When Nightmares Kill…

With Halloween having just passed, I have been busy watching a TON of the classic horror movies.  Thanks to AMC’s Fear Fest and the SyFy channel, I caught a lot of the Halloween franchise, the Friday the 13th franchise, and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise over the course of the past month.

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 2010 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.

According to Robert Englund in a 2010 interview for Biography’s Inside Story, A Nightmare on Elm Street is the “universal story of the bad dream, the nightmare, and the boogeyman.”  And I’d have to agree.

In each of the films, Freddy taunts and haunts a group of teenagers.  And only the teenagers understand—don’t fall asleep.  The adults… not so much.  All the adults (parents, nurses, etc) want the kids to do is get some rest.  Rest, as we all know, is the last thing these teens should be getting.

With every Nightmare movie, viewers can expect to see Freddy (of course), a cast of young, hot, and up & coming teens (ah-hem… Johnny Depp, anyone?), a few of the classic Freddy-esque scenes, and hear at least one of Freddy’s quirky one-liners (even though I read somewhere that when Craven first imagined Freddy, he pictured him being a silent killer, much like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees).

Some of the movies are great; some are a bit campy and out there; but everyone around the globe knows who Freddy Krueger is.  Right?

Let’s just hope he doesn’t visit us anytime soon in our dreams…

Are you a Nightmare fan?  Which of the films do you enjoy most and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Friday FabOoolousness – “One, Two, Freddy’s Coming for You.”

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…

Wake Up! Wake Up! Wake Up!

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.

The fabOooolous Rooney Mara. Sadly, I’m afraid she’ll never reprise her role as Nancy after the success of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

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.

Never fall asleep in the bathtub!!

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.

Friday FaBOOolousness – The “Boo” Factor: When Death Decides

How many of us are paranoid about something?  We all are, right?

Do movies help or hurt with our paranoia?

I shudder to think about spiders (thanks, Arachnophobia!), scorpions (thanks, Clash of the Titans!), snakes (thanks, Snakes on a Plane!), sharks (thanks, Jaws!), and severe storms (thanks, Twister!).  I could keep going, but you catch my drift. 

But, does paranoia stop us from watching these scary movies?

Usually not!  Most of us have babysat and been alone in the dark of someone else’s living room and pictured Michael Myers, right?  Or gone to bed and prayed Freddy is really only a fictional character? Or maybe we’ve gone camping near water and crossed our fingers that Jason is tied tightly and cemented to the bottom of the lake, right? 

What do we do when Death decides it’s our time?

If the question alone isn’t enough, the Final Destination franchise doesn’t help the paranoia, at all! 

It all started in 2000 with the release of Final Destination and the curse of Flight 180.  Alex (Devon Sawa, Nikita), Clear (Ali Larter, Varsity Blues & Heroes), and their classmates gather at the airport for their senior trip.  But before take-off, Alex has a premonition that they’re all going to die.  Pandemonium breaks out and Alex and Clear, along with a few of their friends, are booted off the flight.  Guess what?  Alex’s vision saves their lives; the plane explodes and everyone left on board dies. 

Matters continue to worsen when Alex’s friends start to die in freak accidents – in the order of their original seat number on the doomed flight!  One accidentally hangs himself in the shower; another is splattered by a moving bus; one is stabbed by a kitchen knife (that’s right, no one was controlling the knife; it did it all on its own); one is decapitated at the scene of a train wreck; and one is pummeled by a neon sign. 

To add to the paranoia, in 2003, Final Destination 2 hit the movie theaters.  Kim (A.J. Cook from Criminal Minds) envisions a massive wreck on the highway she and her friends are about to pull onto so she stalls her vehicle.  Crisis averted, right? Nope! Not minutes later, an 18-wheeler causes an accident.  Kim, as well as a few of her friends, survive the crash, including Officer Burke (Matthew Landes, Special Unit 2) who would have died had it not been for Kim’s actions.       

Knowing the past mysterious deaths of the survivors of Flight 180, Kim and Officer Burke visit Clear in the mental hospital, but Clear only warns there is nothing they can do to escape Death.  And, guess what?  One by one the survivors of the wreck die in freakish accidents.  One can always count on at least one character death by impalement, decapitation, explosion, or by being crushed by some object.   One of the deaths that grabbed our attention in FD2 followed a car crash when an emergency worker accidentally set off the airbag trying to remove a survivor from the wreckage, knocking her head into one of the metal pipes thrown through her car from a truck involved in the accident — brutal!

 

The fun doesn’t stop there!  In 2006, Final Destination 3 introduced cinema-goers to a new crowd of unlucky teenagers.  Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Kevin (Ryan Merriman, Pretty Little Liars), and friends board the roller coaster at a local theme park.  What happens next? Wendy has a premonition; some get off the doomed ride; and, the rest fall to their death.

Kevin tells Wendy about the others and warns that everyone that managed to escape the roller coaster will start to die.  And?  They do!  The death scene in FD3 that still haunts me to this day is when two girls get trapped and roast to death inside a couple of tanning beds –talk about a case of vanity kills! 

The Final Destination was released in 2009, and thinking this was the last installment in the series, I was sure not to miss it!  Nick (Bobby Campo), his girlfriend Lori (Shantel VanSanten, One Tree Hill), and their best friends, Janet and Hunt, are attending a Nascar-like event where Nick envisions debris on the track causing a wreck, that leads to mass chaos, and eventually explosions killing nearly everyone in the crowd.   

Like clockwork, one by one the survivors die in even more crazy accidents.  The climatic tension surrounding the hot mom’s (Krista Allen) impending death was pretty great.  Will she get chopped up by the loose ceiling fan?  Will the hair dresser accidentally stab her with her scissors?  Or will she escape?  Well, we know that’s not going to happen.  Instead, she dies when a flying rock rips through her eye after being tossed by a lawn mower across the street.  I normally wouldn’t mention the almost situations, but TFD filmed one potential death scene that really freaked me out when Janet’s sun-roof opened and malfunctioned inside a drive-thru car wash.  She managed to escape, but the thought of what that would feel like is haunting.   

Everyone dies in The Final Destination, another reason why one might think this movie wrapped up the franchise.  But, guess what? 

Final Destination 5 in 3D hits theaters this August!

What do you think now: Do movies help or hurt with our paranoia?

Which of the Final Destination movies do you like best? Because of these movies, do you think twice now when flying? Do you fall farther behind or drive past the trucks hauling metal pipes? Do you check the tanning bed to make sure you can open it once inside? Do you watch a roller coaster and envision something horrible happening?  Will you take your car through a drive-thru car wash and stare at your sun-roof the entire time?  Do you avoid walking under large, dangling signs or cranes lifting large objects? What makes you paranoid?  Will you see Final Destination 5?  I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FaBOOolousness – The “Boo” Factor #2

The endearment “Sweet Dreams” changed drastically in 1984 when audiences met Freddy Krueger for the first time.

 

Happy and carefree high school students in Springwood, Ohio transformed overnight into terrified teenagers afraid to fall asleep.  It all started when Tina dreamed of being chased by a horribly burned man wearing a green and red striped sweater, teasing her with his razor-sharp knives in lieu of fingers on his right hand.  Tina escaped his clutches just in time, and woke up with tears in her night-gown.  How can something that occurs in a dream actually happen?

Tina’s best friend, Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), experienced a similar dream the very same night.  Nancy dismissed her nightmare as just that, a nightmare.  Being the good friend that she was, Nancy agreed to spend the night with Tina so that she wouldn’t be alone.  Joining the girls, of course, was Tina’s boyfriend, Rod, and Nancy’s boyfriend, Glen (introducing Johnny Depp, ladies).  Tina fell asleep feeling safe with her friends nearby, and Freddy appeared again; only this time, Freddy didn’t miss slashing Tina with his razor-sharp claws.

Do you remember that scene?  Tina, wearing the oversized, white button down shirt, flailing about, blood spraying everywhere, levitating, crawling on the ceiling, and finally crashing into her bed — dead.  Her boyfriend standing helplessly by, watching an invisible knife slash through his girlfriend, screaming her name, “Tina!” – completely terrified and confused.   

The nightmares continued for Nancy, finally convincing her that she and Tina were dreaming about the same man.  Continuing to have nightmares, Nancy saw the burned man kill Rod; and, later found Rod dead in reality too – just like Tina.

Finally, Nancy’s mother confessed that the man haunting and stalking her in her dreams was Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) – a child murderer that was burned and killed at the hands of the children’s parents.  Together, Nancy & Glen devised a plan to trap and kill Freddy, but Glen made one fatal mistake – he fell asleep.

Do you remember that scene?  Glen lying on his bed in his midriff jersey t-shirt with his television & gigantic head phones, sinking through the bed as Freddy sucked him in, the blood rushing through the mattress with the velocity of a fire hydrant.

Alone, Nancy battled Krueger to the end, living to see another day; actually, Nancy survived to see another few installments of the Nightmare franchise: Nightmare 3 and New Nightmare.

Do you remember the eerie nursery rhyme?  The little girls dressed in beautiful white baby-doll dresses playing hop-scotch and jumping rope in the parks?

“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, 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.

Wes 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.

A Nightmare on Elm Street opened the door for nine feature films, including a 2010 remake produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller.  The original Nightmare will always be great; but, the remake included more of the back-story of Freddy Krueger, and the children he preyed on, making the 2010 film very exciting for a Nightmare-aholic like myself.

Wake Up!

The Nightmare franchise has also featured an array of popular actors over the years in addition to Langenkamp, Englund and Depp, such as Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Jason Ritter, Breckin Meyer, and Lochlyn Munro.  Additionally, Rosanne Barr and Tom Arnold appeared briefly in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.  The 2010 movie successfully catered to today’s teenage audience by casting the brilliant Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy (in an absolutely FaBOoolous performance assuming the role from Englund), Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl), Kellan Lutz (The Twilight Movies), Kyle Gallner (Jennifer’s Body), Rooney Mara (The Social Network), and Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles).

Hopefully, the franchise will live on.

Do you believe that if you die in your sleep, will you die in real life?  Do you prefer the 1984 original or the 2010 remake?  Do you fear Freddy, Jason, or Michael more?  What’s your favorite scary movie?   I’d love to hear from you!

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