It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and I to break down another cinematic original and its remake. Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake. This month we tackle the classic horror film, A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Usually, I include Catie’s Homemade Summary that applies to both films. But this time, I tweaked it just a bit:
A group of teens’ dreams are haunted by the ghost of a child molester who has the power to kill them while they sleep.
Before I begin, let me just say why I chose the remake. Regardless of how ashamed I am to admit it, I usually choose the newer versions because I have not seen the originals. But, that is not the case today. Not only have I seen Wes Craven’s 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street, I’ve watched it so many times I’ve lost count over the years. However, I still remember my first time… I was a little girl, not quite ten years old, and Freddy Krueger scared the bejeezus out of me.
Since then, I’ve watched the original and all of the subsequent movies in the franchise probably more times than I should admit. A few years ago, in preparation for the remake, I even hosted a group of girls for a Nightmare movie marathon. Despite having seen the film countless times, the fear of Freddy and his razor-sharp claws still worked its magic… I checked under all of the beds and in all of the closets before going to sleep. I know; I’m a dork—Freddy doesn’t get anyone while they’re awake, it’s after they fall asleep…
One thing’s for sure, the endearment “Sweet Dreams” changed drastically in 1984 when audiences met Freddy Krueger for the first time.
And, what about that eerie nursery rhyme with the little girls dressed in beautiful, white baby-doll dresses jumping rope, singing, and having fun?
“One, Two, Freddy’s coming for you.
Three, Four, Better lock your door.
Five, Six, Grab your crucifix.
Seven, Eight, Gotta stay up late.
Nine, Ten, Never sleep again.”
Say what you will, but that rhyme still spooks me to this very day! Not to mention the fact that I have a hard time remembering the actual lyrics to the peaceful, children’s song now.
Craven created the Nightmare franchise with his horrifying screenplay and his directing brilliance. Robert Englund may still be recognized today as his character, Freddy Krueger, more than he is as Robert Englund, the actor. This horror flick opened the door for nine feature films, including a 2010 remake produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller.
That’s right—Michael Bay. Many associate his name with major motion picture action and drama masterpieces (Transformers, Bad Boys, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, etc…), but he also co-owns the production house responsible for so many of our favorite remakes, including Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Mr. Bay may be one of my favorite producers in Hollywood now simply for this reason.
Okay, let’s talk about this remake… first up, Freddy:
The 2010 version included more of the backstory of Freddy Krueger. Anyone familiar with the character knows that Krueger was an alleged child murder—we never really saw anything to confirm these suspicions in the original, but the message was clear. In the 2010 movie, there’s no doubt—only this time, Freddy is a confirmed child molester. Viewers witness him preying on the children at the local Springwood daycare; we watch as the parents chase him to an abandoned warehouse and set the fire that burns him beyond recognition; and we see WHY he has hand-selected the teenagers he is currently stalking. Plus, in my opinion, this Freddy (played by the great Jackie Earle Haley) looks a bit more realistic with his scars, and is still just as terrifying as Englund’s character.
Now, let’s meet the rest of the cast… the teens:
The 2010 movie successfully caters to today’s teenage audience by casting Katie Cassidy (Arrow), Kellan Lutz (The Twilight Movies), Kyle Gallner (Jennifer’s Body), Thomas Dekker (The Secret Circle), and the fabOoolous Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as the heroin, Nancy.
Every group of teens in the Nightmare movies tries to fight Freddy; they fight to stay awake. But, this group was different; they were stronger. Not only did they do their very best in fighting off the man in the red and green sweater (and, of course, not all of them survive), a few of them actually researched the man haunting them in their dreams and figured out exactly what was going on, making the predictable fight scene at the end that much more intense and satisfying… if you ask me.
Now, let’s talk about… the classic Freddy-esque scenes:
While the remake definitely stands on its own, it would be a mistake to ignore some of the memorable elements from the 1984 classic. Luckily for those of us that love the Nightmare movies, the remake pays homage to those moments. Take the bedroom scene from the original film:
Tina, wearing the oversized, white button down shirt, flailing about, blood spraying everywhere, levitating, crawling on the ceiling, and finally crashing onto her bed — dead. Her boyfriend standing helplessly by, watching an invisible knife slash through his girlfriend, screaming her name, “Tina!” – completely terrified and confused.
Almost everything about this scene holds true in the remake, except the character of Tina is now Kris (Cassidy) and she’s wearing a cute jersey-style t-shirt.
It doesn’t stop there! The remake also incorporates other familiar scenes from the franchise, not necessarily limited to the original—the very frightening razor-sharp claw in the bathtub scene; the jail cell murder scene; and, the steaming scenes from the boiler room, with Freddy dragging his razor-sharp fingers down the metal pipes—to just name a few.
And, let’s not forget about the dialogue… especially Freddy’s quirky one-liners:
Jesse (Dekker): Oh, God.
Freddy: No, just me!
Freddy: Why are you screaming when I haven’t even cut you yet?
Freddy: How’s this for a wet dream?
Obviously, I’m having a really great time with this post and could probably go on and on… but, I’ll stop here.
Bottom line: is A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) worthy of watch? I answer with an unequivocal YES!
The original was ground-breaking, but this film, from a story-telling aspect, is better; it was more developed, allowing it to stand on its own in today’s market… especially for those who aren’t familiar with the franchise… and let’s hope that demographic is very small!
The 2010 film did not disappoint this Nightmare-aholic .
What do you think? Have you seen either the original or the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street? If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why? If you haven’t, do you want to? I’d love to hear from you!
Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.