Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)

A Nightmare on Elm Street went from being an independent horror film from a penniless director and a near-bankrupt studio to being one of the most recognizable horror franchises ever, with an iconic villain in Freddy Krueger. He has weathered six direct sequels, a rather interesting meta-movie, a duel with another horror icon and a remake. After 27 years it is still a part of our cinematic history.

That is why I'm glad that Daniel Farrands and the rest of the people responsible for this documentary didn't half-ass it. Original Nightmare heroine Heather Langenkamp narrates this four-hour look into each of the original films the short-lived (but much-maligned) television series. It also manages to leave almost no stone unturned to interview cast and crew, although Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette were both conspicuous in their absence.

The parts that will be of most interest to viewers I think is about how the original got made, the homosexual subtexts of the second (which, considering what an awful movie it is, would be the only reason for viewing it), the practical effects that went into the third and fourth films and the censorship problems [i]Dream Child[/i] encountered as the times changed. It is also nice to see Rachel Talalay interviewed heavily. Although she made one of the worst of the Freddy films, I've always enjoyed her other work (like Tank Girl and Ghost in the Machine) and it's an interesting story of a person working her way up from the back office to directing the final chapter of one of the most popular horror series ever.

There are a few flaws. I think there is too much downplaying of Dream Child, since that has always been one of my favorites in the series, largely because of its darker tone, while Freddy's Dead and Freddy vs. Jason, two awful films in my opinion, are given too much credence. Yes, it is interesting to note that the former was done largely with John Waters's usual film crew and had some early CGI, but it contained none of the humor you would find in a Waters film and it was largely the ingenious practical effects that made the three previous movies so enjoyable.

Still, this is a minor quibble. Any fan of the movies will want to see this, and the time flies by while watching it.

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)
Duration: 240 minutes
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Wes Craven
Director: Daniel Farrands

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