Wes Craven's New Nightmare

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Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Wes Craven's New Nightmare US poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWes Craven
Produced byMarianne Maddalena
Written byWes Craven
Based onCharacters
by Wes Craven
Starring
Music byJ. Peter Robinson
CinematographyMark Irwin
Edited byPatrick Lussier
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release date
  • October 14, 1994 (1994-10-14)
Running time
112 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$8 million[2]
Box office$19.7 million[3]

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (also known as New Nightmare) is a 1994 American slasher film written and directed by Wes Craven, the original creator of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Although it is the seventh installment in the 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. In the film, Freddy is depicted as closer to what Craven originally intended, being much more menacing and much less comical, with an 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 such as quotes and recreations of the most famous scenes. The film received positive reviews but grossed 19.7 million at the box office, making it the poorest performing film in the Nightmare series. It also won an International Fantasy Film Award from Fantasporto for Best Screenplay by Craven.

Plot[edit]

Heather Langenkamp lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband Chase and their young son Dylan. She has become popular thanks to her role as Nancy Thompson from the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series. One night she has a nightmare that her family is attacked by a set of animated Freddy Krueger claws from an upcoming Nightmare film, where two workers are brutally killed on set. Waking up to an earthquake, she spies a cut on Chase's finger exactly like the one he had received in her dream, but she quickly dismisses the notion that it was caused by the claws.

Heather receives a call from an obsessed fan who quotes Freddy Krueger's nursery rhyme in an eerie, Freddy-like voice. This coincides with a meeting she has with New Line Cinema where she is pitched the idea to reprise her role as Nancy in a new Nightmare film (despite her character being killed on A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors) which, unbeknownst to her, Chase has 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. He agrees to rush home from his workplace at Pasadena as the two men from the opening dream did not report in for work. Chase falls asleep while driving and is slashed by Freddy's claw and dies. His death seems to affect Dylan even further, which causes concern for Heather's long-time friend and former co-star John Saxon. He suggests she seek medical attention for Dylan and herself after she has a nightmare at Chase's funeral in which Freddy tries to take Dylan away.

Dylan's health continues to deteriorate. He becomes increasingly paranoid about going to sleep, and fears Freddy Krueger, even though Heather has never shown Dylan her films. She visits Nightmare creator Wes Craven, who admits to having precognitive nightmares that the films captured an ancient supernatural entity. The entity is freed after the film series ended with the release of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. In the guise of Freddy it now focuses on Heather, as Nancy, its primary foe, as killing her will allow it into the real world. Freddy actor Robert Englund also has a strange knowledge of it, describing the new Freddy to Heather, and then disappearing from all contact shortly after. Following another earthquake, Heather takes a traumatized Dylan to the hospital, where Dr. Heffner, suspecting abuse, suggests he remain under observation. Heather returns home for Dylan's stuffed Tyrannosaurus while his babysitter Julie tries unsuccessfully to keep the nurses from sedating the sleep-deprived boy. Dylan falls asleep from the sedative. Freddy brutally kills Julie in Dylan's dream. Capable of sleepwalking, Dylan leaves the hospital of his own accord while Heather chases him home across the interstate as Freddy taunts him and dangles him before traffic. On returning home, Heather realizes that Saxon has established his persona as Don Thompson, and her street, the exterior of her house, and her clothes have transformed into Nancy's as reality starts to overlap with Freddy's make-believe realm. When Heather embraces Nancy's role, Freddy emerges completely into reality and abducts Dylan to his world. Heather finds a trail of Dylan's sleeping pills and follows him to a hellish construct of Freddy's boiler room.[1] Freddy fights off Heather and chases Dylan into a furnace. Dylan escapes the furnace, doubles back to Heather, and together they push Freddy into the furnace and light it. This destroys both the monster and his reality.

Dylan and Heather emerge from under his blankets, and Heather finds a copy of the film's events in a screenplay at the foot of the bed. Inside is written thanks from Wes for defeating Freddy and playing Nancy one last time. Her victory helps to imprison the entity of the film franchise's fictitious world once more. Dylan asks if it is a story, and Heather agrees that it is before opening the script and reading from its pages to her son.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Freddy Krueger's appearance in New Nightmare was the original concept Wes Craven had for the character in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

Written under the working title 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 being cartoonish, and not faithful to his original themes. The basic premise originated when Craven first signed on to co-write Dream Warriors, but New Line Cinema rejected it then.[4]

In New Nightmare, Krueger was portrayed closer to what Craven had imagined: darker and less comical.[5] To reinforce this, the character's make-up and outfit were enhanced, with one of the most prominent differences being that he now wears a long blue/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.[6] While Robert Englund again plays the character, "Freddy Krueger" is credited as "Himself" in the end credits.

While earthquake scenes were already written into the film from the beginning, production of the film happened to take place concurrently with the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles. As such, the production team decided to incorporate real footage of the earthquake's structural damage into the film.[7]

Craven had intended to ask Johnny Depp, whose feature film debut was in the first film, to make an appearance as himself, but 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.[4]

Craven kept most of the wardrobe from the first film as souvenirs before New Line Cinema throwing them all away, and reused some of it for New Nightmare. Notably, Englund donned his original Freddy costume during the talk show stage scene, and Saxon and Langenkamp in theirs over the film's climax.[8]

The film was made for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the original film's release. Both New Nightmare and 1995 comedy film Tommy Boy are being dedicated to the original film's production designer Gregg Fonseca (1952 - 1994), who died shortly before the film's release.

Reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, 78% of 37 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Wes Craven's New Nightmare adds an unexpectedly satisfying - not to mention intelligent - meta layer to a horror franchise that had long since lost its way."[9] Several critics have subsequently said that New Nightmare could be regarded as a prelude to the Scream series[10]—both sets of films deal with the idea of bringing horror films to "real life".

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave 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."[11] 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, led by a tour-de-force performance by the amazing Langenkamp. The script has many twists and turns and the movie is quite possibly the best looking of the entire series."[12]

However, Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman gave 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.[13]

New Nightmare happens to be Robert Englund's favorite Nightmare movie: "I think it stands the test of time, a fun reunion with original cast members like Heather and John Saxon. Wes's script is clever and original, the self-referencial horror story."[14] Heather Langenkamp is also very supportive of the movie, saying, "I was just really shocked that I was in the movie so much, I had totally forgotten I was the star of that movie. It was interesting because all my scenes are kind of alone, and I was acting against this tension and this idea of Freddy that we all had at that time. We all knew what I was afraid of and that Freddy might be back, but you never really saw Freddy that much, and I was really amazed that the movie was about Wes [Craven] creating this relationship with that idea that Freddy is here, and the audience has it too. It's a really interesting concept, and it's one of the only horror movies where the monster's really in the background, at least until the end. But it's all about our mentality about fear."[15]

Notes[edit]

1.^ The film's script indicated that the setting of the battle between Freddy and Heather is a boiler room, albeit very elaborated and hellish one. Thus, it explains why there are multiple furnaces throughout its climax.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WES CRAVEN'S NEW NIGHTMARE (15)". British Board of Film Classification. September 19, 1994. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  2. ^ "New Nightmare budget". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Archived from the original on May 26, 2009. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
  3. ^ Wes Craven's New Nightmare at Box Office Mojo Archived October 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine; last accessed August 31, 2015.
  4. ^ a b New Nightmare DVD commentary with Wes Craven
  5. ^ Robb, Brian J. "Wes Craven And A Nightmare Of Sequels". NightmareOnElmStreetFilms.com. Archived from the original at the Wayback Machine (archived March 14, 2009). Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  6. ^ Schoell, William. "The Glove". NightmareOnElmStreetFilms.com. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  7. ^ Peitzman, Louis (October 15, 2014). "How "New Nightmare" Changed the Horror Game". Buzzfeed. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  8. ^ "A Nightmare on Elm Street: Warner Wednesday: Film of the Day". Warner Bros. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  9. ^ "Wes Craven's New Nightmare". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on May 25, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 12, 1997). "Scream 2". RogerEbert.com. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 14, 1994). "Wes Craven's New Nightmare". RogerEbert.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2009. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  12. ^ "Meta Movie Magic: "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" Review". SlasherStudios.com. May 11, 2011. Archived from the original on August 1, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  13. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (October 28, 1994). "Movie Review: 'Wes Craven's New Nightmare'". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. Archived from the original on April 25, 2009. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  14. ^ Williams, Aaron (February 22, 2012). "Robert Englund: An Exclusive Interview". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  15. ^ Donaldson, Adam A. (September 1, 2014). "INTERVIEW: Heather Langenkamp Reminisces About Being Freddy's First Final Girl". NerdBastards.com. Retrieved March 29, 2019.

External links[edit]