Thursday, October 8, 2009

Three, Four... Better Lock Your Door

I hear so many people complaining about remakes these days (myself, often included). But it's hardly a new phenomenon. Cecil B. DeMille re-made both Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments. And I recently read that A Star is Born has been greenlit for a third remake. It just seems that lately, there are so damned many of them. And I suppose it's not so terrible when the movie being remade is older and can be done with the benefit of new technology. With that in mind, I guess I'm slowly warming up to the idea of the new version of A Nightmare on Elm Street. It's been 25 years, afterall.

In 1984, director Wes Craven introduced audiences to Freddy Kreuger, a disfigured pedophile who attacked teens in their dreams. Based on the old wives' tale that if you die in your dream, you die in real life, Elm Street tapped into something we all have in common and twisted it like a knife (or in this case, a razor-fingered glove) in our collective guts.

Heather Langenkamp is Nancy, a young girl who has started to dream about an evil maintenance man. When she questions her parents (John Saxon and Ronee Blakely), they tell her it's nothing. Of course, when Nancy's friends start turning up dead, she knows something is terribly wrong:

It turns out of course, that pedophilic school maintenance man Fred Kreuger (he wasn't called "Freddy" yet) is responsible. When the people in town (including Nancy's cop father) discovered what Kreuger had done, they trapped in the boiler room and burned him alive. To take his revenge, he attacks their children in their dreams, killing them with that vicious glove. Soon, teens start turning up dead all over the place, including a young Johnny Depp in his first feature film:

A Nightmare on Elm Street went on to provide character actor Robert Englund (previously best known for a small role in the TV miniseries "V") with a lucrative career in an increasingly silly series of sequels and other horror films, like the 1989 version of Phantom of the Opera, The Mangler, 2001 Maniacs and Zombie Strippers! Craven eventually returned to the story with A New Nightmare, in which the movie character suddenly finds a life of his own and impinges on the lives of Langenkamp and her "real-life" family, which was the most interesting of the sequels. Of course, Englund took the character to a new low in 2003's Freddy Vs. Jason, in which he teams up and then faces off with Friday the 13th's Jason Vorhees.

So, now it's soon to be 2010 and Michael Bay (ugh) is producing an update (or reboot) of the franchise. The only thing that gives me hope is the casting of Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy:

So, what do you think? Can Bay and Haley successfully resurrect Kreuger from the silly, pun-spouting character he had become by the 90's? Or will the new version simply be masturbatory filmmaking at its worst? The proof, I suppose, will be in the pudding. You know that I always want to know your thoughts. Will you be making a visit to Elm Street next year? I probably will, but I hold no hope for a film better than last year's deplorable Friday the 13th re-boot.

On an interesting side note, before he was the voice of Roger Rabbit, comedian Charles Fleischer appeared as a psychologist in the original Nightmare...

More terrors, anon.


Anonymous said...

I saw the preview at Zombieland and think it has potential but DAMN!!! 25 years?

Stephen R. said...

Well, you know I'm not a big fan of horror movies at all (because I'm a big pussy), but Jackie Earl Haley as Freddy? With real burns and without the pizza face? Yes, yes, YES!!!

Prospero said...

Yep... 25 years! That really makes me feel old! And I agree, Stephen - he looks like a real burn victim in this movie

Stephen said...

Sometimes the re-makes turn out to be really good thing:
The Thing
The Blob
House On Haunted Hill
The Fly

Wow, has it really been 25 years.
I feel so damn old.

Prospero said...

I don't really think of "The Thing" as a true remake, because it actually follows the short story much more closely. And you know how I feel about "The Fly." And I'm so glad to know there's another "House on Haunted Hill" fan. I loved that movie. It's loads of fun.