The Nightmare Series: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

Synopsis:

Director Wes Craven, producer Robert Shaye, actors Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, and John Saxon, all play themselves in this meta-crazy installment of the series. Craven is writing the script for a new Nightmare movie and he wants Langenkamp to return to the series. While she considers the offer, Langenkamp’s special effects husband, Chase (David Newsom, Boys), dies under mysterious circumstances. She slowly realizes that Freddy Krueger is real and that her son, Dylan (Miko Hughes, Mercury Rising), is in danger.

Reaction & Thoughts:

I love movies about movies, and while this is not the best of its kind, it is a very interesting film. New Nightmare (aka Wes Craven’s New Nightmare), written and directed by Craven, is a thought-provoking addition to the horror canon and a very satisfying book end to the popular franchise. It can also be viewed as a test-run for the self-referential Scream movies.

The thing I like best about the film is Craven’s willingness to both deconstruct the series and explore the pros & cons of the horror genre.

There has always been a debate about whether films are partially responsible for desensitizing audiences to violence. Craven seems conflicted, and that’s a refreshing thing to see. We fans of the genre tend to get a bit too defensive, but Craven has no problems raising some concerns regarding the genre that has made him a household name.

It’s also worth noting that the film showcases the scariest Krueger to date. Craven tweaks Krueger’s make-up and costume, and coaches Englund into given a slightly more sinister performance. These changes enhance the idea that we are dealing with an entirely new nightmare (no pun intended). That said, Craven is less concerned with creating jump-out-of-your-seat” moments and more concerned in toying with people’s expectations.

There are plenty of guest appearances: Producers Sara Risher and Marianne Maddalena, journalist Sam Rubin, actress Tuesday Knight (she played Kristen in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master), etc.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

As I insinuated before, it’s not a perfect film — it doesn’t take enough chances — but it remains a fascinating experiment. New Nightmare proves that mainstream horror can be both scary and intelligent — it’s one of the best sequels. Highly recommended to fans and non-fans. Color, 112 minutes, Rated R.

Followed by Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

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