Release date (UK): July 30th, site 2012
Running time: 360 minutes
Directors: Daniel Farrands & Andrew Kasch
Writer: Thommy Hutson
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Wes Craven, Mark Patton, Amanda Wyss, Lisa Wilcox, Tuesday Knight, Lisa Zane
When A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) was first released, I was just starting school, but that didn’t stop me from seeing the images in magazines like Fangoria that my older brothers bought, and it wasn’t long before I got to see the film during one of their horror nights. Needless to say, in the years that followed I developed something of an interest in dreams, nightmares and all things Elm Street.
While there’ve been a few bits and pieces around, actual in-depth interviews with cast and crew members have been scarce, especially with the earlier entries in the series such as Freddy’s Revenge (1985) and The Dream Warriors (1987). Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy takes care of that. It’s the definitive look back on everything to do with A Nightmare On Elm Street; the films, the short lived television series, the comics, the music and even the un-developed screenplays.
Directed by Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch, and narrated by Heather Langenkamp, it’s 4 hours of interviews with each chapter devoted to one of the films. It kicks off with an inventive opening sequence that features keys scenes from the films recreated using stop-motion animation. From Freddy’s conception to the long torturous struggle of getting the film into production, and then the series of financial setbacks New Line suffered, Nightmare seemed like a labour of love, blood, sweat and tears as Wes Craven, Bob Shaye and Lin Shaye reminisce about what they went through to get the film made.
As history shows, it was more than worth it and it’s interesting to see the things Robert brought to the role of Freddy; the swagger and the way he played with the shadows, using his eyes more prominently for added effect.
As we move onto the sequels, we learn about the disagreements regarding scripts, scenes, actors and directors. With The Dream Warriors (1987) being my favourite of the sequels, I was surprised to hear about the tension on set between the cast and director Chuck Russel, with first-timer Patricia Arquette being singled out during filming for not being able to remember her lines. The on-set tension seems to have continued with The Dream Master (1988), the so-called MTV movie of the series.
We get to hear about some of the un-used ideas for The Dream Child (1989) and Freddy’s Dead (1991) and what I found fascinating was the script for The Dream Lover which would have brought back the Dream Warriors. As Wes, Robert and Heather discuss the themes in New Nightmare (1994) they also share a few insights on some other directions the film could have gone in.
With an additional 4 hours of bonus material on a second disc, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy leaves no stone unturned and answers everything I ever wanted to know about my favourite horror series. It’s great to see so many of those faces again and to hear their stories for the first time. They’re brutally honest and while some of the films receive a lot of criticism, there’s no doubt they deserve it – Freddy Vs. Jason for example.
With the notable exceptions of Johnny Depp, Laurence Fishburne and Patricia Arquette, pretty much everyone is here. It’s probably the best 8 hours I’ve spent in front of the TV, and for someone who grew up with these films I’m always happy when I learn something new about them or to see them from a different angle.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .