In Memoriam | Wes Craven (1939-2015)

Yesterday, the horror world lost one of the greats. Rest in peace, Mr. Craven, though your handiwork did little to pass on peace to the rest of us. It makes me too sad to know the darkest corners of your mind are now beyond quiet.

Source: Twitter
Source: Twitter

May you be peaceful and happy, wherever you are.

Pop | Happy 30th Anniversary, Nightmare on Elm Street!

Source: CircleCinema.com
Source: CircleCinema.com

Thirty years ago, Wes Craven, Bob Shaye, and New Line Cinema launched the face that would scare millions of kids. Their parents tried to kill him, but now the children of Elm Street in Springwood, USA are being haunted in their dreams by the villainous child killer, Fred Krueger. Fire, a dream master, and even his own daughter couldn’t really kill him. A dream demon returning to fulfill a quest of vengeance; they took his life, now he’s taking their children: one nightmare at a time.

I want desperately to talk about the legacy of this movie; I mean, 30 years, is a long time for anything. Marriages don’t even last that long anymore, and this movie has managed to stay relevant, timely, and creative for the past three decades. I have enjoyed these movies my entire life–I was born just two years, one month, and 25 days before its debut. They held me captive, helped me escape, and taught me that things aren’t always what they seem. The nature of reality is viscous, liquid at best, and Nightmare on Elm Street uses that against us in every incarnation, in every sequel.

Let’s not overlook the power of women in Nightmare on Elm Street. Nancy, KristenAlice (and Alice, again), Maggie, Heather, and Lori all stand up to Freddy and come out on top. Each one of them “kills” him and walks away (though Nancy doesn’t make it in Dream Warriors after a valiant fight), even though death isn’t really permanent for Fred. That isn’t anything the ladies could have changed, though, he’s a demon now. Killed by vigilante justice and coming back over and over again to serve up poetic justice–the irony being Fred is still tormenting and killing children, only now the parents won’t believe the cries of warning from their haunted children. Because they have to believe he’s already dead. But, death means nothing to evil, to revenge.

Even though the remake was kinda crappy in my opinion, I don’t think Freddy is going anywhere. Even if we only ever have the originals–God forbid! /sarcasm–Krueger has made his mark, and the world will never be the same.

Here’s to enjoying the next 30 years!

Favorite Slasher Series: Nightmare on Elm Street

I think I’m going to start each of these off with a little bit of mood music…

Freddy Krueger has been a constant in my life from a very young age. One of the first scary movie images I recall seeing as a child was Joey Crusel thrashing around in a waterbed. But I didn’t know why until much, much later…

(From The Scare)

That was the only scene I managed to see of the Nightmare series for a long time. It wasn’t until early middle school when I saw the original Nightmare on Elm Street for the very first time. It would have come after I saw Edward Scissorhands for the first time, because I recognized Johnny Depp’s name in the credits. Not even the credits of the movie; no, I purchased a novelization of the first three films and noticed his name there, then went to find the movie. Which, wasn’t too hard considering I lived within walking distance of two places that rented videos at the time.

At this stage in the game, I’ve seen each and every movie with Freddy Krueger’s name on it at least 1000 times. With exception to the 2010 remake, because well, Jackie Earle Haley just didn’t do it for me the way Robert Englund does.

Source Unknown
Source Unknown

This movie series has everything: revenge, love, lust, blood, and laughter. If anything, Freddy can make you laugh. He’s got great one-liners and whip-crack wit. Wouldn’t the Devil need to be charming? Considering he’s basically the embodiment of the concept that the sins of the fathers will be paid by the sons–and, in this case, the daughters. Every child on Elm Street is paying the price for the vigilante justice performed against one child killer extraordinaire, Mr. Krueger. They set him on fire (please, with the “spoiler alert” crap, it’s been 30 years! There’s an entire Wikipedia network established for NOES, for Pete’s sake!) and he becomes an even bigger problem: a dream demon. Still killing kids (there’s a lesson for adults, vigilante justice only exacerbates the problem!), now the parents just don’t believe it’s happening anymore. They’ve solved the problem, after all, right?

Wrong. And for seven total movies, plus face-off and remake films, Freddy gets to keep telling those adults they’re wrong, eventually moving out into the greater world, “Every town has an Elm Street!” So much so, even the potential of reconnecting to his own child only made the blood lust stronger. Coming out into the “real world” only made him loom that much larger above us. (Happy 20th Anniversary, New Nightmare, as of October 14th, by the way!!)

Source: BasementRejects.com
Source: BasementRejects.com

Freddy’s presence has become a mainstay and a constant, not only at Halloween. For all of his evil, disgusting ways, he’s charismatic, dynamic, and nigh unstoppable. I see images of Freddy’s mug with “RIP” next to it, and I always have to wonder. Could a personality like Freddy’s, seated so deep, made so tragic, and of the darkest bile found in the human condition, ever really be dead? Good thing there are Dream Warriors, just in case he isn’t.

(From John TTherror)

They better not…

fuck this up. I swear to God and all that is holy in the horror world…

The very first scary movie I ever saw was “Night of the Living Dead” – all black and white, dramatic, and featuring some very ugly, very “dead” cannibals. I loved every second of it because it scared the bee-jeezus out of me. Ever since that moment, a moment in my life full of upheaval and some very scary real things going on, I have devoured a horror/gore/thriller genre movie when it’s been presented to me.

Horror movies have always held a very dear and special place in my heart. Personally, they are my favorite form of escape. I love to listen to music, to read, and write; but when it comes to really burying my head in the sand I select a good scary movie. As you might assume, I have my favorites, the tried-and-trues that get me through a really bad day: A Nightmare on Elm Street.

If you already clicky-clicked my little link up there you knew where this was going! 🙂

I started out frightened of Mr. Englund, not knowing that was his alter-ego of course. I didn’t have Internet Movie Database (IMDB) or even fan mags back then (Like Fangoria or Rue Morgue) to introduce me to the faces behind the masks, scars, and rot I’d come to love. I don’t know that I would have wanted them if they were available. It may have ruined the illusion that Freddy existed, living in my dreams, and was pissed off at my mom for making him go away. For burning him alive.

As I’d grown older, I came to better understand Freddy and his desire for revenge. His need for belief and fear to work his delightfully dubious magic. If you can’t kill the one you hate, hate the one you can kill, right? He went after the children because he knew he could get them to believe – start knocking off a teenager’s buddies (the drinking, smoking, having-sex buddies to boot) and you’ll get their attention. Freddy knew the parents weren’t scared of him anymore because they had “killed” him. In Adult Land, if I douse someone with gasoline and set them ablaze they are dead. Not so in the Imagination World of children. That’s where Freddy needed to lurk, in the fears that the parents had inadvertantly passed down to their children.

See? Not only is Freddy scary, he’s an educational tool. If you’re a teenager who does dirty, nasty things – you will die. Further, adults have this tendency to pass on nasty things from their own generation to the next one… but I digress…

While I would love to analyze Freddy until he’s blue in the face, my point in all of this is: He’s an icon. At least in The Melissa Bubble, where he’s existed as a force to be reckoned with and a force to wash out all the other scary shit I really have to face day-to-day. And now, like his Brother in Arms, Jason Voorhees, he’s being made into a remake.

A remake????

Who can take Mr. Englund’s place? Why would anyone bother? There have been multiple Jason’s because his identity, morbid and twisted as it is, is hidden behind a hockey mask. Mr. Voorhees is still Mr. Voorhees no matter who is donning the mask and machete. But Freddy – FREDDY – is Robert Englund. He made Freddy his own and gave him a kind of black heart that I don’t think anyone else could. For 8 movies, Robert stood up and gave us the sarcastic lines; the dark, twisted humor; the willingness to remove his own limbs just to scare the shit out of his victims. While Freddy can still be written and depicted (hence the link to the poster) as “Robert’s Freddy” that doesn’t mean he can still be portrayed as such.

Can it?

Now that I know Jackie Earle Haley (JEH) is portraying my dark prince, I’m definitely going to have to see Watchmen and make sure he’s going to be scary enough. He needs to be dark enough, vicious enough. There can be no morals, no holding back, no second-guessing yourself or the fear in your potential victims. JEH doesn’t have to be Robert Englund; this is a new spin of course. He just needs to be aware of the glove he needs to fill.

I had hope for the Friday the 13th remake. With graphic effects and the potential for mounds of gore and a bigger, scarier Jason, I was excited. I anticipated it, was hopeful for it. Then I saw it. Yeah, the characters were fist-magnets and the kills were okay. There was one exceptional, long-distance kill that I loved. But watching that makes me scared for this Nightmare remake.

No matter what happens, or who plays him, Freddy will go down in history as one of the scariest movie villains of all time. I am excited to see what a new perspective and a fresh spin on Freddy will generate, but I’m also scared they will royally fuck this up… and they should be too.