2014’s 13 Days of Horror: Days 05 and 06 of BoOctober
The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise has the gory privilege of being the most fun horror series out of the top slasher films. Not only are they fun, but they are also capable of delivering some real scares (in the earlier years). None of this would be possible without Freddy, the man of your dreams. Well… I suppose the man of horror fan’s dreams and the nightmares of a person that doesn’t devour each and every installment once every few years. We Fred Heads have a bit of a problem. The same problem that we Crystal Campers and Babysitters all have. We watch, we rewatch, we make our friends watch, all to the point that most people wouldn’t find the films interesting or entertaining any more, but we scoff at those sane people. For we know a real good time, and we find others like us. Others who know that there is only one Fred Kruger, and that Kruger will be the focus point of number 1 of the 10 comparisons and contrasts of A Nightmare on Elm Street.
1.) Fred Krueger -The biggest problem that we face when watching the 2010 remake is no fucking Robert Englund. For some stupid ass reason they decided to cast Jackie Earle Haley in the role, and yes he could be frightening, if we didn’t actually have the iconic character played by the same actor every damn installment. Haley tries too hard to create a scary voice which just comes off as silly. While Freddy was scary and eventually became silly. With time and sequels you know? But Fred’s got attitude, and you see that from the second time we see him on screen in the alley way taunting Tina in the first 15 minutes of the film. We don’t see any sort of real attitude from Freddy in the remake until the climax of the film. Yes, there’s a reason for it, because they end up changing Fred’s back story and lull the audience into a false sense of comfort that the parent’s killed an innocent man (number XX later in the list) but maybe the writers shouldn’t have fucked with the backstory and gave us our killer filled with personality? I mean he’s one of the first main antagonists in the slasher genre with a killer personality….. Ah… see what I did there?
2.) Nancy – Nancy, Nancy, Nancy. Oh Heather Langenkamp how I miss thee. Our first real heroine with a goddamn backbone and they degrade her character into an artistic emo that’s a burden on everyone in her life. 1984 Nancy is wayyy better than 2010 Nancy. She’s stronger, less irritating, and your typical high school student instead of your emotional little bitch whispering remarks under her breath to her friends. Oh wait, 2010 Nancy doesn’t have a single friend, that’s right. Which leads me to number 3.
3.) The Kids of Elm Street -None of the main kids in the movie have any real connections to each other aside from their childhood which they happen to have no recollection of. Having the group of friends and actual relationships was much more relatable than everyone being such “emotional individuals.” And don’t sit there and tell me that “Oh this is how high schoolers feel today alone in the world and emotional! They are representing today’s teenagers and fears! That’s what movies do, duh Jacki!” No motherfuckers. I was a high schooler 2 years before this film came out and I had loads of friends, and even the outcast emo kids had other outcast emo kids to hang out with. So fuck their portrayal of High Schoolers today/2010.
4.) The Deaths -They don’t even begin killing main characters in the right order in 2010. And you’re gong to change the name Tina to Chris (ChrisTina, get it!?!), an even sluttier name in today’s terms, and not even elude to a sex scene? It was going to be rated R with or without the sex and boobs, so why refrain? Tell me, why no boobs with a fake breast plate getting slashed with dream finger knives?
5.) The Classic Scenes – Why do such a shitty job re-imagining the classic scenes? Tina getting thrashed about slowly and painfully is much more scary than her being tossed like a rag doll around the room with a the boyfriend hardly knowing what’s going on. The original takes its’ time, the boyfriend has time to freak out before she gets sliced. It’s much better at building the suspense and then delivering us and the boyfriend a shock well delivered.
And wait, wait, we don’t recreate a single other death scene from the original after that? I mean we get the body bag scene, but what happened to the symbolical lamb? Or the hanging of the douchy boyfriend in the jail cell? Did writers Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer not think the best death scene was Johnny Depp getting sucked into the bed creating an inverted waterfall of blood? Hello, it’s the best damn scene in the movie, not to mention the best male character after the father in the original. And then we turn Nancy’s boyfriend Glen into the most pussiest of names “Quentin?” The only time Quentin can sound the least bit bad ass is when it is followed by Tarantino. Speaking of Nancy’s father….
6.) The Father Daughter Relationship – It was quintessential to the original film. It not only advanced the plot every 30 minutes, but it also gave us a uniting “fuck you” attitude toward the parents well before we knew what they did to Fred Kruger. In the remake we don’t have a father, and we just have parents hiding the truth from their kids in the most blatant manner. “I’M NOT LYING TO YOU!!!” Oh my god, obviously you are mother! Get over yourself! Christ! John Saxon‘s Lt. Donald Thompson was a major player in the original series and tapped into a real fear for teenagers, who the film is directed to. Removing the character makes the film loose its’ symbolism that carried heavily and truly in the original.
7.) One, Two Freddy’s Coming for You -They thrust the little creepy stuff in to forcefully in 2010. Oh we’re just gonna make these little girls sing the song while jumping rope while Chris is quickly being led past the room by her younger, previously molested self. Yes, have her run past the room, because the scene itself is already totally forced.
8.)The Back Story – Sometimes learning more about the the main bad guy helps, and usually with remakes, they’ll tell you all they can about our antagonist because they already have the back story for you that was developed through numerous sequels (see the bastard son of a thousand maniacs). I’ll say that Quentin’s day dream in the pool that flashes back to the adults chasing down Freddy is a nice update to the mothers teary-eyed rendition of the story but then the they completely change Freddy’s motive in the end! We eventually find out that they had originally taken away his daughter and that’s why he went crazy! Please, if you plan on using the entire source material because your a remake, don’t go and fuck it up to something that disturbing. at least old Freddy was eventually given a motive.
9.) The Dream Clinic – Why can’t we have the hospital scene that makes Nancy bring out physical evidence of the fucker? What happened to taking her to a dream clinic? I mean, it’s not like every town has a dream clinic, but please, trying to get help and then finding out it makes things worse, is about a thousand times more frightening than a bloodied up arm. I mean they sort of reincarnate that with the damn pharmacist refusing to refill Quentin’s aderal prescription? But still….
10.) Freddy’s Banter– We all love it, hell we adore it and thankfully we get at least one bit of wonderful banter we could never hate in the remake. As Nancy is trudging through the bloody hallway (which is actually a scarier re-imagining compared to the oatmeal/quicksand stairs) Freddy says “How’s this for a wet dream?” And it conquers any remark that Freddy said in the original, which could have never happened without the original “I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy” which is reprised in the sequel thankfully. But it does not foreshadow the death of her boyfriend in this case, and instead foreshadows the boyfriend about to wake her.
The Nightmare on Elm Street is a franchise of cult status, and ht most disappointing point of the entire franchise is the 2010 remake. I was willing to look past the terrible casting decision to exclude Robert Englund as Freddy in the remake, thinking that maybe the film would make up for it in some manner, but it does not. And to claim that the remake is the lowest point of the franchise is saying a lot, I mean remember that one time Freddy made a skinny girl eat her self to death? Now that was pretty low….