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5 Things I Want In The Next ‘Elm Street’ (If It Ever Happens)!!

While I really liked Platinum Dunes’ Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday The 13th remakes (especially the latter), it’s no secret that their 2010 version of A Nightmare On Elm Street was a frustrating experience for most fans. They seem to know it too, I’ve seen video interviews where partner Brad Fuller hints at misgivings he has with the film. And with a $63 million domestic haul and a $115 million worldwide take at the box office (before making some additional coin on home video) that puts it at least on the precipice of breaking even – I’d say that fan and critical reception is one of the reasons why we haven’t heard talk of a sequel.

I imagine it’s a very tricky franchise to get right and even if those glaring script issues from the 2010 version had been fixed I think the producers would have still been facing an uphill battle. Freddy is a complex villain, and the fact the films deal with a visual representation of the dream world makes them even more complex. It’s gotta be difficult striking the right tonal balance between fantastical and frightening, which is probably why not many films in the original Elm Street franchise were able to do it either.

While I’m not sure exactly how the rights issues tangle out on this one, it would be nice to see Freddy on the big screen again. Here are a few ideas to help that along.

1: Either Keep It Small…

One of the reasons the first Elm Street remains the scariest in the franchise was that it operated within a very specific set of limitations. There were the obvious financial constraints of low budget filmmaking that probably helped keep Freddy in the shadows and the narrative focus sharp, but there were a lot of wise creative decisions being made regardless. If you’re going to do this thing for less than the reported $35 million budget of the remake (something I assume is necessary at this point) concentrate on the things you can afford. A good script, a good director and good scares.

2: … Or Put The Money On The Screen

On the other hand, one of the missed opportunities of the remake was that the dream sequences weren’t even more bold. Can you imagine a Dream Warriors type installment with that kind of budget? It would be amazing. If there’s one creative loss to the remake not having a sequel it’s that they weren’t given a chance to right the ship, correct their mistakes and deliver an installment that explored that side of the Freddy universe.

3: Take It Easy On The Mythology

Of course his backstory should be kept intact – the idea of a child killer (and/or molester) targeting the children of the vigilante parents who burned him alive is perfect. That and him having access to their dreams is all we need. I love Dream Warriors but it started a bad trend with the whole “Freddy’s mom was a nun… he’s the bastard son of a hundred maniacs” type of thing. That bleeds over into the “passing on of the powers” stuff in The Dream Master and the whole kid business of The Dream Child.

I say keep it lean, simple and threatening. Venturing too far into the fantasy/mythology realm distances the audience from the very immediate fear of, “what if someone killed me in my dream?”

4: Make The Characters Fun

One of the missteps of the remake was that we had almost zero moments of levity with our characters. Granted, I like the fact that the film boldly played with Freddy’s backstory, alleging that he had already abused these exact kids when he was still alive, but this choice had an unfortunate side effect. By the time we meet our teens they are downright tortured individuals. It felt like an odd Frank Miller-ing of the material, we don’t need our kids to be dour too. It almost seemed like Freddy was doing them a favor by coming back to put them out of their misery. Even the kids in Dream Warriors were fun to be around and they were in an asylum!

It’s much more tragic to see a happy teen in the prime of their life snuffed out than one who was just gonna wind down the clock painting goth sh*t anyway.

5: About Freddy…

The reason I didn’t put a declarative statement here is there’s very little actual help I can offer in this department. Sure, I could continue the armchair producer pose I’ve adopted for most of this piece and blather on about what makes Freddy work or not work, but it’s such a delicate balance you can’t really put it into words. Not even Robert Englund nailed it 100% of the time (I’d pin this on the scripts and direction of Parts 4-6, not him as an actor). And I don’t see him returning to the role again.

I actually thought Jackie Earle Haley was fine in the remake, I know some people had issues with his makeup or voice but the filmmakers were wise to take steps to set his Freddy somewhat apart from Englund’s. While I don’t see much of a creative issue with bringing Haley back, the film’s reception indicates that won’t happen.

The only advice I can give whoever makes this thing is to be a fan and trust your gut, you’ll know it when you see it.

  • DarrelDreadful

    The problems I had with the remake was that it was lazy, they made Nancy an unlikable character, they gave it to a director who really didn’t give a damn, and yes, every single dream sequence sucked/lacked creativity. It simply had no heart. And without Robert Englund, it just made it that much worse. Not that Jackie was terrible, he just didn’t get much to work with. They should have just done a prequel so we could have warmed up to the new Freddy, and the mystery behind did he or didn’t he. Then the sequel could have been him coming back (with a better actress to play teenage Nancy, and better director).

  • masterofhorror1985

    You should’ve attacked them with this kind of request before they ever released the remake.

    Instead, you were too busy sipping on the kool-aid.

    • EvanDickson

      Was I? I didn’t write anything about the film prior to 2011.

      • masterofhorror1985

        Fair enough but I remember a lot of hype revolving around it. I just hope they don’t destroy the franchise. The return of a much less cheesier Robert Englund would be more than fantastic to witness on screen.

  • Hellen-Cellar

    You get it.

    Give the next one to Michelle MacLaren (along with everything else).

    They need to follow the Blumhouse model. I’d want to see it done at a higher budget than the typical micro-level, but there’s no reason why it needs to be higher than $10 mil… and with killer marketing, it’ll make that back on its first day of release.

    It might be interesting to see them break the formula and build almost the entire movie around a single dream sequence.

  • SonOfVoorhees

    Jackie is fine, but he is no Robert England. Jackie plays a dark cliche killer, its boring. Robert played a Freddy that loved killing, he chased his victims gleefully. He enjoyed scaring kids and, afterwards, killing them. An thats why England will always be better. Sick of the dark moody killers.

  • SonOfVoorhees

    Oh and the makeup was crap. Look at Robert Freddy in photo 2 and Jackie Freddy in 5. The Robert Freddy is much better as a burn victim.

  • I feel I’m about to be flogged for this, but I think they should just let this be. In my opinion, there hasn’t been any very good movie monster/slasher on the big screen for awhile (the only one for me that came close is Mahagony from Midnight Meat Train). Instead of more remakes/sequels, lets see some more “original” stuff. I’m content with watching the first 3 Elm Street films instead of another half assed remake of it. If it’s done bring Haley back, hire a good writer, hire a director who loves the originals, and do it right or not at all, but I doubt they’ll stop making them and the way Hollywood is I doubt we’ll see one that isn’t forgettable at best.

  • divisionbell

    There were a bunch of issues but I thought Jackie was the least of him. I preferred the lean and angry version of Freddy. And while I wanted them to really run with the dreams, I liked the consisten nature of slowly leading the kids to the school. It was a nice touch. I would like to see a sequel that could set things right, but I doubt it’ll happen.

    I definitely agree with your wish list. Personally I want them to retain the budget and go crazier with the dreams. It’s 2013 and we should have a kick ass Freddy film at this point. Keep it dark, with likeable characters, but definitely keep the backstory to the simpl set up they had so far. There was a bit to like in the remake and a lot they needed to work with. And they really should have kept the alternate ending with Freddy out of make up. He was much scarier and allowed Jackie to really shine at the end.

  • Gh0st

    i dnno man.Most real fans of this franchise are gonna have a hard time with these movies because of the lack of Robert Englund.But i didnt think haley was the guy for this part,but not so much him,the make up blew and the voice was cheesy.I think it should of went to someone like billy bob thornton or johnny depp. Maybe even robert deniro (joking) but you get me? just my opinion ,but who cares what i think lol

    • divisionbell

      I actually think Billy bob Thornton would have been a very unique choice. I think he would have pulled it off.

  • anezka

    I don’t think they should make any attempt at all to bring Nightmare on Elm Street back unless Robert Englund is back as well. I mean, remakes of Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw and Halloween are easier because all these villains wear masks, don’t talk and have almost nothing physical that characterizes them (they basically walk, stand and kill). Freddy has always been different because he has the actor’s face and many things that would make you recognize him even without seeing his face or clothes. That all means that whatever they do without Englund, fans will not identify as a Nightmare on Elm Street film any more and I think that is the reason why the 2010 remake sucked so bad.

  • Resident-Zombie

    This is why Brad Dourif still voices Chucky, because he makes the character much more worth while. Very much like Robert Englund did with Freddy. My feelings on this is that if you’re going to replace an actor that was more or less born for the part, replace him with someone who can pull it off just as good or close to the original performance.

    The problem here is that Freddy is already an established character, and what they tried to do was change his overall personality, which doesn’t go down well with Freddy fans. I mean has anyone else seen the outrage towards the new Robocop? What’s wrong with these remakes is that characters we already know and love are being stripped of what makes them great, and in my opinion Hollywood need to dish out more originals.

    I understand why Wes Craven and Englund didn’t want to do more Freddy, but it would awesome if they got together again and showed these amateurs how Freddy works.

  • Wikkedix

    I didn’t see anything wrong with the Nightmare on Elm Street remake. I thought it was really good. I liked the dark tone, Haley did great, and they tried to take it back to the original. I thought they did a good job.

    • EvanDickson

      I thought there was some interesting stuff there. I thought the script had severe issues though. I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it voraciously.

  • EvilHead1981

    Okay, time to state my opinion. It might be long because I’m a BIG NOES fanboy(the original IS my favorite horror movie of all-time, and I’m not afraid to let my bias show).

    Most of these actually hit the nail on the head. I think you can combine 1 and 2 for a more smart means of creativity. If you don’t need to spend a cent of the fuckin budget on SFX that you can do practically(and easy, as the wall scene is a prime example), do that. Not only does it look better(less uncanny valley), but it saves money that can be spent elsewhere(like cool set pieces for dreams).

    If you can go full out with creativity within the dreams, do so, but beware. You don’t want to go overboard and have it look like some modern version of Dreamscape. Keep it to the point. I still believe any bizarre thing within the dreams should be of a disturbing nature. Think back to some iconic NOES scenes, like the “I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy!” Phone mouth, the blood gushing from the bed, and such. But also, with dreams, don’t get carried away with the depiction to show them as being a stark contrast to reality(or the waking world). That’s where the reboot failed. In the original(even the sequels) slipping into a dream wasn’t always something that resembled a shift in world and atmosphere. Sometimes the dreams initially appeared normal(like the real world). That’s realistic, actually. A lot of dreams feel normal, in the sense that within the dreams, you don’t question it initially as being a dream. This means no drastic change in lighting or atmosphere until later within the dream when the character starts to realize something’s wrong. Nancy falls asleep in the class, she notices Tina in the bloody body bag. It’s still relatively bright in the class(it’s fuckin daytime, it’s bright and crisp as crystal). It isn’t until she follows the body bag and after she bumps into the Freddy hall monitor that the hall gets more creepier(darker with leaves and wind blowing). Dreams aren’t realistic, but the way the mind concocts them, it’s to make them feel like it CAN happen in without being extraordinary.

    Mythology-wise, I don’t mind if they try to explain WHY Freddy has the power to enter dreams. I was always partial to the idea that he COULD’VE died while he was asleep, hence his “dream form” was stuck in the dream world with no living body to return to. That or he’s some kind of psychic with the ability to invade others dreams. Sounds a little sci-fi-ish, but hell, that’s better than the flying splooge that were the Dream Demons and their “Publishers Clearing House” grand prize from Hell(because Freddy was the most EVILEST of EVIL people alive, so he won the grand prize!!).

    For the kids(as in the Elm Street Kids, AKA, the Freddy Victims), they should be like they always were in the original series. NOES is one of the few horror slasher franchises that actually had likable characters. Characters that are fun, have personality and that you don’t wan to die. They are kinda “regular kids”. They aren’t the typical bimbo or douchebags you find in other horror movies. A lot of the NOES kids have quirks that make them interesting. Hell, they have dreams and aspirations. They dont’ want to die, because they have friends they care about(sometimes they are even on good terms with their parents, though other times, they aren’t because of their parents’ shady connection to Freddy’s death) and futures they want to see come into being. So, seeing them get killed is actually pretty sad. These aren’t the throw-away “I only live to drink, get high and fuck!” shit-stains you see in “ye every mediocre garden variety slasher”. Make us fuckin care about these kids. Make us care without making us depressed(the whole “tormented” thing in the remake… urgh). That’s also a great point. These kids aren’t supposed to know ANYTHING about Freddy. They are the innocent. Like Craven said, it’s based on the theme, “The sins of the father…”. A generation before making choices that comes to bite the generation after(who have no clue of what’s coming). Bad things happening to good people. Really, it’s so simple to make the tortured victim. “I’m moody because bad things happened to me as a kid! Urrrrrrh!”. That’s soooo 90s.

    Last, Freddy himself, as in Jackie Earle Haley. I don’t mind him, actually. Dude can act. Though, I would advise him to go for a more playful and sadistic tone rather than “Revenge RAGE”. Freddy should fuck with his victims more. Like Robert Englund said in Never Sleep Again, “He could kill his victims any time he wants. It’s not about that, but it’s about the foreplay.”. He relishes the chase. A real predatory animal. He mindfucks with his victims, bringing forth their fears. It’s all about breaking his victims mentally before the kill. Hell, even by self-mutilation(he grossed Tina out by cutting his own finger off, then laughs as she claws his face off revealing a bloody skull). That’s the type of Freddy we need. And that doesn’t mean the jokey guy from the later movies. You can be dark, but also take joy in the darkness without going overboard. As for the look, maybe model the face more after the original Freddy. I did an overlay art on Jackie’s face and his facial features are perfect for a really wicked classic Freddy look. I always thought Jackie had a great face(the structure). Also, maybe they should overdub his voice with a similar filter the used for Robert. The voice, while Robert gave it it’s spirit, the filter used is iconic in making him sound otherworldly and demonic. He’s not human anymore, and that deep, horrific voice is prime in making him sound “inhuman”.

    This all being said, I wouldn’t mind if they rebooted the series again, or just do a requel in revisiting the classic series, but using Jackie as Freddy and maybe used the original as canon, but disregarded Freddy’s Revenge and on(to relieve some of that excess baggage and mythology). You can pretty much set a new NOES now that references the original as some sort of “urban legend” of Springwood. I kinda brought this up in another board that they could go a similar “Creepypasta-esque” route where modern teens discover that their sleepy(LOL) uninteresting town has a dark secret and the urban legend of a “boogeyman” like finger that kills teens in their sleep. The kids are intrigued, but generally shake it off as just a urban fairy tale, until they find out too much and stir up Freddy all these years later.

    Also, I still want a prequel. They could do something really dark with a child murderer on hiding in plain sight among the people of Springwood. Set it in the late 60s/early 70s. Make it sorta like “I Saw the Devil”, have it follow both Freddy and Lt. Thompson(who’s obviously younger and of a lesser rank), showing both as they do their thing(Thompson trying his hardest to find the killer as the young bodies pile up and his neighbors and friends morn their children’s deaths) and Freddy as a janitor at the elementary school(former employee of the now abandoned Springwood Power Plant, and overall handyman) who not only befriends the children, but has worked his way by mingling with the parents of Elm Street so no one would suspect that he is the one abducting the kids, taking them to his secret place in the Power Plant’s boiler room and playing his deadly game of “hide and seek” throughout the industrial corridors that he knows like the back of his hand. THIS is the fuckin’ origin/prequel I want. Keep it more grounded(though you CAN apply the sci-fi element I listed above, which he could appear in the dreams of Thompson to taunt him).

    There ARE some interesting fuckin ideas the Elm Street franchise can go. They need someone with a fuckin vision that LOVES the franchise and respects it. That can’t happen with Platinum Dunes, sadly, nor Sam Bayer(who really only took the job to get more chummy with Michael Bay, and even ridiculed the original franchise and HORROR in general). I’m pretty sure there are plenty of directors(even writers) out there that LOVE this series as much as I do, and would want to do it justice.

  • ThunderDragoon

    All I ask is that they change the make-up. That’s the only gripe I ever had with the remake. He looked like a frog and that’s really not scary. Kermie Krueger is what I called him when I first saw the new Freddy. It was really distracting when you saw his face full on.

    I understand the reasoning for them wanting Freddy to look like that, but it’s fantasy anyway, nobody cares if the make-up is realistic of a burn victim, you know? All that matters is that it looks good, which it really didn’t. Who knows when we’ll get a new entry in the series, though. I think they’ll have to pull a Hulk and just do another remake since so many people hated it lol.

  • WalkingDeadGuy

    The remake was beyond bad. I don’t think the script is to blame though, what was filmed was bland, unoriginal, and straight-up dumb; the director was clearly at fault. I mean, the death of Kris (Tina) for example, was so much less affective in the remake than in the original, not just in terms of gore but in how the whole scene unfolded. Such a lazy excuse for a remake.

    I agree that if they ever make a sequel, they really need to pull back on the mythology and keep it simple. “A group of Elm street kids are stalked by Freddy in their dreams”, and that’s it! Just cast some newcomers, make them fun and relatable and produce *New* and inventive dream deaths. No twist, don’t try to get us to sympathize with Freddy, I mean seriously.

    P.S. This is the same formula Rob Zombie should have used on Halloween, Moustapha Akkad said it best: “Babysitter to be stalked by boogeyman on Halloween” -The man knew what we wanted to see, not an hour of backstory and trashy, unrelatable characters.

    • TwistedCritic

      I think your comment is the first to mention the director, and that to me was one of the biggest problems. Samuel Bayer reportedly turned down the gig TWICE before finally accepting it. Platinum Dunes should’ve taken that as a hint that maybe he shouldn’t be the one to do it. Find a director that actually wants to do it.

  • JasonDidIt

    I can recognize that the NOES remake was a bad entry, all around, however, I do find myself gravitating towards it every so often. I think it’s the really dark tone that I like. Sure, it can be boring, and no one in the film ever seems to have anything worthwhile to say, and you can barely understand what Rooney Mara is saying, but as a standalone film (and by that I mean, if you consider it outside of the NOES franchise) there’s a darkness to it that I kind of like.

    It’s funny how that split can happen, how you can appreciate when a film is bad, but still feel drawn to it.

    In terms of sequels, I don’t understand why everyone is so up in arms about sequels–they don’t actually detract from the original in any way. Who here remembers The Descent 2? And nothing in that sequel affects the quality of the original, and if you feel like it will, then don’t watch it. It’s that simple. But don’t begrudge others their enjoyment of wanting to see a sequel.

    • divisionbell

      I absolutely agree with you. Despite any issues, I find myself watching it from time to time. The ton was really good and there were some really great moments in there.

  • JasonVoorhees1981

    With a better makeup (more like Robert’s Freddy), and a better script, the remake would have been a good movie, IMO. Jackie wasn’t half-bad, I just couldn’t get past his makeup. The nose was horrible.

  • JasonVoorhees1981

    Oh, and I did like the idea of micro-naps. That was a fresh concept for the NOES series.

    • TwistedCritic

      I liked the idea, but my only problem with that was they quickly turned it into an excuse to have Freddy randomly jump out at people without needing to have them fall asleep first. Then they really overdid it when the kid somehow falls asleep while swimming in a race.

  • Darkness69

    There were plenty of things wrong with the remake: Freddy’s face, voice, the micro-naps concept that JasonVoorhees1981 mentioned, the bland characters… but the worst part is that they gave the whole thing to people who had absolutely no respect for the franchise! If I had been there at these interviews where both the director and Rooney THE DRAG Mara were trashing the movie – ergo, Freddy himself – I would’ve called them on their hypocrisy and tossed them out of the fucking room. What audacity they have to say such things? I hope their careers end up where Freddy’s nose in the remake ended up – which is somewhere between purgatory and hell.
    The new movie, should it ever happen, needs these five things and ABSOLUTE RESPECT for the NOES franchise. That means thoughtful consideration of all aspects, research, meetings, proven choice of a director, young and eager cast and love for Freddy. Then the fans will love the result too.

    • divisionbell

      What was so bad about micronaps?

      • Darkness69

        While already sleeping and being (for most of the time) unaware of it and micro-naps are similar when it comes to actually falling to that state, the problem I had with it was that the line between the time in the sleep (however brief it was) and the waking was gone. The characters would be in the pharmacy, then the boiler room, then the pharmacy again and it seemed too blurred, at least to me. Give me old Nancy screaming in the classroom over the bland 2010 version anytime!

      • Darkness69

        And by screaming I mean – violently waking up, as opposed to just going in and out – the bland quality of the 2010 version with the micro-naps didn’t have such an impact in some scenes as it would have had without them.

  • VictorCrowley

    My first change if I were in charge would be to get Platinum Dunes FAR away from the project (as well as from all the other 80’s slashers). Whatever their vision, it’s just not in line with what the fans want. They’ve had their time at the slasher table. Michael Bay has put much food on his plate at the expense of Jason, Freddy, and Leatherface. I believe it’s time for a change.

    They need people who are passionate about the genre like us. After seeing what he did with Hatchet, I wouldn’t mind if Adam Green got a crack at one of the big time slasher characters. PD needs to go though, whatever direction is chosen.

  • Evil_Flip

    LOL I kinda already forgot the remake ‘happened’. thanx for reminding me 🙁

    • anezka

      Isn’t it awful that we can’t unsee thing sometimes? I mean, I would totally like to forget I’ve ever watched this remake.

  • John Marrone

    Texas Chainsaw remake – great.
    Nightmare on Elm Street remake – decent – loved the lack of one liner comedy, but the 20-something model teen cast just sucked.
    Friday the 13th remake – WHAT ON EARTH did you like about that!? Ranks next to THE FOG as the worst remake ever made in my book.

    • divisionbell

      TCM was absolutely brilliant. They may have blown some of heir remakes, but they nailed it with that one.

    • ill_mindedd

      the nightmare and F13 remake both sucked soo much ass!

  • Tomie Kawakami

    Why do people tend to replace the word “reboot” with “remake” so much here?

  • Incinerated

    Solid wants, Evan. While I agree with #4, I would say the characters in the new film were less fun because their being targeted was a bit sadistic with a god-like villain seeking revenge on people he already abused before becoming god-like.

    I don’t think that’s less tragic than seeing some privileged teens be targeted. It’s actually a good tone for the film if the intention was to be purely horrifying. Unfortunately, the tone couldn’t save the poor execution of other elements of the film.

  • barbaraanne

    Eli. although Eddie`s rep0rt is shocking… last week I got a new Volkswagen Golf GTI from earning $7888 this last 5 weeks and a little over 10/k this past munth. this is certainly the coolest work I have ever done. I began this 8-months ago and almost straight away was bringin home more than $74.. per-hr. read here

  • brvoorhees

    I don’t really get why people like to bash the remake that much.
    Honestly, I don’t see the problem at all.
    I agree that new Nancy was a lame main characther, and that Freddy was not reaaaally awesome, but he was cool. He was creepy, as he should be.
    Way better than that “Clown Krueger” in previous entries, which was portrayed by… yeah, Robert Englund. 😐
    I liked the tone and pacing of the movie, my only complaint was that Kris/Katie Cassidy was WAY better than Nancy/Rooney Mara; she shouldn’t have died. But Quentin/Kyle Gallner made Nancy seem less boring, after all. It was a great remake, it did NOT destroy the franchise or something like that. It was really a good movie. Not impressive at all, but great.

  • Evan3

    @EvanDickson – I think you missed one other major point… don’t copy the original. I groaned almost every time they almost carbon copied a scene (and despite advances in technology and a bigger budget, most of the copied scenes looked worse – especially the wall scene). Look, if you are remaking… bring something new to the table. You won’t get anywhere in cribbing directly from a bona fide classic.

    Evil Dead did it write. It was respectful and had a similar premise, but it was absolutely its own film. Not being constrained with a new version of the unmatchable Ash really let them fly

  • Sentora

    I enjoyed the remake, though I wish they’d gone with the idea of him being falsely accused and murdered like it was implied at first. It would have made Earl’s Freddy stand on his own feet and allowed writers to take the series in a fresh direction.

  • Anjospot

    Make a sequel already. Your budget is already over it. Don’t advantage our money for it. Make a sequel!

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