Happy Halloween, everybody! I hope you're having a spooktacular Halloween. Amanda and I took Hannah on her first trick or treating excursion. She was dressed as a pumpkin (huge cliche, I know, but cute), and she seemed to love it! Here she is all decked out in her costume:
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Let's have a look at how the dream demon changed, shall we? Check the pics below, then vote in the 2 polls beneath the pics!!
A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Freddy Vs Jason
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) (the unnecessary remake)
I guess as the host of this game, I should go first. So, before you all have to vote, I'll throw my neck out there :)
Well, as much as I HATE to vote against my favorite Nightmare film (the original, of course, although DW and WCNN are excellent), and I honestly really do mean HATE, (it's not hyperbole in the least), I have to vote for the aesthetic design featured in Wes Craven's New Nightmare. While the burn look has been replaced with more of a peeled look, he looks so fucking menacing, and, perhaps more importantly (well, okay not more) is the fact that he looks old, and that's what Craven had envisioned for the character to begin with. He looks old and haggard, and that just adds to the sinister nature of the character. Then you toss in the AMAZING looking, much more organic, ''bone claw'' as I like to call it, the added thumb blade (dexterity be damned), and the trenchcoat, and you have yourself the hobo from HELL. And I think that's exactly what Craven had in mind from the start, based on his childhood encounter.
As for the one I like the least (actually, I HATE this look), as much as I really don't like what they did to him in Freddy's Dead (seriously, the actually aimed to make him less scary, and well, they suceeded....he looks like he's been rubberized) I am going to have to vote for (surprise surprise) the remake's take on it. Just......what the fuck. He looks like a blob of shit, and I say realism be damned (no offense to real burn victims, I cannot even begin to imagine the horror). I want a demonic looking Krueger, not one who just came off the operating table where they did skin grafts.
The Freddy Krueger Look You Prefer?
The Freddy Krueger Look You Like the Least?
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Anyone reading this, please, if you wish, let me know how this novel (to me, at least) format works for you compared to a more traditional reivew, and of course, feel free to agree or disagree with my assessment of this film.
Initial Thoughts on the ANOES Remake: How Accurate was I?
Well, I have now seen the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake. I did not spend any money on it, but I got the chance to see it free and so I jumped at it. I had struggled with my resolve not to give in and pay to see this (I didn't want to support it, or the general remake trend) and I am sad to say my resolve was faltering, but, serendipitously, I got the chance to see it for free, and so, as I already stated, I jumped at that chance, and have now, for better or for worse (we'll soon find that out muahahaha....lame, I know.....muaahahah- okay, I'll stop) seen the movie.
So, what I am going to do here is post the impressions I'd had of the remake going in, based upon the large number of reviews and tons of viewer feedback that I had read online (and also good old fashioned inference based upon previous works of the people involved and the current state of American horror), and then after each point, add my present standing on that point, since I have now seen the movie.
And so, what we will find out is how accurate I was in my initial (negative) assessments of the merits (or lack thereof) of this new 2010 version of a 1984 genre classic.
Note: I will put the original statements in black, and my accuracy assessments in red.
1) Freddy's look. I know that's more realistic, but he lost the demonic look that I loved. However, I am willing to admit a part of this is likely nostalgia.
I still hated it at first, but by the end I merely disliked it.....strongly. Okay, perhaps mildly. If they do make 2 more sequels, and I do see them, I suppose by the end of it I'll have gotten to the point where his new face is at least no longer distracting.
2) HIS VOICE!!Freddy sounded demonic. Now he sounds like a breathless Rocky Balboa. Not scary in the least and this alone is a huge dealbreaker for me.
Absolutely fucking horrible. A slow talking, mouth breathing, Dark Knight sound alike. No, just....no. I refuse to budge on this point even a millimetre. Oh, wait, save for one redeeming quality. The laugh. Haley approximated Enlgund's exquisite balance between sinister and maniacal and he did so without trying too hard to sound like Englund. In doing so, I'd say he did a great job with the laugh. It immediately called to mid Englund's, as it was similar, but not in a way that made you nostalgic nor angry for him trying to copy it. Well done on that one!
3) Based upon several reviews and viewer feedback it seems as though the ''scares'' were pretty much the loud BAM sound followed by a sudden appearance of Freddy. I HATE the overuse of jump scares. It's cheap, cheesy, manipulative and indicative of the fact that these guys are creatively bankrupt and don't understand shit about horror or what Craven did with the original ANOES.
This wasn't quite as bad as I expected, but still bad and indicative of the things I said it would be. It wasn't AS bad, but definitely, definitely over relied upon.
4) I read that the nightmare scenes are always telegraphed via musical and aesthetic changes. Part of what I loved with the original series is you often weren't immediately aware that you were in 'dream world' if you will. There were some surprises. Some.....unknown. Some...suspense.
Every single one of them, save for maybe one (can't recall for sure) was telegraphed via aesthetic changes, as I said. The dream sequences themselves were also unimaginative and unoriginal.
5) The footage I have seen features a very wooden Nancy. Langenkamp might not win any awards but at least she had expression and depth.
She actually wasn't that bad. Not great, but certainly not horrible, and the way her character was handled sort of approached (but did not match) what Craven did with his Nancy. One of the better elements of the film, I thought.
6) The people involved do it solely for money, and they are hacks. They didn't even care to try and involve any of the original people. No Craven, no Saxon, no Lagenkamp and no Englund.
Now, this is a 'reboot' so this makes some sense. Well, Englund could have played Krueger but the rest make sense. Except for one: Craven. They didn't bother to get input from the one man who truly understood Krueger, and the one man who had vision. Idiots.
Not much to add here, although I guess I can say that, while I would never pick Bayer to direct another one, his direction wasn't the main issue here.
7) I don't want to support this remake bullshit. They fucked up FF13, they destroyed Halloween, the are fucking up Krueger (although I can't fully say this until I see it, which of course I'll end up doing at some point, let's be real, but hopefully for free after my brother buys the DVD) and they have completely destroyed so many others. Black Christmas, Prom Night, Psycho (not that I'm a huge fan of the original), Dawn of the Dead, etc etc etc
Saw it free, so I can still feel that I did not betray my sensibilities on this one.
8) WHERE THE FUCK IS THE ORIGINAL SCORE?? It's the best damn horror score EVER.
True, and a damn shame. The only element that was present from it was the little piano melody, but it only made it into the film for a brief moment or two.
9) CGI. The clip of Freddy coming out the wall looks so fucking fake now, whereas the budget shot with no CGI from 1984 still looks better today.
Absolutely true. In fact, the few scenes that they did copy from the original both felt out of place (they were just haphazardly thrown in) and sucked in this one. I won't describe them all for the sake of brevity, but the scene in the original with Tina in the bodybag and the ensuing boiler room scene were fucking destroyed in the new one with a limp, shitty, weak ass approximation of only half of the original scene, and even then, it sucked.
The one good one was the bedroom scene involving Kris (Tina) and whatever his name was (Rod) which I thought actually matched the original. They did i a bit differently, and I'd say they did really well with it. The few omissions where made up for by the new way in which Kris/Tina is physically manipulated by Freddy in that small space. Evocative of a classic Poltergeist scene, without feeling like a ripoff of either that or the NOES scene from which it drew inspir- well, copied. Kudos to them on this one.
10) They all know what's going on way too early, and they come to know it way too easily. The original had a slow, suspenseful buildup where Nancy and co. tried to piece together what was happening.
Yes and no. They don't get the whole story right away. But the whole ''let's piece together this mystery'' thing starts like 5 minutes in to the movie, which does destroy a lot of the tension and pacing.
Maybe I'll end up liking it, but I doubt it. The guys behind the project just don't see horror the way I do, and I don't think I'll enjoy what they did to ANOES. Still, I admit I may be wrong. There's .000003% chance of it :)
Well, I don't love it, but, surprisingly, I don't hate it. It's....okay. Ho hum. Here are just a few (again, for the sake of brevity) of the hits and misses that I have not mentioned thus far:
1) Haley's Freddy not only looked and sounded worse, he moved in a more boring manner, and he did not do anything creative. He stalked his victims in a slow and linear fashion, typical of more mundane slasher villains. His mannerisms and actions were just bland, and Haley brought nothing new, save for one small tick, a swishing sort of thing he did with the blades, conveying Freddy's anxiousness and desire to slice and dice (this was a decent little tic, I thought). Other than that, nothing, and he lost so much.
2) He lost that 1950's spaghetti western swagger, the running (he never ran once, for fuck's sake he's not Jason or Michael!), the toying with his victims in ways other than the slow approach/oh I'm gone/boo mechanic so often utilized in this one (remember the amazing alley scene, or the jail scene with Rod? Ya, none of that) and of course the voice. Another thing that sucked where his lines, but that was the damn writers' fault. Man, for the most part, they wrote some shitty dialogue for everyone, not just Haley, but his especially....ugh. And they stole lines straight from Nightmare 4 and FvsJ, but they were shitty and out of place lines.
3) The kills were terribly uncreative. The best one was one lifted directly from the original. That right there should tell you something.
4) They did not develop the character of Nancy's mother at all, nor did they really develop her relationship with her daughter. Thus, they lost one of the strongest and central elements of the original film: the mother daughter relationship, and how the dynamic shifted as the film progressed, so that by the climax and subsequent denouement, Nancy had become the parent in the relationship, and consequently, had learned to take care of herself.
This not only set up the final confrontation with Krueger, but it was also a statement regarding the changes to the so called ''nuclear'' family that had been rapidly progressing during that decade. Nancy's father was nowhere to be seen (not a statement, I assure you).
5) The pacing. Much too quick, and far too many dream sequences/too much Freddy.
1) The supporting cast wasn't that bad. Some rough moments here and there, but really, not that bad.
2) The last 15 minutes or so, up until the HORRIBLE last 2 minutes, were quite good, and in those 12-15 minutes, I saw some actual damn passion, or at least, some glimpses of it, a bit of creativity, and hell, even a genuinely creepy couple of moments. This, Kris' (Tina's) bedroom scene (although the preceding outdoor sequence SUCKED SO HARD compared to the amazing alley sequence in the original) and a few other moments were pretty good.
3) They did NOT make Freddy innocent, as I had heard they had considered doing (and had in fact even done, in early script drafts). This is crucial. You make pre-dead Freddy an innocent victim, you make Freddy Krueger a sympathetic character. You make him sympathetic, suddenly you feel sad for him rather than afraid of him.
4) Freddy had a few genuinely good lines amidst his mediocre and downright bad ones. Of course, one of his very best was stolen from Nightmare 1 (and the still managed to miss a word) but a few of the new ones were good, and creepy).
5) Very good one here: Freddy was menacing, dark, and serious. No clowning around here, and that's how I like him. He toys with his victims, but in a deliberately malicious, evil way. No flying around on a broomstick in a witch costume shouting out ''I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!'' like in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. While that was an admittedly funny and fun, campy moment from a cheesy, campy, fun (but not scary) 5th sequel, I'm very glad they avoided going in that direction for this film. This was the ANOES 1, 2 and 7 Krueger, and that's good..
6) Along the same lines as the last point, the entire movie maintained a serious tone, or at least tried to (some of the shitty lines nearly killed it). It was dark and dreary, and almost 100% sans jokes, which was great. The teens weren't partying it up and telling stupid jokes, and they weren't even heavily stereotyped. Both of these things were refreshing, and demonstrated that the producers and Sam Bayer had at least enough knowledge of the series to realize that this is not your typical ''kill the sluts and drug users and have your virgin be your ''final girl'' slasher movie.
Summation:Old comment: So, a note to Platinum Dunes: I want my fucking childhood back, you assholes. I don't recall putting it on the market, so I have no idea how you fuckers bought and sold it, but I want it back. Now, give it back, or I'll......I'll......kil- no, no, that's not it......I'll, I'll, beat- no, no, that's not it either.....I'll I'll.....su-no, no that's not it.....Ah, Hell. I'll keep blogging about you!!! And you don't want that, trust me. I have a HUGE audience and immeasurable influence. I can get people to boycott your ass, and let me tell you, you'd lose at least $23.00. You want to test me? You want to test me motherfuckers? Go ahead, if you think it's worth $23.00, go right the fuck ahead, you childhood stompin fart brains!!!!
New Comment: Well, Platinum Dunes did not completely destroy this movie, but they truly and honestly made a movie that need not exist. It did not contribute to the series in any meaningful way, it will never be heralded as a genre classic, it was almost entirely unable to upstage the 26 year old original, and in fact, even (mostly) failed when it tried to directly copy it.
However, they did treat Freddy with the right idea, keeping him serious and sinister, and at least the scenes all didn't take place in the light of day. I also thought that the introduction of micronaps made for a great, and logical plot device, which served to increase the tension (what little of it there was) although they predictably fucked up the science of it somewhat, and of course, they also mostly used it for jump scares.....*sigh*.
The Nightmare on Elm Street Remake is like a glossed up version of the original classic with most of the originality and nuance removed, and in is place was too quick of a pace and too much standard genre fare. It was also rushed, as I already alluded to several times, and crucial elements like Nancy's absent (in different ways) parental influences were completely absent, which took away from the significance of her eventual resilience and finding the courage to fight back (which actually sucked in this one compared to the original). Also, the kills were mediocre and not particularly interesting , horrifying, or visually arresting, save for one ( of course a copy from ANOES 1) and Freddy was a heavy breathing, slow talking, almost lisping weirdo who exuded no real personality. Not like Englund's Freddy did.
Still, the bones of a Nightmare film will, or at leatst, shold, always make for a good horror story, and I guess I can say that, technically, this one was probably better than The Dream Child and Freddy's Dead, although those ones at least had campiness to them that lends itself to repeat viewing over the years. This one, on the other hand, lacks both that factor AND the impact and resonance of the perfect mixture of deeper thematic undertones and excellent, nuanced horror, leading to an average at best Nightmare flick, and a pretty good horror flick in general.
I can say this: I enjoyed this more than any other horror movie I have seen in the last few months, although even my love for all things Freddy could not elevate this higher than the last few greats I have seen in the last year or so, both coming out of France: Haute Tension (High Tension) and A L' Interiur (Inside).
Both of those are absolutely excellent horror films that I recommend anyone reading this who loves horror to try and get their hands on and eyes in front of, although they are VERY brutal films that will require a strong disposition and a strong, healthy heart to be able to handle literally an hour and a half of solid tension and suspense. Those two movies are frightening and disturbing, and I absolutely loved them. They were the two best horror films I have seen since the seminal horror film coming out of the UK in 2006, the absolutely effective The Descent.
I will be looking towards France for the next while to get my horror fix, as this movie, while perhaps better than most of the other American ones I have seen as of late (thanks mostly to the characters created by Wes Craven and not much of anything these guys did themselves, save for a select few cool scenes) just will not cut it for me.
I guess they can be commended for making a good horror film at a time where good American horror films are few and far between, and this movie is probably their best remake, which isn't saying much, since, save for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (which might actually be better than this one, but I haven't seen it since 2003, so I need to rewatch it before making a verdict on that one) the rest of them, from what I have seen ad heard, have fucking sucked ass.
Ah well, I have only spent actual money on two of them (TCM and F13th) and one of those was actually good. The Friday the 13th remake blew chunks, and I will say that I am soooo glad that they didn't give this movie that treatment...yuck. At least this one is somewhat competent, on some levels.
I will score the A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 an underwhelming but competent 6.5/10 when assessing it as a standard horror film (decent acting, cool villain, medicore scares, not particularly inspired, pacing issues).
When compared to the film it so unnecessarily 'remade.' I feel that I must rate this film a disappointing 4/10.
Perhaps it's just me, but shouldn't a movie be remade if it's warranted, and if the remake surpasses/improves upon the source material? If it doesn't, I have to ask, as I find myself doing since seeing this movie......
WHAT'S THE FUCKIN POINT?
I'll say it right off the bat: This is absolutely a must see for Nightmare fans. Now, before you roll your eyes and assume that this is the typical fanboy-gushing-over-any-product-related-to-his-favourite-nostalgia-wrapped-series, I want to tell you right off that I was entirely skeptical of this package, and hesitated for quite some time before finally deciding to give it a shot (after reading much about it online).
I will readily admit that I thought this was going to be a cheap cash in on the buzz surrounding the remake, and while the timing may be a bit....suspect (or at least can't hurt) I can say that regardless of what you may think it started out as, this thing is a well crafted and clearly loved piece of film, into which a LOT of work clearly went, and absolutely, in no way, strikes one as a cheap cash in. This thing was lovingly and meticulously crafted.
The DVD package contains the main feature, Never Sleep Again: The Nightmare on Elm Street Legacy, which amazingly clocks in at an astonishing four hours. Yes, 4 hours. The documentary consists of interviews with cast and crew from all 8 of the Nightmare films (yes, Freddy vs. Jason is included, although I myself do not count it as a Nightmare film per se....and neither do some of the NOES crew, as you will learn) interspersed with very well done stop motion animation, film clips, behind the scene footage, deleted scenes, production and set photos, and more. Included in the interviews are, as you would expect, Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Bob Shaye (who I do not particularly like, to be honest, although I do have him to thank for many memories), Rachel Talalay, and Heather Langenkamp. However, what really sets this documentary apart is the very exhaustive list of people interviewed.
See, the films are discussed in chronological order, and so cast and crew interviews are edited together to form a cohesive discussion about each film. This editing is seamless, and the filmmakers should be commended on taking what must have been 40 or more hours of footage and editing them down to a precise, coherent, well paced 4 hours. The filmmakers tracked down as many people as they possibly could, leading to an extensive list of writers, directors, producers, actors and actresses, set design people, and special effects people being included. Hell, even an extra was interviewed (Girl on Bus #2 from ANOES2: Freddy's Revenge is included, most likely because she starred on a TV show with Heather Langenkamp, but still). They got basically anyone you could think of, save for Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette.
Some of the names present include Lisa Zane, Rodney Eastmen, John Saxon, Tuesday Knight, Monica Keenan, Brooke Theiss, Lisa Wilcoxx, JoAnn Willette, Jsu Garcia (aka Nick Corri) and more. Hell, they even managed, after a LOT of effort, to track down Mark Patton (the infamous Jesse from part 2) who left Hollywood long ago for the anonymity of a private life in Mexico. And you'll be glad they did, as he provides some of the most fun moments of the documentary. He's a very entertaining interview, and, as I alluded to earlier with the packages comment, he and the others from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge finally all, as a group, discuss, at length (no pun intended) the long standing rumours/debates regarding the supposed homoerotic undertones present in that particular entry into the series. This discussion was very entertaining to watch, and there's even a moment in the extras where Mark recreates a couple of moments from his infamous bedroom dance. Hat, hips, pelvic thrusts and all!
The cast and crew discuss all aspects of making a NOES film, including successes and failures, on and off set mishaps, time and budgetary constraints (which plagued the series, thanks to Bob Shaye and New Line), and all sorts of other things, including some fairly candid mentions of on and off set tensions, especially, but not limited to, those between Bob Shaye and Wes Craven. Craven discusses his distaste for much of the sequels (especially part 2), his reluctance to include the Marge/car scene at the end of the original ANOES (Bob Shaye pushed for it) and more. There are tons of details to take in. We learn that there were several scripts written Freddy's Dead, including one by two guys, one of whom was Peter Jackson (which I myself did not know)!
We hear Robert Englund express his distaste for much of ANOES 2, talk of cast and crew falling in love with eachother on set (much of this is centered on Patricia Arquette), descriptions (and video footage) of onset accidents, battles with the MPAA (including footage of unedited vs edited scenes), Wes Craven losing the rights to the characters he created (and losing out on a ton of money), and we even learn that two of the Nightmare sequels were actually filmed without completed scripts. It got so bad that, due to pressure put on them by New Line, they were literally writing scenes and filming them on the same day, and this actually went up to 2 weeks prior to release for one of the films. And so on.
There's a LOT of information and footage to digest here. There is even a touching few moments where a choked up Bob Shaye reflects both on New Line and what the Nightmare films did for both him and his company, and the events leading up to New Line being merged into Time Warner, its parent company, and Shaye's eventual, well, ousting from the company that he built over the course of 40 years. I actually felt bad for the guy, I was very touched by this.
In fact, I was so touched that, as a huge Nightmare fan, at the end of four hours of seeing people I grew up watching reflect back on films I loved, and literally grew up with, followed by Bob Shaye looking back on all this, filled with emotion, I was surprised to find myself actually momentarily tearing up in one eye (the right one lol). I'm not one to give much concern for actors and such, I don't care for attaining autographs and I have no idols, but I really discovered how much the Nightmare on Elm Street series actually means to me, and even though I was cognizant of this fact all my life, the depths of this attachment really surprised me. I really, really love that damn series of films, and this documentary was both a fantastic look back, and, as much as this pains me to say this, and (remake or no remake) a sad goodbye.
In addition to the main feature, there is a hefty assortment of extras to enjoy. These special features do not feel like discarded material thrown in to buttress the size of the package (for those of you who keep snickering at my continued use of the word package, read on, as I have a tidbit for you relating to ANOES 2: Freddy's Revenge that will likely interest you) but actually constitute a few hours of excellent material.
The extras include over an hour of extended interviews (with a bunch of interesting asides and anecdotes that did not make it into the already insanely lengthy main feature, such as cast and crew expressing doubts regarding the ANOES remake), a NOES locations piece, which takes you on a journey to various iconic locations used in the first film, a 7 minute or so sneak peek at Heather Langenkamp's upcoming documentary entitled 'I am Nancy,' features on ANOES comics and books, the music, the fans, and much more.
In all, there are 8 hours of content in total spanning two discs. That's right, 480 minutes of A Nightmare on Elm Street material on two glorious DVD's. This package, topped off with some excellent artwork, is available for $29.99 (US), and, if you order from the official site you get an included 12" x 18" poster, which, if you order by June 1st, will be personally signed by Heather Langenkamp. You also receive free shipping. If you want the DVD sans poster and free shipping, it is available on amazon.com for 17.49.
This truly is an excellent documentary for both casual Nightmare fans and Nightmare aficionados, as even the diest of die hard fans, who have scoured the earth for information related to the series for the last 26 years, will still hear and/or see many things in this that they previously had not known.
This is the absolute best horror documentary I have ever seen, and frankly, I would be inclined to hazard a guess that it is the best horror documentary ever made, period. In fact, I don't think it too presumptuous to state right now that this amazing horror documentary might never be bested. Ever. Incredibly easy recommendation for Nightmare fans, and quite likely even worth a look for horror fans in general who might not be into the Nightmare series. This documentary might even change their mind. It's just brilliant. Truly.
Overall Score: 10/10.