In the ten years following Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street some bozos made 5 sequels and killed off the iconic Freddy Krueger.
Wes wouldn’t stand for that, so he sat down and got a fresh idea: a new Nightmare movie! Even better, he called the new Nightmare movie Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. And aside from the original it’s the best in the entire series.
The first time I saw New Nightmare I was about 13 years old and spending the night at a friend’s house. His parents were driving us the next morning a few hours away for a state bowling tournament. Yeah, bowlers have friends… other bowlers… but whatever. So, we stayed up late and watched New Nightmare because his parents were less responsible than mine. We ate pizza and drank soda and took turns yelling, “Boo!” while hitting his little sister who was glued to the TV. We also tried to act like we weren’t scared. It was great. I can remember pulling a blanket over my head during one of the more intense kill scenes where a girl is dragged by Freddy to the ceiling and sliced and murdered. Then we threatened to do it to my friend’s sister because she ate the last slice of pizza. Women.
New Nightmare really was a fresh idea given that Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, and Wes Craven all play themselves. Freddy is even listed as “Himself” in the end credits. Heather begins having real nightmares of Freddy and discovers that Craven has been working on the script for a new Nightmare movie. Her son, Dylan (Miko Hughes), is also being tortured in his sleep by the “bad man with the claws” who is close to entering the real world (by the way, I’d totally watch The Real World if it had Freddy in it). Craven does a wonderful job blurring reality with fiction, and from scene to scene you’re often wondering which of them you’re watching. You can see a lot of Scream 3 in this film, and it’s everything that movie should have been. It’s a meta commentary on the franchise itself, something that isn’t uncommon in the year 2016, but in 1994 was nearly unheard of.
Freddy’s look in this one is probably my favorite. It’s much more dark and menacing which compliments his character who is less comical this time than previously seen. Craven has even said Freddy’s appearance here is closer to what he originally depicted, and it works great.
I also want to quickly say how much I can’t stand Miko Hughes. Yeah, he was cute in Kindergarden Cop (“Boys have a penis. Girls have a vagina.”), but I was really hoping Freddy would dice up that creepy little jerk. He has a scene where he’s having a screaming fit and once consoled by Heather he stares into her eyes and begins groaning, “Never sleep again.” Screw you, kid.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is the second best film in the series (Dream Warriors for third!) and definitely something you need to see this Halloween season. If not, then don’t blame me if you start hearing faint voices in bed at night singing, “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you...”
Make sure to check out our other Halloween favorites on the list of the 31 Days of Halloween here!