Friday, June 3, 2011

Best of/Worst of 6 Part 2

Best of/ Worst of 6 part 2


Kevin Scott Bolinger

     Greetings and salutations, loyal readers. Forgive me for my long absence in finishing my look at the Nightmare On Elm Street films, but a death in the family, followed by illness on my part, waylaid me for a few weeks. However, I am back now, to bring you part two of my series. Please read to the end, I will have a few announcements for the future.  Now, when we left off, I had given you all my opinion on the best four of the films. Today, I give you what I consider the lower end of the spectrum. Not all of these are bad films, in fact only one of them really deserves to be called as such, but I do feel that they are not as well done as those that came before. So, let us delve into the four worst Nightmare On Elm Street films, cue theme music…oh wait, I don’t have any.

  I will be numbering these down from five to eight,  in the reverse of the previous post. As always, your opinion may vary, and you can all feel free to express that either here or on my Facebook posting.

Number 5. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare  (1994 ).
New Nightmare

This one earns the best of the worst spot, simply for it’s ingenuity . Craven set out to tell a tale of a film becoming reality.  It is meant to showcase the real world demon that Freddy represents on the big screen.  I give him points for creativity, but I will be honest, I found the final product a bit boring in parts. However, he tried to think outside the box on this one, and that is worth a lot.

    I will try to sum this one up as quickly as I can. The film opens with a recreation of the famous glove creation scene from part one. We soon learn that this is a movie set, and the special effects creator is married to Heather Langencamp, the actress who portrayed Nancy in two of the films. They have a son, and are wandering the set.  Suddenly the claw, once an inanimate special effect, comes to life and begins killing the crew. As it heads for Heather’s husband, she suddenly wakes up screaming. Yes, all of this a nightmare. To make it more interesting, as she wakes up screaming, there is an earthquake.

   As time goes by, she reveals that she has been getting phone calls from someone who sounds an awful lot like Freddy. Familiar faces are brought in, as she visits old friends and co-actors, such as Robert Englund, and even Wes Craven himself.  Her son also begins acting strange, even walking out into the middle of a busy freeway in the middle of the night. 
Freddy, the real Demon behind the scenes

    Soon it seems reality and fantasy are colliding, and Wes reveals that there is a real demon that Freddy has always represented. This real demon likes being Freddy and is now taking things a bit far. As the film winds down, Heather and her son find themselves in a final confrontation with the demon, but she has to confront him as Nancy. 

     Is this one bad? No, not really. However, as I said, it can be a bit boring. It can sometimes be difficult to wrap your head around some of the concepts being put forth. The effects were good for it’s time. The new look of Freddy as the demon, coupled with how he acts, is how Wes originally wanted the character to be, ten years earlier. I can take or leave this one. Sometimes, I will watch it, if I need a refresher, but for the most part, it remains untouched in my film library.

Number 6. A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) .

Ah yes, the remake of the original. This film was less a horror film, then a character study about the origins of Freddy. This one makes Freddy out to have been so much more of a child molester then a child killer the original one was.  His fate was similar, the parents ganged up and burned him alive. The makeup reflect a more true burn victim look. I have only sat through it once, and it did not really catch my interest too much. That isn’t to say it was bad. I like Jackie Earl Haley, who plays Freddy in this. Ironically, it was Haley who had gone to the auditions for the first film, way back when. His ride to the audition, Johnny Depp. The producers liked Johnny’s look, and asked him to audition. The rest, as they say, is history. Funny how things come full circle.

    In this film, Freddy was a gardener at a preschool. He had a “secret room” where he used to take the children, and he would take pictures of them, in various states of undress.  His little hobby is discovered by the parents when his favorite little girl, Nancy, tells her mom about the secret room. 

    The film opens in a diner, where a man is falling asleep in a booth. He meets a burned man, with razor knives on one hand. He awakes to discover his chest is cut and bleeding. He then stands, and with a steak knife, cuts his own throat.  There is a funeral, and one of Nancy’s friends see a picture of them at a preschool, but no one remembers it. Her friend is later killed, her ex-boyfriend blamed. He is then killed in his cell.

   Nancy and her friend Quentin begin to piece it all together. They confront one of the parents, and realize Freddy was killed by them without evidence, and he is now out for revenge because the kids lied. Somehow they find the old abandoned preschool after all this time, and they discover the “secret room” complete with the child porn still on the walls. Realizing they were wrong, and that Freddy is just killing them off because he is evil, they try to formulate a plan.
Freddy or Scarecrow?

    As in the original, Freddy is brought out of the dream, but this time, Nancy cuts off his gloved hand , slashes his throat, and sets him and the room on fire. Nancy wakes up in the hospital, with her mom with her. Freddy appears in a mirror, kills her mom, and pulls her body into the mirror.

    The idea of Freddy as a child murderer was evil enough, but turning him into a pervert, one that was molesting the kids instead of killing them, is somehow worse. I think it doesn’t work as a motive, and the film suffers for it. There is of yet no word on if a sequel will be made, but who knows, with the Hollywood reboot machine in full swing, we make get another retelling one day. Watch this one if you are curious about how they made a modern version of Freddy. Otherwise, skip it.

Number 7. A Nightmare On Elm Street 5 : The Dream Child ( 1989 ) .

Aww Freddy has a baby buggy...
This film was the final part of the trilogy that was started with Nightmare 3.  The main plot is silly, the deaths are also silly, it seems that everything about this film was just made for comic relief. This one is bad, but it is still better then the final dud on this list.

    This film picks up a year after Nightmare 4, where the two survivors, Alice and Dan, are now dating, and preparing to graduate high school, then tour Europe. Alice begins having dreams of Amanda Krueger, and of an unknown child named Jacob.  As the story progresses, we meet new friends of hers, none who are very important. We also begin to see a reforming Freddy, though one that is more physically disfigured and twisted then before. 

    Freddy is slowly regaining strength, but to do that, he needs new souls, since his old stash was ripped out of him in the last film. He begins killing Alice’s new friends, and even manages to kill off her boyfriend Dan right in front of her, which causes her to faint. When she comes to in the hospital, she learns she is pregnant with Dan’s child, and it is through this unborn child that Freddy is returning. 

     As the film nears it’s climax, Alice needs her one remaining friend to free the soul of Amanda Krueger, buried behind a brick wall at the old sanitarium where she was locked in the room with the maniacs and raped.  Her soul released, Amanda is free to fight her bastard son Freddy, and Alice escapes.  Many months later, we see Alice, her friend, and her dad, smiling over the new born baby in a park, his name, Jacob.

    This one nearly brought down the series. The goofy look Freddy was given makes it even worse.  The story makes almost no sense.  This film and the film in our number eight slot are the least favorite of series star Robert Englund.  If you want to see this for completeness, or are just curious about how to make a bad Nightmare film, give this one a whirl. If you really want to know what happened to Alice after part four, then watch this one. Otherwise, avoid, there is very little to redeem this one. However, we are not done yet folks, and I might need to take a few swigs of rum before tackling our last installment.

Number 8. A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 : Freddy’s Revenge ( 1985 )

Oh Freddy, how they hurt thee...
My head hurts just thinking about this one. I do not think I am going to hold back on the bile with this. This film is a pure example of how a sequel to a successful film can be done so horribly wrong. The director seemed to have a thing for homosexuality, and it is very evident in the final product. However, it does have one of the best sequences from the franchise, one that most fans recognize. Freddy, leaping out of a pool, and in a much darker and deadlier voice, saying to all the teens gathered there for a party “You are all my children now!”  This is the highlight of this film, the rest, I have seen better excrement on the bottom of my shoes after walking through a dog park.

    The film opens with a new family moving into Nancy’s old house from Nightmare 1.  Our main character, Jesse, moves into Nancy’s old room. He begins having nightmares, in them Freddy demands that he kill for him.  Jesse’s girlfriend Lisa ends up finding Nancy’s diary in the room, while helping Jesse unpack. As she reads, he realizes his nightmares are related.  As the nightmares get worse, Freddy becomes stronger and stronger.

    Jesse tries to tell his parents, but they feel he is crazy, and he storms out. One night, he finds himself wandering the streets, not knowing how he got there or why. In a bar, he runs into the head coach from school. The coach decides to force Jesse back to the school, at night, and makes him run laps.  As Jesse is showering, the coach’s office comes to life, and jump ropes drag the man into the shower. He is tied up, as steam increases. A shadowy figure, unmistakably Freddy, emerges, and slashes the coach’s back with his razor claws. We then see that it was not Freddy , but Jesse wearing the claws. He looks down and screams in horror.  The film then cuts back to Jesses house, no explanation.

    Lisa does her best sleuthing, and gets the background on Freddy. Meanwhile, Jesse enlists the help of his friend Grady. He wants Grady to watch him as he sleeps, to make sure nothing happens. Jesse falls asleep, so Grady decides to sleep himself. Jesse then awakes screaming, as Freddy makes his way out of Jesse. He kills Grady, and as the camera looks in the mirror, it is Jesse who killed Grady, but the silhouette is that of Krueger.  Jesse runs to Lisa’s house, where the above mentioned pool party is taking place. Freddy takes over, more fully this time, and tries to kill Lisa. She fights him off, and escapes.
"You are all my children now!"

   Freddy then begins to wreak havoc on the party goers. He heats the entire area, causing the fences to burn, metal to glow red hot, and the pool to boil. He kills kids left and right. Some attack him, but are quickly dealt with. He then gives the best line of the film, mentioned above. Lisa’s father runs out with a gun, but Lisa keeps him from shooting Freddy, who erupts in a fireball and escapes.

    Lisa tracks him to the old factory where he was originally burned. As her and Freddy face of for the final time, she appeals to Jesse inside. She then takes off Freddy’s hat and kisses him, causing Freddy to loose control, and the building to ignite, along with Freddy himself. In the end, Freddy’s remains stir, and Jesse crawls out, a little shaken, but alive. The film ends with them on a bus, and Freddy killing, and the bus heading for a cliff…with chilling laughter.
The kiss of death? Thankfully not!

    Ok, on paper, all that sounds like a good idea, in practice, it was a migraine waiting to happen.  Not one death takes place within the confines of a nightmare. The acting is wooden at times. The best part is Freddy, yet he is relegated to a few cool scenes near the end. The basic plot idea of this story is just very flawed. Freddy does not need someone in the real world to claim victims.

    Was this sequel needed?  Wes Craven did not think so. He wanted the first film to be a standalone piece. He wisely steered clear of this fiasco. Now don’t get me wrong, the film has it’s fair share of people who like it. However, it is a far cry from it’s predecessor. Jesse is a whiner, his girlfriend has more balls then he does. The director wanted to flaunt his personal taste in men on the audience, hence why there are so many scenes of the male leads in tight underwear, or what is really a gay bondage scene where the coach is killed. Say what you want, but this fill is bad, despite being successful in the box office. It could have easily killed the franchise before it even got off the ground..

    This one makes me cringe when I watch it. I only own it because I own the box set with all the older nightmare films. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. F it was not for the pool party slaying scene, the film would be irredeemable. I recommend, that if you have not seen it, skip it. It is largely ignored by the films that follow it. In the grand scheme of the franchise, this is the biggest turd.

    Now that I am done with that mess, and my rum is running out, I can move on to my final thoughts on the entire series as a whole. I like it, I really do, for the most part, the films are fun escapism into the world of a twisted madman out for revenge. Every film series has it’s good parts and bad parts.  However, even the worst parts have their fans. I am a fan of Freddy Krueger,  he was a great villain to root for. I would even recommend watching Freddy vs. Jason, simply for the nostalgic aspect, and the comedy Freddy injects into the film.  If you have never seen the films, give them a chance, they are tame compared to the horror films of today, the so called torture porn era of horror films, which only exist to disgust, not entertain.  These are classics, even the bad ones are watchable.  Enjoy them for what they are, but do not expect cinema masterpieces.

    Now on to a few announcements. I am thinking of adding some more content to the blog, not just more Best of /Worst of, which I  will be continuing, but I also want to add new write-ups. My next best of /Worst of will be focusing on the Pirates of the Caribbean films, so look for that in a week or two, depending on what life throws at me. I am also a historian of sorts when it comes to ships, most notable ocean liners from the mid 19th all the way through the 20th centuries. I will be creating a ship of the week, or ship of the month, depending on how frequently I can get to doing a write up. On top of that, I also dabble in fan fiction. Back in my Myspace days, I ran a group which featured my own stories as well as those of others. I wish to get back into it. I plan on starting this with a story that will begin where the series Stargate Universe left off. I will try to end the series in my own way, and I hope fans of Stargate join me in this little bit of fan fiction. 

   With all that said, I want to thank those that take the time to read this and enjoy the things I enjoy.  As always, your comments are welcome, feedback, as long as it is respectful is appreciated.  Till we meet again, we are the universe, trying to find it’s voice, we are one!

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