Wes Craven’s Final Nightmare


Back in high school when I was starting out as a young freshman getting more into horror movies I saw a film called Scream. I also watched Scream 2 also that night, and both films left a good impression upon me. Shortly after I also viewed for the first time one of his classics, A Nightmare On Elm Street. This is a creepy and effective horror movie with a freaky jump scare near the end and some great performances from its young cast. Therefore last night I was bummed when I discovered that Wes Craven had died from brain cancer. It’s truly a shame as the guy helped shape and influence horror many times over.

I’ve seen other films of his over the years, from the other Scream movies to cult flicks such as The People Under The Stairs and The Serpent and the Rainbow. Both underrated and enjoyable movies that are examples of how Craven also was able to work in social and political commentary into his films. I also had a blast viewing Scream 4 in theaters-it’s a fine send off for the current bunch and it’s why for better or worse that there is a Scream TV show.

There is also other famous Craven films such as his classic revenge flick The Last House On The Left and A New Nightmare, which I dig a lot. Thanks to the Scream films Craven and Kevin Williamson helped bring horror movies back from the fringe in the 1990s, and for that alone he deserves to be celebrated. Few people have the luck and the talent to be a part of two major series and to change an entire genre more than once.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994, Wes Craven)


Finally after a decade Wes Craven returned to the A Nightmare On Elm Street series, which he created. It resulted arguably the best film in the series in my opinion and it also served as a dress rehearsal for his popular Scream franchise. This film also saw the return of Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon, only this time they played themselves in what is a meta style film about Freddy Krueger attempting to enter the real world.

Gone is the campy jokes and corny one liners-in this one Freddy is made scary again, which is a good thing. I never cared for joking Freddy and the menace that the character posses was almost ruined by some of the sequels. Plus the opening is properly gory and creepy, setting the mood for the rest of the film. Having Robert Englund play himself was also nice and there is an eerie scene where after he pops up dressed as Freddy people cheer for him. That’s a bit weird and even ghoulish to Heather as she fears the prospect of a new Freddy movie is driving her crazy.

Pushed into a final battle with an evil that is represented by Freddy, Heather deals with her son being under attack. One of the freakiest moments in this film is when Heather thinks she is witnessing multiple Freddy’s coming towards her in a busy city street. This film is the most interesting out of the series because of how it blurs the lines between reality and fiction in a strong meta sense. Despite some dated special effects and a few cheesy moments New Nightmare is a creepy and well crafted film that also did not end up being the last chapter either. That last scene did make it seem that way curiously enough. Evil only stops when the box office grosses go down, clearly.

2014 Horrorfest Presents: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991, Rachel Talalay)


This title is a lie although at the time of the film’s release it was the truth. After two decades and six movies the successful Freddy Krueger series was coming to an end. It’s strange because you don’t expect something like this to end and still you know that this is the end. Of course that turned out to not be the case. Which is a good thing since Freddy’s Dead sucks.

Too bad this was the worst installment in the series as the concept was decent. Freddy has succeeded in killing off all of the children in Springfield save for one, which is supposed to free him to kill children everywhere. This leads him to a crumbling institute for troubled kids, and a long guarded secret that finally shows up only in this movie. A secret that I really didn’t end up caring about, and which was poorly disguised for most of the movie. Worked at by the sister of Billy Zane, Lisa Zane, which is a fun bit of trivia I guess.

The creepy childless town is not properly utilized and the characters in this film are largely boring. Save for the great Yaphet Kotto who is not used enough, although I did like some of the cameos and it also stars a really young Breckin Meyer. Also the flashbacks are unnecessary since previous films covered Freddy’s backstory. Luckily for us fans this was not the last entry in the series and in my opinion it’s the only poor film out of the entire bunch.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989, Stephen Hopkins)


Following up the last two films which dealt with Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund in his most famous role) coming back again and again, The Dream Child is a tad darker and even more twisted than The Dream Master. Poor Alice (Lisa Wilcox) thinks that she has defeated Freddy for good, however this belief turns out to be horribly wrong as Freddy returns through her unborn child, which she meets in her dreams. This film also dives a bit further into Freddy’s past, although the whole thing with his mother was already covered in The Dream Warriors so it feels a tad overdone. Still I liked that this film, Freddy’s quips aside, was trying to be rather creepy in the same style as the rest of the series, particularly the first three.

This one also feels a bit weird, as only Alice seems to remember or know who Freddy is despite him having terrorized people for years now. Her friends are oblivious to what is going on, and only after people start dying do they actually take Alice seriously. This film has some nasty kills, although by this point I felt that the creators had run out of creative ways to murder people onscreen. The motorcycle death was rather ghoulish and disturbing however, and there are a few other moments that made me grin a little. Despite being a fifth installment The Dream Child manages to overcome some unfortunate campy scenes and is a solid addition to the series. What the A Nightmare On Elm Street series lacks in true greatness it seems to make up for in consistency.

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