Director: Wes Craven (1994)
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund
Following his 'death' in Freddy's Dead, it's fair to say that the Dream Demon was at his lowest ebb. With all the shitty comic book tie-ins, rapping and numerous 'comedy' TV appearances, the market was not only over-saturated, but Freddy had become a cuddly, child-friendly phenomenon. Like I said earlier, not bad for a scabby paedo in in a Christmas jumper.
Enter Wes Craven and his New Nightmare. Whilst not the reinvention of the wheel that many claim it to be, New Nightmare certainly makes Freddy a force to be reckoned with again. It's set in the real world this time around. Heather Langenkamp (Langenkamp) plays Heather Langenkamp. Having starred in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Heather is now a fulltime mum, making an extra bit of cash from talkshow appearances discussing the appeal of Freddy and horror movies. Poor Heather, life after Elm Street ain't too good. Her child's a troubled crazy, she's being stalked by an obsessive fan, and her LA home is beset by earthquakes. All this, and she's having real bad nightmares... could nemesis Freddy Krueger have broken the boundaries from fantasy to reality?
Yes. Freddy's back, and it turns out that he's actually a demon; one that's taken the form of the fictional Freddy Krueger. To trap/placate the FreddyDemon, he needs stories told about himself. So he bullies director Wes Craven (Wes Craven) into making a new Nightmare film. And, like the Andrew Lloyd Webber of horror movies, Freddy needs his Nancy.
New Nightmare is an interesting little metafilm that stands up well both as an entry into the Elm Street series and as a standalone horror movie in itself. The premise is fun and funky, and came at a time when the market hadn't yet been totally overloaded with self-aware horror movies. All the main players are back (although a cameo from Johnny Depp surely couldn't have hurt), with the John Saxon making a neat little appearance and offering Heather a shoulder to cry on. FudgeDarn it, I wish I had a John Saxon was my friend. I also enjoyed Robert Englund (Englund) playing himself - and still managing to bbe a sinister bastich. He does bad guy duties as DemonFreddy too, and is the meanest he's been for years. It's great to see one of horror's greatest villains return to form as his proper, scary self.
Not all's great (I hate the child, the pacing is a bit slow & it could've used a bit more in the way of classic Nightmare imagery), but along with the first 3 in the series, Wes Craven's New Nightmare stands as a beautiful little bookend to what might be the most imaginative, intelligent horror franchise of the 20th century.