Tag Archives: star power

Before you die you see…The Cow

psycho98PSYCHO

3 Stars  1998/15/100m

“Check in. Relax. Take a shower.”

Director: Gus Van Sant / Writers: Robert Bloch & Joseph Stefano / Cast: Vince Vaughn, Julianne Moore, Anne Heche, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy, Philip Baker Hall, Robert Forster, James Remar.

Body Count: 2


With all the horror community hoo-hah over the endless stream of remakes n’ such ruining our favourite classics, it’s easy to forget that the most classic of classics got refunked back at the arse end of the 90s.

Although calling Psycho ’98 a remake isn’t strictly true, it’s more like a cover version without any stamp of ownership. You know when Simon Cowell drones on about “you made that song your own” (even though they quite clearly bastardized it), Gus Van Sant’s strangely hollow project to simply re-shoot Psycho in colour with very few modifications of era is similarly perplexing. Cowell, of course, would’ve made it into a musical and cast Leona Lewis as Marion Crane so she can keep bleeding, keep, keep bleeding… OK, crap joke. I’ll slap myself in the face with a custard pie for that one.

psycho98-shower

And so it came to be… Various filmians moaned before the project even went into pre-production and now it’s all but forgotten and it’s easy to see why – it’s been asked a gazillion times but, Mr VS – what was the point?

Besides being in colour, and updating some dialogue and the amount of money Marion Crane makes off with, Psycho ’98 re-treads the boards down the composition of shots, angles, effects work (Arbogast’s backward tumble down the stairs) and characterisations. All I remember of the “new-ness” was that Norman Bates cracks one out watching Marion take a shower and Julianne Moore utters the batty line “hold on while I get my Walkman,” upon which the audience decided to start laughing.

Curiously, Van Sant adds a surreal little montage right before Marion is stabbed, which, I assume was supposed to represent life flashing before her eyes, which included a cow (or possibly a sheep?) in the road. Whassat about? Did she run it over? Was it a foreshadowing? Is it Psycow?

Norman's moo-ther? Har-de-har-harrr

Norman’s moo-ther? Har-de-har-harrr

Otherwise, things otherwise clunk along in a Xerox of 38 years before but the dialogue now sounds out of place (Walkman line excepted) and the almighty cast of players is reduced to imitation rather than expression, making me wonder why any of them would’ve signed up to star in something where there’s so little ‘acting’ for them to do…

Vince Vaughn wasn’t the big star he now is (and possibly now was) back then and does okay with the role but is simply too hulking and broad to play a cross-dressing mama’s boy convincingly. While les hasbian Anne Heche (where’d shego?) is acceptable as Marion and the always lovely Moore is equally fine with being Lila, as is Macy as the detective. Herein lies the blandness of it all – they’re all just fine. Nobody’s gonna win anything for tracing a masterpiece and then painting by numbers.

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That said, a ‘re-imagining’ would’ve only incited more wrath. I recently read an amusing analogy on the IMDb where somebody wrote: “If I put balls on Grandma, that doesn’t make her a ‘re-imagining’ of Grandpa!” I’m not sure what his point was but the carbon-copying does not make the story any less intriguing – it’s still a good yarn and therefore I award ye, strangely pointless remake, three stars.

Blurbs-of-interest: Heche played Missy in I Know What You Did Last Summer; Viggo Mortensen had been in Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Robert Forster was also in Uncle Sam and Maniac Cop 3; James Remar (Dexter’s dad!) was in coma-inducing med-stalker Exquisite Tenderness.

Ipso Facto – Documentaries of the Slasher Realm

Way back when I first experienced that wee-hours viewing of Friday the 13th in my folks’ lounge and became enchanted with the idea of ski-masked madmen slaying promiscuous teenagers, there were only a couple of academic texts around; no almanacs, film guides or documentaries. The only mention of slasher films in the books I had for my Film Theory degree was that they were “hate-women films!” (exclamation mark included).

After Scream and the contemporaries that were washed up in the tide it created, the genre became accessible once again and in our age of curiosity about things of yore that pre-dated the behind-the-curtain-ness of DVD, it wasn’t long before all the people who grew up on the golden age were old enough to write and even film their own love letters to the genre. That’s what Vegan Voorhees is about.

So, books beget DVD featurettes and eventually came the retrospective documentary features, released on anniversaries of eve’s of high profile “remakes” (that word again!!) here are four of the five I have. The fifth? It was a Channel 4 Mark Kermode thing that didn’t venture beyond the big franchises or have much to say about them…

goingtopieces1GOING TO PIECES: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SLASHER FILM

4 Stars  2006/18/88m

Field Director: Jeff McQueen

The only one to have started life as a book, Adam Rockoff’s overview of the genre up until 1986 was never available in the UK so I can only judge by what’s on the screen, which, for all we know is advantageous because it’s a great hour and a half retrospective, chronicling the humble beginnings of human fascination with voyeurism of suffering, quickly on to Psycho, the Italian films of Bava et al, and going in-depth for Halloween, Friday the 13th, Prom Night and A Nightmare on Elm Street, whilst giving nods to The Prowler (including at-the-time unavailable footage from the uncut version), Graduation Day, Happy Birthday to Me, Terror Train, The Slumber Party Massacre and Sleepaway Camp – at which point I would like to add that Felissa Rose is not only beautiful but makes good counterpoints when the legendary parental backlash over the Silent Night, Deadly Night commercials is explored.

Later chapters look at the late 80s/early 90s decline and then re-emergence with key cast members and directors dropping anecdotes and theorizing about the genre they contributed to. And it must also be said that while I can’t call myself a fan of Rob Zombie’s output, I quite like the man himself; he’s well-versed, articulate and, like Felissa, presents a good argument for horror in general. Amy Holden Jones also has a lot to say about unfounded criticism of the films by the Siskell and Ebert crowd – their unintentionally amusing TV diatribe is covered: “these movies hate the independence of women!”

Going to Pieces is best appreciated from a nostalgic point of view – it is genuinely nice to hear what some of the directors have to say, given that it’s a common myth that they only did it for the money or as a stepping stone to greater things, unaware that (for many of them) they were making the most notable films of their respective careers.

Betsy is still flabbergasted at the success of the film she thought was a piece of shit.

Betsy is still flabbergasted at the success of the film she thought was a piece of shit

Who else turns up: Armand Mastroianni, Paul Lynch, Herb Freed (“It was good – but it’s good that it was”), Lilyan Chauvin, Fred Walton.

Triv: some poor TV movie actress got ditched shortly before Prom Night began shooting when Simcom secured Jamie Lee Curtis. Bet there’s a few darts in that poster on someone’s wall somewhere… Elsewhere, Tom Savini states that he sees The Prowler‘s effects as his best work.

HALLOWEEN: 25 YEARS OF TERRORhalloween251

2006/18/84m  3 Stars

Director: Stefan Hutchison / Writers: Stefan Hutchison & Anthony Masi

On to the big boys we go with the first icon-centric love-in, filmed around the titular covention that celebrated a quarter-of-a-century since the (screen)birth of one Michael Myers in – more importantly the year of my birth – 1978.

Despite covering my second favourite franchise, I was less impressed with this one that I was with the documentaries for Friday the 13th and Elm Street. Possibly because it came first, there’s little sense of structure or – dare I say it – effort that went into the other two and also Going to Pieces.

PJ Soles narrates, which is great, and there’s some convention-set talking heads with Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell amongst others but it feels a bit fleeting, like a local TV news crew dropped in to grab a quick word. Meanwhile, Jamie Lee Curtis appears only in archive interview footage. Late series mainstay Mustapha Akkad takes the reigns from John Carpenter and Debra Hill after Halloween III is all but apologised for and, in turn, makes public his regret that Halloween 5 was rushed into production too soon.

There’s some insight and box office blah, interviews with some fairly unhinged fans (one of whom goes so far as to ape Soles’ “see anything you like?” moment for the camera – and then wins a contest to appear in what was then known as Halloween 9) and Marianne Hagan laments the troubles that plagued Halloween 6 but it all stops short of Rob Zombie’s redux, which would have made for some interesting insights from fans and series alumni alike.

Attention-holding enough for what felt more like a few DVD featurettes strung together to flog that thousandth reissue of the original, which was included in the 2-disc pack.

pjsolesWho else turns up: Brian Andrews, Tom Atkins, J.C. Brandy, Jeff Burr, John Carl Buechler, Jason Paul Collum, Charles Cyphers, Chris Durand, Gloria Gifford, Sasha Jenson, Nancy Loomis, Brad Loree, Kim Newman, Rick Rosenthal, Don Shanks, Beau Starr, Tommy Lee Wallace, George P. Wilbur.

Triv: Rick Rosenthal says he shot the hot-tub murder scene from Halloween II in a thong! Marianne Hagan talks about the test screenings for Halloween 6, where an ‘articulate 14-year-old’s’ opinion that “the ending sucked” ensured re-shoots for two thirds of the film! Rob Zombie goes on to detest the process, commenting that when he was 14 nobody gave a shit what he thought about re-editing Jaws! Danielle Harris had a creepy stalker. There were multiple masks used in H20 as various big-wigs cyclically disapproved of them.

hisnamewasjasonHIS NAME WAS JASON: 30 YEARS OF FRIDAY THE 13TH

3.5 Stars  2009/90m

Director: Daniel Farrands / Writers: Anthony Masi & Thommy Hutson

Released to cash-in on the impending Friday the 13th “reboot” and shown on TV in the US – and strangely released in the UK in April 2010 – like, thanks now

There’s more in common with Going to Pieces than the Halloween doc, as Tom Savini presents a segmented skate through the merry history of Camp Crystal Lake, starting with a superfast overview of films 1-11, appreciating Jason’s greatest hits, the score, the mask, pretty much everything you learnt from Peter Bracke’s Crystal Lake Memories book with a little less cast interaction, although Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King and (swoon) Amy Steel appear so who cares about the rest? The lovely Felissa appears once again out of mutual respect for a fellow summer camp slayer and everyone attempts to replicate the ki-ki-ki ma-ma-ma sound with varying degrees of accuracy.

Several horror bloggers get screentime to admire the best of Big J but there’s even less technical information here than in the Halloween doc, as if the whole project was dumbed down to suck in airheaded fanboys who only care about the method by which various teenagers are disposed of.

The ever-beautiful Kevin Spirtas appears...

The ever-beautiful Kevin Spirtas appears…

That said, Friday is the brand I champion the most. It’s organically the classic slasher series, despite its commercial and critical failures throughout the years, it’s like the kid you love just a little more than your other two, who might be smarter and better turned out, but Friday the 13th needs only to don that puppy dog expression and I’m sold.

The second disc includes extended interviews, fan films and the like. Was VeVo asked to contribute? No. *sulks*

...And Stu Charno even beginning to resemble Jason from Part 2

Who else turns up: Diane Almeida, Erich Anderson, Judie Aronson, Diana Barrows, Richard Brooker, John Carl Buechler, Chuck Campbell, Gloria Charles, Jensen Daggett, Steve Dash, Darcy DeMoss, Todd Farmer, John Furey, Warrington Gillette, CJ Graham, Seth Green (!), Kane Hodder, James Isaac, David Kagen, Elizabeth Kaitan, Ken Kirzinger, Paul Kratka, Adam Marcus, Tom McLoughlin, Lawrence Monoson, Camilla & Carey More, Lar Park Lincoln, Catherine Parks, Amanda Righetti, Shavar Ross, John Shepherd, Danny Steinmann, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Russell Todd, Debisue Voorhees, Ted White, Larry Zerner.

Triv: Darcy DeMoss’ murder scene was actually filmed underwater.

neversleepagainNEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY

2010/239m  4 Stars

Directors: Daniel Farrands & Andrew Kasch / Writer: Thommy Hutson

Back in the 80s, Roger Ebert said in his review of Elm Street 3 that the Krueger franchise was like a high-rent version of the Friday the 13th saga… Never more is that represented than here in this staggering FOUR HOUR retrospective of the eight Freddy films prior to the 2010 remake.

Narrated by the wonderful Heather Langenkampenschultzenburger and punctuated by stop-motion interludes, each and every film, plus that horrendous TV series, is explored to maximum effect, uniting nearly all the principal cast members who reflect on their time on set, what they thought of the films and the appeal of Freddy himself. Plus the riddle of Elm Street 2‘s notorious gay subtext is finally resolved – yes, it was intended to be a low-key theme, although it seemed most of those involved did not notice at the time.

Wes Craven and Robert Shaye talk freely about their dispute over the sequel rights and, on the second disc, the present cast members regurgitate memorable lines that recreates the saga from beginning to end and there’s a set visit which takes us to 1428 Elm Street, Nancy’s school and Tina’s house amongst others as well as extended interviews that cast a grim shadow over the then-incoming remake.

Comparatively, this grandiose slab of nostalgia wins hands down for sheer effort to please the fans, but could you watch it more than once? It took me three sittings just to get through it.

Ain't gonna sleep no more, no more

Ain’t gonna sleep no more, no more

Who else turns up: It would actually be easier to say who didn’t participate – almost every main cast member is interviewed, the only obvious exception to me being Ronee Blakely, who avoided it all by getting good and loaded.

Triv: For Jennifer’s TV-nightmare in Dream Warriors, Dick Cavett was allowed to choose his interviewee and so picked Zsa Zsa Gabor, citing her as the dumbest person he’d ever met, who he’d never have on his show and who he’d gleefully see slashed by Freddy.


All this shows that we are much indebted to Daniel Farrands, Thommy Hutson and Anthony Masi for all they’ve put into three out of four of these documentaries and Jeff Katz for appearing in, quite possibly, all of them, symbolic of their love and respect for a genre most people couldn’t have cared less about. We love you.

Shalloween: The Cash-Cow of Michael Myers

halloween5posterHALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS

2.5 Stars  1989/18/97m

“Michael lives. And this time they’re ready!”

Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard / Writer: Michael Jacobs / Cast: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Wendy Kaplan, Jeffrey Landman, Tamara Glynn, Jonathan Chapin, Matthew Walker, Betty Corvalho, Troy Evans, Frank Como, David Ursin, Don Shanks.

Body Count: 17-ish

Dire-logue: “Stay away, OK, you know you’re really creepy filling that little girl with all that boogeyman crap!”


1988 and 89 were notable years for the three big franchises, all of which saw releases in both years. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 raked in the most but all of the ’88 releases far superseded their 1989 follow-ups, all three of which paled both commercially and creatively.

In later documentaries on the series, cast and crew freely admitted that Halloween 5 was taken on too soon, entering the stage of pre-production before the script was even finalised and eventually competing with the home video release of the far more successful Halloween 4 in October of 1989.

Tuck it in, for God's sake, TUCK. IT. IN.

Tuck it in, for God’s sake, TUCK. IT. IN.

The narrative holes are evident from the outset, picking up immediately from the end of the previous instalment where Michael is gunned into the ground by the Haddonfield cops. He crawls off underground and tumbles into a river, eventually winding up at the shack of a hermit, where he collapses. One year later, we’re asked to believe that the hermit has looked after the comatose stranger for the whole fucking year without telling another soul! The ever grateful Michael, waking up on October 30th, kills his saviour straight away. How nice.

Little Jamie Lloyd is a patient of Haddonfield’s Childrens Clinic, is mute, and shares a psychic connection with Unkie Mike, aware he’s on the prowl again and coming back for her. Her sorta-sister Rachel and her good time gal friend Tina are dismissive while the increasingly loopy Doc Loomis plagues Jamie for information.

It's amazing the police still refuse to listen to Loomis when he's this convincing...

It’s amazing the police still refuse to listen to Loomis when he’s this convincing…

Michael kills Rachel and stalks Tina and her friends to a party at an old farm, casually killing off the bit-parters, a pair of ridiculously conceived “comedy cops” who come complete with their own circusy theme, and chasing down Jamie, who eventually agrees to Loomis’ plan to bait Michael back to his old house “where it all began…”

Things climax at the Myers house, which has inexplicably morphed into a mansion-sized clone of Garth Manor from Hell Night, where Jamie is stalked and terrorized beyond entertaining parameters into the uncomfortable arena of cruelty over kicks. Then there’s some stupid twist about the newly introduced ‘Man in Black’, something that fans of the series would have to wait six years to get answers for.

h5-3Halloween 5 is probably the least effective of the Myers films; clunky and strangely paced that generates more questions than answers about stuff we don’t really care about. Does Michael simply deactivate on November 1st every year? Who killed those people at the clinic? Why the hell did nobody spot that his mask looks funky throughout and needs to be tucked the fuck in!!? Overlong sequences of soon-to-be victims wandering around pad out the already testing running time and the mean spiritedness of killing Rachel and subjecting a nine-year-old to an endless array of running and screaming trample over the atmospheric imprint left by Halloween 4.

There are some workable elements in the film; the first two thirds are watchable stuff and consistent with a lot of themes of the earlier films, stronger than a lot of low-rent examples of the same era and only really disappointing in contrast to the strengths of its parent franchise and it packs Kaplan’s Tina, a divisive character many believe to be one of the most annoying people to cross paths with Michael but is also kind of a fun diversion – and, hey, she dies so who’s complaining?

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Blurbs-of-interest: Pleasence, Cornell, Harris and Starr had all returned from the previous film. Danielle Harris returned to the series as Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie’s re-imagining and its sequel and also played Tosh in Urban Legend, was in Blood Night, the Hatchet sequels, and ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2; Pleasence was in five of the first six Halloweens, Alone in the Dark and also Phenomena; Don Shanks was a stunt double for Santa in Silent Night, Deadly Night, appeared in Sweet Sixteen and was the psycho fisherman in I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.

Don’t dream it’s over

nncoverWES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE

 3.5 Stars  1994/15/108m

“This time, staying awake won’t save you.”

A.k.a. A Nightmare on Elm Street 7

Director/Writer: Wes Craven / Cast: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Miko Hughes, Matt Winston, Rob LaBelle, David Newsom, John Saxon, Wes Craven, Tracy Middendorf, Fran Bennett, Robert Shaye.

Body Count: 5


Been a bit Elm Streety round here recently, hasn’t it? Well, after this I’ll give it a rest for a while. Promise. The remake just got me hankering for the originals.

You know when you don’t like a song that everybody else does but it’s “just not you” but you’re well aware it’s good, A). that happens to me loads and B). that’s kind of how I am with Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. It’s a stupendously good film, anyone can tell that but to me it’s merely a bit better than good.

nn1Understandably peeved with the way Freddy Krueger went from frightening villain of your dreams to campy sell-out within a few short years, his creator Wes Craven decided to have the last word on the subject with this looking back into the box from the outside sorta deal.

There’s talk of making a new Freddy film around LA, which coincides with a series of localised earthquakes and actress Heather Langenkamp’s freaky dreams and those of her young son, Dylan, who watches old Elm Streets in zombielike trances and chants “one, two, Freddy’s coming for you…” She’s also getting prank calls from an obsessed fan and things get worse still when her special-FX department husband gets clawed driving home one night.

nn2Car crash, everyone says with the exception of Heather, who things something else is afoot. She catches up with Robert Englund, Wes Craven, John Saxon and various New Line representatives who try to convince her it’s all in her mind. Dylan is taken to hospital for testing, where suspicion falls on Heather until there’s another murder witnessed by hospital staff.

Eventually, Heather and Dylan take on Freddy in a dream and put an end to him once and for all. Well, until Freddy vs. Jason nine years later anyway.

nn4The self-referential aspect catapulted into the stratosphere by Scream two years later is what makes the film. It’s smartly written, with a context of Freddy existing beyond the constraint of his films and crossing over into the real world plus some chucklesome little nods to the old films (as well as cameos), including that fabulous “screw your pass!” moment, and the wounds of Krueger’s razor fingers cropping up all over the place.

What holds the film back – for me, at least – is the low body count (two of the murders are merely referenced to in a news report) in ratio to the nearly two hour running time and drawn out scenes about Heather’s fears of her own madness. It’s just lack that re-watchability that a 90 minute quality slasher flick has: I’ve watched it twice in about 12 years. But, if anything, New Nightmare reasserted Craven’s directorial prowess and was probably a massive contributing factor in him landing the Scream films.

nn3Blurbs-of-interest: Englund was Freddy in all the other ventures until the 2010 remake and was also in Behind the Mask, Hatchet, Heartstopper, The Phantom of the Opera and Urban Legend; Langenkamp played Nancy in the first and third Elm Street movies; Rob LaBelle was in Jack Frost; Tracy Middendorf was later in Scream – The TV Series; Craven also directed Deadly Blessing and The Hills Have Eyes Part II.

“I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy.”

a-nightmare-on-elm-streetA NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET

5 Stars  1984/18/87m

“If Nancy doesn’t wake up screaming, she won’t wake up at all.”

Director/Writer: Wes Craven / Cast: John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Charles Fleischer, Joseph Whipp.

Body Count: 4

Dire-logue: “I had a hard-on when I woke up this morning, Tina, had your name all over it,” / “There’s four letters in my name Rod, there’s not enough room on your joint for four letters!”


There are no perfect films (with the possible exception of Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion) in the same way that there are no entirely merit-less films, even more so in the realm of the slasher flick, so it’s a rarity when something excellent comes along. By 1984, I’d imagine most people were sick of masked killers hunting down teenage prey until the last girl saves the day – and then came Wes Craven’s low-budge indie flick with a bizarre little name – shouldn’t it be called Suburban Sleepover Massacre??

Everyone should know the twisted genius at the core of the Elm Street model: Don’t…fall…asleep. It’s perfect in the way that the lore of Jaws was don’t go in the water. Sleep is something even more impossible to avoid and when you’re a hormone-riddled teenager, your parents aren’t going to believe your tales of recurring nightmares about the claw-fingered madman who really is trying to kill you. Mom…he, like, really, really is!

elm11High school BFF’s Tina and Nancy discover they shared the horrible dream of the toasted guy in the Christmas sweater who freaked them well and truly out. Nancy’s boy-toy Glen tells them that’s impossible but, from his reaction when the girls describe their tormentor, he’s had the nightmare too. When Tina is brutally slain during a sleepover party, her dodgy on-off boyfriend Rod is blamed by Nancy’s Lieutenant dad and soon tossed in prison.

elm31While parents and authority figures simply accept that Rod killed Tina, Nancy becomes convinced that it was the man in her dreams and resolves that to avoid becoming his next victim, she needs to stay awake. Cue parental meddling, peer-disbelief and a memorable trip to a sleep clinic and Elm Street‘s Ace is thrown into play – Nancy has to stay awake by any means possible: pills, bad late-night TV and a helluva lotta coffee from the percolator she hides in her room.

There’s no point in me going through the rest of the story – if you’ve not seen it, what the hell are playing at!? I avoided this film until I was 19 thinking it would scare the hell out of me and, curiously, it was during my second viewing that the film left its frightening imprint: this means it rocks!

elm41elm51

Heather Langenkamp-enschultzenfuss is more than your average slasher flick heroine: she is the centre of the film, far more so than Freddy, who became the linchpin of later sequels (in accordance with Robert Englund’s ascent to top billing), and so a lot rests on her shoulders. As the girl next door type, Nancy is nothing but convincing and her descent into the nightmare (both literal and figurative) is the essence of the story, although things trip over themselves somewhat when she rigs her house with countless Home Alone-type traps, has a heart-to-heart with her mother and falls asleep to battle with Freddy inside a twenty minute window.

Let's get phallical...

Let’s get phallical…

Johnny Depp’s debut is a much-fussed element: as the leading guy, his job amounts to little more than standing around and looking pretty whilst not taking Nancy’s claims seriously and, eventually, dying. But he does fine in the role although we never get to see into his nightmares, nor that of any other male character as a matter of fact.

Craven’s creative streak peaked here, packing in so many great themes and ideas from the genuinely creepy skipping rope song – which has become an anthem of its own – to the allegorical subtexts of the Vietnam War: apparently Craven was riffing on untold truths which return and kick the younger generation in the ass. Here, the sins of the parents are revisited on their kids.

elm71Very little hasn’t already been written about Elm Street in the quarter century since its release, so why even bother reviewing it? I could’ve just given it five stars and written “Awesome!” next to it. It is a classic, the nightmare imagery still stands (I love the squishy staircase) and only some of the technology and Nancy’s ever-increasing hair mass date it, elements that, compared to the flaws in the remake, are minimal, proving that it never required re-booting at all.

Craven never wanted Freddy to become a franchise and while some of the sequels sucked a bit (5 and 6 I’m looking at you!!) I’m glad it did; of the three major slasher franchises, A Nightmare on Elm Street has the best story arc, bucked in Part 2, but back on track all the way through the 80s films until FK became a caricature and the films drifted further away from the sleep = death goldmine of a premise.

elm21In 1984, A Nightmare on Elm Street was made for about $1.8million and a lot of love. In 2010, It’s CG-heavy remake was made for $35million. Which one do you think people will remember in another quarter of a century?

BIG-blurbs-of-interest: Englund returned to his career-making role all the way up to 2003, starring in eight Freddy films and his own syndicated TV series (which was crap, by the way) and has cropped up in many a slasher flick including Behind the Mask, Hatchet, Heartstopper, The Phantom of the Opera and Urban Legend. John Saxon returned for Elm Street 3 and the New Nightmare and was also in The Baby Doll Murders, the original Black Christmas, Tenebrae and Welcome to Spring Break; Heather Langenkamp also came back for 3 and 7. Nick Corri, under his real name Jsu Garcia, was in Teacher’s Pet; Charles Fleischer was in The Back Lot Murders (which also had a cameo from Ken Sagoes from Elm Street 3); Depp has starred in big budget variants From Hell and Sleepy Hollow; Mimi Craven was later in Mikey. Craven also directed Deadly Blessing, The Hills Have Eyes Part II and the Scream trilogy.

By the finale, Nancy grew her hair so big that even razor blades couldn't penetrate it

By the finale, Nancy grew her hair so big that even razor blades couldn’t penetrate it

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