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Nightmare On Elm Street has always been my favorite horror franchise. The concept is simple, and I never saw a reason they should have stopped cranking out Freddy movies. Unlike Jason Voorhees, whose talent was limited to lumbering around with something sharp, the world of ‘Elm Street’ is constantly changing based upon what people fear. In that sense, they need only a new setting and they can roll out all new, completely original nightmare sequences and never have to worry about lengthy setups; it’s a dream world. Anything goes.

This bugs me for a couple reasons. The first is that it seems that they simply lifted verbatim sequences from the series that were visually compelling; i.e. the glove in the bath tub, the girl being pulled to the ceiling, the high school turned boiler room. And there’s no need. It’s been over 15 years since the last Nightmare movie. Surely SOMETHING has happened during this time period that has stuck in the public psyche. I dunno, maybe like a school shooting, a tsunami, a terrorist attack, a couple wars, an entire fucking world of technology. Creepy glove guy walking down hallways with fire in the background isn’t just rehashed, it’s inexcusably lazy. They clearly have a budget. Do something visually intriguing. It’s not difficult.

The second is that the Freddy metaphor is one that is vastly universal as it tells the story of the mistakes in our past coming back to haunt us. True, the original series was just a teenage slasher flick where the backstory was more an explanation of the plot, but the idea is very compelling and I can’t believe that Bay & Co. will try to do anything with it other than take it at complete face value.

For fun, about six months ago I wrote a crappy treatment for something I called A NIGHTMARE AT FORT SILL. Six soldiers return home from Iraq to find they are hunted in their dreams by an innocent man whose life they destroyed at Abu-Ghraib. (Sort of a P.T.S.D. Jacob’s Ladder) Not the greatest premise in the world; but at least it was a host for atmosphere, metaphor, and imagery which is the essence of horror. My post-9/11 “nightmare” envisioned a crippled veteran trapped in a burning WTC where the Escher-like maze of hallways and stairwells prevented escape in his wheelchair. Or an Abu-Ghraib where hood-draped phantoms in orange jumpsuits administered  interrogation questions in that non-discernable tongue that people in dreams always seem to speak in. Once again, I’m not saying I could serve up a story with the best of them, I’m just saying that at least there’s alternatives to simply tracing scenes from the first three films and re-shooting it with all-new ‘spooky child’ singing.

I guess it really doesn’t matter. This film will make a pantload of money, and I have no doubt that Jackie Earl Haley’s performance will be well worth the cost of admission.

Freddy Kreuger

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