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Posted on 5/23/10 12:57 AM
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy DVD Review
May 2, 2010 Paul Counelis
New documentary on the Elm Street films and it's star, the unforgettable Freddy Krueger, is well made and nightmarishly researched. Freddy lives!
"Horror is the madwoman in the attic of cinema," wrote horror scribe James Marriott, and as such, it's a genre easily overlooked and easily written off. However, an exhaustive new documentary about one of the most famous and beloved of all the horror franchises is proof of the genre's growing respect.
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is a remarkable, enthralling 2-disc DVD set concerning all aspects of the Nightmare On Elm Street films that covers literally every aspect, including the conception, the marketing, even the TV spin-offs and merchandising of the successful horror series. Narrated by NOES veteran Heather Langenkamp ("Nancy Thompson"), the doc begins with the journey of the making of the original film and continues through the rest of them, never skimping on anecdotes or coverage, even of the most reviled and controversial movies of the series.
The documentary clocks in at just under four hours. That might sound like a long time for a film about other films...until you begin to watch it. This thing moves at such a pleasing pace. The original actors have been tracked down and interviewed (cleverly introducing themselves by reading their own role descriptions from the original scripts), including the icon Freddy himself, the always entertaining Robert Englund. Many people who worked on the film are included; directors, producers, make-up effects guys, casting directors...virtually everyone of interest is afforded at least a few moments of anecdotal material.
One of the most fun and exciting aspects of the doc is the upfront way the people associated with the film come clean about pretty much everything. For instance, Director/Creator Wes Craven pulls no punches in describing his ire for some of the film's sequels. In fact, he even goes into detail about his dislike of the "car scene" at the end of his own first NOES film. The candid stories and quotes keep the film interesting, even exhilarating.
Almost everyone is here, with the exceptions of Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette who are still represented by footage and the recollections of other cast members...but then, you know what they're up to now anyway, right?!
Elm Street Explained
The second disc features four more hours of NOES goodness, including behind the scenes stuff and a herculean amount of bonus material and never before seen footage and pictures. It's such a nice collection of extras that they could probably have released it as a stand alone disc, even without the incredible doc.
Veteran horror fans, casual viewers of the original series, and even disgruntled moviegoers who didn't feel satisfied by the current NOES remake could do much worse than checking out this amazing documentary, which is probably the best of it's kind in the annals of horror. It serves as a reminder of just how big the franchise was in the eighties and nineties, and how popular the character of Freddy Krueger still is today.
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