by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)
What were they thinking? The original Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t THAT old. It holds up fairly well and was in no need of an update. We live in the age of the ‘re-imagining’. Everything old is new again… where is Casa Blanca? People would come apart at the seams if they tried to redo that.
Enough complaining, let me get to the movie. A Nightmare on Elm Street is the time-tested tale of the child-murderer come back to life in people’s dreams and taking revenge on the people who killed him by killing their children. Wes Craven came up with the idea after reading some newspaper story about some kids in Asia that warned their parents that if they slept they would die in their sleep and sure enough they did. He took this germ of an idea and turned it into a blockbuster.
They character of Freddy was just another killer but when Craven decided that he should have knives on his fingers (and not just wielding one) he struck movie gold. Freddy would rise up in the pantheon of movie monsters right along side Jason (of Friday the 13th) and Pinhead (of Hellraiser).
2010’s NMOES (short of Nightmare on Elm Street) wanted to update the story so a whole new string of sequels could be made and money to be had. They needed to dump the whole 80’s looks and bring it up to Emo standards. I can see the need to update stuff sometimes to help it fit in but it that’s all they really wanted to do then it should have been a shot-for-shot remake. Why else would you remake a movie? If it was popular enough to warrant interest more than 20 years later why would you want to change that formula for success?
The people at Platinum Dunes messed with the formula and made another crappy bomb. From what I read NMOES did make a pretty nice sum of money but not enough to be called a success. I will admin that the new version was not poorly made, it looked bright, shiny, and flashy… it just wasn’t NMOES. It was some other monster movie. The creators took most horror movie cliches and put them in there hoping that their book formula for a successful horror movie would work but it doesn’t.
Freddy was played adeptly by Jackie Earle Haley but it just wasn’t Freddy. He wanted the character to be the same yet make it his own but I don’t know if anyone could match the creepiness of Robert Englund. Haley’s Freddy was vicious but not mesmerizing. He was a cold blooded killer where Robert Englund’s Freddy was a cat playing with it’s prey. Hayle’s Freddy can’t wait to plunge the knives into someone (contrary to his dialogue) where Englund’s Freddy gets a kick out of cutting them slowly. I should say Englund’s Freddy is more about torture, that’s where he gets his kicks. Everyone bashed the makeup and I would have to agree. It was too realistic. The old Freddy makeup was more fantasy based and thus more scary.
I don’t think it was wise to show Freddy pre-fire. It took some of the evil out of him. A subplot of the new movie was to plant a seed of doubt of Freddy’s guilt so they felt if they showed him as he used to be the audience would have doubts too. I can totally see what they were trying to do but part of the coolness of the old Freddy was that you never saw him (until The Dream Child).
The final Freddy mistake was to make him a child molester. In the original Freddy got his kicks out of killing children, not molesting them. I’m not sure why they chose to do this. I guess so the whole story would work (with the character so intimately involved with Freddy as opposed to being DEAD). That doesn’t really work since for about 80% of the movie they don’t even know who he is.
The other big mistake was that the creators got rid of most of the crazy shit that happens in the original. There are no man eating beds, no ten foot long Freddy arms, no mom-eating beds, no moms being sucked though windows on front doors, etc… They really dropped the ball on this. That is one of the things that really stuck with audiences (the freaky stuff). I could have totally put up with the new Freddy if the wierd stuff would have happened but it didn’t this was their 2nd strike and it proved fatal.
I have no doubt that there will be A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Electric Bogaloo (or whatever) but I hope they listen to the audience and make it better.
PS: Here is a nice ‘original Freddy’ video segment.