Thursday, 26 May 2011

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010).

For fans of Freddy Krueger, this is the ultimate love letter to the franchise that has provided people with thrills and nightmares for the better part of three decades now.
Wisely, and thankfully, leaving the miserable remake to its own devices, this documentary covers everything you could want to know about the eight movies that run from the first Elm Street flick to the Freddy Vs. Jason movie, covering the rise and rise and inevitable fall of New Line Cinema along the way. Almost everyone is here to talk about their part in the franchise and I do mean almost EVERYONE (the only major player missing is Patricia Arquette).
Of course, the majority of the tales come from, or relate to, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp (who also narrates proceddings), Wes Craven and Robert Shaye but everyone involved has something to contribute to the fond memory bank.
The first remains a solid classic but it’s funny now to be reminded of just how unexpected and lucky that was for all involved. With the sequels, however, it’s a complete free for all. Ask 100 different fans to name their favourite Freddy movie and you could probably get at least one person nominating each of the different instalments, a personal taste test shown by the varying opinions given by the talking heads onscreen.
There’s the blatant homo-eroticism of the second movie, that you can’t believe so many people were ignorant of while it was being made. The fun premise of the third movie, which also saw Langenkamp return. The fourth movie remains a fan favourite and has the best resurrection of Freddy ever. The fifth film features a twisted look at pro-life. And, of course, the sixth movie told us that Freddy would die. In 3D. Then Craven reinvented the character and took his first steps towards what would become the Scream franchise with the brilliant, sadly underappreciated (at the time, and by the fans, anyway) New Nightmare before we got to the battle we’d been waiting to see for years and years, Freddy Vs. Jason.
Of course, people have the fondest memories of the movies that they were personally attached to but the other surprise about watching this documentary is just how much everyone involved can be proud of. Every film may not have been as successfully executed as it could have been but they all try to stay true to the character and the concepts while moving the franchise forward and pleasing fans all at the same time. That’s more than can be said about Freddy’s Nightmares, the TV show also covered here that quickly began a downward spiral after an impressive first episode.
Directors Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch deserve a lot of credit for making this four hour documentary a consistently enjoyable, consistently interesting experience and there’s also praise to be heaped upon the editors, the animators who created some great visuals (especially at the start and end of the whole thing) and everyone who agreed to share their memories of a franchise that will stay a firm favourite in the dark hearts of fans for many years to come.

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