Welp, here we go again. It was announced and confirmed that A Nightmare on Elm Street will be given (or subjected to) a second reboot.
The series was initially given a “fresh” start in 2010 but that version, starring Jackie Earle Haley, was widely panned by critics and derided by fans. So, New Line are giving it another shot.
Honestly, this isn’t an entirely bad thing. When it comes to remakes and reboots, I tend to simply view them as exactly what they are: new movies offering a new perspective. If that new perspective is an interesting, original and entertaining one, great. If not, then I always have the original film to turn to when the mood strikes.
And where Nightmare is concerned, well, it’s ripe for a modern take. Visually, thematically and storytelling-wise, the premise holds some pretty deep potential, and today’s technology has further widened that potential.
That said, there’re a few things I would especially like to see in a new Nightmare on Elm Street.
1 – Keep Cartoon Freddy Far, Far Away
This is one thing the previous reboot actually did right. In the original series, Freddy had become a caricature of himself. It began, I would say, in part 3 (the popularity of the TV kill probably got the ball rolling), got a tad worse in part 4 (Freddy’s pizza, anyone?), still worse in part 5 (Super Freddy riding in on a skateboard . . . ugh), and reached its painfully campy zenith with Freddy’s Dead (the examples here are simply too numerous to list, just pick one…).
Freddy has a sense of humor, yes (and its importance will be addressed), but it’s a dark and deadly sense of humor, a sense of humor meant to make his kills all the scarier and more disturbing. For example, in part 3, turning Phillip into one of his own marionettes was, on a certain level, funny—and Freddy certainly thought it was hilarious. But that the strings were his bloody veins, pulled from his wrists, leading him to what would appear to be a suicide, was anything but funny.
Eventually, Freddy’s sense of humor was simply taken too far, with every kill preceded or followed by a lame one-liner. This is completely unnecessary, serves only to defuse the scares and should be left out of the reboot.
2 – Freddy’s Darkly Ironic Sense of Humor
That said, Freddy is a funny guy—or at least he thinks he is. But he’s funny in the way getting gruesomely absorbed by your own motorcycle as you crash the thing is funny. He’s not funny in the way that riding a broom stick through a tornado is funny . . . ‘cause that’s just not funny.
His kills should be ironic, they should, in some twisted way, tie into the victim’s fears. They should make sense and exist not as a sight gag or as something upon which to hang a one-liner. By killing his victims in their dreams using a method or motif that relates to their waking reality, Freddy is essentially trolling them and demonstrating his complete mastery of the dream world.
His dark irony isn’t just Freddy exercising his sense of humor, it’s Freddy exercising his power.
3 – Spectacular Kills
The first reboot played it far too safe. Yeah, it was probably going for nostalgia by recreating kills from the first film, but it came off lazy, given that effects that had been challenging and creatively taxing in 1984 were comparatively easy to reproduce in 2010. With today’s technology the audience will and should demand more.
This guy kills his victims in their dreams. Absolutely anything can happen in dreams: the creators of the next Nightmare should write that line at the top of every page of the script. Hell, it should be the film’s working title.
Victims are sucked dry, leaving a deflated husk behind. Victims are turned into bugs, chitinous limbs bursting through tearing skin. Victims are puppeteered about by their own veins.
Absolutely anything can happen in dreams.
4 – Something New
Give us a twist. Even Craven successfully reinvented the wheel with New Nightmare, essentially brining Freddy into the “real” world. Time to take that wheel back to the drawing board again.
Maybe Freddy is a woman this time around. Maybe Freddy proves to be a subconscious manifestation of the Final Girl’s own inner darkness. Maybe the dreamscape is actually a space—Jacob’s Ladder-style—between life and death, the whole movie taking place in the mind of a dying child killer as he rides the lightning.
Again, the basic premise allows for nearly anything. A few things need to stay, such as the basic back story, Freddy’s basic look, the basic tone, and the connection to dreams—everything else is up for grabs.
So, new Freddy creators, go ahead and make our wildest nightmares come true. I dare you.
What else would you like to see in the new Nightmare on Elm Street reboot?