing phone calls from "someone who sounds an awful lot like Freddy."
Heather is a guest on a morning talk show the very same day, where they discuss the 10th anniversary of the Nightmare films. Also, as part of the talk show line-up, Robert Englund as himself tears through a screen dressed up as Freddy Krueger to surprise Heather; Heather is slightly disturbed by this. Producer Bob Shaye asks Heather to visit his office at New Line Cinema, and explains that Wes Craven is working on a script for the new and final Nightmare film. Heather is asked to reprise her role as main character "Nancy," but decides against it with her own recent nightmares and disturbing phone calls. Bob explains that her husband, Chase is also working on the film and he is creating a scary new glove for Freddy.
When she gets home, her son has an episode during which he warns her in a voice not of his own, "Never sleep again!" Worried, Heather asks Chase to come home, however Chase falls asleep at the wheel on the way and dies supposedly in a car crash. When Heather goes to identify the body, it seems to her that there may have been more than meets the eye to the "crash," as was made apparent by the claw-like marks on his chest.
She enlists Craven's help for making sense of what's happening. Craven explains that he does not know much more than she does. He dreams a scene each night and wakes up and writes them down. Craven goes on to tell her that in the script he's writing, pure evil can be defeated if its essence is captured in a work of art that is able to allow evil to express itself. Craven explains that the evil has taken the form of Freddy Krueger because it is a familiar one. Freddy sees her as the gatekeeper who holds Freddy at bay, since Heather's character Nancy defeated Freddy in the first movie who in turn eliminated Nancy in the third, but still couldn't be released. To Freddy it is Heather that gave the character of Nancy her strength. Freddy is attacking her at her weakest points, trying to break her down before confronting her, prompting her to leave just as confused as when she arrived.
After a short sleep in Dylan's room, Heather wakes to discover Dylan is gone, she goes downstairs and finds Dylan in another episode. Heather takes Dylan to the hospital, there a doctor asks if Dylan said anything during his trance, Heather says "No" but the doctor later gets it out of her that Dylan has been doing Freddy-like actions and singing Freddy's theme. Later, Julie (Dylan's babysitter and Godmother) shows up at the hospital and tells Heather she had a nightmare about him. Soon, two nurses want to sedate Dylan, but Julie had instructed by Heather to not let Dylan fall asleep while she goes home to get Rex. Julie punches the nurse and threatening another with a needle (cameo appearance by Wes Craven's daughter), and locks the door. Meanwhile, Heather tried to leave but been stopped by security to be questioned by the doctor, the doctor suspects Heather is insane, and tries to agree to foster care. Next, Dylan drifts to sleep, Freddy appears in the locked hospital room and brutally slays Julie (in the same fate as Tina Gray in the first film). The nurses unlock the doors, and discover the murder. They run, but Heather is concerned where Dylan went, the doctor realizes Heather is right. Heather soon remembers home, (previously she comforted Dylan by telling him their home is right across the freeway from the hospital). She discovers a giant Freddy dangling Dylan from above traffic. She arrives home and finds Dylan, but Freddy begins to manipulate the world, causing her to become Nancy. By forcing Heather to accept the role he wants her to play, Freddy rises out from Dylan's bed and is fully in the real world. Heather runs inside and into Dylan's room only to find him gone, and the toy dinosaur Dylan believed was protecting him totally eviscerated by Freddy.
Heather takes sleeping pills to join in on a dream, final showdown with Freddy to save an already captured Dylan. It occurs in a hot, steamy and water-logged dreamscape ruin, apparently Freddy's home turf. Dylan finds Heather, only for them both to be attacked by Freddy, Heather is knocked out, Dylan is left defenseless.
Freddy successfully lures Dylan into a trap and tries to attack him vigorously, Heather discovers the battle and fights off Freddy, but Freddy makes his tongue extend and wrap around her face. Dylan gets out of the trap to save Heather by taking a large kitchen knife that she brought in with her, stabbing Freddy's tongue and making it go back to its previous size. The two succeed in killing Freddy, by locking him in a lit furnace where upon catching on fire, (in a Hansel and Gretel-like ending) his true visage is shown amidst a fiery blast, all the while Dylan and Heather flee, escaping back to reality, where they find the script of the film Craven has been working on, waiting for them. Dylan asks his mother to read, which she does: "We open on an old wooden bench. There's fire and tools, and a man's grimy hands building what's soon revealed as a gleaming set of claws. And the claws are moving now as if awakening from a long and unwanted sleep..."
- 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
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 had largely positive reviews, particularly for a slasher film, but 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. The film debuted at number 1 at the United Kingdom box office in early 1995. On Rotten Tomatoes, 79% 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
- "Scream 2". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Wes Craven's New Nightmare". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Movie Review: Movie Review: 'Wes Craven's New Nightmare'". Entertainment Weekly. October 28, 1994.
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- Wes Craven's New Nightmare at A Nightmare on Elm Street Companion