Why Don't Fall Asleep's ending packs a punch.
In closing with this week's 30th anniversary of Dream Warriors, I decided to pay tribute to in my eyes one of the best fan made films that take place in the Elm Street universe.
Don't Fall Asleep.
This film was released last year and premiered at Days Of The Dead, where filmmakers Paige Joy and Diandra Lazor put major passion into continuing the storyline of Nancy Thompson, the first person to defeat the terrifying Freddy Krueger. This short film shows what happened between the original film, leading up to her taking the fateful position at Western Hills. Over the years countless fan made films have been made based off the highly popular Elm Street films. What separates Don't Fall Asleep from the others is the attention to detail, adding elements not only from the films, but comic series as well, and of course the heart behind these characters that fans for thirty plus years have loved and grieved when killed off. With actress Heather Langenkamp providing a narration, returning to the Elm Street universe, as well as Diandra portraying the Thompson character perfectly, it tells a heartbreaking story showing more fuel for Nancy's motive on destroying Krueger in the third entry of the film series.
Following her being committed to a private mental hospital after the events of the first film, poor Nancy is abandoned by her father after her friends, boyfriend, and mother are murdered. Here Nancy stays, feeling not only isolated, but determined that Freddy isn't dead, she struggles to survive by staying awake. Here during her stay she bonds with Joel, a troubled youth who believes Nancy, and shows her the new experimental drug Hypnocil that stops people from dreaming. Sadly, Freddy attacks again, causing several deaths at the hospital with both Nancy and Joel to be the only survivors. Here Mr. Thompson helps in covering the entire thing up which not only costs him his job, but his relationship with his daughter.
Here Nancy and Joel begin living together as the two of them continue taking Hypnocil as well as starting college, and making new friends. For Nancy, these appear to be the happiest years of her entire life. Sadly the happiness doesn't last long. On the verge of starting a new internship at Western Hills, Nancy believes there are answers behind the human brain, and how there can unleash powers when controlled the right way. With Joel waiting to propose, he starts to panic since it appears his regular dosage of Hypnocil isn't working, and he's running out of pills fast. Believing he's seeing things, he hides this from Nancy, hoping to make it to the next month where their source can provide them with more pills. Not wanting to take any from Nancy, he keeps his mouth shut which proves to be a fatal mistake.
One night Joel falls asleep, and Freddy awaits him. Before Nancy's very eyes she watches as the first man she's loved since losing Glen is slaughtered, and falls over dead. Swearing to Joel's lifeless corpse that she'll stop Freddy, she picks up the phone and dials Dr. Sims informing her that she has indeed made up her mind. She will take the job at Western Hills.
This of course leads us to the film Dream Warriors where we see Nancy again, this time helping a new batch of teens who happen to be the last of the Elm Street children. This of course leads to her tragic death, and the heartbreaking scene when Freddy is finally laid to rest and defeated where Kristen holds onto Nancy's body crying that she won't let her die, that she'll dream her into a beautiful dream forever and ever.
The final clip from Don't Fall Asleep truly packs a punch by showing Nancy, dressed in the same clothes she died in during Dream Warriors, where she finds herself in a beautiful field. Confused, she wanders around in the sunlight, calling out to Kristen before knowing that even though she has died, her spirit will live on in this beautiful dream, being the light to Freddy's dark, and hoping to aid the continuing fight for many to come. Not only does this scene give total goosebumps, it's also a beautiful way to give fans of the films and character of Nancy a comforting sense of hope to one of the most tragic deaths in the entire series. Not only does this fan film answer questions on where exactly Nancy was, it also shows how truly tragic her life was once all of this begun, not only calming her loved ones from the first film, but now Joel. One thing I absolutely loved from this film was that Joel was the person behind giving Nancy her dream doll, a small detail and Easter egg for fans to notice. This of course is the same dream Neil comments on in her apartment in part 3 in which Nancy lovingly stares at, looking just a little bit sad. After watching this short film, this brief moments now speaks volumes to fans. I do love how at the end of part 3 Neil has not only the dream, but the model house of 1428 as well. As said before, I've always tried to view the ending of part 3 as actually comforting. When it shows Neil asleep, with the beautiful almost fairytale like score playing softly, we see the dream doll, as well as the model. What I'm sure they were trying to show with the light turning on was that it was Freddy, showing he wasn't in fact dead but would return. In my eyes, I would like to believe that this was Nancy's spirit. Still living on, still awake, and keeping watch.
For fans of Dream Warriors I can't urge you enough to check out Don't Fall Asleep. Somehow it added even more to a fan favorite sequel, but added yet another tragic layer to one of the best final girls in horror history.