Luke Owen takes in a Nightmare on Elm Street movie marathon…
Number of films – 8 (6 original, 1 spin-off, 1 remake)
Estimated time of completion – 12 Hours
The first thing I ever wrote for Flickering Myth was a retrospective on the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. I’m a huge fan of the franchise despite only actually liking 3 of them and despising 3 of them (the other two are just forgettable) and seeing as though we did Friday the 13th last month, it seemed only fitting to take on the other icon of 80s slasher horror.
After a hearty breakfast while watching X-Men and Spider-Man like they were still Saturday Morning cartoons, we settled into our chairs and began our first movie…
9:33 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
During our Friday the 13th marathon we all mentioned how the original Friday has dated quite badly since its 1979 release. A Nightmare on Elm Street doesn’t seem to have the same issue as it still looks great nearly 30 years on. The film is a classic, well worth watching and highly entertaining. The acting can be a bit hokey at times and Ronee Blakley’s melodramatic performance as Marge is hilarious. Half a bottle of energy drink consumed.
11:03 – The first Nightmare is over. Freddy gets defeated by the power of not believing.
11:06 – A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
Good god this film is unintentionally funny. I mean, David Chaskin’s script is meant to have the homoerotic undertones but director Jack Sholder’s clear misunderstanding of these makes the film incredibly humorous. But the problem with the film is that it is unbelievably boring, plodding and stupid. The plot makes so little sense within the Nightmare universe which just makes the film come off as a little silly. I finished off my bottle of energy drink.
12:33 – Thank God Nightmare 2 is done. Freddy gets defeated by the power of love and we all breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over.
12:36 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Quite simply put, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is far and away the best film in the series. It just has everything from great characters, a wonderful script, good performances, great deaths and above all, the best work Englund did as Freddy Krueger outside of New Nightmare. Just a great movie. The sweets were opened.
14:08 – The best movie of the franchise is over and I am sad. I now have to watch three bad films before I can watch another good one. Freddy is defeated by religion. I make a cup of tea and we get ready for things to get silly.
14:12 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
The only really memorable thing about this entry is that Tuesday Knight’s replacement performance of Patricia Arquette is hilariously bad. She doesn’t capture anything that made Arquette’s Kristen special. Apart from that, the biggest problem with A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is that it’s so forgettable and it melds into Part 5 so easily. I’ve seen this film many, many times and there were parts in this film that I thought happened in Part 5 and vice versa. In an interesting side note, this was the first Nightmare movie I ever saw in my teen years. Tea is consumed, it was lovely. The crisps were opened as the sweets were running low.
15:37 – Nightmare 4 is out of the way and we’ve already forgotten about it. Freddy is defeated by his own reflection.
15:50 – A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989)
It’s hard to talk about Part 5 as my feelings towards it are the same as Part 4. What strikes me whenever I watch A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child however is the biggest problem the entire franchise has: no one has written out the rules to the universe – what Freddy can do, what he can’t do etc. – and because of that each film makes up a new set of rules and if feels like there is no continuity between the movies. I open my second bottle of energy drink just to try and get through these horrible messes.
17:13 – The Dream Child is alive and Freddy is free. Just one more bad movie to go. Freddy is defeated by his mother.
17:19 – Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Okay so the best thing Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare was all the promotional work before it which can be seen on Never Sleep Again. The film itself is absolutely awful to the point where I had to force myself not to turn it off. If ever there was a film that personified ‘jumping the shark’, it’s this one right here. Freddy is far too wacky for the film to be taken seriously and the “3D” ending is laughably bad. What annoys me greatly however is that had they gone with the Peter Jackson script the film could have been awesome. As it stands, it’s only one step above Part 2 in terms of awfulness.
18:45 – Dear Lord that was difficult to sit through. Freddy is defeated by his daughter / own hand / firecracker. But he’s not dead yet…
18:50 – We decide to order some curry.
19:04 – Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
Back in my Nightmare on Elm Street retrospective I said, “Part of the problem is the film is too long to sustain interest… overall it just feels badly executed and poorly paced” and that “the idea was there, it just needed to be done better.” While I still feel the film is far too long for its own good, this movie is a lot better than I gave it credit for. When you actually step back and look at the movie, especially amongst the three films that came before it, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is pure genius. Heather Langenkamp is great and even non-actors like producer Bob Shaye and Wes Craven do really great jobs in their roles. If I had one complaint about the movie, it’s that Craven missed a trick by not having a Freddy Krueger / Robert Englund showdown. Our curry arrives at around 20:00 and we eat them. They were lovely.
20:57 – A couple of curry-shaped bumps in the road spread out the run time of the movie but we’re sad to see it go. Freddy is defeated by fire in his own world and we have just one more movie to go and it’s a stinker.
(As we’d watched Freddy vs. Jason in the last marathon we didn’t feel the need to watch it again. However, we did feel the need to watch the remake…)
20:01 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
The final movie for our August Marathon and we couldn’t have had a worse film to end on. I don’t know what any of the filmmakers involved were thinking when they made this movie but they incredibly missed every mark as to what makes a good Nightmare. Here’s the problem – it was made by people who didn’t understand the original film but thought they did. By completely missing the point of the original movie, the film comes off as a totally boring and uninteresting mess. Whereas I hate and despise A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, I loathe this remake with such venomous passion. Parts 2 and 6 are unspeakably bad, but this movie is insulting. I hate it so much I need to get pen to paper and point out everything they did wrong. I really hate this film.
22:26 – What a terrible, terrible movie that I am glad to see the back of. We then spend the next hour and a half trashing the movie for how bad it is. Freddy is killed by a cut to the throat. We are nearly killed by boredom.
So, as I said in my original retrospective, only 3 of the 8 movies on offer in this franchise are actually good. Freddy may be a great character, but he has starred in some pretty terrible movies. I still love this franchise and will happily watch (some of) the movies again and again, but a good portion of them leave a lot to be desired.
Next time we get to shout, “Stop The Planet of the Apes I Want To Get Off” as we head to where those damn maniacs blew it all up. At least with the next marathon we get to end on an amazing movie…
Total run-time – 12 hours and 53 minutes.
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.