Wes Craven Week Day 6: ‘New Nightmare’ The Best Daydream


With only two days left until the one-year anniversary of Wes Craven’s death, it’s time to pay respects to his third best film: 1994’s ‘New Nightmare’. Welcome back to Wes Craven Week.

Wes Craven was a man of unimaginable talent. In the span of his unparalleled career, the writer/director often found himself creating some of cinemas most loved tales.

Today’s edition of Wes Craven Week honors the man’s most underrated film. A picture so creative, people often fail to see the brilliance. So let’s get to it Craven Cravers. Wes, wherever you are, this one’s for you. We love you.

1994’s New Nightmare (#3)

Wes Craven’s ‘New Nightmare’ One-Sheet-Courtesy of New Line Cinema

This time the terror doesn’t stop at the screen.

In the fall of 1984, filmmaker Wes Craven had the biggest hit of his career. A tale of teenage lust and closeted bodies , A Nightmare on Elm Street is about as brilliant a film as you’re likely to ever see.

Ten years later, after mending his infamously strained relationship with Elm Street producer, and New Line CEO, Bob Shaye, Craven did it again. Only this time, the film packed, arguably, even more of an imaginative punch.

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After continual diminishing returns of the aging fright franchise, Shaye contacted Craven about a return to the series he fathered. Giving Craven free reign, as the studio recently saw the “killing” of Freddy Kruger in Freddy’s Dead, what the filmmaker created hasn’t been, and likely never will be, duplicated.

New Nightmare, a direct reference to Craven’s reinvention of the tropes he crated in ’84, saw Freddy (kind of) enter the real world in search of the beauty to his beast. Only this time, he desired delicious actress Heather Langenkamp; Nancy Thompson would no longer do. Love makes people, or in this case, demented dream demons, do crazy things.

What makes New Nightmare so brilliant, a term I refuse to use lightly, is like picking the best piece of pizza – it’s all so damn delicious.

For starters, the concept is far more imaginative than most people’s reach of creativity. Insanely executed through amazing pacing and scarily solid dialog, New Nightmare sees Craven using the original Elm Street as a bases for Nightmare’s narrator.

As Freddy gets closer to Heather, Langenkamp’s reality slowly shifts, causing California’s canvas to transform into Springwood’s most memorial mortuary; Every town has an Elm Street indeed. Craven’s use of the original Elm Street’s settings, situation, surrealism is one of New Nightmare’s greatest exports; A mutual trait shared with entire history of cinema.

Next: Wes Craven Week Day 5: The Hills Have 20/20 Vision

On top of that, Robert Englund arguably gives his best performance as the gloved governor of gore, Freddy Kruger in New Nightmare. While Englund gave the one hell of turn as the bastard son of a hundred maniacs in the original Elm, his screen time is limited. In New Nightmare, with the aid of Craven’s brilliant writing, Englund manages to take the sadistic sense of Kruger in the original and the silliness of the later sequels, and concoct the perfect villain.


Either was you slice it, regardless of which of the five claws you use, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is a true cinematic achievement. Featuring the series best acting, and arguably Craven’s best script, New Nightmare is an imaginative work of art – in any artistic medium. It’s one of Craven’s most underrated works. In fact, it may be cinema’s most underrated film. Period.

Miss Craven? Love New Nightmare as much as we do? Let the other Craven Cravers know what you think in the comment section below.