Some thoughts on Nightmare on Elm St. series.

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Frank@N, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    Since AFI listed Freddy as a Top 50 Villain, I decided to add a little horror to my collection.

    Subsequently, I came across a used copy of the huge (8 disc?) Nightmare on Elm St. collection from 1999. Each movie was priced separately for about $7 bucks.

    I have to say, New Line did a great job making these 80's flicks look and sound great. If you see these releases in circulation, you can spot them by the all black packaging and the lack of any bar-code (that was on the boxset shell).

    However, the only movies worth having are the ones that Wes Craven personally participated in (1st, 3rd, and 7th).

    The original movie from 1984 is pure horror and very gritty. The acting is also fairly good. I don't recall very many wisecracks at this stage, so this is probably the most hardcore of the bunch.

    The third movie from 1987 (Dream Warriors) is where the series really came together and peaked, IMHO. This is pure 80's popcorn and it evokes the same sort of vibe you get from watching, say, the original Terminator movie. You even get Dokken music and D&D references. The nightmares are chilling, imaginative, and deadly. Good stuff and good acting.

    The 7th movie from 1994 (New Nightmare) is an interesting twist. This movie takes place in the 'real' world where the original cast of the first film is haunted by an evil entity that may be connected to the fictional Freddy of the movies. Think Scream 3 in reverse. In general, it works and allows 'Freddy' to take on a somewhat altered appearance and scope. This film is genuinely creepy, but what I have to take issue with is the use of a 'child in danger' to heighten the tension.

    ========

    Now, on to the bad...

    I avoided picking up the 2nd film (Freddy's Revenge?) because I read that the content and transfer were substandard.

    I did tested the water with the MTV-influenced episodes 4 (Dream Master) and 5 (Dream Child). In short, these films are the cinematic equivalent of toxic waste. Your 'will to live' will be seriously challenged by even a single viewing of these talent-free and imagination-free productions. Seriously, I've never seen acting this bad...

    Based on this experience, I decide to skip episode 6 as well. I guess New Line cooked up a 3D end sequence to send off the the series. No thanks.

    ========

    In short, I can recommend episode 1 to all horror fans. Episode 3 is more entertaining, develops the 'back story', and is a cool 80's nostalgia trip. Episode 7 is really for fans of the series only.
     
  2. Esten

    Esten Supporting Actor

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  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Yeah- the 1st is good, and the 3rd is certainly not as bad as the later ones (where 5 and 6 are absolutely horrid).

    I still have a soft spot for part 2, while it had many weak elements- i really think a lot of the core of that one was strong (Freddy being weak, regaining power by acting through someone else. The heat of the house element was also very strong and very nightmare-like. All in all, many great elements that went together to make a mediocre film).

    But watching part 2 as a thinly vailed homosexuality metaphore makes it a hilarious experience!

    -vince
     
  4. Aaron Cohen

    Aaron Cohen Second Unit

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    I share some of your opinions. I loved 1, 3, and 7. I found part 6 to be complete crap and part 5 to be pretty awful as well. To be honest, I think part 4 is okay, I hated the actress they got to replace Roseanne Arquette but thought the film overall was okay but was definitely the turning point in the series. After that, Freddy just had lots of silly garbage to spout. In 3, things were inventive and it was a new take on things. But after that it just got worse culminating in part 6's video game death.

    As for part 2........I don't know how I feel about it. It's so incredibly different from the other films. Upon first look I thought it was awful but on subsequent viewings have grown to appreciate it. It has some pretty heavy gay undertones in it and it is quite dark. But it gets a bad rap when lumped into the same category as 5 and 6. This movie is infinitely more watchable than those POS.

    As for the transfer quality, all I know is that it looks about 100 times better than my VHS copy of the movie that I bought for a quarter in a torn to shreds package previously viewed from a closing privately owned video store. I'd say the transfer is equal to the other discs in the series.
     
  5. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I'm a big fan of 1, 3, and 7 as well. Part 2 doesn't bother me nearly as much as part 4 & 5, and I have a bit of a soft-spot for part 6. I'm not exactly sure why, but it probably has something to do with watching it a million times when I was about 12. It's so stupid...so bloody stupid, but a few of my friends and I would sit around and watch it like 3 times a day [​IMG]

    The transfers and soundtracks on the DVDs are really great. New Line did a fantastic job with it.
     
  6. Marvin Richardson

    Marvin Richardson Supporting Actor

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    Part 2 is one of the absolute worst movies of all time. It violated all the "rules" of the series (Freddy appears in the real world for crying out loud!). At least 5 and 6 didn't do that. But Part 6 and Part 2 definitely are neck in neck for worst of the series.
    Part 7 is a great movie. Freddy was definitely not a "pussy" in this movie. Not a whole lot of gabbing and joking from Freddy in this one.

    Here's my reviews:
    A Nightmare on Elm Street [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge ZERO
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child [​IMG][​IMG]
    Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare ZERO
    Wes Craven's New Nightmare [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. Aaron Cohen

    Aaron Cohen Second Unit

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    There's an interesting moment at one point during the commentary on part 1. It was created for the laserdisc and at many points during the film, Wes Craven keeps saying something like "WOW, look how great the picture looks, this laserdisc stuff is really great!". This continues for about 3/4 of the movie until one of the other guys who is in the commentary track finally says something like: "Wes, this is the VHS copy, the laserdisc is what this commentary is going on but we aren't watching it now". Hahahahaha. I bet he really felt stupid at that point. Check it out.

    Another little side note, the doctor in the dream clinic is the guy that played the voice of Roger Rabbit. I love watching that scene and thinking of Roger Rabbit everytime he talks trying to think of just how the voice there became the voice of Roger Rabbit.

    Also, I think Heather Langenkamp is the cutest actress in Hollywood history. I can't tell you how many times I watched the scene where she is changing shirts in front of her closet there and you see her back...
     
  8. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    My first Amazon set, back when it was 40% off. Great purchase.

    I think the 6th film was easily one of the worst things I have ever seen. 2 has camp value. 1 is a rightful legend. 3 is a great sequel, that effectively walks the line between 1 and 4/5. And 4/5 are guilty pleasures of mine. I like them. They aren't good films, but they certainly are watchable.

    It's a solid series. But I'll never watch 6 again. EVER!

    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  9. Esten

    Esten Supporting Actor

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  10. Scott Temple

    Scott Temple Supporting Actor

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    I always find myself defending 4: The Dream Master. There's just something about it that I really like. Plus, it had the highest body count of the series. So I say 1, 3, 4, and 7 are the best of the series. 6 is filled with too many jokes and too much humor, but it's still mildly entertaining. 2 and 5 are bottom-of-the-barrel for me though.
     
  11. Lyle_JP

    Lyle_JP Screenwriter

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    I defend 4 as well. It was the 80's, with all it's bad hair, neon fashions, and mediocre music concentrated, filtered, and poured into the perfect insipid teen horror film of the era. To quote a far better horror film, "I admire it's purity... A survivor, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality."

    -Lyle J.P.
     
  12. Beau

    Beau Supporting Actor

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    The first ANOES movie I saw was the second. I've always liked that one. After seeing them all, the only ones that I don't like at all are 1 and 7. And 3 is the one out of the others I like the least. So it's funny some are saying that those 3 movies are the ones they like in the series the most.:b
     
  13. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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    I've said it before and I'll keep saying it to the day that I die: 5 is the best sequel. It's the only one that came close to reproducing the tone of the original(plus the visuals are awesome). Now if we could only get the uncut version on DVD...

    OTOH, 2 is one of the worst films I've ever seen. Bad, to the point of being hard to watch. Even the horrid 6 can't match it. Thank God they chose to ignore it when they wrote 3...
     
  14. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    Turns out, episodes 4&5 did contain the capacity to frighten and horrify me...

    When I *rushed* to sell them off, I was met with some resistance from stores that would not buy back movies without bar codes (inventory tracking concerns).

    So I traveled a bit farther to trade them where I made the original purchase and got $4 back per movie.

    Thank God...
     
  15. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Depending on how you interpret part 1, one could argue they did this same thing in the first one.
     
  16. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    I forgot to mention that during my original purchase the clerk gave me the 8th disc (Nightmare Encyclopedia) for free, since I was buying more than half the boxset.

    I was *extremely* impressed with the comprehensive nature of this '2nd disc', compared to what you typically get on a non-movie disc.

    It was interesting to hear Craven talk about his inspiration for the Freddy concept and all the other development work done by the other folks.

    The complete Dokken video was incredibly cheesy and yet made interesting use of stock footage (and few new shots).

    I watched all the supplements with interest, except for the first page of the Conclusions section (which had a bunch of non-participants talking about the impact and meaning the series, whatever...)

    =======

    I also enjoyed watching the participants 'explain' how/why they made some truly awful movies.

    As I recall, the excuses consisted of development time limits, budget limits, writer strikes, first time directors, concept fatigue, and being saddled with bad ideas (Yes! a 3D Freddy-baby!).

    It's amazing to me that New Line would treat it's cash cow franchise so poorly: no development time, no budgets, scripts everyone knew were unfinished at best, untested no-name actors and directors...

    I guess I should be amazed that even two of the original series are still watchable.
     
  17. Walt Riarson

    Walt Riarson Supporting Actor

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  18. Esten

    Esten Supporting Actor

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    None of the Nightmare films can truly be called,or defined as bad.
    Wishmaster 3,on the other hand is one of the biggest turds EVER.It makes Xanadu look like To Kill A Mockingbird.
     
  19. Scott Temple

    Scott Temple Supporting Actor

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    Here's some recent photos of a couple of Nightmare stars and a Halloween star. I think they look great. From VH1.com.

    [​IMG]
    Tuesday Knight (Kristen Parker from "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" (1988)


    [​IMG]
    Lisa Wilcox (Alice Johnson from "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" (1988) and "A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child" (1989)


    [​IMG]
    Ellie Cornell (Rachel Carruthers from "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" (1988) and "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers" (1989)
     
  20. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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