The late Wes Craven is one of the most influential filmmakers in horror history. And since its debut 24 years ago, New Nightmare’s still underrated…
Who knew A Nightmare on Elm Street had Hollywood dreams….
It’s Freddy Friday again. It’s the day 1428 Elm gets that deep sleep and heads to Elm Street. Being the dreamiest day of the week, I’ve been thinking about Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and its sleepy brilliance. And with movie maestro gone a few years now, it’s time to look at one of the late director’s most accomplished, and sadly still, underrated works. Welcome to a New Nightmare on Elm Street.
After 1991 saw New Line Cinema essentially ending the series, fans began letting go of the fedora freak. With zero reason to assume the series would continue, sleepers let their collective nightmares become dreams. That was until New Line CEO Bob Shaye gave the master his due.
If you’re a huge fan, you know Wes Craven was basically screwed when it came to the franchise. Often, creators sign rights over to their art for financing and creative freedom. And after digging the series into oblivion for more than half a decade, the master came back to reclaim the crown.
PLAYING HEATHER ONE LAST TIME
More from A Nightmare on Elm Street
- 31 Days of Horror: ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ rules!
- Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: A must-see for Freddy fans
- Queer Themes in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
- Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare — A nuanced take on abuse?!
- Robert Englund: Stay awake with his special Nightmare Blend coffee
With Craven coming back, bringing the series back from the nocturnal grave, he needed more people to truly bring Krueger back to the prowling promise land. Sure, Robert Englund would come back. Hell, John Saxon was probably ready to step back into those Thompson shoes. But the eventual Scream director needed that one special ingredient. Craven needed Heather Langenkamp. He needed his dreamy muse…
After accepting the role, Langenkamp came back to change the course of horror forever. Setting the stage for Laurie Strode’s return in Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, and the upcoming sequel to a point, Nancy’s return takes the seventh Nightmare to new heights. And it takes a lot of courage to do so.
Without accepting to play a mirrored version of her own existence, there would be no New Nightmare. If the actress felt uncomfortable with the script mimicking her life with FX artist husband, two-time Oscar winner David Anderson, and her son (who sadly lost his life to brain cancer recently), it doesn’t work. Without Heather playing Nancy one last time, we have something else entirely.
EVERY KIN KNOWS WHO FREDDY IS, HE’S LIKE SANTA CLAUS
Debuting October 14, 1994, New Nightmare is one of the best sequels in the history of horror. Creative on a level most will never see, Craven’s return ups the ante on what both sequels and horror can be. Racking in only $18 million, the film has grown to see the love and respect it so truly deserves. And while its been almost 25 years since the film came out, and its creator no longer with us, the film continues redefining what sequels can be. In fact, the picture continuously redefines what filmmaking can be.
RIP Wes Craven. Your New Nightmare sill keeps us up at night, and more than that, engages viewers to take creativity to new dreamscapes.