A Nightmare On Elm Street Collection review by The Grim Ringler

A Nightmare On Elm StreetDVD boxset

Once upon a time in the eighties horror had become pretty stagnant, as it has a tendency to do heck though, I think that can honestly be said about all Arts and its various forms and just when it looked like the slasher genre, with its scantily clad co-eds and its faceless misogynists were going to drown out anything original, in walked a man in a sweater with razor fingers. That man of course was Freddy Krueger, and with one film A Nightmare On Elm Streetthe face of horror was changed. Suddenly movies probed inwards, not outwards, putting the viewer face to face with monsters we couldnt just run away from, and adding to that terror the idea of the sins of the parents coming home to roost again. With one film horror was changed and a new icon was created, but sadly, this icon gave birth to a franchise and while there are a few standouts in that series, the Nightmare movies became parodies of themselves, turning Freddy, a once-menacing manifestation of every childs nightmare, into a stand-up comedian guest-hosting MTV. I sat down with Freddy and his flaccid franchise one weekend and what I found was that time has not been terribly kind to Mr. Krueger and his films, and that the old man in the ragged hat isnt near as scary as he used to be.

A Nightmare On Elm Street:the one that started it all. Nancy and her friends are having trouble sleeping, each of them dreaming of a nightmare man with razors for fingers and a face ravaged by fire, none of them knows why they are dreaming of this man but they are about to find out. Nancys friends are dispatched, one by one, in their dreams, leaving Nancy to discover who this killer is and what he wants. Made by Wes Craven and oozing with style and foreboding, this is truly the masterpiece. Freddy was scary, Nancy was the perfect archetype, and it all came together into a brilliantly surreal film that still wields a lot of power. Pretty good commentary and extras, and definitely worth the price of buying separately. If you want a scary movie, you have come to the right place.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 Freddys Revenge:oh how do I hate thee, let me count the ways. Taking the Nightmare franchise into an entirely pointless area this one finds Freddy tormenting a misfit teenage boy with feelings of murder and homosexuality in the hopes of over-taking the kid and becoming him, thus becoming physical once more. Wow. I cannot tell you how bad this film is. The homoeroticism would be great if they meant it, instead it comes off as awkward and frankly creepy imagine a mean male gym teach being whipped by a ghost-towel in the nude, in the shower. Wait, dont. Its a suitably dark movie but all they did was vomit on what had been a truly original premise for a movie and a monster, stripped it of its relevance and deeper meanings, and made a slasher movie. Bravo! Easily the worst in the lot, and thats saying something.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors: some might argue that with a lead song by Dio you can ask no more of a film. And in this case, I agree. One of the very few three to be honest good Freddy movies, this one brought back Craven (at least as a writer) and the character of Nancy to battle Freddy once more, and to great effect. Creating their own universe where kids are having nightmares because of Freddy and then making a pilgrimage to his hometown, this one is smart, funny, and just plain weird. And it all works. You essentially have Freddy facing off with emotionally insecure teen mental patients and its a great premise and once everyones in the dream world, it all comes together wonderfully. The big gripe with this one is that it made Freddy funny, which would later become a fact that haunts us all. A definite winner, this is another safe purchase, though there isnt much to brag about as far as special features go. Great movie though.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 The Dream MasterHaving killed off the real hero of the series we are presented with a new heroine and the daunting task of putting to end a chatty-kathy killer. At this point they were worried about making money and little else. They were churning the movies out one every year and they seemed to get progressively worse. Freddy stalks and kills the last of the original Elm Street kids and now has an easy route to get to the rest of the worlds children but is opposed by a girl that is a dream master and can control her dreams, thus becoming a powerful opponent to Freddy K. Not as exciting as it sounds, this one is pedestrian and begins the trend downward. A rental if you are desperate for some Freddy love.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 5 The Dream ChildAh! Freddy baby!! The heroine from part four, Alice, begins having nightmares again but alas, it is not her nightmares but the nightmares of her baby that is keeping her sleepless. It seems Krueger has plans of being re-born into the world via Alices baby so he can get back to his previous killing spree and stand-up routine. Its interesting that they are using heroines from previous installments, and that in fact, all the movies are really tied together, save for two, and thats pretty neat. But Freddy is getting more and more insufferable and hes become the James Bond of horror sure he will get killed but he always comes back. I guess if you are immortal and are killing time then this is the perfect way to burn some clock.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddys DeadLIARS!! Charlatans! This was supposed to be the end of the series, know how you can tell? They put a 3-D sequence in it. And yes, its that bad. Freddy has killed off all the kids in his hometown so now he wants to take his show on the road and open up murder franchises all across the country. Standing in his way though is his (cue mystery music here) DAUGHTER! Yup, Freddy had a kid way back when and shes the only person that can kill him. And oh, hes possessed by ancient evil nightmare spirits. Wow! Utterly awful, the mind boggles at how movies like this are made. At its center is an interesting idea, and heck, the fact that you see Freddy as a human is pretty cool, you even get to see Robert Englund act, I mean really act, but its all for naught. Rent this at your own peril.

New NightmareIt took THIS LONG to make another good Freddy movie? Good grief. The second best in the series and the most daring, this one proposes that yes, the movies are just movies, and the actors just actors, but what if in making the movies they had trapped some sort of ancient evil that took the shape of the hip new monster on the block. And this evil wants off the video store shelf and into the hearts and homes of the world. A pretty crafty premise that has the cast portraying themselves, in a fashion, and playing it all straight, this one even features good writing and acting, as well as some neat scares. Freddy is actually scary again, hurray! A great film in its own right, this really shows how bad the other films had gotten and its a testament to Craven that he was able to come back and re-invent the franchise and end it all at once. A must own.

Sadly, Freddy is no longer dead. He and Jason have a movie coming out this year that I am PRAYING is good. And then there is talk of an Elm Street prequel, so it looks like we may be in for several more bad Freddy movies. Makes me ill just to think about it. While there are some bright spots in the movies, overall, this is one awful boxset. The irony though is that the packaging and the extras are pretty great. You get some come commentaries; some neat deleted footage, and an extra disc of hidden goodies that is MISERABLE to navigate. It sucks because I just cannot recommend this set. At all. Buy the movies you like on their own and skip the rest unless you want to see how to turn something unique and special into a pop-cultural punchline.

c


6 out of 10 Jackasses

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