You Gotta See This: Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy
Stars: Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, cast and crew of the majority of The Elm Street films
Not rated though the language, gore and violence is present throughout clips of The Elm Street films, all of which are rated R. Running Time- 240 minutes, 2010, Documentary
Compare to: Behind the scenes of Horror films and the like
Available on Netflix, Hulu
A couple months ago, over the course of about five nights, I would end each with a bit of this film. It’s about four hours yet any time I had to put the computer away, I’d hate to. If you’re into Horror at at all, even if you’re not a Freddy fan, you’ll enjoy this.
Heck, if you’re just a fan of behind the scenes stuff and you don’t like Horror, this might give you a new perspective on it, becoming a fan in the process.
The trailer doesn’t do the film justice really but what are you gonna do? It’s a documentary.
Opening with a pretty nifty intro stop motion animated sequence, the film follows all of Freddy’s exploits beginning with the very idea of the character up until what they think the future of The Elm Street series would be like. This was released in 2010, the same year as the remake with Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy, but even Freddy VS Jason is covered.
One of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is how seriously much of the series is taken. On one hand, it can be easy to look back at a “tired” franchise and just laugh off how cheesy some of it looks. Now that’s more something a non-fan would do, of course the fans love it.
But when you really get into the process of how creative some of these effects were, it’s a lot easier to have respect for the filmmakers even if you didn’t like the movies.
It’s funny how people rant and rave about how studios and filmmakers are all money whores and they can’t let a good thing rest. The popularity of the superhero sub-genre has made it enticing to filmmakers and studios alike to, instead of stopping at a trilogy, just keep going. And it’s true. With different filmmakers on different multimillion dollar movies that are planned years in advance can make the smaller, artistic guy feel a pushed shoved to the side.
But as they don’t mind delving into here, The Elm Street series was that before superheroes were the thing to do.That’s a compliment and a criticism of course. While eight original films would meet the demands of many fans, we also get the crappy sequels and the possibility of diluting your original Horror masterpiece due to the series becoming something of a living cartoon. But they don’t hold back here, pretending that the series is flawless which is appreciable.
Including the remake, this franchise had nine movies and a show. Did you know there was a show? For some, this is rudimentary Freddy knowledge, but even growing up watching the films, Freddy was more of an idea than something you could properly capture on film.So to go back and see the reality of it all makes it a bit more relatable to film franchises of today, similarities and differences.
Though the effects are cheesy in many films, the techniques used to pull them off make you appreciate them in ways that you otherwise wouldn’t.
For instance, in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, they constructed a fully revolving hallway set that allowed the actors to walk on the floor, walls, and ceiling.It was great to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a scene with practical effects that didn’t take you out of the film but immersed you in it.
Well, A NIghtmare on Elm Street (1984) did it first. And honestly, this may be one of the best scenes in Horror, period. Considering many of the effects to be corny as a teen when I watched them, this revolving room was something I couldn’t figure out how they did it, which is probably one reasons it sticks with so many people.
Another interesting aspect of the series are how the scenes filmed played out in real life on the actual set. Freddy’s moniker, the “Bastard Son of 100 Maniacs” is brought to light In the third installment. We see how Krueger’s mother, a young nurse at a mental ward for the criminally insane was raped and abused for weeks on end before eventually giving birth to li’l Freddy.
Aside from how bizarre of an origin story this is in the first place, it’s interesting that the filmmakers note how unsettling it was for the actual set to be built and for filming to take place. While the extras weren’t crazy rapists (as far as they knew), to have one woman get pushed around by a large group of men for several hours, all while in character, it’s an intriguing idea, how the fictional work affects the real work.
Like if the scene calls for an abusive adult male to scream curse words at a child, you’ve still got to have a real guy really scream that stuff at a kid.
Like I said, this movie is long, so prepare yourself or maybe make a night of it with friends if they can stand it. But if you’re interested at how such a huge character got his start, this is what you want.