Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) brings back the team that created the series. Craven sets the story within reality and still manages to severely warp the rules, but this time it feels more deliberate. The purpose of the exercise is to consider what happens when someone tries to simply turn off evil. What happens to the power of Freddy Krueger if the studio stops making sequels? Many actors and crew members playing themselves including Robert Shaye (CEO of New Line Cinema), Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, John Saxon, some New Line execs and even Craven himself are all essential elements to the final product. Johnny Depp was reportedly disappointed to learn he was not invited to appear in a funeral scene because Craven feared the star would turn him down.
Memorable Freddy Quote:
Freddy appears to Nancy “Miss me?”
Freddy drags a victim across the walls and ceiling in a nice callback to the first kill in the original film.
In 1993, New Line Cinema released Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the film ends with Jason Voorhees being dragged to hell. The final shot features Jason’s hockey mask pulled underground by Freddy’s glove. The following decade filled with rumors of an imminent mash-up of these two icons. It is mildly surprising that Freddy vs. Jason (2003) was not included in this collection, but one can make the argument that it is not a traditional Freddy film. More alarming is the total absence of the A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) remake, starring Jackie Earl Haley (Little Children) as Fred Krueger, the first time the role was not performed by Robert Englund. While the film was universally panned, it deserves a place here.
New Line Cinema, “The studio that Freddy built” was folded back into parent company Warner Brothers in 2008. This Blu-ray collection recycles many of the special features assembled for the fantastic DVD boxed set released in 2000, and offers a small collection of new supplemental material for this edition. The standout new addition is the half hour featurette Fear Himself: The Life and Crimes of Freddy Krueger. Also included here are two installments of the short lived television series Freddy’s Nightmares, but oddly they do not include the pilot episode that presented the origins of Freddy, starring Robert Englund and directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre).
Only the original film has received a proper special edition, with the sequels paired off into double-feature presentations. Wes Craven leads a pair of commentaries for the two installments he directed, but sadly no other director is given that opportunity. Since Robert Englund is the one constant element in all of these films and became the face of the franchise, it would seem obvious to have him record a track for each movie.
This new release is quite nice, but the schizophrenic approach to the supplements and complete omission of one film in the franchise is a bit of a head scratcher. Perhaps next year’s 30th anniversary of the original will invite another release and fans can get everything in one set. Warner’s new A Nightmare on Elm Street collection is fine, but it isn’t quite the collection it should be.
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