With the awesome release of an internal memo by New Line Cinemas creative exec Jeff Katz about a possible sequel for 2003 slasher showdown Freddy vs Jason, it got this horror fan in the mood for another remake vs original showdown. Tonight’s head to head is Wes Craven’s masterpiece A Nightmare on Elm Street vs Samuel Bayer wadding in the kiddie pool with his 2010 remake.
The year was 1984, the decade had started strong for horror, kicking off with Stanley Kubrick’s adaption of Stephen King’s The Shining and John Carpenter’s The Fog, then it was Freddy’s turn to play. Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street is a quintessential horror flick, introducing us to Robert Englund’s burn victim Freddy Krueger. Nancy and her friends are having violent nightmares which all feature one common element, a disfigured serial killer with a glove made of razors on his right hand. When one of the group is murdered in their sleep, Nancy realises that she must stay awake and try to uncover the truth behind this phantasmic killer Freddy Krueger.
A Nightmare On Elm Street breathed new life into the slasher genre with Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch recently falling flat, and the Friday The 13th franchise running on an empty tank. It not only saved a genre but a studio as well, keeping New Line Cinema from going into bankruptcy – sparking the inside nickname for the studio of “The house that Freddy built”. What’s amazing about this flick is the sheer contrast between the simplicity and complexity. Wes shot the film over just 30 days, Freddy Krueger had an overall screen time of a massive seven minutes after spending 3 hours a day in the makeup chair, and not to mention Johnny Depp’s on point hair and crop top game.
Elm Street also gave us my favourite “final girl”, Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy Thompson. Robert Englund is nightmarish and really is the thing that haunts you when you sleep, and Johnny Depp is amazing in his first screen role as the doomed love interest… shouldn’t have fallen asleep Johnny! Honestly I sometimes still can’t sleep because I can hear “1-2 Freddy’s coming for you” by sung by 3 creepy little girls playing jump rope.What to say about music video director Sam Bayer’s remake? Jackie Earle Haley tries with what he is given to work with and honestly he does pretty well, Rooney Mara didn’t want to be there and it completely shows which is a disappointing turn from the usually committed actor, and um, well Katie Cassidy is in it. The movie isn’t terrible, but it lacks the subtlety and simplicity of the original. For instance, Freddy’s scene through the wall, which has been etched into my brain, was turned from something terrifying to something almost comical because of the over-usage of CGI for something that was as simple as a latex wall.
Overall it was just a major let down for someone who was really excited for a reboot of one of his favourite horror worlds, and with the failure of this project, it may be the last attempt for quite some time.What stood out the most from the original horror masterpiece for you? Does the remake have a special place in your dreams? Let us know on Facebook or the comments below.