Monday, August 15, 2011

I love the Freddys!!

Meh, screw it, I'll review ALL the Freddy movies, and get it over with...

A Nightmare On Elm Street.

The film-

The original, the classic, still scary today, still works, still love it.
Nothing more to say, it speaks for itself.

The history-

Well, I told my story of peeking at it on HBO.
Before that, I was only aware of it as a photo of the poster image in the glossy HBO guide pamphlet we used to get, and a very inadequate description that gave my imagination not much to work with.

Over the next couple years, I caught more of it here and there.
Never got to see it all the way through on HBO.
Its run ended, and everything, and everyone, prevented me from seeing it on tape.
Drove me nuts.
Don't think it was deliberate, just freaky happenstance.
Later, in my teens, in a fit of collecting, I caught up to it on tape via Movies Unlimited.
Ahhh, then I finally saw it non-stop, and I've loved it ever since.
Talk about a dream deferred.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge.

The film-

Well, it's the second one, Freddy's in the title, the franchise was starting to form, and Freddy was quickly becoming the identity of that franchise.

It's been bashed over the years, but I always liked it.
I still do, I think it's scary as hell, and rivals the first for scares.
In some spots, it tops it.

Aaand, yeah, there's the gay subtext stuff, but that was covered pretty thoroughly in "Never Sleep Again", and will no doubt be autopsied to the skeleton in "There Is No Jesse".

I was oblivious to it then.
Not "Raunchy Hulk", oblivious, but, yeah, naive.

But, so was the director, and most of the cast, so pppt.

I could pop it in right now, it really works as a horror movie, it's underrated, and it's cool to see a renaissance of it, and its star, Mark Patton in the fandom.
Thanks in no small part to "Never Sleep Again".
But, I assume that's also what "There Is no Jesse", will cover, so I'll shut up and wait.

The history-

Um, okay, I saw it in pieces, around the same time both 1 and 2 were on HBO, and unknowingly, I saw it all.
When I finally got the tape, and saw it uninterrupted, I was like "shit, except for little second snippets of the beginning, I've SEEN this! Cool!".

I'd seen a Freddy movie as a kid, and didn't know it.
But y'know what?
In "I Am Nancy", you see from the convention-heads, that it's a very common experience from my generation, that we all started seeing them at ages 6-10.
Round about there.
And that's exactly what the whiny liberal brigade sought to protect our fragile little minds from, and they failed miserably, and...we're okay.
I mean, I'm no Wall Street tycoon, but, I ain't holding up a liquor store, and killing puppies either.
Chalk it up to fear of shit that never happened.
But hey, y'know who DID end up shooting up schools?
The fucking "millennials", that came after us!
Yeah, the over-pampered little shits that grew up with fucking Barney!
How ya like them apples?
Heh hehh!!
Suck it!

Well, that's awesome, all this time, I didn't think I had a generation, but it was these folks.
The Fango crowd.
I'm bonded with them with this common experience.
It wasn't fucking Woodstock 2, or Lollapalooza, it was fuckin' Freddy Krueger!
Hell yeah!
Well, that cheers me up.
Wish I'd fucking known it sooner.
Ah, well.

Umm...oh, yeah, the that at Shady Daves, this bingo parlor that ran a giant flea market on Sundays down in New Hampshire that we'd go to every couple of weeks with my grandmother.
It was a regular outing, we'd follow it up every time with dinner at Weathervane.
I believe I grabbed 2, 3, and 4 all in one trip.
I was pretty fuckin' jazzed.
Almost as jazzed as the day I saw "Freddy vs. Jason".
These were the first ones I ever owned all for myself.
It was quite a milestone.
Yeah, maybe that's why I never had some "special feeling", about adulthood IN adulthood.
I had my "today I am a man", moment at about 14.
Anyway, part 1...I got that after 2,3,4,5..and maybe 6... definitely before 7...
I'm gonna say after 5, before 6.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

The film-

The masterpiece; fucking perfect.
It's got it all.
Said it all here.

The history-

Said it all here too.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.

The film-

Structurally, it's kind of a rehash of 3...but, it's got enough new stuff going on, and it's a worthy followup.
Makes an excellent Halloween double feature with 3.

The history-

3 and 4 were the absolute peak of Freddy-mania, and I have a lot of happy memories of that time.
Too many to go into.
Everything was going right then.
A million other great movies, comics, trading cards, good friends, good games, good times.
Freddy was a big chunk of that.
It was fucking bliss.
...and somehow..I didn't grab the tapes when they were fresh and new.
Like I said further up, I got 2, 3, and 4 used at a flea market from a vendor that had access to the thrown out old stock of video stores, or something.
Aside from nicked boxes, they were in good viewing shape though.
I got years of joy from 'em.
..til I chucked 'em recently...*sigh*
S'okay, got DVD.

Hmm, yeah, didn't rent it new either.
There was a "making of..", special for Halloween, and that was very thorough, and gave the whole movie away.
I'd felt like I'd seen it.
But, didn't really see it until I snagged that tape.

Freddy's Nightmares: A Nightmare On Elm Street The Series.

The show-

Man, where has this been all my life?
This is the misanthropic misfit of a show I've truly been looking for!
How did I miss this?
Oh, right, my interfering parents, and the shitty affiliates jacking the time slot all over the place, and shitty crusading Christians.
Well, I'm seeing it now.
And it's fucking's kinda cheesey.'s more than a little cheesey.
And a bunch of episodes are boring, or godawful.
Buut...when I measure it up against shitty modern TV, the worst "Freddy's Nightmares", is golden healing fucking treasure from an Indy adventure.
So, yeah, it's fucking great.

I'd watch a bad "Freddy's Nightmares", over "dancing with the stars", over "Hell's kitchen", over "Kate Plus 8", all of it, all of that fucking swill.
I'd watch "Freddy's Nightmares", over anything on the Lifetime Network.
No contest.
Wins with its hands tied behind its back.

Even de-nutted of the full-on gore they wanted to do,'s still edgier than most anything today, by sheer virtue of its nihilism.

I like South Park, but that has a libertarian point of view it pushes, I like Boondocks, but it has a black liberal agenda it's pushing, I like Family Guy, but it has a white upper class liberal agenda it's pushing.

Not "Freddy's Nightmares".
No philosophy at all.
Takes nobody's side.
Everyone gets theirs.
Add up the episodes, and it's flat out telling you "your parents are full of shit, policemen are full of shit, the government is full of shit, TV is full of shit, mystics are full of shit, fast food is poison, all industry is full of poison, religion is shit, even if it wasn’t it doesn’t save you, honest work is for suckers, but scams to get out of honest work are doomed to fail, and you’ll be punished, everyone’s lying to you, and trying to break your spirit, everything’s stupid, and most of all, your little home town is a shithole that needs evacuating".

Is it any wonder why I love it? *Smirk*
I've finally found my show.

Anyway, I'll probably do an episode-by-episode breakdown of this someday, and retro-link it back here.
(Update, done)

The history-

Well, I was aware of it then, it was on during those Freddy-mania years, and as said above, I missed it because of external jackassery.
Mostly, it was the timeslot thing.
I saw one whole episode, I think it was "school daze", I caught like, the last SECONDS of what turned out to be "sister's keeper", and that was another fuzzy memory I had to reconstruct "Raunchy Hulk", style.

Aaand, that was it, until I saw the VHS of "no more Mr. Nice Guy", on the shelf at Home Vision Video in the mid-90's.
I physically ACHED to see it, but, we didn't have a membership there, and it was a far away ride to that store, no way my old man was gonna drop it off.
He's...really got this thing about "out of our way".
So, decades go by, that whole chain goes under, Crom knows where their inventory was dumped.
I'd given up hope.
I repressed the memory for awhile.

Well, now, I think "no more Mr. Nice Guy", and a couple others are on Youtube, and you can see...the means..*cough*

And yeah, 'nother missing piece of my youth restored.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.

The film-

Okay, gotta say, after 3 & 4, rewinding and ejecting the tape of this the first time after seeing it, I had that "Phantom Menace feeling".

Nowadays, I like it better.

I think it was a combination of The Shitty Remake highlighting what ALL of the classic Freddys got right, that The Shitty Remake got wrong, and "Never Sleep Again", showing the uphill battles they had making this one, making it more interesting, and it finally clicking for me the tone they were going for.

Structurally, the plot is a ripoff of 2, right down to the inconclusive ending with Freddy's glove ripping out of a woman's abdomen, the overall "Freddy tries to get a body" theme, etc, etc.

I like the gothic look of it.
Bits of it feel like Castlevania.
The church, the asylum...

I think its most blatant "flaw", is not living up to the fun of 3 and 4.
They deliberately gave the finger to 3 and 4, and tried to get it back on track with the feel of 1 and 2.
Particularly by ripping off 2.

But, where they fuck up there, is having it in immediate continuity with 4, and having a couple funny kills.
Particularly "Super Freddy".
It's kind of all over the place in that regard.

Compared to 3 & 4, it's a letdown, but compared with 1 & 2, it fits right in, it's the jarring shift in tone that threw most people off.
Artistic risk backfires sometimes.

Oh, it's still flawed, and the least-good of the lot.
Buut...again, it's leaps and bounds better than The Shitty Remake.

The history-

The ads for this were on and off TV in a shot, it rushed through theaters, I don't remember any of our local theaters having the fucking thing.
And the tape was MIA from video stores.
It felt like the thing was abducted by aliens.
Did I DREAM that there ever was a 5?
I started to wonder...
Then, when "Freddy's Dead", came out, I wondered how many I missed in between.
Finally, a tape did pop up at a closer local flea market, that also got liquidated rental stock, and that's when I bought/saw it.
Juuust before the fresh shiny new tape of "Freddy's Dead", hit the same flea market...months later.
Two, tops.
It wasn't long at all.
"Freddy's Dead", was the antidote to my disappointment with 5.
But, again, I like it better now.
I like 'em all.
Cept the remake.
But, that doesn't count.

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.

The film-

Pretty well covered this in my mini-review here.

The history-

Said it above, flea market, antidote to part 5, bliss.

Wes Craven's New Nightmare.

The film-

Said it pretty well in my mini review here.

The history-

Got it out of Movies Unlimited.
No more flea market quests, it was finally the modern era.

Freddy Vs. Jason.

The film-

Beaten to death throughout this site.
Compiled here.

The history-

Ditto the above.
Plus, got the DVD off Amazon.
Case closed.

Never Sleep Again.

The film-

Covered pretty well here.

The history-

Discovered it, read up on it, and bought it completely online.
And, as described in the same link above, upgraded the entire series scant days later for 20 bucks.
Bam, zoom.

I Am Nancy.

The film/history-

Covered here.

There Is No Jesse.

Also, see "Freddy's Revenge", review above.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)

The film/history-

See "The Dream Child", above.
It's "The Shitty Remake", in my mind, and always will be.
Case closed.
Okay, one thing I'll give it, it's not Jackie Earl Haley's fault.
Everything else sucks, even the air molecules that surround him.
Give this one a miss.
Physically fight yourself if part of you is compelled to see it.
It's not an entry in the series, it's a hateful cash grab from Platinum Dunes, and Platinum Dunes have proven themselves the MTV of horror films.
That being, a video tumor out of a Cronenberg film.

Aaand, that does it.

(Update, retro-linked this to The FvsJ 8th birthday post, and the Nightmare 1 entry in 80's 2)

(Update, see parts 2, 2.5, and 3)


Philip1978 said...

The films bring back manya memory and I think they are excellent - the spin off music however.... :D

Paladin said...

My older brother--who I have little in common with besides a somewhat perverse sense of humor--took me to see the original when it came out ('85?). I absolutely loved it.

The sequels, eh, not so much. Though I will say I still love the theme song to "Dream Warriors." I have the DVDs of the entire series, but I haven't watched past 3 in a number of years. I can't recall ever watching "Freddy vs. Jason", so I should get around to it. I was a big fan of the Friday the 13th series, although I got into about the time it started to nosedive.

(Incidentally, I had [have?] a big crush on Heather Langenkamp. She was pouty, big-haired, baby-faced 80s perfection.)

I actually liked the remake well enough (only seen it once, in the theater), especially the tease about whether Freddy was innocent or not. I thought the retconn of Freddy as a molester made a lot of sense. I believe they intended to do that in the original, but they changed him to a child-murderer because, perversely, child murder was less controversial than child rape...

Diacanu said...

"Are you ready for Freddy?", is better than the generic rap song part 5 used.

Diacanu said...

Well, the bit with him being a diddler didn't bother me, since it's always been subtext, plus, they already WENT there in part 6, when he turned into that girls abusive father.

What didn't make sense was his ONLY being a diddler, and not a killer (until he got changed by dying).

If he was only a diddler, where did the glove come from?
The point of the glove is that it was homemade in a workshop.
If he created it in the dream world, he just dreamed it up.
If he dreamed it up, why homemade looking?
You see? He has to be a killer before he dies, or no glove, and then he's just not Freddy.

Also, they went out of their way to emulate iconic scenes, but not others.
If the tub, and the morph out of the wall, why not the tongue phone, the bed kill, the long arms, etc, etc?

And that gets to, there were no imaginative kills.
Just stabbing with the glove.
Well, why have him even be a dream ghost then?
Why even have it be Freddy?

And, the teen characters weren't engaging and likable, they were cardboard cutouts.
Nancy in particular was bland.

Nancy is Batman to Freddy's Joker.
You have to get her right, or not bother.

Oh, and the head lop, and "welcome to my world bitch!", was perfectly stolen from "Freddy vs. Jason".
I still dunno WTF that was about.

Those are my basic problems, I could really pick it apart to atoms, but yeah, they really didn't get what this film was about.

It looks pretty.
I'll give it that.
Kind of an "American McGee's Alice", thing going on.

But, it had the heart sucked out of it.
Another glossy animated corpse.

Watch 1 and 7 as a duology.
That's what Nightmare's about.

Diacanu said...

Meh, I'm just saying why it rubbed me the wrong way.
If this shit's nitpicks to you, and it worked for ya, okay.

Paladin said...

You have some good criticisms that I hadn't considered. You're certainly right that the remake didn't feel as--pardon the pun--cutting edge as the first did. The remake amped up a lot of the "serious," but it lost the original's gleeful perversity. And, yes, the killin's weren't especially clever...

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