Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: A Boy Starts To Become A Man

"A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge" was the first R-rated movie I saw in a theater. My dad took me and a friend, bought us tickets ... and then promptly found something better to do with the next 90 minutes of his life while we watched the movie.

It was an important step in my growth toward manhood (a growth I hope to one day finish) because my brother had made a similar leap when the folks let him and a friend see "Halloween 2" unattended a couple years previous.

(To this day, Phil's the "Halloween" fanatic and I'm the "Nightmare" fanatic. I'm sure it all goes into one of those parental 'if we'd known then ....' files!)

The funny thing about horror back when I was young was, while I watched it obsessively, it also sincerely scared the piss out of me and I was pretty much afraid of the dark until I was um, as old as I am now. But even in junior high, the notion of staying home at night or laying in bed in the dark technically speaking, scared me to dead. As in, I checked under the bed and in the closets just to be sure there were no monsters/slashers in there. (Which begs the question, assuming Michael Meyers WAS in my closet waiting to strike, what did I hope to accomplish by verifying that before I turned off the light? But I digress ... )

"Nightmare 2" is not a good movie.

But it has a pretty cool opening five minutes:

If you prefer, the opening five minutes .... in GERMAN:

"Nightmare 2's" problems start with the producers having the bright idea of putting a dude in as the main protagonist ... and then having him scream like a girl throughout most of it.

In fact, the most famous scene in "Nightmare 2" (the 'you've got the body, I've got the brains' scene) points out the movies biggest problems, a) the guy screams like a girl and b) Freddy is intent on pushing through to the real world, which doesn't make any sense.

The crux of "Freddy's Revenge" is that he wants to use the protagonist, Jesse, so he can possess his body and burst forth into the real world. The problem is bursting forth into the real world is what makes Freddy vulnerable and tends to send him back to the dreamscape where all he can do is wait around for new teenagers to conjure him. So the entire movie is built around a concept that doesn't make any sense.

As much as people joke that the problem with horror movies is that we tend to root for the killer, "Nightmare 2" is one of those movies where we REALLY root for the killer. We have scream queen Jesse as the male lead, his sort of homely and whiny girlfriend and their two more sexual but completely pointless friends, all of whom are nothing but Freddy fodder. In fact, the best part of "Nightmare 2" is when Freddy does burst forth into the real world and starts mowing through the entire high school population of Springwood with blatant disregard.

God, the first part of this scene is terrible, with Lisa's bad acting and the lame 'possessed person speaks from inside the monster' schtick. But love the shot at1:48 when Freddy waits for her to turn around so he can see her knock shit off her shelves and then at 3:57 when Freddy takes the time to knock the flowers off the table. If he can't kill people, Freddy's at least going to break some shit.

Of course by the end Jesse and Lisa survive and Freddy is vanquished and they all live happily ever after ... luckily, not in future "Nightmare" movies.

Oh, and after the movie my friend and I were telling my dad about the movie, especially about Freddy possessing Jesse to which my dad said 'if Freddy possessed me I'd take a bunch of Ex-Lax and crap him out.'

Yeah, I get my sense of humor from my dad.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street: Cut Scenes

There are a good amount of deleted scenes from the original "Nightmare on Elm Street" on Youtube. Most of these were available either on the recent inifinitfilm edition or an old two-TAPE version that came out in the 90's (which almost certainly was on a laser disc edition at some point or another.) Not much of it has properly mixed sound but there's some interesting stuff along the way.

A different take on Tina's first encounter with Freddy:

It's tough to say this would have been as effective as what they used. The movie used more of a slow reveal, whereas this seems a little too quick. But most of the shots they kept are in there.

Another take on Nancy's final speech to Freddy:

A little too short and not very good. Interesting that they hadn't done any doctoring on Freddy's voice yet. The speech in the movie is better by far.

An interesting scene with Glen and Nancy's fathers, talking about the possibility that Freddy's the killer.

I can see why they cut stuff like this. Particularly after Glen's death, which is deep into the movie, having the parents becoming more aware of the possibility that the killer could be Freddy doesn't add much. It's Nancy's story at this point.

Similarly, Nancy's parents discuss the possibility of what's happening at Rod's funeral.

Way too early in the flick for the parents to be onto something. What makes part one so cool is the plausiblilty that Rod killed Tina and then killed himself, without it being even reasonable that something else was going on. And, again, in a movie like this, you want the heroine to figure stuff out, not her parents.

An extended version of Rod's death, was some bad teen angst drama between Nancy and her father.

"You've already rubbed my nose in sex and drugs now don't start with insanity." That line was best left on the cutting room floor, I say.

And the two shots everyone wants when they look for cut scenes from "Nightmare..."

Extension of Glen's death including the body coming up after the blood geyser (and Nancy screaming 'I'm AWAKE' after the phone tries to suck face with her ...)

And the alternate ending with Freddy driving the car:

There's more stuff here and there if you peruse YouTube of course ...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street: Early Memories

"A Nightmare On Elm Street" is my favorite movie. Ever. It's not even close. It's not only the main reason I'm a big horror geek, it's pretty much the reason I'm a movie geek. I can't say it's the reason I'm a geek overall because I was probably meant to be that from the getgo.

But, for me, just as some people are with "Star Trek" and "Star Wars," I'm all about the "Nightmare" movies. "Freddy's Revenge" was the first R-movie I ever saw in the theater, after I talked my dad into buying tickets for me and a friend.

As most people know, the remake of "Nightmare" opens this coming Friday, April 30. In preparation, I'll probably be talking about the movies pretty much all this week.

Now, it would be easy to just pull the famous screen captures from the original and talk about how awesome it is. But who wants to read more of that? It's an amazing movie, one that set a new standard for horror and one that, to this day, holds up as a pretty good scare, despite some moments here and there that come off a little cheesy, mostly due to the limits of their budget or some mid 80's musical styles that seem dated.

I first saw "Nightmare" at my good friend Mike Rabaa's house. He was having a party with friends and his older sister was having one the same night. It must've been 1985 so we're looking at 7th grade, I think. The thing is: the first time I saw "Nightmare" I missed the beginning. Mike had one of those new-fangled computers and some of us were playing games on that rather than watch the scary movies his mother had rented for everyone to watch.

So the first shot of "Nightmare" is this, Freddy building the first of his razor gloves:



Then we get the original logo:


Then we roll to Tina's first nightmare which features her wandering through the boiler room and being scared by not only Freddy Krueger but also ...


Apparently Tina was afraid of sheep. Or goats. Whichever one it is.

Then Freddy jumps out from behind Tina and she wakes up screaming. Thus, the tone is set.


But, as I said, the first time I watched the movie I missed all that. I didn't come into the room until a later scene, which is actually pretty famous. The first shot I saw was the famous "Hey, Nancy, no running in the hallway..." moment.


This lead to one of my favorite images in "Nightmare," that being Freddy taunting Nancy by going into Rod Lane's prison cell and showing her what he's doing to her. At this point, Freddy was different in that he was taunting his prey. Unlike Michael Meyers and Jason Voorhees, Freddy played with his food while they were content to just stalk their victims and then slice them up once they cornered them.


What's funny about "Nightmare" is the amount of knowing glances the characters throw around when Nancy talks about the man in her dreams.

First, Glen knows:


(There's an odd bit of untapped story with Glen in that while he gives this knowing glance when Nancy describes Freddy, there are other occasions where he points out that he hasn't had a nightmare at all. So why isn't Freddy stalking Glen with the same vigor that he's stalking the other three? Anyway ... )

At Rod's funeral, Rod's father and Nancy's father know:


(For added drama this shot is when the priest doing the funeral goes over the 'he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword' stuff.)

Later, Nancy's father knows AGAIN:


And her mother Marge ALSO knows:


Speaking of Marge, there's also a version of her speech to Nancy telling Freddy's story where she says that the four kids tormented in "Nightmare" all had brothers and sisters that Freddy killed while he was alive. To me, it's a little too on point to add that to the story and I think it adds to the darkness of the piece to leave that out and just have the parents pushed over the brink back in those days and now the kids are paying the price of it.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll go through more of the deleted scenes and images from the first movie.

Or I'll talk about the second movie, which isn't very good!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Nightmare On Elm Street: Still Comparisons

I found some more stills from the upcoming "Nightmare On Elm Street" remake and thought I'd put up some comparison shots between the original flick and what I presume to be the same scenes in the remake.

Obviously, there could be some sleight of hand but the producers do seem to be releasing some of the more iconic images to the public.

(I took the pictures from either or I forget which. Maybe both.)

Tina rising from the bed as Freddy kills her unseen in 1984:



And Kris presumably meeting the same fate in 2010:



Dead Tina in the hallway:


Dead Kris in the hallway:


One of "Nightmare's" most famous shots, Nancy in the tub with Freddy's incredibly sexually subtextual glove coming up between her legs, from 1984:


And Freddy making the same subtle point in 2010:


Freddy coming out of the wall about Nancy in 1984:


Freddy coming out of the wall in 2010:


Freddy corners Nancy in the boiler room in 1984:


Freddy (presumably) corners Nancy in the boiler room in 2010:


I REALLY like most of these images. Seriously. I think there's going to be a swerve or two and my gut says since so many images of Kris/Tina dying in the revolving room are being released that I think there's a chance she may not die that way for real. There are other shots of her being hounded by Freddy in a classroom so it's possible she could die there.

So keep counting down to April 30!!