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: Babysitting is a Dangerous Business

Catie Rhodes and I had such a fabOoolous time teaming up and writing the last collaborative blog (Straw Dogs), that we decided to start a monthly series where we’ll review and compare original films and their remade counterparts.  This month, we discuss the psychological horror film, When a Stranger Calls.

On her Wild-Card Wednesday post, Catie breaks down the 1979 horror film, When a Stranger Calls, starring Carol Kane and Charles Durning.  In her blog, she mentions the fact that the original movie was based on an urban legend: The Babysitter and The Man Upstairs.

In addition to When a Stranger Calls, other popular horror/slasher flicks come to mind that play off of this urban legend: Black Christmas (1974 and 2006), as well as the cult-classic Scream franchise.   Being that Catie and I are planning future blog posts, I won’t go into much detail about Black Christmas since it’s a potential candidate in the running, but we can briefly discuss the opening sequence of Scream.

A girl, home alone, prepares popcorn awaiting the arrival of her boyfriend when the telephone rings.  The disguised voice on the other end asks her, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” and before we know it, the teenager is terrorized by a crazed killer, chasing her through the house.  While she may not be babysitting, she is home alone and the killer is already inside the house.

Creepy…

Catie also does a wonderful job of  breaking the original When a Stranger Calls down into the classic three-act structure: Act One, the babysitter and the “caller”; Act Two takes place seven years later, as a former policeman chases the “caller”; and Act three, when the “caller” has refocused his attentions on the babysitter from years earlier.

Immediately, we see the first major difference between the original movie and the remake – the 2006 When a Stranger Calls focuses approximately 90 minutes on the original film’s act one.  The second and third acts of the original movie do not exist in the remake.

The trailer:

The movie begins with a brutal murder after a girl receives prank phone calls – the killer doesn’t leave behind a murder weapon, and the body is so completely mutilated that the medical examiner has to remove it in multiple body bags.

 

Next, we meet Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle), who lives over a hundred miles away from the first homicide.  Jill is clearly having a rough week – her boyfriend cheated on her with her supposed good friend Tiffany (played by Katie Cassidy), and her parents have disconnected her cell phone for going 800 minutes over her calling plan.

Side note #1: Why does the home-wrecker character always have to be named Tiffany in movies and television?

Side note #2: The fact that a teenager doesn’t have an unlimited cell phone plan really dates this movie, and it’s only six years old.

Back on topic:

To pay off her cell phone bill, Jill agrees to babysit instead of partying all night with her friends at the high school bonfire.  Her father drives Jill out to her employer’s house for the evening — a beautiful and luxurious home out in the middle of nowhere, hidden behind security gates with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the plush trees and forest.   The wealth of the family also allows for motion sensor lights throughout the house, and for an enclosed  greenhouse smack dab in the center of the home, filled with greenery, chirping birds, a pond, and fish.

The parents give Jill the quick run through before leaving for their night out – if she hears any noises, it could be one of three things:

1)      Their black cat,
2)      Their housekeeper, who lives upstairs but has the night off,
3)      Or their son living in the guest house, home from college.

Jill sets the alarm, and settles in for a nice and quiet night of studying while the children sleep upstairs.  This should be easy, right?

Wrong.  The suspense starts almost immediately: the phone rings with no one on the other end, which Jill assumes is her silly ex-boyfriend and his friends playing pranks on her; she hears doors and/or cabinets close, which she imagines is just the housekeeper; the house alarm sounds, which she also writes off as the housekeeper since her employers mentioned they can’t seem to get her to remember the code; Tiffany pays her a surprise visit, through the open garage door (how did that happen?); and the motion sensor lights keep going on and off in other parts of the house.

Jill is so spooked, that at one point she walks through the house with the fire-place stoker in hand.  Okay, who hasn’t done that at least once?

The prank calls continue, and finally the voice on the other end of the phone speaks out and Jill has had enough.  She calls around for help, but not even the police can do anything at this point.

The phone rings again, and this time the “caller” asks those five frightening words:

“Have you checked the children?”

Jill does what any good babysitter would do, and she rushes upstairs to check on the sleeping children who are safe and sound, snuggled away in their beds.

The phone rings again:

“How were the children?”

How is he watching her?  Jill hangs up and calls the police again, and this time they agree to run a trace on the calls.  Before hanging up, the officer on the other end of the call reminds Jill that she is “safe inside the house.”  Yea, right!  Famous last words….

At this point in the 2006 film there is a lot of Jill’s running around the property, searching for the housekeeper, for the son home from college, for anything to make her feel better about being alone in this house.

And then the phone rings again, and trying to keep the “caller” on the line for the minimum sixty seconds required for the police trace, Jill asks, “What do you want?”

“Your blood, all over me.”  This may be one of the creepiest movie quotes of all time…

Jill successfully keeps the “caller” on the line long enough for the police trace, and the police notify Jill that “the call is coming from inside the house!”

Side Note #3: My doorbell rang at this very moment in the movie, and I had to laugh at the fact that I literally jumped in my seat.  Now I’ve seen this movie multiple times, but that didn’t stop the delivery man from giving me that one little “BOO!” when he dropped off our package…

Back to When a Stranger Calls

This is where the big battle ensues, and I don’t want to give too much away in case everyone hasn’t seen the movie.   But even during the fight scenes, the viewers don’t see the “caller’s” face.  Not once.  He is just a dark shadow, lurking around every corner, pursuing Jill until the end.

It’s not until the very end of the film, after the “caller” is arrested, that we see his face – and it is a creepy, creepy face (played by Thomas Flanagan).

There were rumors that a sequel was in the works, but other rumors mentioned that it had been thrown to the cutting room floor.  I’m not sure “sequel” would be the appropriate term anyway; it sounds just like another remake.  A true sequel would be a movie about the second and third acts from the original film, not another movie about a babysitter.

Regardless, we still have the 1979 When a Stranger Calls, the 1993 television sequel When a Stranger Calls Back (also starring Carol Kane and Charles Durning), and the 2006 remake to satisfy our psychological thriller needs.

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of When a Stranger Calls?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

If you still want more of “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs” urban legend, check out When a Killer Calls (also 2006).

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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