Ten things they could do to make the new Nightmare On Elm Street work.
Word broke this week that YET again A Nightmare On Elm Street will be remade again. Wes Craven's 1984 surreal slasher became a cult classic instantly and spawned seven sequels, a television show, as well as the God awful 2010 remake. A Nightmare On Elm Street gave birth to one of the most iconic horror villains of all time Mr. Freddy Krueger. After endless merchandise, video games, action figures, posters, and soundtracks it seems as if Mr. Craven truly cemented this wonderful and frightening world of Springwood forever in pop culture. In the early to mid 2000's Hollywood was in it's glory days of the splatter punk days where up coming young directors were trying to make the most gory, violent, and insane movies possible. Films such as Saw, Wolf Creek, The Devil's Rejects, and Hostel were just a few to name, These were films inspired by the slasher area of the 1980's. Endless films that followed the successful Friday the 13th films proved to be box office gold. Prom Night, Terror Train, Pieces, The Mutilator, Just Before Dawn, April Fool's Day, all were wonderful films featuring teenagers being talked by a masked or unseen killer. Something that John Carpenter truly began in the late 1970's with Halloween. Taking films like Peeping Tom, Black Christmas, and Psycho…he took things a step further. Sean Cunningham took the lead with Friday the 13th, and Wes Craven took it even further by making this killer supernatural and basically unstoppable. How can you escape a killer that comes for you in your dreams? Everyone needs to sleep, so how can you run from him?
Wes Craven best known at the time for his cult classics such as Last House On The Left and The Hills Have Eyes had sorta in a career funk in the early 1980's and toured his screenplay around Hollywood, being turned down by nearly everyone. That was until he teamed up with the small company of New Line Cinema. Shot on a low budget, this film is packed full of iconic and amazing images. Proving to be wildly successful, the film pretty much took over the 1980's with it's sequels and made Mr. Krueger a house hold name. In the mid 2000's as the splatter punk crew was beginning to tamper off, Hollywood decided to cash in on old ideas by remaking classic films from the 1960's, 70's, and 80's. Some of which worked wonderfully. They either were a huge improvement over the first film, bringing something new to the new generations as well as old. Then you had the films that were a fun standalone film. Not better than the original, but almost on the same level. Then, for the most part, you got remakes that were quickly slapped together just to make a profit, lacking any charm the original had. Sadly, the latter was what summed up the bad taste many fan's have today with remakes on their favorite films. I for one won't stand on my soap box bitching and moaning about what remakes are good or bad. There have been some truly wonderful remakes, and for the most part some really bad ones. In fact I was down right devastated that both Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street didn't really get the royal treatment while being made by the studios. I mean Jason and Freddy are the kings of horror, yet when it comes down to it I feel remakes of Dawn Of The Dead and My Bloody Valentine are ten times better than both these films.
The Nightmare On Elm Street remake that was released in 2010 was pretty much screwed before it even had a chance to lift off the ground. Character actor Jackie Earle Haley who stole in the show in Watchmen took over for Robert Englund. Jackie as much as he tried, just could't fill the clawed glove that Robert had filled so perfectly for going on nearly thirty years. His cringe worthy delivery, as well as CGI face instantly made fans from all over groan and roll their eyes. In fact a ton of the movie was based off computer effects, and as much as they tried to repeat some of the most famous scenes, it came off half assed and lackluster. The worst in my eyes was our new Nancy played by the blah Ronney Mara who seriously had as much depth as a cardboard box.
Now I understand Robert Englund won't be around forever. That times have to change, and there was at least a B- for effort with this film. Still, it didn't capture any of the magic that the original had nor did it even come close to it's sequels. Now I've come to terms with some of my all time favorite films being remade (The Hitcher, The Evil Dead, The Fog, Dawn Of The Dead, Assault On Precinct 13, ect.) I understand we can't live in the past forever. But if Dawn Of The Dead was a great remake with lots of detail, not trying to copy the original, yet pay tribute and still be a very enjoyable film…so couldn't any remake. So in closing before I start my list, here are a few things I would personally think that could work this second time around. I mean there's no stopping it guys so why try? Maybe the studios know how badly they screwed up and want to try and gave the series one last shot of life into it before this horse is truly put to bed. (that's the right saying? Right?) Here are ten things I would do to make this newest remake work.
1). Try to get Robert Englund back one last time.
- The man may be in his 60's, but recently after seeing him appear at different conventions wearing the Freddy makeup, it still proves he has the same energy and charm that he's been able to pull off for years. I understand we won't have him forever, but I think after a few scenes in part II as well as the 2010 remake it's pretty clear that there is one person and one person only to play Freddy. Besides maybe they could use the fact he's aged in a positive. Originally Freddy was supposed to be played as an older man but Wes opted out of that makeup choice since he felt aging this character would almost give him a more human vibe. I think whichever way you end up doing it, Englund would be the right choice. Fans would go nuts and it would be wonderful to see him play his most famous role even if it was for one last time.
2) Go old school with the makeup.
- What made Freddy truly terrifying in the original movie was the fact his face wasn't seen as much as in the other sequels. The few times we did get a good look at him, it was fucking horrible. This movie is responsible for enough childhood trauma for me it's insane. Now I really do love Kevin Yagher's makeup from part II making Freddy almost look like a witch with his sharp nose and amber looking eyes. I would say instead of his later remakes, maybe think of a whole new way to do it. Of course go practical, but stay true to the first two movies makeup wise. Keep Freddy in the shadows, not revealed as much. This is what could maybe stir up some new terror.
3) Keep Freddy dark.
- This would be kinda hard to do. They tried it in the 2010 remake and failed flat on their ass. Everybody knows who Freddy is. EVERYONE. You could seriously ask a first grade child and they would know. Freddy sorta stopped being scary around part 3 and 4. He began being seen much more than the other movies and in came the jokes. The bigger his character blew up (the toys, the games, the TV series) the more he sorta became just a fun joke. Now there's nothing wrong with this at all. But as soon as part 5 and Freddy's Dead happened I was laughing more than anything else. I really have to hand it to Wes Craven for trying to re-image his most famous character with New Nightmare. Nothing gives me more chills than when he jumps out of the closet at Heather and stares down at her before saying "Nancy…" I would say keep him dark. Don't have him say a lot, keep him in the shadows, and really play up how insane and crazy he is. This was a man who was a child molester and murderer. That was a a major plot point they sorta swept under the rug since it really is a very uncomfortable subplot. They did touch upon this in the remake which did take balls, but I kinda liked how they did it in the first episode of Freddy's Nightmares. Freddy was a crazy, filthy man who still wanted the thrill of what he did in life even in death. Keep the tones of this movie dark and it will truly get a reaction out of people.
4) Have it set in 1984.
- I know, I know. What's the difference? I may be living in the past but I really liked that for the better half of the series these films took place in the 1980's. Just something about this era made the teenagers a little more likable. In fact if this story took place now Freddy would give up since the kids would be taking seflies as he attacked them. I also really liked that this was before iPods, the internet, and so many other things. You were as teenager, and you're biggest part of entertainment was your friends. What if somebody was going around killing them? Plus I think it would be sorta nostalgic to see a middle class neighborhood in the 1980's. So many fans of the movies were born or grew up in this era. It worked with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake having it set back in it's original time, why not this?
5) Cast unknown actors.
- That's one of the biggest problems today with remaking films, mostly with teenagers. They just have to grab popular people who are on a TV show or movie. The few times actually casting well known actors is when they cast them so opposite against what they usually play, or take actors who have been in the business for years and know exactly what they are doing (My Bloody Valentine, Dawn Of The Dead.) I think what really turned me off from the 2010 remake was the fact not one single character in that movie was likable. In the original I loved every single kid. Nancy was not your typical final girl, yet showed strength where her other friends didn't. I always thought believe it or not The Hill's Have Eyes actor Robert Huston would of played a killer Glen in the original despite his age. Still, we all remember that this was one of Johnny Depp's first roles and the reason why the Glen character is so well liked is because he isn't a typical dumb jock. He's funny, likable, and really seems like the boy who would live across the street. After watching this year's It Follows, I could see a new cast almost like that one. In fact Maika Monroe BLEW me away in that film as well as The Guest. Dye her hair brown with a gray streak and bam, you have a kick ass Nancy.
6) Get creative with the deaths and stay practical!
- What made the original Elm Street so awesome was the teenager's deaths. Tina getting dragged across the ceiling, Rod getting hanged in the jail cell, Glen getting sucked into his bed, and Nancy's mother burning to death. All of these deaths have become iconic scenes for fans all over. In the 2010 remake a few of these were copied, but didn't have the same magic the original had. I wouldn't copy scene by scene, because basically what you're doing is just remaking the same story shot by shot. Try to take this classic tale and put a new spin on it. Follow the basic blue print of the movie but go crazy. If you're going to have a character get dragged across the ceiling, maybe this time make it the boyfriend. Have him get slashed in a well lit room, part of his body getting sliced and chopped off falling on the fall below. Who knows maybe he hits the ceiling fan?! Have a character get sucked up in the bed, but stick with what was originally going to happen and have the bed spit up the bloodless corpse in the middle of the room before sealing itself up. Make these deaths creative, and maybe even up the stakes. It doesn't matter if you have a high body count. What you really need is character you learn to care for and BANG they get killed in the most brutal ways possible. What I loved about the other films was that Freddy played their dreams against them using their weakliness, their fears ect. Maybe use that, as well as making the deaths all look like accidents or real murders to the people in reality.
7) An R ratting.
- An R ratting seriously don't mean if it's going to be a great movie or not. But if this is going to be an Elm Street movie bring on the gore. Lately studios have toned down truly awesome ideas to make them PG13. There has been some great PG13 movies out there, don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the remake of When A Stranger Calls (in fact I like the original's sequel When A Stranger Calls Back better than the first which sadly besides the opening and ending scenes is sorta a snooze fest.) Still, nothing angered me more than the opening of The Stepfather remake and seeing his newest family murdered, but not a drop of blood anywhere. Sometimes the mosts scariest deaths are shown off screen…but I gotta tell you, the shock value with that movie wasn't the same. I will forever remember in the original Stepfather, Jerry walking down the stairs only to pass the living room where his wife and step children are legit massacred all over the carpet. Yes the 2010 remake had an R ratting, so I feel this movie deserves it as well. Bring on the buckets of gore!
8) Get a great director.
- If Wes Craven doesn't want to go back to his roots, than see what new young talent could bring to the plate. Get a director who's first a huge horror fan, and has a few decent credits under their belt. Let it be Adam Wingard, Adam Green, Ti West, or even David Robert Mitchell. I would keep the tone of the movie still dark, but these directors I feel could make the characters relatable and likable.
9) Stay old school with the advertising.
- What I always adored about the original movies was the killer artwork. These posters for a least the first 5 films were seriously breathtaking pieces. I have many memories of running to the horror section at the video store and looking straight at these covers (mostly Dream Warriors) and being fascinated. Sadly nowadays advertising as gone to complete and utter shit with the famous floating heads. I would make take a basic idea of the original poster of Nancy laying in bed and turn it on it's head.
10) Maybe do a role reversal.
- This is where I may loose some of you. Now it's just an idea but I'm sure tons of Nancy fans as well as female fans will hate this. The originally Nancy is beyond iconic and I'm sure with the right actress you could capture the magic that happened in 1984. In fact, really besides part II and Lisa, most of the films are about Freddy Vs. a girl. Nancy captures strength, and outwits Freddy as there's almost a sexual dance between them. Maybe spin the series on it's head like I said earlier talking about the poster and do a switch. Make the Nancy character male. I know a lot of you are rolling your eyes but who knows, it could work. There really aren't a lot of horror movies besides Shocker and The Evil Dead that shows a teenage boy in distress, going against another make villain. Have him be an all American boy who comes from a broken marriage, still lives with his mother who has a drinking problem, and who's girlfriend lives across the street. I think this would show how truly Freddy is asexual since he doesn't care about men and women. He sees them as victims. It would truly be interesting and a new take if you had the lead be male fighting back against Freddy. Another thing I would of course add is maybe the original subplot they took out that all of the Elm Street children had siblings that were all killed by Freddy. That gives it yet another level of the revenge these parents were seeking as well as why Freddy is after them all.
So what did you think? What are your thoughts on the newest remake? Yay? Or Nay?