Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy

Runtime: 240 minutes
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Rating: NR
Director: Daniel Farrands, Andrew Kasch

Confession time: I actually own two copies of the original series and three copies of the first A Nightmare on Elm Street. I bought the original boxed set when it first came out and watched it multiple times. When I was in the mood to watch the films last summer and couldn't find my set, I bought the newer releases that stuck 4-5 movies in each set. I later found the original set in my garage, boxed up with some other movies from our move...three years ago. And I own the remastered version of the original that came with a bunch of special features. Um, and I may, may (may) still have the set on video too. Needless to say, I love me some Freddy. BTW, if you haven't read Englund's book yet, go buy a copy today. It's way better that Bruce Campbell's book, which I also love.

According to IMDB, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy came out in 2010. I don't know how I missed it, but when I saw it on Netflix, it took me 0.5 seconds to add it to my queue. When I saw its runtime, I figured the odds of me actually sitting down and watching it were slim to none. I decided to take my time and watch an hour or so at a time and later found myself watching the entire thing one Friday night. Hey, give me a break! I'm a single gal still nursing wounds after a bad break up. What do you expect me to do? LOL!

Never Sleep Again is probably the most in-depth documentary that we will ever get about the Nightmare franchise. It starts with the first film in the series and goes straight through until Freddy vs. Jason. While it doesn't mention the remake of the first film, it would be interesting for the filmmakers to go back and update the film with some info about that one. That said, this is incredibly interesting and far better than I expected.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a classic horror movie, but far too many people say that their fans and haven't seen the movie in years. This documentary starts with Wes Craven, Heather Langenkamp, Bob Shaye, and everyone else from that film talking. It delves into the arguments that went on behind the scenes between Craven and Shaye that led to Craven leaving the series, and it gives Langenkamp the chance to talk about how the film changed her life.

Each film gets a good portion of the documentary, and the stars of most of those films do come back. Patricia Arquette and Johnny Depp are probably the two most notable stars that didn't participate, but did you really expect them to come back? It's entertaining to hear Tuesday Knight talk about taking over the role from Arquette and hearing what others thought about coming back for the later films even though they knew they would die in the story.

The biggest surprise was listening to Lin Shaye talk about her role in the first one and how she only got the role because of her brother. She's such a funny woman and such a great actress, but she doesn't shy away from putting some of the blame on Bob for Wes leaving the series. It's also nice to see Wes on camera talking about why he later came back and how happy he was with the first film.

I also loved the section of the documentary dedicated to the second film and whether the director tried to make a gay movie. It was hilarious to hear them talk about how they just wanted to make a horror movie and never considered the gay implications while some of the more talked about scenes play.

My only complaint is that the documentary focuses way too much on Langenkamp. While she was in three of the films, she also spent a large portion of her career trying to get out from underneath the series and get her fans to focus on her other work. I think it's funny that after she had problems finding work, she finally decided to go back to the franchise and accept that most people will know her as Nancy.

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy bills itself as "The Ultimate Nightmare Documentary." After watching it, I have to agree. I don't think we'll ever see a documentary that delves so deeply into a horror franchise.

1 comment:

  1. Such a great documentary! I recently watched the whole franchise, and then expected to sit down and watch the documentary in segments, but instead also watched it all at once in one sitting. Easily one of the best movie documentaries I've seen.

    I also did the same with the Friday the 13th franchise, as there is a similar documentary for it called "Crystal Lake Memories". It's good, but it clocks in at over 6 hours, as it covers up to the recent remake.