Weird Little Boy
A Nightmare On Elm Street Part One is my favourite horror movie of all time; The Elm Street series has been an obsession of mine since before I’d even seen a single film. When I was young, I used to visit the local video store with my family to pick up a few flicks for the week – usually something for the family, and something martial arts related for me and my brother to enjoy. While my family looked, I would inevitably find myself in the horror section – always off in the corner, and always filled from floor to ceiling with gruesome covers depicting terrifying characters who were maimed, mutated, or scarred, and with titles that would haunt my nights and days. Chief among these were the Elm Street movies and the central antagonist Freddy Krueger, whose burned face leered at me from every angle. I remember catching trailers for the movies, or snippets of scenes late at night on TV which both horrified and intrigued me, and would chat about them in school with friends. Flash-forward many years and the series has gone from strength to ridicule to infamy to respected horror canon. While I bought the series on DVD, I always felt that the features were a little light, so when it was announced that a massive retrospective documentary charting the entire series as a phenomenon was being made, that weird little boy inside me returned.
A New Line in the Murder Range
Never Sleep Again is a glorious piece of work for the fan, and a prime example of how to make a rewarding, entertaining documentary which both respects and pokes fun at a film series. With contributions from cast and crew who talk about their respective work on every movie in the series, as well as some of the spin-offs, it is an extremely well-researched and interesting feature. While it is clearly catered towards fans like me, I think those with a passing interest and even someone who hasn’t seen one of the movies would find something to enjoy within. Narrated by Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) herself, the feature documents the beginnings of the series in the minds of Wes Craven and Robert Shaye – how it catapulted both Director and New Line Studios into movie stardom, and how it was an unexpected commercial and critical smash. For those of who who have a particular favourite in the series, don’t be concerned that it will be passed over as each entry is given the same level of reverence and coverage, with witty stories on how directors were hired, how the stories were written, how the effects were made, and the impact the movies had on the lives of the cast members. At four hours long, we cover the 7 seven main films in the series, Freddy Versus Jason, and the short lived television series, with contributions from Craven, Shaye, each of the directors, and most of the writers and actors (no Depp, Arquette, Fishburne and a few others) who discuss their favourite scenes and how they approached the particular film.
Not only are the interviews entertaining and enlightening, but the duo who made the feature, Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch, along with Thommy Hutson should be credited for created such a coherent piece. With such an amount of material to wade through, and a massive amount of interviewees, they have assembled a masterpiece of horror lore, and a wonderful must-have accompanying piece to the series, one which deserves, nay, must be mentioned in any discussion of the series. We get nice animated pieces whilst moving between each film, and a friendly atmosphere which could only have been facilitated so well by dedicated, professional fans. The second disc contains bonus features which range from amusing novelties, to extended interviews, mini featurettes covering artwork, music, the Elm Street expanded universe, the fans and beyond. As if it wasn’t obvious, if you’re a fan of Freddy, then this is a must have. Due to the length of the feature, those who don’t know much about the series may be put off, but if you give it a shot, you’re sure to be sucked into the world which Craven and Co created, and I can only assume you’ll want to give the movies a shot.
Are you a fan of the Elm Street series? Which movie in the series is your favourite? How does the series hold up against rival series and which set of movies would you like a documentary of this size and scope to be made for? Let us know in the comments!