My Favorite Child Killer - Halloween Special
Freddy Krueger, what a man. Or what a character, to be correct about the matter. He is still my favorite anti-hero, since becoming that in the late 1980's. His claim to fame is of course killing children; young and old! Often maligned and misunderstood to be a child molester, this isn't actually true [expect for the 2010 reboot, but we'll get to that later]. Fred would terrorise with perversion but he was only interested in killing the kiddies. And he dealt out these post-birth abortions with extreme prejudice.
Speaking of abortions, I watched the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street a while back. I went into it with an open mind. I've gotten used to so many changes to the Krueger character over the years that I was genuinely looking forward to seeing what they had come up with. Also it was just nice to see another Nightmare on Elm Street film again. In short, I wasn't all that impressed. Most disappointingly Krueger was only a pale imitation of his former self.
So what was so great about previous versions of the man. Well mostly it was down to his portrayal by the actor, Robert Englund. Between all the various Nightmare on Elm Street films and spin-offs Englund has managed to provide a great range of Krueger incarnations. While a lot of people don't like the cheesey one-liner Krueger seen in the later films, I think most will agree that the man owned the screen whenever he made an appearance. Englund is a complete actor; his protrayal of Krueger by body language alone, was perfect in every scene. Charasmatic, but viscous.
I watched all the films again this week for this post so very quickly I'm going to run through each of them with my opinions and info and stuff...
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The first of the series and regarded by most people to be the best film. It's certainly a classic! I still think it has one of the most athmospheric opening credit sequences in film history, where it shows Krueger making his infamous "finger-blade glove." It's been a few years since I've watched all the films back-to-back and I don't know what it is but, Heather Langenkamp was really "doing it for me" this time around. Early imprinted childhood memory thing, or just the way the cookie is crumbling now? Who knows and who cares!
A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)
This is the first of the Nightmare films that I saw. I remember picking up a VHS copy of it in HMV in Dublin when I was 8 or 9 and asking my mother to get it for me. There was a bit of humming and hawing but eventually it was bought. Watching it now again the obvious "Homosexual" undercurrents to this movie come to light. It seems the protagonist struggled with his sexuality as much as he struggled with Freddy.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
This was the first film that introduced me to the series. Even though I saw part 2 first, it was seeing the trailer for this in the cinema that sparked my interest. I haven't a clue what film I went to the cinema to see, but I will never forget this trailer for Part 3 that they showed. I think the version I saw had the Sugar Plum Fairy music over the top instead of the singing though.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Part 4 is when the series "changed" for myself and for a lot of others. This change in feel is called the "MTV effect." Krueger became more of a comedian also. He was always inappropriately funny, but this time around he's cracking jokes all over the place. The dream sequences become OTT now too, not OTT in a bad way though. The still above is from the notorious pizza with meatball-heads scene.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989)
[click here if animation doesn't show up]
This film for me in the dullest in the series. It feels more like half hearted attempt at extending the 4th film for another 90minutes. The idea and execution of the Krueger child is also annoying. It does have good shots like the animation above though.
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Freddy's Dead is the only Nightmare film I got to see in the cinema. Part of it was filmed in 3D and I still have the 3D glasses I got when I went to see it. This film ramps up Freddy's comedic element to 100% and turns the movie into a complete horror/comedy. I think this works the best of the last three films, mainly because Englund is hilarious with his slapstick routines.
New Nightmare (1994)
Everytime I start to watch this film I get excited at the premise behind it: the original actors, playing themselves being stalked by a "real" incarnation of Freddy Krueger. That means in the story even Robert Englund is suffers torment at the hands of this "new" Krueger. Unfortunately there are no scenes of Englund and Krueger together. I loved this film when I saw it first years ago but it's slowing dawning on me how flawed it really is. They had an opportunity to make a really viscous and cold and dark Krueger but instead he's cracking one liners again. And the atrocious child actor who ruins every scene in this movie by annoying us so much, serves to remind us why we all secretly love the Freddy. Ok so, it's not a terrible movie but the premise behind it is really what saves it.
Freddy's Nightmares (TV Series 1988–1990)
[click here if animation doesn't show up]
In between the films there were two seasons of "Freddy's Nightmares" created. These episodes were basically a kind of dreamscape Twilight Zone affair, where Freddy was rarely involved directly with the stories but he did host each episode, much like how the Crypt Keeper does in "Tales from the Crypt." These were always very cheesey, but quite spooky at the same time. Often completely surreal. "Funny Freddy" was in full flight in the show, as you probably can tell from the animation above.
Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
I don't like cross-over films, no matter how well they're made. I have nothing to say about this except that I enjoyed it. It was good to see Freddy again after an almost 10 year hiatus. The first image in the post is a promo shot for the film.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
So now we get to the Nightmare on Elm Street "reboot". As I mentioned, I was actually looking forward to this even if Englund wasn't involved. So I sat and began to watch. It started really well. Snappy and gorey, "excellent" I thought. After the opening credits though, it starts to go downhill fast. It's a typical modern Hollywood film: cold and uninteresting. Then Krueger appears. Oh lord what a shambles. I don't know if Jackie Earle Haley is a good actor or not in general but in this he's abysmal. And the voice? Ha ha ha "evil" by numbers stuff. Not just a poor Krueger but he seems totally cramped in the roll; his actions, slow and still.
A lot of this is down to the burn make-up prosthetics. I could hardly make out his mouth moving when he spoke. It's all very well being realistic with burns but who said Freddy's appearance was based on the reality of his burns? Freddy was a monster who's appearance was there to scare the dreamer, not to make them feel sympathy for how horrific his injuries are. The film makers totally missed the point with this, something which Robert Englund explains in the included video to the left (it jumps to the specific part in the videos timeline). Englund is very diplomatic in giving his opinion of the film but you can tell he just wants to scream "It's shit! You fucked it up!"
I also think Jackie Earle Haley wasn't built right for the roll. He was too wirey but without the energy you'd expect his to explode with. And I couldn't watch the film without being constantly reminded of the banjo playing inbred hick in "Deliverance" everytime Krueger made an appearance. The similarities are uncanny.
I think Victor Barry nailed it when he said it's all in the eyes, those crazy eyes of Freddy. Freddy barely has any eyes in the new film. As an aside, those "crazy eyes" of his sometimes remind me of Kenny Everett's crazy eyes.
So the film misses the mark when it comes to capturing at least some semblence of the original and that wouldn't be so bad if the film was any good in it's own right. It isn't though. It's dull and boring. Which is a real pity because the film could have been great. And Freddy doesn't just kill children in the new back-story, he puts his willy in them too, because you know, child rape is sexy these days. So why did they remake it? "Highest earning horror remake as of June 2010." There's your answer.
Most fans of the franchise agree that this "fan made" trailer for a remake is the film they would have prefered to see made. And I totally agree, if they made "this" film it would at least make you think "Freddy's back!"
This blog post was part of a series of special posts for Halloween 2010.
What a mammoth blog post! I'ts not my longest post ever but I doubt anyone will be reading all of it anyway... or any of it :)
Posted at 16:23