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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: A Nightmare on Elm Street - Infinifilm Edition (Recommended)



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#1 of 25 Matt Stone

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Posted September 26 2006 - 09:55 AM

[img]http://www.hometheaterforum.com/ronsreviews/covers/74642.jpg">
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Infinifilm Edition
Directed By: Wes Craven

Studio: New Line
Year: 2006
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)
Running Time: 1 Hr. 32 Mins.
Rating: R
Audio: 6.1 DTS ES Discrete (English), 5.1 Dolby Digital EX (English), 2.0 Dolby Digital (English)
Subtitles: English
MSRP: $26.99
Street Date: 26 September, 2006

Review Date: 19 September, 2006
(Ratings are out of five stars)

Summary
It’s hard to review this film and stay unbiased. I’m a big Craven fan, and more specifically a big Nightmare on Elm Street fan. Of the big 70s/80s franchises, it ranks second behind the monolith that is John Carpenter’s Halloween. Wes Craven started out with early 70s exploitation films Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes. Eyes represented a large growth in Craven’s filmmaking prowess, but both were still extremely raw and independently made. Craven made a few small films after Hills, but Nightmare was his big breakthrough and entry into the studio system.

What Craven brought that many other horror films at the time shied away from was a fantasy element. Watching the movie in a new historical context, I can see a lot of modern Japanese horror in Craven’s film. Craven refuses to over-rely on coherent plot instead focusing on tone and atmosphere. While other slashers tended to plant their feet firmly in reality (camp settings, escape murderers, etc), Nightmare just went straight for the classic ghost story. In that way it’s also a strong precursor of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. Aside from the J-Horror flicks, you still don’t see too many horror movies today that go for the fantasy slant.

Craven’s directorial style grew immensely between Last House/Hills and Nightmare. On one hand, Nightmare lacks the documentary style of his earlier films, but as a result it appears much more professionally made. Lighting and cinematography are both excellent, especially during the dream sequences. The style necessary to pull off the fantasy is infinitely more demanding than in Craven’s earlier films, and Craven really pulls it off effectively. Heather Langenkamp plays the female survivor as well as anyone (well, aside from her majesty, Jamie Lee Curtis) and the young Johnny Depp shines as Heather’s boyfriend. The supporting cast is solid (especially the underrated John Saxon). I won’t bore you with any more details. If you’re reading this review, you already know that this is one of the elite modern horror films.

Film Rating: Video
On to the big questions, how much better does this DVD look than the first? It definitely looks better. How much is really in the eye of the beholder, but the new transfer is visibly cleaner than the old one. Colors appeared a little more saturated overall (though I did notices some scenes that looked a little darker) and noise was reduced. Shadow detail is very good with accurate blue lighting (almost reminiscent of Halloween). I’m not sure if the transfer makes this DVD worth the upgrade, but it’s definitely an improvement over an already good transfer. Fans will be happy with this edition.

Video Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/a/a7/htf_images_smilies_half.gif[/img]

Audio
The audio is more negligible. The new DVD features all new 5.1 and 6.1 mixes, but neither track is that much of an improvement over the original remix. Dialog is pretty clear with a good deal of noise coming out of the rear and LFE channels. It still sounds like a film made in 1984 though. I’m not too much of a purist, but the DVD does feature the original mono track for those of you who are. I’m pretty sure that was on the original release as well.

Audio Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/a/a7/htf_images_smilies_half.gif[/img]

Extras
Commentaries - The original commentary from first DVD (which, I believe was ported from the Elite laserdisc) is also featured on the new DVD. It’s another solid track worth a listen if you have the time. In addition to the original commentary, there’s a new commentary with Craven and other members of the cast/crew. Craven is always a very interesting guy, and isn’t too redundant with his previous commentary. He goes into a little more detail on the writing of the film (character analysis, etc) on this track. This is another great commentary.
The House That Freddy Built: The Legacy of New Line Horror (22:47) – As the title tells it, this short documentary focuses on the rise of New Line Studios and the role that Nightmare played in it. I’m a big New Line fan, so this was a pretty interesting documentary.
Night Terrors: The Origins of Wes Craven’s Nightmares (15:55) – This interesting extra focuses on the nature of dreams. It features a good deal of interviews with people both in and out of the film industry. A good addition to the new DVD.
Alternate Endings – This DVD features three different endings and the ability to watch them separately or all at once with the Play All feature. They’re all pretty short, and pretty boring. Nothing very interesting, but I’m glad they were included.
Never Sleep Again: The Making of A Nightmare on Elm Street (49:52) – This documentary is broken up into seven separate sections, but you can watch them all together via the Play All feature. This is the meatiest section of the new extras. It’s a pretty standard behind the scenes doc, with many interviews and details on the making of the film. Unless I’m mis-remembering, I can’t think of any major documentaries on Nightmare, so this is definitely worth a watch.
Freddy’s Coming For You Trivial Challenge – Pretty self-explanitory, you answer the questions before the time runs out…or Freddy kills you [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/8/8d/htf_images_smilies_smile.gif[/img]

The DVD also features the original Theatrical Trailer for A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Extras Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/a/a7/htf_images_smilies_half.gif[/img]

In Closing…
I wouldn’t have ever said that A Nightmare on Elm Street was crying out for a re-release, but New Line has done a great job providing us with enough new material to justify a double-dip. The transfer is noticeably cleaned up, and the extras are substantially better than the previous release. I’m still trying to hunt down the old Elite Laserdisc for my personal collection, but this is as definitive as we can get for now. I’m still not sure I like the organization of things on New Line’s Infinifilm releases, but apart from that, this is a great DVD. Horror fans and film fans alike should definitely pick this one up.

Overall Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img]

Matt Stone
26 September, 2006
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#2 of 25 Lord Dalek

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Posted September 26 2006 - 10:49 AM

So are there any plans to do the other Nightmare films or 3 and New Nightmare in particular?

#3 of 25 Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted September 26 2006 - 11:25 AM

Great review Matt, cant wait to recieve my copy.Is it true that some of the deleted scenes, are viewable only when watching the film with the infinifilm option on ?
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#4 of 25 joshEH

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Posted September 27 2006 - 02:27 AM

Another quick question:

Is this the "uncut" version from the Elite LD, showing Tina's death uncensored?

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#5 of 25 Russell G

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Posted September 27 2006 - 02:34 AM

I'm picking this up as I never did get around to buying the boxset. That said, I'm sure there well be an updated boxset released next year with all the films remastered and uncut Posted Image

Nice review as always, it's been a while since I've watched this one. Even though I already planned on picking this up, I;m now more eager than ever. Between Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1&2 SE and this one, it's a pretty good month for horror.
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#6 of 25 Matt Stone

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Posted September 27 2006 - 03:30 AM

Quote:
Is it true that some of the deleted scenes, are viewable only when watching the film with the infinifilm option on ?

Yes, I believe that is the case. I can't check right now as I'm at work, but I'm pretty sure that's true. They may be buried in a menu option, but I couldn't find them.

Quote:
Is this the "uncut" version from the Elite LD, showing Tina's death uncensored?

I mentioned that I'm still hunting down the Elite LD, but from what I've read...no this is not the uncut version. It's the same version previously released on DVD.
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#7 of 25 Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted September 27 2006 - 03:33 AM

Thanks Matt, thats a shame about the deleted scenes.Now im going to have to watch with the infinifilm option just to see those.
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#8 of 25 Jason_V

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Posted September 27 2006 - 05:00 AM

Picked mine up last night. I might have to make a night of going through the entire set on Saturday. Contrary to what it sounds like in the other thread, I'd welcome two disc sets for all the other films in the series...or at the very least new versions with loads of behind the scenes goodness.

#9 of 25 Rich Malloy

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Posted September 27 2006 - 06:17 AM

I saw some screen caps on DVD TALK that purport to be from this new release, and it appears that the color timing is significantly changed from the prior release... what you referred to as "accurate blue lighting (almost reminiscent of Halloween)". The prior release certainly had a more natural color scheme, and as you note the new one appears to be cooler and bluer. It seemed to be quite a big difference between the two.

I know nothing about the intended look for the film, and only wonder how you know that the cool, blue timing is "accurate"?
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#10 of 25 Kramer Lowry

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Posted September 27 2006 - 06:42 AM

Posted Image

#11 of 25 Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted September 27 2006 - 10:30 AM

I just saw over at the region 2 site play.com, that on december 25 there will be an hd dvd version of nightmare on elm street .I assume region 1 will get it around the same time.
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#12 of 25 Dome Vongvises

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Posted September 27 2006 - 10:37 AM

I saw this in theaters recently (my local theater had a showing for some odd reason). Needless to say, it didn't hold up for me that well as it was too unintentionally funny. I was really looking forward to buying the DVD, but then the viewing kind of put me back on the fence. However, I trust Matt, and this looks like a good DVD to have.

#13 of 25 Esten

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Posted September 27 2006 - 10:52 AM

Damn shame 90 percent of the LaserDisc supplement weren't ported over yet AGAIN.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Malloy


I know nothing about the intended look for the film, and only wonder how you know that the cool, blue timing is "accurate"?

The Elite laser was supervised by the Director of Photography and it looks close to the previous DVD. I'd say this new transfer definitely isn't how it's meant to look. Some shots are too bright, others too dark. It was like someone was trying to make it look like a slick and polished new horror film, which is a huge mistake.

I'll stick to the previous releases when I get the hankering to watch the film.

#14 of 25 BrettGallman

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Posted September 27 2006 - 01:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dome Vongvises
I saw this in theaters recently (my local theater had a showing for some odd reason). Needless to say, it didn't hold up for me that well as it was too unintentionally funny. I was really looking forward to buying the DVD, but then the viewing kind of put me back on the fence. However, I trust Matt, and this looks like a good DVD to have.

I saw in theaters recently too. It was a national release for a couple of nights to promote the new DVD. And while I didn't find it unintentionally funny, many others must have because there was a lot of laughter (especially during the mother's scenes) for some reason. I still think it holds up big time. I'm surprised I actually had the willpower to leave this one of the shelf today. I'm sure I'll pick it up sometime if an HD release isn't that imminent.
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#15 of 25 Matt Stone

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Posted September 28 2006 - 03:38 AM

I regret using the word "accurate" but I still recommend the transfer. I don't find the color changes as blasphemous as those made in Halloween, but YMMV.
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#16 of 25 Rich Malloy

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Posted September 28 2006 - 04:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esten
The Elite laser was supervised by the Director of Photography and it looks close to the previous DVD. I'd say this new transfer definitely isn't how it's meant to look. Some shots are too bright, others too dark. It was like someone was trying to make it look like a slick and polished new horror film, which is a huge mistake.

I'll stick to the previous releases when I get the hankering to watch the film.
Also getting reports of major omissions in the effects tracks - on both the DTS and mono tracks. Discussion starts here: http://forum.dvdtalk....&postcount=190

[EDIT: my link only brings up the first post - much more discussion follows. Go here for the thread: http://forum.dvdtalk....7&page=8&pp=25

If anyone wishes to see some comparisons of the vastly different color timing between this release and the last, go here: http://forum.dvdtalk....&postcount=139
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#17 of 25 Dave Mack

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Posted September 28 2006 - 05:29 AM

Wow, I can see the color timing being intentionally manipulated to "modernize" the look but why would they purposefully omit sound effects? Or did they just screw the pooch...?

#18 of 25 Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted September 28 2006 - 05:54 AM

Got to admit, i dont like it when they screw around with a movies original look, but this look great ! Love those blues in the screenshots, it kind of makes the movie have the look of 2002s the ring.Cant wait to recieve my infinifilm copy next week !
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#19 of 25 Matt Stone

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Posted September 28 2006 - 06:31 AM

That shot of Nancy in the sleep lab isn't indicative of the whole transfer, BTW. That's just the scene with the biggest difference.
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#20 of 25 Esten

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Posted September 28 2006 - 02:25 PM

Man, not porting the LaserDisc extras, the transfer being off AND the missing sound effects. They really screwed this up.


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