Friday, October 16, 2015

Franchises: A Nightmare on Elm Street. Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

"Freddy's back and scarier than ever! Writer-director Wes Craven returns to the darkest shadows of Elm Street with this frightening film." "...This white-knuckle nightmare... will, 'scare the daylights out of you!'" Instead of an actual plot synopsis, save for, "...this terrifying tale follows the sinister dreamstalker as he slashes his way through the silver screen and turns reality blood red," those type of hyberbolic statements and quotes from film critics were what could be read on the back of the VHS of this film. Indeed, this one did look pretty scary when compared to what images I had seen of some of the other movies, with an image of Freddy looking really scary on the front as well as on the back, and with images of a kid getting his head put into his mouth (again, along with that image of the Freddy Snake from Nightmare 3, making me think that Freddy actually ate people), the same kid brandishing finger knives like him, and those claws coming up through a mattress that a woman was sleeping on. I also got a sense that this film was made after Freddy's Dead since it was actually called New Nightmare and because of that sentence of Freddy being "back." Of course, like the rest of these movies, it would be years before I actually saw it and I could never get a sense of what it, or any of them, for that matter, was about, with my friends who had seen it telling me that Freddy was hiding in a closet (that seemed to be the part they all remembered from it and they didn't specify that it was in one moment rather than the whole movie, as I came to believe) and that he had a very long tongue. I saw pieces of it on TNT one day, although those scenes were nothing scary, a brief glimpse at the scene of Freddy coming up through the bed when I was visiting some relatives in North Carolina one summer, and I saw the actual ending on both Turner South one night and on one of the Starz channels one afternoon, but it never really caught my attention to where I thought it was anything special (in fact, some of the stuff during the ending I thought was kind of dumb). Around that time, I had read up on the movie and learned about the plot, with Freddy coming out of the film world and into the real world, which I did think was interesting and the film's trailer, which I watched on one of those little monitors that stores like FYE used to have, made it feel all the more interesting, but again, I didn't realize how intelligent it really was from the bits I had seen.

That all changed, though, when, in 2003 when I had really gotten into the franchise, I bought the DVD of New Nightmare and watched it from beginning to end. I liked it the first time but the second time I watched it, which was one evening when I was by myself, I absolutely fell in love with it... so much so that it became my favorite Nightmare on Elm Street movie. I still think that this is the best this series has to offer. Other than some aforementioned dumb moments at the end, everything about this movie works for me, from the cast, the story, the concept, the music, etc. Listening to Craven's great audio commentary on the film (which I highly recommend), as well as learning more about him and how philosophical he was, made me appreciate it even more and realize what a truly great and intelligent flick it is. For that matter, not only is this my favorite Nightmare movie but I think this is the best movie that Wes Craven ever made. He made some good movies before and after New Nightmare but I feel that this was his greatest accomplishment and one he was never able to top.

Actor Heather Langenkamp dreams about working on a new Nightmare on Elm Street movie involving her husband, Chase, an effects artist, and their young son, Dylan. Suddenly, an animatronic, metal, clawed glove, meant to be Freddy's new weapon in the film, suddenly comes to life, killing two of the effects artists and almost kills Chase when Heather wakes up. She awakens in the middle of a violent earthquake at her home in Los Angeles and she and Chase protect their terrified son until the quake settles down. Dylan and Heather then notice that Chase's fingers are cut... in a manner that they had been in Heather's dream. Heather prepares for an interview on a talk show about the upcoming tenth anniversary of the Nightmare series, which she's not enthused about since she's been stalked lately by a man who speaks to her over the phone in Freddy's voice, as well as because of the nightmares. After Chase leaves for a job, more strange things happen, like the walls in the bedroom cracking to look like they'd been clawed, Dylan watching the original Nightmare on Elm Street on TV and screaming after she turns it off, the phone calls starting up again, and another, brief earthquake. Heather reluctantly leaves Dylan with his babysitter, Julie, for the talk show and there, is reunited with Robert Englund, who enters the set in full Freddy Krueger makeup and costume and plays to the crowd, although Heather finds the sight disturbing. Afterward, Heather is called over to the main offices of New Line Cinema and meets with Bob Shaye, who tells her that Wes Craven is writing a script for a new Nightmare movie and that she's the star. Although flattered, Heather turns down the offer, with Bob seeming quite anxious to get her onboard and hints that he's been experiencing strange happenings as well. When she gets back home, she finds Dylan having an episode where it's as if someone is after him in his sleep. He sings one of the verses from the Freddy nursery rhyme, although Julie says that she didn't let him watch the movie on TV. Heather calls Chase and tells him what happened, prompting him to decide to come home. However, on the way, he falls asleep at the wheel and is gutted by the new Freddy glove he'd been secretly working on. When Heather is told what happened and looks at Chase's body at the morgue, she sees that he looks like he'd been clawed rather than having died in an accident like they said. Another earthquake happens at Chase's funeral and Heather is knocked unconscious, hallucinating Freddy dragging Dylan down into his father's coffin as well as the corpse coming to life. More strange things happen, with Dylan eventually entering into something of a catatonic state and being taken to the hospital, where the doctors begin to suspect child abuse. Eventually, Heather meets with Craven, who tells her that his nightmares, which he has been writing into the script, are about an ancient, evil entity that can be capture in its purest forms by storytellers and that it's been held captive as Freddy in the Nightmare movies... but now that the series has ended, the entity is free and has decided to cross over into the real world. The only way to stop him is to make another movie and Heather will soon have to make a choice about whether or not she's willing to play Nancy again in order to put evil back in its place.

In the ten years since the original Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven had gone on to direct a variety of films, some of them good, like my favorite of this period, The People Under the Stairs, some of them interesting, like The Serpent and the Rainbow, some of them disjointed but enjoyable, like Shocker, and some that, from what I've heard, are just plain bad, like Chiller and Deadly Friend (although I've heard that the latter is laughably bad). Of course, aside from coming up with the initial script for Nightmare 3, he didn't participate in any of the sequels to his most well-known film, having not wanted it to be a franchise in the first place. He also wasn't shy about making public his feelings about what Bob Shaye and New Line Cinema had done with it and how he felt that he'd been treated personally, since he'd had to sign off the rights to the character of Freddy Krueger to New Line in order to get the first movie made, giving them an opportunity to exploit it from the beginning. According to Craven, it was Shaye himself who reached out to him about this, calling him in and asking him to be frank about how he felt he had been wronged. So, Craven told him and Shaye, to his credit, gave him a long overdo cut of the sequels and the merchandise, which I'm sure mended some fences between the two of them since Shaye's declaration of, "I own this and I'm going to do with it what I want," back in the day had really strained their relationship. In addition, Shaye admitted to Craven that even though they'd killed Freddy off in the last film, they felt that maybe there was one more movie in there for the 10th anniversary and asked him if he had any ideas as to how resurrect him. When Craven watched all of the sequels, he said he couldn't make any sense of the story and didn't know where to go after Freddy's Dead, so he decided to dig up his old idea for Nightmare 3 about the filmmakers and actors of the films being terrorized by Freddy. It was really a brilliant concept and, aside from further blurring of the lines between reality and fantasy like in the past movies, only on a much bigger scale, allowed for a lot of different types of commentary, be it on why scary stories in any forms are important, about filmmaking and Hollywood, being associated with one thing for so much of your life that it's never quite the same, and so on. It allowed Craven to bring back his original version of Freddy, getting rid of the silly portrayal that had come to be in the later movies (there are some noticeable jabs at that in the film as well). And, of course, there's the whole meta-angle, which was a new idea at the time and it makes it interesting in retrospect that, in a couple of years, Craven would be directing Scream (which I like, although I prefer this). That film and its sequels would be the most profitable movies he would ever be involved with but, like I said earlier, I don't think that Craven ever made a movie that topped this one, making it doubly sad that his career ended on junk like My Soul To Take and Scream 4.

More so than even in the original Nightmare and definitely more than Nightmare 3, Heather Langenkamp is the character who truly carries this movie and she's great at it, giving her best performance in the series in my opinion. From the beginning, you can see how being associated with the series has changed her life and it's not exactly in a good way. She's been stalked lately by an apparent creepy fan of the films, she's been having nightmares as a result, being particularly frightened by the one she has at the beginning of the film, and her acting career hasn't flourished that much lately, with how Chase tells her that she's "gotta get back on the horse sometime" and she tells that limousine driver that she's hardly a star as he calls her. As a result of everything that's been happening, she's not enthused about doing an interview about the 10th anniversary of A Nightmare on Elm Street and, even though it's in good fun, the appearance of Robert Englund in his Freddy getup is rather disturbing to her. On top that, some violent earthquakes have her nerves even more frayed and she notices that her son, Dylan, is beginning to act strangely, running something like a fever at the beginning of the movie, making scary faces in his oatmeal, and screaming for no reason when she turns off the TV when it's playing the original Nightmare movie. Small wonder that doing another Nightmare movie is the last thing she wants and turns down Bob Shaye's offer, although that's when she does begin to see that the films really seem to be seeping into her life when Bob unintentionally hints that weird things have been happening to him as well and when she gets home to find that Dylan was having a dream like the victims in the movies. Her life really becomes dark when her husband is killed on the way home from a job, with his body looking like it was clawed in a Freddy-like manner, and at his funeral, she has a hallucinatory dream of Freddy actually pulling Dylan down into the casket. As Dylan's behavior becomes more and more bizarre, and what's more, frightening, Heather isn't sure if she's losing her mind, if he's suffering from some heriditary mental illness in her family, or if Freddy has somehow become real. Having more Freddy-esque dreams, not getting much sleep as a result, and having to put Dylan into the hospital when he goes into some type of catatonic state, she ultimately visits with Wes Craven and learns that he's been dreaming the events that have unfolded and have been writing them down in his script for the new movie, explaining to her about the ancient evil that has taken the form of Freddy and is free to cross over into the real world now that the movies have ended. This is when Heather has to choose whether or not she can be Nancy Thompson again in order to battle Freddy and, hopefully, destroy him, which Heather isn't she can do. However, when she learns once and for all that it is real and that Freddy's actions could result in Dylan being taken away from her, she steps up to the plate and takes charge, not taking any more crap from the disbelieving hospital staff and battling Freddy in his domain with her son, ultimately proving successful in destroying both the entity and his realm.

The other character whose shoulders the film rests upon is Miko Hughes as Heather's son, Dylan, who also gives a good performance. He's a likable kid who is obviously being mentally tortured by something, frightened by disturbing nightmares involving Freddy, entering trance-like states, often involving the original Nightmare on Elm Street playing on TV, that end with him screaming bloody murder, and getting an occasional fever. One scene with him early on that's very palpable for me is when he describes to his mother how his stuffed dinosaur, Rex, is his guard and that he keeps "the mean man with the claws" down at the foot of his bed. When Heather shows her son that there's nothing at the foot of his bed, he simply says, "It's different when you're gone," which I think is how any kid who was scared of being alone in the dark would describe it to their parents. Another part that I find creepy is the scene at night in the kitchen after Chase has been killed and Dylan, after being awoken out of one of those trance states by Heather, tells her he can't go back to his room because he hears kids singing the Freddy nursery rhyme in his bed. The idea of being alone in your room at night and hearing that coming from your bed really chills my bones (the way he himself sings it is pretty eerie too). And yeah, on top of this, Dylan loses his father and no longer one of the people who's supposed to love and protect him, which has to make him feel even less safe than he already was. It gets to the point where he questions why God allows bad things to exist and even attempts to have God take him, almost getting himself killed when he climbs to the top of this rocket ship structure at the park and reaches out to the sky. Soon, Freddy does something that puts Dylan into something of a trance state, which forces Heather to take him to the hospital, where his condition gets worse. He does come out of the trance but he can sense that Freddy is just about able to cross over into the real world and is getting sleepy, putting him at risk of being attacked. He's sedated by the nurses and falls asleep, allowing Freddy to kill his babysitter through his dreams and he sleepwalks back to his home, getting attacked by Freddy along the way. He's dragged into the monster's domain when Heather finally accepts her role as Nancy and allows reality to become the film world, although she's not too far behind him in entering Freddy's lair. I like that, even though Heather saves him from Freddy a number of times during the climax, he helps out in her fight against him, saving her a couple of times and helping her to ultimately destroy him.

In his audio commentary on the film, Craven mentioned how when you first saw it, you might be compelled to think that there's something sinister about Dylan's babysitter, Julie (Tracy Middendorf), that she could possibly be a pawn of Freddy's, due to some occasional weird looks she gives him and whatnot. Even in the Never Sleep Again documentary, it's said that she was originally meant to be in on the whole thing but that the idea was dropped. To be honest, though, I never even considered that she could be a part of it. All I saw was a decent girl who was trying everything she could to help her friend and her son, whom she both really cared about. Yeah, there is an odd exchange of glances between her and Dylan at the end of her first scene when Heather is about to leave for the interview and the way she talks to Heather about how the earthquakes have been freaking everybody out does come across as odd but I never thought much of it. And, as it turns out, she's not in on it at all. Not only does she stitch Rex back up for Dylan after he gets clawed by Freddy but she also rushes to the hospital to see if Dylan is alright when she has a bad dream about him and manages to get in to comfort him at one point. Her best moment comes when, after Heather tells her to keep Dylan awake, the nurses go behind her back and sedate him. Enraged, she clocks the older nurse who distracted her in the face (I love Dylan's reaction when she does that) and threatens the one who actually injected him with another syringe, running her out of the room. Unfortunately for her, she's unable to keep Dylan from falling asleep, allowing Freddy to enter his dreams and slaughter her in what has to be the movie's most horrific scene.

Julie doesn't have much screentime in the film but at least she lasts up to the third act, which is more than I can say for Heather's husband, Chase (David Newsom). When he gets his fingers sliced open during the opening nightmare scene and tries to come up with a rational explanation as to how it happened for Heather, you just know that he's not going to last long, especially when he goes off on a job that turns out to be making a new Freddy glove for the film Wes Craven is writing. And, sure enough, Freddy does come back to finish the job, using the new glove to slice open his chest and cause him to crash. There's really not much to say about Chase since he dies so quickly other than he seems like a really nice, supportive guy, trying to comfort Heather when she's stressing about what's been going on lately with the harassing phone-calls, telling her that she can't let it affect her working life, as well as trying to put her mind at ease about the nightmare she had where his fingers got cut. He also comes across as a good father to Dylan and I don't doubt that the playing around he did with him in the dream is something he would do in reality. And finally, I like how, even though he's stuck on the job by himself because two of his assistants didn't show up for work (because they were dead, unbeknownst to everyone at that point), he decides he needs to come home when Heather calls him and tells him about how Dylan's been acting and that the phone-calls have started up again. Unfortunately, that's what gets him killed since he falls asleep at the wheel, and Freddy also uses him as a means to frighten Heather when she dreams about his corpse coming to life in the casket at the funeral, saying, "Stay with me, Heather," as blood runs out of his eyes. One thing I find funny is how Chase is supposed to be a special effects artist but Newsom has said that he didn't feel like that at all when he met the real effects artists working on the movie, feeling more like a dork instead of the blue-collar, working class kind of people that they are.

As is often the case in these films, you have a disbelieving authority figure who means well but ultimately ends up doing more harm than good: in this case, it's Dr. Christine Heffner (Fran Bennett), the doctor who takes care of Dylan after he's admitted to the hospital. Even though she is a very imposing figure and begins to suspect Heather of psychologically abusing Dylan through sleep deprivation and making him watch horror films, even suggesting that he put in foster care for a while so they can see if there's anything wrong with Heather mentally, she does have good intentions. She's simply concerned for Dylan's wellbeing and is trying to find an answer for what's wrong with him. Like anybody, she's not going to believe that Freddy Krueger has become real and is terrorizing both Heather and her son, and when Heather begins acting like that is the case, that, coupled with Dylan's fear of a man coming out of his bed, makes her believe that Heather could possibly be a disturbed woman who's, intentionally or not, influencing her son in a very unhealthy way. When she cleans and dresses the slashes that Freddy leaves on her left arm, there's a possibility that Heffner believes that they were self-inflicted since Heather talks about an earthquake that wasn't felt over at the hospital, adding fuel to that particular fire. And when she suspects Heather of depriving Dylan of sleep (which she is but, again, not for the reason Heffner thinks), she sees to it that Dylan is sedated, which both puts him in danger and gets Julie killed, setting in motion the climax. As well-meaning as she is, though, Heffner has a personal bias against the influence of horror films on children, feeling that they could push an unstable child over the edge, which makes her a little less likable, especially since that's not the case here at all (I know Craven gave the character the name Heffner as a middle finger to a member of the MPAA who had been the bane of his existence throughout his directing career). Unlike a lot of these types of characters in this franchise, Heffner does seem to realize how wrong she was by the end of her scenes, seeming absolutely shocked at Julie's grisly death (which is satisfying to see) and learning that Dylan sleepwalks, meaning that she's put him in danger of other things besides Freddy.

There are many people involved with the Nightmare series playing themselves in this movie, with one of the most prominent being John Saxon. I'd say that, like Heather Langenkamp, this is his best performance in the series, mainly because, unlike the rather stern disbeliever he was in the original film and the bitter alcoholic he was in Nightmare 3, he's a really nice, likable guy here. His scenes with Heather are really excellent, especially that scene at the park where he's trying to put her mind at ease about what's wrong with Dylan, assuring her that she's not crazy, that Dylan's behavior is perfectly normal for a kid who's just lost his father, and that her having dreams about Freddy is not surprising given what she's been dealing with. A good line from him is when Heather mentions that a relative of hers died in an asylum and that she's worried that she might have passed down to Dylan some sort of craziness that runs in her family: "Well, if having a screwy family made a person crazy, the whole world would be one big loony bin." Again, he just comes across as a great, caring guy who's trying to help out an old friend and, even though he can't believe what he's hearing when Heather calls him and says that she thinks Freddy's after Dylan, he does meet up with her at her house like she asked him to. And that's when Freddy's growing influence on reality takes hold of him, causing him to assume his role of Lt. Donald Thompson from the movies and act like Heather is Nancy, which is what forces her to accept her role as such and begins the lead-up to the final confrontation with the monster.

I've heard some say that Wes Craven comes across as rather creepy in this film when he's explaining to Heather what's going on but I've never felt that. Instead, I've always thought that he seemed like a very scared person who's become aware of something truly terrifying through his nightmares and is using as a means of writing a new movie in order to once again trap the ancient, evil entity that has taken the form of Freddy and is trying to break into reality. He's also good enough to tell Heather that the entity is going to target her as its main foe because she's the one who played Nancy, the first person who managed to defeat Freddy, that it's going to come at her most vulnerable points (i.e. Dylan), and that she's soon going to have to choose whether or not she can play Nancy again in order to do what must be done to defeat it. And while I do think that he was sincere when he tells Heather that he initially didn't know that the stuff he was writing was actually happening, I do think Heather is right when she says that he knows now that it's more than just a script based on dreams considering what we see on his computer at the end of that scene (I'm sure that he had to have known after Chase's death and funeral, given the way he looks up at the sky when that scene ends). So, no, I don't find Craven scary here; if you want scary, you should look at the concept art for the original depiction of him, where he was half-crazed, on the run from Freddy, being driven around in a limousine by Michael Berryman, and had cut his eyelids off in order to stay awake! Bob Shaye also has a brief appearance in a couple of scenes, notably in the one where Heather is invited over to the offices of New Line Cinema and he asks her to be in the new movie Craven is working on. Now, Shaye has been no stranger to appearing in these films, as well as other New Line movies, and while he's often proven himself to not be the best actor (especially in his appearance in Freddy's Dead), I think he's pretty decent here. At first, he just seems like someone who's nice enough to invite Heather over to offer her the lead role in the new Nightmare movie but when Heather declines, he becomes rather desperate to get her onboard for some reason. His reason becomes clearer when Heather asks if he's been getting weird phone-calls or having nightmares during the time that Craven has been writing the script and he becomes reluctant to answer his phone when it starts ringing. Later on when you learn what's going on from Craven, it becomes a given that Shaye knew the truth as well, which was why he wanted Heather to be part of the movie: so they could make it and vanquish the evil that had been released.

Robert Englund has an interesting job in this film in that he plays himself, the goofy persona of Freddy during the talk show scene, and the "real" Freddy that the ancient evil has taken the form of. It's interesting how, in the first two guises, he's unknowingly being a disturbing omen for Heather given that he's really the last person she wanted to see at that talk show, especially in his Freddy getup, and at the funeral after she'd just had a vision of Freddy pulling Dylan down into the coffin. In reality, he's another really likable person, coming across as charming and funny and someone who wants to help an old friend get through a very tough time. He has a nice line when he's walking with Heather after the talk show and he lets on that people might want to see the two of them in a movie again. When Heather says, "Like what? A romantic comedy?", he says, "Just because it's a love story doesn't mean you can't have a decapitation or two." And even though he unknowingly disturbs her, I do like how, at the funeral, he comes up to her and sincerely says, "If there's anything I can do, Heather. Anything." Like so many of the people associated with A Nightmare on Elm Street, you learn that he's been having nightmares about the real Freddy, going as far as to make a real creepy painting out of one of his visions and seeming rather freaked out at what he's just created, so much so that he doesn't allow Heather to come over to his house to talk about what's going on. After that, Robert himself completely disappears, with a recording on his answering machine suggesting that he'd had enough and he and his wife got out while the getting was good. I've read some interpretations that the entity possessed him so that it could manifest itself physically as Freddy and enter the real world, akin to how it made John Saxon and Heather accept their roles, but I never thought that, particularly since the entity had no problem becoming Freddy before then and because Robert himself had been dreaming about it. As I said, and as Wes Craven said in his audio commentary, I assumed he just left town.

Wes Craven's biggest wish when he finally returned to A Nightmare on Elm Street was to go back to his original, dark and truly evil interpretation of Freddy and he definitely succeeded on that score. Forget about the clownish villain that fused a guy to a motorcycle or sucked a stoner into a video game; this Freddy will just come at you and rip you to pieces in an instant without cracking a single, corny joke. As far as his personality goes, I think he's more on par with the portrayal in Nightmare 2 than in the original movie since he doesn't have the sadistic glee that was present throughout most of that movie but rather just seems to revel in the evil and torment that he's causing, hardly ever laughing, or speaking, except in a truly malevolent way. The scene where he brutally kills Julie right in front of Dylan, asking him, "Ever play skin the cat?" in a very nasty way before he finishes her off is even more malicious to me than Tina's similarly disturbing death in the original movie. Not only that, it's the way that he seeps himself into Heather's life, not only tormenting her in her dreams but also stalking her over the phone, killing her husband, and severely frightening her son. In fact, the child molester side of Freddy that was always sort of hinted at before is made a bit more concrete here when he tells Heather over the phone, "I touched him." Now, that could be interpreted in many ways, meaning that he got his hooks into Dylan enough to where he goes into a catatonic state or something else, but the way he snickered about it and then repeated the phone-tongue gag from the original movie on Heather suggests something rather nasty. And the way he tortures Dylan by picking him up and moving him amongst all of those cars during the freeway scene is another example of what I meant when I said he seems to be enjoying the horror that he's causing without the glee from the first film. Speaking of which, you can tell that Craven was right when he said that this entity has really gotten used to being Freddy, moving like him and acting like him, especially during the climax when he's mocking Dylan's fear, singing the nursery rhyme at one point when he jumps at him (for me, that's the only time when he has some of that exuberant energy in what he's doing), and scraping his claws against things. My only problem with Freddy, and indeed the whole film, is that some of the stuff he does during the climax, like opening his mouth wide enough to fit Dylan's head in (especially the rapidly-bobbing tongue) and the long, slimy tongue that he wraps around Heather, looks kind of stupid and feels to me like something you would see in those goofier films, although that's just me.

I don't know what the general consensus is about Freddy's radical redesign here but as for me, I love it and think it fits well with what Craven was going for. First off, the makeup is the best that David Miller (whom I didn't know did makeup for this particular film) ever created in my opinion, appearing less burnt and more demonic, with the skin looking split in places to reveal the muscle underneath and such. I also like that the "glove" now really is his hand, with metal blades having fused with the flesh and bone, something of an update of the literal finger-knives he had in Nightmare 2. Speaking of which, I think Freddy's facial design here is akin to the witch-like look that Kevin Yagher went for in that film, which works well with the Hansel and Gretel motif here. Going back to the glove, I wish that the one in the opening nightmare that was completely metallic could have gotten more use because I thought that thing looked really cool and wicked. I've also heard some complaints about Freddy's updated wardrobe, with the dark overcoat and the now green hat, but I've never minded it. I actually really like the overcoat: it looks really good on him and gives him something of an added touch of mystery and menace (probably something else that Craven took from that creepy bum that scared him when he was a kid), although I wish that he'd been wearing in the very darkly lit scenes because I think it would have been most effective there. And for those who complain about the hat, you only see it a couple of times so I don't know what the big deal is. The sweater does look a little too pristine for me and it's weird how the pants look like they're made of leather in some scenes but I can deal with it. Design-wise, the only qualm I have with Freddy is when you see the entity in its real form right before it's destroyed. It's a pretty generic demon look, with the horns, the scaly skin, the sharp teeth, and the pointy ears. I don't know what else they could have done, especially given the film's low budget, but I would have just liked a little more creativity in the look of the thing.

One of the things that makes New Nightmare an interesting and enjoyable film to watch is how reality is slowly absorbed by the film world of A Nightmare on Elm Street over the course of the narrative. It starts off with the evil entity gaining the ability to invade the dreams of various people and kill them like Freddy in the films and stalking Heather over the phone, which has been going on for a while before the narrative begins. He also does something that Freddy would definitely do, which is prey on the innocence of a child by tormeting Dylan, again harkening back to what Freddy was in the world of the films before he was burned alive. It's interesting how the original Nightmare movie itself becomes something of a running motif throughout the film, often playing on the television in front of Dylan, even after Heather has unplugged the set. Of course, there's the whole notion of Dylan knowing the lyrics to the Freddy Krueger nursery rhyme without having seen the movies because he's heard it in his dreams and from beneath his bed, as well as knowing who Freddy is to begin with, tapping into what Heather says late in the film about him being such a well-known character that people who've never seen the movies know of him. Where reality really starts to crack is when we get the sense that everything that we've been seeing is stuff that's being written into the screenplay in progress by Wes Craven after he's dreamed about it, with a great example being the end of the scene between him and Heather where we see that the dialogue on his computer is exactly what was just spoken between the two of them, with the film itself fading to black just as the script says so. That script pops up during the finale, detailing exactly what Heather is reading from it as voiceover dialogue to be put into the finished movie, and at the very end of the movie with Heather flipping through it, where we can see descriptions of scenes that were in the movie we just watched, right down to the voiceover of Craven's thank you note to Heather on its cover and Dylan's asking his mother to read him some of the script. It's like the movie that we've been watching is what was made from the script that was written by Craven over the course of these events truly happening in their lives, that we've seen a complete dramatization of what necessitated this film to be made (the title of the script is even the same as the actual movie). It's really mind-bending stuff and doesn't quite break the fourth wall but does chip at it a little bit. Of course, the film is ultimately about Heather having to accept her role as Nancy again, something that she is slowly but surely pulled into, with her realization of what's going on, a gray streak appearing in her hair like in the original movie, her speaking some of the exact lines from that movie, and ultimately accepting it by calling John Saxon "Daddy" after he's sucked into his original role of Lt. Thompson. This allows the evil to fully enter reality and merge it with the film world, with Heather's clothes becoing the pajamas from the original movie, her Los Angeles house becoming the infamous 1428 Elm Street, and the film set we saw in the opening nightmare becoming Freddy's real lair.

Besides the obvious, like its appearance on TV at several points in the movie and repeated lines of dialogue, the original Nightmare on Elm Street is referred back to many times in the film's narrative as reality is swallowed up by the film world. The opening nightmare, with the new glove being built, is very similar to the original film's opening where you saw Freddy building his glove in his boiler room. The phone's bottom section becoming Freddy's mouth and tongue happens again, in reality just as it did in the original film, Julie's horrific death is most definitely like that of Tina in the first movie, and is also akin to Glen's death in that the heroine was kept from preventing it by some type of unbelieving authority figure, and Freddy rising up out of the mattress of Dylan's bed brings to mind when he came up behind Nancy at the end of the original movie. Even the stairs becoming goop that impeads Heather's ability to run as fast as she could is repeated in the climax, which is surprising considering that wasn't something that Craven wanted in the original movie. And, of course, the climax of Heather having to confront Freddy in his domain is just like that of the original movie, although now I'm really stretching so we'd best move on.

There are many other things here that blur the line between fact and fiction, including how the film has no opening credits, which was not common at all back then (I think this was the first one I ever saw that did that) and makes you wonder if what you're watching is really a fictional piece or some sort of documentary, especially since the opening goes from what appears to be a nightmare like in the other movies to a look behind the scenes. The film's own trailer played this up, with interviews with Wes Craven, Bob Shaye, and Robert Englund talking about the movie as if it were real, with Shaye in particular saying that he's scared of what Craven may have tapped into, being spliced in with actual scenes from the movie. In addition to the film being set in the "real world," with many actors and crew members involved with the films playing themselves, you have real aspects of their lives seeping into it, like Heather Langenkamp's husband being an effects artist, having a young son like she did back then, and, most disturbingly, her being stalked. You also have the whole notion of Nightmare on Elm Street being represented as the popular franchise that it really was, with all of the real memorabilia in Bob Shaye's office (including the Nightmare Never Ends making of book beside his phone; also, that setting was the real offices of New Line Cinema at the time), all of the fans in the talk-show studio who want more Freddy and start chanting, "Freddy! Freddy!" when Robert Englund comes out in full makeup and costume (which really has happened), as well as Shaye saying that the fans' hunger for more is what made them decide to make another movie, a real photo from the set of the original in Craven's home office, and the notion I mentioned earlier of Freddy being so much a part of the culture that even kids know who he is without having seen the movies. Speaking of Englund, his playing himself and appearing on a talk show in the guise of the "film" Freddy as well as playing the "real" Freddy who is the main villain of the story must have blown a few minds as well (not to mention the joke of Freddy being credited as himself in the ending credits). There are also some noticeable jabs at the direction the character of Freddy took as the series went on, with that limo driver saying that the original Nightmare was the best and Craven himself saying that one way the story holding the ancient evil dies, releasing it, is, "it gets watered down to make it an easier sell." And finally, you have to mention the funeral scene, where you see a lot of the cast members as well a glimpse of Tuesday Knight from Nightmare 4 among the mourners and a quick close-up of Jsu Garcia (Nick Corri) who played Rod in the original film, making it feel like a real reunion. It really is amazing how Craven was able to make this feel less like a movie than a real story, although one instance where reality and fiction got too close for comfort was when the devastating Northridge earthquake happened after they had filmed the earthquake scenes necessary for the movie, with some of the crew members asking Craven, "What have you done?" That didn't stop him from putting actual shots of the damage it caused into the film, though.

Craven also uses the film to get some things off his chest about the stigma against horror films and the crap he had to put up with during the entirety of his filmmaking career. As I said, he named the character of Dr. Christine Heffner after a leading member of the MPAA, Dr. Richard Heffner, who absolutely drove Craven mad during the majority of his career, forcing him to make cuts and compromises to his films that he found to be agonizing (ironically, though, this was the last Craven movie whose rating he was part of before he retired and he gave it a clean R, without forcing them to cut much of anything). In his audio commentary on the film, Craven says that the scenes where the character of Dr. Heffner is telling Nancy about her feelings that horror films can harm a child mentally, and particularly where she accuses Heather of showing Dylan the Nightmare movies that she herself was in, are basically what he had to listen to from the real-life Dr. Heffner, about how he was harming the children of America with his movies. In contrast, the fact that Dylan is being affected by a very real evil that has entered his life and Heather trying to make Heffner understand that is like Craven's feelings that there's so much horrific stuff in the world that is inescapable because it's there wherever you turn that if you didn't have some sort of outlet to deal with it, be it in films or literature or any form, you would really go crazy, especially since the stuff real life is far more horrifying than anything a filmmaker could create. That notion is part of the film's overall theme of horror stories being a necessity, with the overall plot of this ancient evil being held captive within scary stories but is free to get out and torment the world now that the stories it has presently been held in, the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, are no longer being told being the most concrete and blatant aspect of it. Craven also uses the classic story of Hansel and Gretel, having Heather read it to Dylan and then weaving it into the finale, with Dylan leaving his sleeping pills behind like breadcrumbs as a way for his mother to find him and the two of them ultimately destroying Freddy by pushing him into an oven like the witch, to show that this kind of story is timeless and shouldn't be suppressed (as Grimm's fairy-tales are nowadays in book stores).

Speaking of children, a lot of this film is spent on how an innocent child copes with horrific things. From the outset, Dylan knows much more than the adults about what's going on, that the evil man that he's been dreaming about is real and that he has to protect himself him, which he does with the use of his stuffed dinosaur, Rex. He uses Rex as a guardian to keep Freddy from coming up through his bed and, indeed, Rex does appear to save him a few times, getting slashed open by Freddy early on and even Dylan says that he was woken up by the two of them "fighting." Whether it was just Freddy trying to get to Dylan but knocking into Rex by accident and getting frustrated or if, in Dylan's dreams, Rex becomes an actual dinosaur and fights Freddy off, we're never told but the toy does become a source of comfort for Dylan, which is taken away from him when he's admitted to the hospital. Because Dylan knows more than the adults, he's also unable to rely on what they tell him and has to take care of himself. He makes his mother finish the story of Hansel and Gretel, even though he does know the ending, because it's important that he hears it in case of what happens when he goes to sleep, and as I described earlier, when Heather shows Dylan that there's nothing at the foot of his bed but the floor and that he shouldn't be afraid, he tells her that it's different when she's not around, meaning that it doesn't matter what she says because he knows the truth about what's going on. That's why, even though Heather assures him that she'll make sure that nothing happens to him while he's asleep in her bed, he still makes sure that Rex is down there at the bottom of the bed and that he keeps his feet up past him, and also why, most significantly, he doesn't take the sleeping pill given to him at the hospital because he knows that, without Rex, he'll be completely defenseless against Freddy if he falls asleep. Craven noted on the audio commentary that, when he and Patrick Lussier edited the film, he realized that he had unknowingly constructed the scene where Dylan overhears that his father has died in an almost identical fashion to what happened in his own life when his father died when he was around Dylan's age. Dylan overhears his mother talking to the police from the living room and walks away before the officers confirm that Chase is dead since he already knows what's happened. Like John Saxon tells Heather later on, kids are able to pick up on things even if adults don't tell them about them, such as the phone calls that Heather has been getting (although you don't have to be too smart to know that something's wrong when she, right in front of Dylan, suddenly yells over the phone before she even knows who the caller is). And finally, after all of the horrible things that have happened in his life lately, you have Dylan innocently asking his mother why a benevolent God would let such things happen, a simple question that the "all-knowing" adult has no answer for. This leads to the most devastatingly innocent, naive thing that Dylan does in the entire film, which is when he climbs onto this rocket-shaped jungle gym at the park and tries to reach out to God, after his mother told him that in order to see God, you might have to pray and reach out. All he succeeds in doing is almost getting himself killed and after he falls, he simply says that God wouldn't take him, even though he did what his mother told him you should do, which probably only fueled his sense of dread.

Filmmaking and, more so, the nature of Hollywood also gets commented on a bit in the film. For one, it shows how the business forces you to more or less abandon your loved one for hours or even days on end, with Chase having to go off on a project for a couple of days, leaving his wife and son behind, and Heather doing the same to Dylan for most of the day when she goes off to the interview, with Dylan's reaction suggesting that this is far from the first time that this has happened. For another, the film talks a little bit about the effect that being pigeonholed by one specific film or film genre can have on an actor's life, with Heather reluctant to do the interview about the 10th anniversary of A Nightmare on Elm Street because of how she hasn't been able to do much else lately (look at how cynical and burned out she looks and sounds when she tells that limo driver, "I'm hardly a star," after he brings up the movies) and also because of the stalking that she's been going through. When she does do the interview, she tries to steer the conversation away from Nightmare but Sam Rubin is unwilling to let that happen and, what's more, goes as far as to pry into her personal life, another big part of show business, and bring up the topic of her son, which she did not want, and ask her if he's changed her perception about horror movies, if she would let him watch any of the Nightmare films, and if she would trust Robert Englund alone with him (a very ironic question considering what happens by the end of the movie). Finally, you have the notion of how creepy some fans can be with, not just with the idea of stalking (even though that turns out to really be Freddy) but also that limo driver going on about how much he loved the really gruesome stuff in the original movie, which Heather does not need to hear after the morning she's had. That's something that Craven said he and others involved with these types of movies dealt with and I'm sure that it must be a really weird thing to hear. And in some ways, a bunch of kids dressed up as and cheering for a character like Freddy, who started out as a very depraved, sick villain in the first film, rather than the heroine who vanquished him, is unsettling as well, which is what Englund must have been talking about when he said that this movie was a way for them all to sit back and think, "What have we done?" It all ties back in to the notion Craven had of how A Nightmare on Elm Street really changed their lives and how they would never not be associated with it.

Compared to the other Nightmare movies, there aren't that many makeup and gore effects (there are only four kills in the entire movie) or extravagant visual effects here but those that are present are, for the most part, done very well. While David Miller's studio again handles the Freddy makeup, the other makeup effects are handled by KNB, who'd first worked with Wes Craven on The People Under the Stairs and went on to do many other movies with him, and they do some good work. Most of their effects, like the two effects artists' neck and chest getting sliced open by the animatronic Freddy glove in the opening, Chase's chest getting skewered by Freddy's glove in the truck, the makeup they put on him to make him look dead in the morgue scene and all of the fake bodies in there as well (which were leftovers from another movie), the slashes on Heather's left arm by Freddy (which look especially good), simple bleeding effects like Chase's eye in the funeral scene and Dylan's nose, and the blood that pours out of Julie when Freddy kills her, are pretty simple stuff when compared to what we've seen in the past movies but do the job very well. Some of the more elaborate effects that KNB did are seen during the climax when Freddy stretches his arm a great distance to grab Dylan, when he unhinges his jaw and opens his mouth to where he could swallow Dylan's head, and his long tongue that he wraps around Heather, the tip of which gets stabbed straight through and becomes like forked tongue afterward. These effects, however, are some that I have mixed feelings about, mainly because of the concept behind them since they feel like stuff you would have seen in the sillier movies that came before. As for how they look, the stretching arm and especially the head with the mouth that opens really wide look funny more than frightening to me and in the close-ups, I can tell that the head is an animatronic with latex over it. The tongue, however, looks quite organic with how slimy it, although that caused Heather Langenkamp some grief since the phallus jokes were unavoidable, with the fact that she's a woman making it even worse.

As for the visual and mechanical effects, the best are the use of another rotating room for Julie's death, making that scene look just as impressive as Tina's death in the original movie (in many ways, it's more so because you see Freddy walking along the walls and ceiling this time as well as the victim and the observer), the enormous Freddy claw that picks up Dylan during the freeway scene, and the miniatures for the exterior of Freddy's temple lair at the end of the movie, which looks really good when it's blowing up after he's been defeated. The blue and rear-projection screen work here is more hit and miss, although I don't think it's as distractingly bad as some of the stuff in Freddy's Dead. It's during the highway scene where there's a lot of this being used and you can tell that Heather Langenkamp and Miko Hughes are in front of various types of screens but that scene is so well-edited and exciting that I can look past its faults (the famous shot where Heather ducks down to avoid the swinging tanker looks pretty good), including also the kind of questionable matting in of the giant Freddy claw when it actually comes down and hooks Dylan. And the matte painting of the pit that Heather falls down into when she enters Freddy's world, even though it took a number of different passes to get the elements to make it look the way it does, looks pretty dated by today's standards. Speaking of which, there's a fair amount of early CGI used in the film with varying degrees of success. The running, mechanical glove at the beginning of the film, the rippling effect of Freddy's claws coming up through the upholstery of the truck seat, and his image appearing in the clouds in the sky before he attacks Dylan on the freeway still look pretty decent but some of the morphing effects, like when the animatronic Freddy head goes back to Robert Englund without a cut and when the demon's true form is revealed at the end, are very noticeable and haven't aged well.

The movie opens in a very similar way to the original Nightmare on Elm Street, with what appears to be Freddy building a new, completely robotic glove, in a dungeon-like room with furnaces all around and steam billowing. The fingers of the glove flex by themselves and it even forms a fist pounds on the wooden table it's lying on, with "Freddy" forcing it back down on the table and attaching small but sharp claws to the fingers. Once all of the claws are in place, he puts his hand on a chopping block and picks up a meat-cleaver, severing his hand in one swipe. That's when a quick cut reveals Heather Langenkamp shielding Dylan's eyes and when we cut back to what's going on, we see that it's a movie being made, with Wes Craven directing the effects guys to pump fake blood out of the severed "arm" while the guy wearing Freddy's sweater picks up the robotic glove, whose fingers are being controlled by Heather's husband, Chase, and puts it where the fake hand used to be. Craven calls cut, orders it to be printed, and then thanks Chase and the other guys, Chuck and Terry, for their work. Chase then takes Dylan backstage to show him some stuff, followed by Heather. As Chase plays with Dylan, Chuck and Terry tell him that they think the glove's servos got shorted out by the blood, with Chase telling them to take it apart and insulate the servos with styrofoam. Chase explains to Dylan how state of the art the glove is when the fingers suddenly flex by themselves. Putting Dylan down, Chase inspects the prop when the fingers twitch again, causing two of his own to get sliced open by the blades. As Chase licks the blood from his fingers, they try to figure out what caused it do that even though it's turned off. Terry jokes that it's warm like a real hand, when the thing suddenly jumps at Chuck and punctures his throat before falling back onto the table and crawling across it with its fingers. The furnaces in the set suddenly ignite and Craven yells for the effects to be cut while Chase tries to get control of the glove, slamming the remote control on the table. His throat bleeding out, Chuck stumbles towards Chase for help and falls on top of him, while Terry tries to find the glove. During the commotion, Dylan wanders away from his mother and she watches him crawl onto a nearby prop bed when the glove, after scraping its claws down the side of the metal table, crawls up to and slashes open the back of Terry's foot. He falls to the floor and Chase and Heather watch helplessly as it jumps up and stabs into his chest, killing him instantly. Dylan suddenly disappears without a trace and the glove crawls across Chuck's back and jumps at Chase's face, with Heather screaming.

She's then woken up by Chase in the middle of a very violent earthquake. He pulls her out of bed and the two of them try to find cover when they hear Dylan scream in his bedroom. They rush downstairs and into his bedroom, jumping onto the bed with him and shielding him with their bodies. The quake then quickly dies down and subsides, leaving the swing-set in the backyard rocking and the water of their swimming pool violently sloshing. They can also hear a bunch of car alarms nearby that are eventually deactivated. Chase then asks Heather and Dylan, who seems to have something of a fever, if they're alright and tries to play off the earthquakes being fun in a way, when Dylan notices the cuts on his hand, which are just like those he received in the dream. Chase tries to explain it away as having happened when the mirror in their bedroom fell and walks out of Dylan's bedroom, as the sounds of emergency sirens fill the air outside. Later, when Heather is getting ready for the interview that day and Chase leaves for a job, the house suddenly shakes and four long, parallel cracks go down the back wall, looking like big claw marks. Alarmed by this, Heather runs downstairs and finds Dylan watching the original Nightmare on Elm Street on TV, specifically the scene where Tina appears to Nancy in a body bag. Heather tells Dylan she doesn't want him watching that and unplugs the set, when Dylan suddenly begins screaming while staring straight ahead at nothing. The phone then rings and when Heather answers it, she hears metal scraping and a voice that sounds an awful lot like Freddy say, "One, two..." Heather slams the phone down, when it rings a few seconds later. She picks it back up and hears, "Freddy's comin' for you!" Panicked that the disturbing phone-calls have started again, Heather runs to the door and tries to tell Chase but he takes off in his truck right then. She closes the door and locks it, when Dylan says, "Someone's coming." What appears to be a brief aftershock shakes the house for a few seconds, prompting Heather to run for Dylan and hold him until it quickly subsides, leaving the pots hanging from the kitchen's ceiling swinging. The doorbell then rings, panicking Heather further, but she relaxes when she sees that it's just Julie, Dylan's babysitter. When she lets her in, Julie says that the shaking was just a big truck that went by and when Heather asks her to see if Dylan feels warm to her, she says he seems okay. When the phone rings again, Heather grabs it and yells, "Leave us alone, you son of a bitch!" It turns out to be the driver of the limo that's been sent to take her to the interview and, after a bit more talking between Heather and Julie, she leaves.

At the end of the day, following the interview and being invited over to New Line Cinema to meet with Bob Shaye, who tells her of the new Nightmare movie Wes Craven is writing and that Chase is working on a new Freddy Krueger glove for it, Heather returns home and when she gets out of the limo, she hears the sound of Dylan yelling inside. Running inside and into his bedroom, she finds Julie trying to wake him up while he's thrashing around and yelling in his sleep. She picks him up and cradles him as he wakes up, hyperventilating as he breathes, and then, looking at her very intensely, he raspily sings, "Never sleep again. Never sleep again." Heather asks Julie if she let him watch A Nightmare on Elm Street on TV but she says that he didn't watch any TV, that he was taking his nap when she heard him screaming. When Dylan finally comes out of it, he says that Rex saved him and when he pulls the stuffed dinosaur out from beneath the covers, Heather sees that its side is slashed open. She has Julie take Rex into the kitchen with her and Dylan to sew him up, while she tries to make sense of what's going on. She calls Chase at the spot where he's working and tells him what happened, as well as that there's been another threatening phone call. Heather asks him to come home and while Chase initially says that he can't because Chuck and Terry didn't show up, when she tells him the details of what happened, he decides to go ahead and do it, saying he'll be home in three hours. As he leaves the site in his truck, you see that the new Freddy glove he'd been working on that was shown earlier is now gone from the prop trailer. On his way home that night, Chase is nodding off at the wheel and almost swerves onto the wrong side of the road. He rolls down the window to try to keep himself awake from the cool air and tries to call someone, probably Heather, but can't get a signal. He nods off and almost drives onto the wrong side of the road again, prompting to switch the radio over to some other stations to keep him awake but can't find one. Turning the radio off, he tries to keep himself awake by singing Losing My Religion to himself but as he nods off again slowly, claws come up through the seat between his legs and move toward his crotch, with one claw subtly swiping across his fly. Chase then scratches his balls after feeling the sensation and gets back to driving, only to fall asleep. This time, the Freddy glove comes all the way out of the seat and stabs into his chest, with blood pouring out as he loses control of the truck, goes off the road, and crashes into a concrete wall. At home, after apparently sensing what's happened, Heather is informed of Chase's death by the police and when she goes to the morgue to look at the body, she sees that his torso looks like it was clawed, which causes her to vomit a little bit.

At Chase's funeral, as his casket is lowered into the grave, there seems to be an eerie presence in the air when a strong gust of wind blows through the crowd of mourners, which even the man lowering the coffin notices. As the sermon continues, the ground begins to shake violently, throwing everyone off-balance, toppling over a statue of the Virgin Mary, as well as other nearby, and causing the coffin to fall down into the grave, knocking the lid open. Seeing this, Heather runs over towards the grave but steps on Rex, which Dylan had dropped onto the ground, and tumbles towards the grave, hitting her head on the edge of it. The earthquake then suddenly stops but a number of eerie, whispering voices can be heard in the air afterward as Heather regains consciousness, a bloody mark on her forehead. When she looks back over to the crowd, she sees that Dylan is gone, with Julie not knowing where he is. Hearing an evil laugh behind her, Heather turns back to the grave and sees Dylan being dragged down through the coffin's tip by Freddy. She quickly jumps down into the grave and leans into the coffin's end, which extends downwards into a dark pit, and grabs Dylan's hand. She pulls him up and out of the coffin, with Freddy letting go very easily, his arm descending down into the darkness. After she gets Dylan out of the coffin, Heather watches as Chase's body slips down the coffin and suddenly comes to life, grabbing onto her arm. With blood coming from his left eye, he tells Heather to stay with him as he puts his hands on the sides of her head. Heather screams and in a cut, she's back outside the grave, smacking the side frantically, when John Saxon grabs her and makes her stop. She frantically asks where Dylan is and John shows her that he's still over there with Julie. He explains to her that there was an earthquake and that she got knocked off her feet, wiping the blood off her forehead as he does so. The priest giving the sermon tells everyone to get home safely and in a cut, we see that Chase's coffin is sitting in the grave the way it should instead of having collapsed. As John leads her away, Robert Englund comes up to her and tells her, "If there's anything I can do, Heather. Anything." She thanks him, even though he's really the last person she wanted to see right then, and he and his wife leave. The scene ends with Heather and John walking past Wes Craven, who looks up at the palm trees upon hearing the sound of a crow, apparently feeling something evil in the air.

That night, Heather is lying in bed, unable to sleep, when she hears something downstairs. In the next cut, Dylan is standing in the living room/kitchen, once again watching A Nightmare on Elm Street on TV. Coming downstairs, Heather says something to Dylan but he doesn't respond. When she walks down into the kitchen and up to him, you can hear him mumbling the Freddy nursery rhyme as he intently watches the scene in the movie where Nancy meets Freddy for the first time in the boiler room. He still doesn't respond to her when she whispers to him or when she waves her hand in front of his eyes. After the part where Freddy steps out of the shadows, Heather turns to see Dylan slowly walking into the living area part of the room. She follows him as he walks over to the kitchen counter, bumping into a chair as he goes, and grabs his shoulders and turns him around, telling him to wake up. Like before, he suddenly starts yelling at nothing, falling down to the floor and trying to crawl away. She finally manages to bring him out of it but when she says that they're going to go back to bed, he says he can't sleep there, saying that he can hear the sound of kids singing the rhyme within his bed. He then says that they're down there with the "mean man," who's trying to get up to their world. His nose suddenly begins bleeding and Heather grabs him and takes him into the nearby bathroom to clean it up... and that's when we see that the TV wasn't even plugged in. The two of them sleep in the same bed that night, with Heather secretly drinking some coffee to stay awake while Dylan keeps Rex under the covers by his feet, pulling them up past him.

The next day, while Dylan plays at a park, Heather talks with John about what's been happening lately. Throughout the scene, there are subtle hints that something isn't right, like a kid wearing a Freddy-like sweater riding by on a bicycle when they talk about the vision of him Heather had at the funeral. As they talk about the disturbing phone-calls Heather's been having, they don't notice Dylan climbing up the inside of a rocket-shaped jungle gym, going up to the very top and crawling through a panel onto the outside. He then climps atop of the rocket's nose and reaches out to the sky, almost losing his balance at one point before quickly regaining it. That's when they finally see what Dylan's going and run towards the rocket, just when he loses his balance again and falls off, with Heather managing to catch him in time. After she and John make sure that he's okay, Dylan simply says that God wouldn't take him, a callback to a discussion they had the night before. Later that day, Heather gets her mail and finds the latest in a series of pieces of newspaper with big letters written on them, sent by the stalker. She puts it in a drawer with the others and calls Robert Englund to talk to him about it. Robert, who's painting while he talks, lets on that he's been having visions of the darker version of Freddy as Heather and the two of them then talk about the script that Craven's been writing, with Robert saying that Craven told him at the funeral that he had gotten as far as, "Dylan trying to reach God." This gets Heather's attention and she, now feeling uneasy in her backyard, asks if she can come over to talk to him some more but he, apparently disturbed by the painting he's just finished, tells her maybe tomorrow. He absent-mindedly hangs up and we then see that what he painted was a horrific image of the dark Freddy with screaming faces apparently below his sweater, akin to the Chest of Souls from Nightmare 3 and 4.

That night, Heather is desperately trying to get some sleep but is tossing and turning and, if look closely, you can see that the furniture is slowly tipping back and forth, a sign that things are not okay at all. Downstairs, Dylan is walking in a circle in a trance-like state before moving on to the kitchen. Back upstairs, Freddy's claws poke up through the bottom end of the mattress and then slowly slice up through it to only a few inches from Heather's head. The entire hand then pushes up through the mattress and angles itself towards her, flexing its fingers to point at her. It almost touches her face when some utensils hit the floor downstairs, waking Heather and forcing Freddy to retreat back down. Heather sees the slashes that have been left in the bedspread and, after yelling, "Damn it!" in hopeless frustration, she gets out of bed when she hears some clicking downstairs, followed by Dylan singing, "One, two, Freddy's coming for you." Walking downstairs, she calls for Dylan, who walks out from behind the counter and towards her, continuing to sing the song as he does so. When he gets up to her, a shot behind his back shows that the reason why he's been hiding his left hand back there the whole time is because he's taped four knives to his fingers to make it like Freddy's glove. He reveals them as he finishes the last verse and swipes at his mother, causing her to fall back on the floor. She grabs his arm and tries to hold him back while he attempts to stab her in the face. Just when it seems like he's about to kill her, Heather falls out of bed, revealing that the whole thing was a nightmare. As she gets up, she hears Dylan downstairs and when she goes down there, she finds him pacing around in a circle, holding Rex and singing, "Never sleep again," over and over. When she reaches Dylan, she sees that he's pacing around the letters that had been sent to her, which are laid out on the floor in a fashion where it's revealed what they say: ANSWER THE PHONE. Sure enough, the phone then rings and when Heather answers it, she hears Freddy laugh and say, "I touched him." The speaker then suddenly becomes Freddy's mouth and tongue and he licks her, causing her to drop it in a panic. Foam gushes out of Dylan's mouth and he falls to the floor, writhing and screaming, as Heather picks him up. Foam comes out of the phone as well as Heather runs out of the room with her screaming son in her arms.

After admitting Dylan to the hospital and meeting up with Craven at his home, who tells her what he believes is going on due to his nightmares, she stays up to midnight, drinking coffee and reading up on childhood mental diseases, particularly schizophrenia, which she overheard Dr. Heffner say might be what's wrong with Dylan. As she does so, you get a montage of a lot of the bizarre things that have happened so far, contradicting this more logical, scientific approach that she's trying to take to explain them. The TV in her room suddenly comes on but it's nothing but static. Heather turns it off and tries to go back to her reading but it pops right back on, this time to a news report about how two special effects artists, namely Chuck and Terry, were found dead in a field that morning. After images of the two of them getting killed in her dream flash through her mind, Heather turns the TV off and reaches for the pot of coffee on her dresser, when the house begins to shake. The TV comes back on, once again showing the news report, which is now talking about how Freddy's glove seems to have been stolen, as the shaking intensifies. The set shorts out, as do the lights, and Heather jumps out of bed, running for the hallway and standing in the doorway, as the quake quickly subsides. As the house loudly creaks, Heather cautiously walks back into the dark bedroom, towards the closet, which opened during the quake. Standing at the door, she notices that her pot of coffee fell off the dresser and shattered. She hears a sound in the closet and that's when Freddy lunges out from behind the clothes hanging in there, growling, "Miss me?" Heather panics and trips backwards out of the closet, falling over a chair behind her, as Freddy comes at her, smacking objects off of a shelf on the wall and swiping at her. He slices up a potted plant and even though Heather smashes something over his head, he still comes at her, smacking a lamp off a dresser. She cracks a vase over his head and runs back to her bedroom, but Freddy chases her, grabs her, and they tumble onto the bed. With him on top of her, Heather grabs Freddy's arm and holds back his blades, when he suddenly stops and, looking at her, creepily says, "Nancy." The house begins shaking again, distracting Freddy and giving Heather a chance to roll out from under him, but he manages to slice open her left arm as she does so. When she falls out of bed, Heather sees that Freddy has vanished, along with the earthquake, but the cuts on her arm are still very real, as are the cracks that appear again on her wall, which open a little bit more. Fearing for Dylan's safety, she rushes to the hospital.

Upon arriving at the hospital, and learning from Dr. Heffner that Dylan had some problems earlier and is now in an oxygen tent, Heather tries to see Dylan but Heffner first sees to the cuts on her arm, as well as grills her about supposedly showing Dylan the horror films she's been in since he's afraid of Freddy Krueger. After that, Heather goes to the room in intensive care where Dylan is in the oxygen tent, sitting in a chair to his right. She dozes off as two technicians come in and check the equipment and after they leave, she dozes off again. She's apparently startled awake when the machine flatlines but when she looks, she sees Dylan awaken, sit up in bed, and remove a monitoring attachment from his finger. He then opens up the oxygen tent and sticks his head out, ignoring Heather saying that he shouldn't do that. In a snarling, raspy voice, he tells her, "Too late. I'm almost there, Heather. Almost there." He projectile-vomits onto Heather and lays back down on the bed, thrashing around and screaming like mad. A number of nurses come in and hold Dylan down, as well as hold back Heather. Heffner comes in and tells the nurses to keep Heather right there, telling one of them to give Dylan some anesthetic. When she says they don't have any, Heffner says she's going in anyway because Dylan's full of something she doesn't like. As Heather, who's been restrained to the chair, watches, Heffner holds up her right hand, which has scalpels tied to the fingers in a Freddy-like manner, and says, "Let's get him open, good and proper, cut this evil out of him." When she raises her arm, she turns completely into Freddy, who yells as he prepares to gut Dylan. Heather then lunges up out of the chair and at the bed, falling into an empty oxygen tent. Nurses come in and try to calm Heather down as she hysterically says that Freddy has Dylan, but Heffner walks in and tells her that Dylan had been taken downstairs when she fell asleep, that they didn't want to wake her because of how tired she looked. She assures Heather that Julie is with Dylan and that everything is fine but Heather doesn't believe it and rushes out of the room, prompting Heffner to ask for security to be called.

Going into the restricted area, Heather is reunited with Dylan, who's now awake but wants to go get Rex. Heather attempts to take him out of the hospital but Heffner doesn't allow it. Heather then puts Dylan back on the bed and tells him that she's going to go get Rex but Dylan tells her to hurry because he's getting sleepy. She tells him to stay awake until she gets back and tells Julie to keep him awake. When Heather walks out into the hallway, though, she's taken away by two security officers, while Heffner whispers something to two of the nurses. She's sat down in a chair in the dispensary and confronted by Heffner, while those two nurses walk into Dylan's room as he plays with Julie. The older nurse walks to a cabinet while the younger one (Wes Craven's daughter, Jessica) goes to the side of Dylan's bed. Seeing that the older nurse is filling a syringe with something, Julie asks her what she's doing and she says that it's a shot to make sure that Dylan gets some sleep. Julie stops her but the nurse suddenly says, "Do it," and the younger one quickly injects Dylan with a needle herself. The smug look she then gives Julie is just infuriating and Julie, now severely pissed off by this, clocks the older nurse right in the face, knocking her into the hall. The younger nurse then confronts Julie, who picks up the needle the older one dropped and threatens to stick her with it. She lunges at her, chasing her out of the room, and closing the door and locking it. Dylan begins yawning and Julie does her best to keep him awake, while Heather is being asked by Heffner about her family's medical history and also asks if she's been seeing Freddy as well. Blood suddenly starts seeping through the bandage on Heather's arm, while the nurses try to get back into Dylan's room as Julie tries to keep him awake. While Heffner suggests that Dylan be put into foster care for a while so Heather can be examined, Julie is still struggling to keep Dylan awake when his eyes suddenly widen as he sees Freddy rise up behind her. Dylan warns Julie but when she looks behind her, she sees nothing. She turns back to Dylan, who sees Freddy behind her again. He watches as he flicks open his claws and slices into Julie's back. At that moment, Heather says that she wants Dylan to be taken out of the hospital now, when they all hear Julie scream down the hall. An orderly unlocks the door for the nurses and they see Julie floating in mid-air while screaming. She's flung against the wall, as Dylan watches Freddy grab her kicking legs and drag her up it, while the nurses leave in a panic. Walking along the side of the wall, Freddy asks Dylan, "Ever play Skin the Cat?" and then drags Julie completely up the wall and across the ceiling, leaving a long trail of blood behind her. He lets Julie go and allows her to reach for Dylan and ask for help, before killing her instantly with a crack of the neck. He laughs evilly as Dylan screams and Julie's body falls to the floor. Crying for Rex, Dylan runs out of the room. Heather then runs down there and finds what happened, learning that they can't find Dylan. Heffner says that Dylan's been sedated but Heather says that he sleepwalks, meaning that he probably has walked out of the hospital.

Getting into her car, Heather drives out of the hospital parking lot and onto the road, while dialing her car's phone. She calls John and tells him what she thinks is going on, which he has a hard time believing, when she sees Dylan crawling up a hill towards the freeway, remembering what his mother told him about how their house is right across it. Stuck behind a fence, Heather screams for Dylan to stop but she's forced to climb over it to reach him. Looking up in the sky behind him, Dylan sees an enormous vision of Freddy materialize out of the clouds, prompting him to walk into the busy freeway. Heather manages to get over the fence and runs after him, as cars and trucks swerve around him as he walks amongst them. He almost makes it to the other side when Freddy reaches down and picks him up with one of his claws, moving him back and forth in front of the cars, often right before they would hit him, as Heather reaches the top of the hill. Screaming at Freddy to take her instead when she sees this, she runs into the freeway herself, which turns out to be a big mistake when a tanker truck comes right at her. She runs ahead of it and the driver slams on the brakes but the tank becomes separated from the actual truck, sliding towards her at an angle and forcing her to duck down underneath it as it passes above her. Freddy then drops Dylan on the opposite side of the road and Heather tries to reach him but a station wagon slams into her, bouncing her against the windshield and causing her to tumble down the road in front of it. As the drivers of the cars get out to see if she's okay, Dylan sees an entire group of Freddys appear on the other side of the road, calling to him and laughing at him. This makes him bolt for his house, with Heather in hot pursuit, having to fight off the good samaritans who try to help her.

Running to her home, Heather finds John waiting for her there and when she frantically asks where Dylan is, he shows her that he's right there in the living room. As she picks up and hugs her son, John asks what happened and she says that she knows how Chase really died: "Fred Krueger did it." John's expression subtly changes and he says, "Yeah, sure," before walking past her into the next room. Heather puts Dylan down and John then says, "Nancy, let's go outside." He pretty much drags her outside, leaving Dylan in the house alone. Hearing the sounds of blades scraping, Dylan looks upstairs, where his bed begins to shake violently and expel smoke, before Freddy begins rising up through the mattress. Outside, Heather realizes that John is calling her Nancy and when she asks why, he's confused as to why she's calling him John. He walks away from the house and when Nancy glances back inside, the sound of a police radio can be heard crackling off-camera. Turning back around, she sees that John is wearing the outfit he wore as Lt. Donald Thompson in the original Nightmare movie, complete with a badge on his belt and a gun in a holster. While Freddy continues ascending into the real world, Heather tells John to call Robert Englund but he doesn't know who that is and when she says that he's the man who plays Freddy Krueger, he simply says, "Nancy, Freddy's dead." During this time, Freddy is cutting his way through the mattress but stops short when he makes a hole big enough to fit his head through. Still acting like her father, John tells Heather, "I love you, sweetheart. Don't forget that." As Heather watches John walk away to his car, which is now a squad car, Freddy waits for her to accept her role as Nancy, which she does by saying, "I love you too, Daddy." And with that, Freddy completely tears his way into reality, stepping down off the bed and onto one of Dylan's toys, his shadow looking the famous shot from Nosferatu as he moves through the room. Outside, John tells "Nancy" to get some rest and drives off in his car, with Heather realizing that she's wearing the pajamas she wore in the original movie and when she turns around, her house has become 1428 Elm Street. Running inside, Heather yells for Dylan but when she hears Freddy say, "Who's there?", she grabs a knife for protection. The TV then clicks on, despite still being unplugged, to the scene from the original movie where Nancy tells her father over the phone that she's going to go get Freddy before abruptly switching off. Looking down on the floor, Heather finds one of Dylan's sleeping pills and, upon finding another one nearby, remembers the story of Hansel and Gretel and realizes that they're meant to be breadcrumbs. Seeing that they point to Dylan's bedroom, Heather walks in to find Rex completely slashed apart and Dylan nowhere to be found, although she finds another pill on his pillow. Tossing back the covers and finding nothing underneath, Heather realizes that she has to take the pill to join him in Freddy's world. After she swallows it, she finds another one under the cover and takes it. Getting into bed and crawling under the cover, she finds one more and takes it as well.

After taking the last pill, Heather sees that the underside of the cover has become a long tunnel, with the head of the bed behind her no longer being there. Hearing Dylan yell for her, Heather slides forward down the tunnel, which goes from fabric to being made of old metal, with vines hanging down here and there and, eventually, water running across it. Coming to the end of the tunnel, she falls out of the mouth of a large, carved Freddy-head and down into a very deep abyss, landing in a pool of water in the middle of an ancient temple. Swimming to the edge of the pool, she sees that it's like the movie set she dreamt about at the beginning of the movie. Hearing Freddy's claws scrape nearby, she gets out of the water and follows the sound of Dylan's voice calling for her. Cutaways show that Freddy is stalking her as she walks through the temple, eventually coming across Craven's script. Picking it up and reading some dialogue that's described as a voiceover, which it is (as well as stage direction that describes what we've just seen), Heather is surprised from behind by Dylan. Hugging him tight, and tossing away the knife, she asks him where Freddy is, with Dylan saying that he let him go for some reason. Then, with a loud scrape, Freddy ambushes them, grabbing Heather and telling her, "Meet your maker." He throws her into the next room, causing her to knock over an urn full of eels. Screaming, she tries to move away from them but Freddy grabs her by the back of her neck and forces her face back down towards them, saying, "Pick a pet for the rugrat, bitch." Struggling, Heather grabs one of the eels and jams its head into Freddy's right eye, making him let go of her. Getting up as he wrenches it out, Heather tells Freddy, "Fuck you!" and decks him in the face, sending him across the room. Dylan shows up but Heather tells him to run as Freddy gets back up and comes at her again, swiping at her while she ducks and grabs a torch on the wall, fending him off and smacking him with it. He grabs it and tosses it aside, chasing Heather out of the room, grabbing her from behind and flinging her against the wall. He grabs her shoulder and turns her around, holding her in place by the neck as he prepares to skewer her, when Dylan grabs her knife and stabs him all the way through his left leg. After he pulls it out and tosses it away, Freddy approaches Dylan, leaning over and growling, "Come here, my piggy. I got some gingerbread for ya." Heather jumps on his back, trying to stop him, but he flings her off against the wall and then grabs her and throws her against a stone pillar, knocking her out in the shallows of the pool. He then turns his attention to Dylan, who runs off in a panic down a hall, coming to a dead-end and with Freddy popping up everywhere, trying to grab him. Running back to where his mother is unconscious, Dylan yells for her when he hears Freddy mock his cries nearby, prompting him to run in the other direction, while Freddy goes, "Where's your mommy, piglet? Huh? Huh?" Dylan runs down a corridor and up some small stairs, only for Freddy to jump around the corner at the top.

Freddy chases Dylan into a section that dead-ends with an oven. With no choice, he climbs into the oven, avoiding the lit flame inside, and hides in the corner to the left of the opening. Freddy tries to crawl in too but the opening is too small and he can only stick his head and arm in. He tries to grab Dylan but he moves out of reach, hiding in a corner on the other side of the oven. Seemingly unable to get him, Freddy scrapes the inside of the oven's door with his claw to freak Dylan out and then reaches for him again, this time stretching his arm across the space towards him. Heather finally comes to and calls for Dylan, who answers, unable to escape Freddy's stretching arm. Grabbing the knife, Heather runs to the spot where Dylan is and tries to walk up the stairs, only for them to become thick goop like in the original movie, slowing her down. Meanwhile, Freddy finally manages to grab Dylan and pull him towards him, saying, "Come to Papa." As Heather struggles up the stairs, Freddy tells Dylan, "Gonna eat you up," and then opens his mouth up very wide until he can fit Dylan's head inside. Dylan screams as Freddy just about swallows his head when Nancy, having reached the top of the stairs, runs up behind him and hits him, causing his mouth to close back to normal. Heather tries to push Freddy into the oven while Dylan crawls into an alcove inside, which has a snake in the back of it. Struggling with Freddy, Heather tells Dylan to get out of the oven, when Freddy sits up with his torso inside the oven and says, "Hey." When Heather looks at him, his tongue slithers out of his mouth and wraps around her neck. As his tongue completely covers Heather's face, Dylan manages to get around the snake and get outside the oven. Freddy's tongue is wrapping Heather in other places, such as her chest, but Dylan grabs the tongue's tip, holds it down onto the floor, and, after missing it  a few times due to it wriggling around, he manages to stab it completely through with the knife. Yelling in pain, Freddy pulls it back, slicing it open further and unwrapping it from around Heather, falling back into the oven completely as he does. The two of them slide the door shut, trapping him inside, as Dylan pulls the lever to turn the oven up full blast. They watch as Freddy is surrounded by and then engulfed in flames, turning back into the evil, demonic entity he really is before finally being destroyed. With the flames now raging out of control, the temple begins exploding and Heather and Dylan run for it, heading for and jumping into the pool as the place, and the entity's entire world, comes down completely in a big explosion. The two of them wind up back in Dylan's room, with it now a beautiful day outside, and they see that the portal has completely vanished. As they hold each other, happy that it's over, Heather finds the completed script on the bed, with a note from Craven on the front thanking her for playing Nancy again and putting Freddy back where he belongs. Flipping through the script, and seeing various past events described there, she flips to the last page and sees Craven's note written as voiceover dialogue, with Dylan then asking his mother if it's a story, just as the script said he would. Saying that it is, he asks her to read him some and she flips back to the beginning and begins reading what we saw when the movie started.

Not only is this both my favorite Nightmare on Elm Street movie and my favorite film by Wes Craven, I would say that the music score by J. Peter Robinson is my favorite of the series as well. It fits the movie to a T, effortlessly swinging from atmospheric and chilling to bombastic and adrenaline-pumping, as well as from scary to both warm and heroic. I like that it's almost a purely orchestral score, with little of it sounding electronic, and I also think it was a good decision not to put any songs on the soundtrack (save for a very brief spot of Losing My Religion on the radio in Chase's truck), making this the only film where it's just score playing over the ending credits. There are three themes in particular that come to mind when I think of this film. One is this very eerie, frightening one which you hear when Heather calls Chase after his little episode in his sleep. It's a very foreboding piece, with what sounds like distant horns playing against a melodic, violin sound in the foreground that builds in intesity as the piece progresses, giving you the feeling that something bad is out there, waiting for them. The second one is the theme that plays during the sequence on the freeway, which is my favorite of the whole score. It starts out rather heroic-sounding when Heather drives away from the hospital, with these magnificent horns playing as she calls John over the phone while looking for Dylan, but when he reahes the freeway and sees Freddy appear in the sky behind him, it turns very sinister but still keeps an exciting, fast rhythm to it, as Freddy grabs Dylan and dangles him in front of the vehicles on the freeway. My favorite part of this theme is what you hear after the frantic piano bit in the middle, when Heather has to duck to avoid the sliding tank. It has an absolutely nightmarish sound to it, with a loud horn that I thought was that of the tanker truck in the sequence and a haunting, screeching sound that you're bound to hear in your dreams late at night! If this series was ever a pure mixture of action and horror, this is the kind of stuff you'd hear all the time because it fits both genres perfectly. And finally, you have the music that plays when Heather accepts her role as Nancy, allowing Freddy to enter reality completely. As you see him rising up through Dylan's bed, the music is soft but, at the same time, it's building, then stops for a beat of silence before going into a full-blown, bombastic sound, with these loud, chanting voices and this string/piano sound accompanying that both get louder and louder until they climax and go on from there. There's something of a reprise of this theme during the first part of the ending credits but it doesn't as cool to me.

As I said, besides purely scary music, there's some warm, loving music, like this soft, piano theme for the scenes between Heather and her family and this very hopeful, triumphant piece you hear at the end when the entity has been destroyed and its world is coming apart. Robinson also makes good use of the original Nightmare melody, creating a very creepy, slow and distant version of it that you hear several times, such as during the first phone call and when Freddy calls Heather Nancy during their struggle in the bedroom, as well as a newer, plucking version of it when Heather sees that her house has become the one from the movies. He even effectively turns it into a cheesy, talkshow version when Robert Englund emerges in makeup and costume and plays to the crowd, before segueing into an ominous version of it when Heather becomes disturbed by the image of him. If I have one complaint about the score, it's that it reuses the same, frantic piece for when Freddy attacks one too many times for my taste but that's a minor nitpick. To end on a positive note, the last part of the end credits uses that warm piece I mentioned earlier but then goes into this very creepy, soft piano version of the melody that becomes more ethereal and airy as it goes on before ending with a hollow sort of sound... and then, the last thing you hear are the echoing sounds of kids singing the nursery rhyme. Listen to that late at night when the house is completely silent: you'll be thoroughly creeped out.

Wes Craven's New Nightmare is a great film and, to me, the high point of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. It's very smart and well-written, is downright mind-bending most of the time and sucks reality into the film world in a very interesting and entertaining way, the acting is top-notch all-around, Freddy is turned into a terrifying presence again very successfully, the film has an interesting commentary on a number of subjects, from movie-making and Hollywood to how innocent children process horrible scenarios in their life and that there's a need for scary stories in any form, there are a number of memorable scenes and sequences, as well as a foreboding, creepy atmosphere throughout the film, and the music score is excellent. Aside from some occasional bad makeup and visual effects and some stuff that Freddy does during the finale that I find to be a little too silly for what Craven was going for, I don't have that many problems with the movie. It's a shame that it didn't do that well at the box-office and is, to this day, the lowest-grossing film in the series, even though it got some of the best reviews of any of the films. I guess it was a little too ahead of its time and flew over the heads of movie-going teens back then, since it's definitely meant more for adult fans. But, I'm glad that the movie does seem to have been rediscovered in the years since its release because it does deserve to have fans. Finally, to me, this would have been the perfect cap on the Nightmare series. If Freddy vs. Jason, which I do enjoy, had never gotten out of development hell and we did indeed end on this, I don't think it would be possible to come up with a better way for the franchise to go out.

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite sequel. It is so bold for the time, and Craven managed to do something I thought was impossible: it made audiences root for the good guy again. Freddy had become such an anti-hero that people loved him, but when Heather/Nancy yelled "F you!" at him and punched him out in the finale, the audience I was with whooped and applauded. That in and of itself is an amazing feat.

    Robert Englund says this is his favorite of the franchise, and while I think the original still surpasses it, New Nightmare was a game changer and is always a pleasure to watch.