Greatest Movie Series
(Wes Craven's) New Nightmare (1994)
Nightmare on Elm Street Films
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) | A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) | A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) | Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
(Wes Craven's) New Nightmare (1994) | Freddy vs. Jason (2003) | A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
|(Wes Craven's) New Nightmare (1994)
(aka A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 7: Freddy's Finale)
d. Wes Craven, 112 minutes
Film Plot Summary
This opening sequence (revealed shortly later to be a nightmare) occurred on the film set of a new Nightmare on Elm Street movie, directed by Wes Craven (Himself). The special F/X creator, Chase Porter (David Newsom), was manipulating the sinister metallic claw device, as it was jammed onto the arm stump, and tubes pumped fake blood. The shot ended with the command: "And cut. Print that, Gretchen!" Craven told Chase: "You're a genius. This makes his old claw look like Mother Teresa's mitten." The crew members congratulated themselves: "Some of our best work."
Chase's family, on the set, included:
Heather admitted that she didn't like the infamous glove, but Chase replied: "That thing puts bread on our table." Dylan asked: "Is it alive, Daddy?" Suddenly, the clawed hand flexed and jumped to life and cut Chase's finger. One of the special effects crew members, Terry Feinstein (Rob LaBelle), mentioned that the hand was warm to the touch "just like a real hand."
Then the disembodied hand attacked another crew member, Chuck Wilson (Matt Winston) (# 1 death) - its long talons were plunged into his neck. The hand then scrambled out of sight before driving itself straight into Terry's chest and heart (# 2 death). Heather screamed as Dylan suddenly disappeared, and then as the claw was jumping toward Chase, Heather woke up.
She was convulsing in her own bed, and experiencing a nightmare, as a 5.3 earthquake struck their home in Los Angeles. It was the fifth earthquake in three weeks in the area. After it subsided, Heather noticed and then questioned a cut on Chase's finger - the same one he had received in her dream.
After a few weeks of receiving harassing phone calls from a "nutcase," Heather said that they had stopped, but she was still fearful: "He's closer, if anything. It's giving me nightmares." She described her previous night's dream:
Chase assured her that he would be safe, working for two days supplying soap bubbles for a detergent commercial being filmed in Palm Springs. After he left, four large diagonal cracks (the film's leitmotif) split open on her bedroom wall. Downstairs, she found Dylan transfixed in front of a television, viewing an excerpt of her own starring role as Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Dylan screamed when she pulled the plug on the set, and then she received a menacing phone call from Freddy: "One, two...Freddy's coming for you..." More rumblings shook the house after Dylan intoned: "Someone's coming."
At her front door was babysitter Julie (Tracy Middendorf) to take care of Dylan, while she was away doing an interview on a morning talk show. When the phone rang, Heather answered it rudely: "Leave us alone, you son-of-a-bitch," but it was only the LA Limousine service outside for pick-up. She was frazzled: "I just have this weird feeling today." Julie denounced the phone caller as a "sick f--k," and Heather admitted that her nerves were a "little raw" - probably from the many 'shakers' there had been.
On the chauffeured drive to the studio, the talkative, star-struck, horror film-loving limousine driver (Cully Fredricksen) eyed her and then said he recognized her:
During the TV show interview on AM LA, host Sam Rubin (Himself) discussed the 10th anniversary of the "Nightmare" films, composed of "the original, (and) five very popular sequels." She admitted to only performing in parts one and three. The host asked if there would be another sequel, and if Freddy was really dead. She was emphatic in her answer: "Of course he is. Freddy's dead and gone."
As a "big surprise" for her and the audience, the host introduced "the best of the bad" -- Freddy Krueger himself (Robert Englund as Himself) as another guest. The fire scar-faced slasher, with a red/green striped sweater and brown fedora hat, clawed with his bladed hand through the door's window, and screamed to the adoring audience of fans:
As she left the studio, she chatted briefly with Robert Englund (in civilian clothes) who had been signing autographs - he asked if she might be interested in working with him again in another sequel. She quipped about it being a romantic comedy, and he half-joked: "Just because it's a love story doesn't mean you can't have a decapitation or two."
Nancy then received an urgent phone call from Sara Risher (Herself), telling her that New Line Cinema's producer Robert Shaye (Himself) wanted her to visit his office immediately, to present her with a proposal. In New Line's offices (lined with Andy Warholish portraits of the profitable iconic killer Freddy), Shaye point-blank asked Heather to participate in "the definitive 'Nightmare'." Although Freddy had been 'killed off,' he argued that "the fans...were clamoring for more. I guess evil never dies, right?"
Director Wes Craven, Freddy's creator, had pitched the idea and was working on the script, although for a time he had stopped doing horror films when his inspiration dried up, due to his own lack of "scary nightmares." Shaye suggested that she would reprise her starring role as Nancy Thompson: "You're the star" - but she was very unsure, now that she was a mother. She was startled and dismayed when told that her husband was secretly working on creating a prototype for a new glove for the film. Over the past few months that the script was being worked on, Heather suspected, coincidentally, that "funny" things had begun happening: "Like weird phone calls, or nightmares."
When Heather returned home, she was also disturbed by her son's drastic change in behavior. Experiencing an episode after taking a nap, he was convulsing and warning in a strange and alien voice not his own: "Never sleep again!" He then mentioned: "Rex saved me" - Rex was his stuffed pet dinosaur, torn apart with four deep slash cuts across his body. Julie and Heather decided to sew up the ripped-apart animal to make him "as good as new."
Worried and scared that "somebody was after him [Dylan]," Heather phoned Chase and begged him to hurry home, telling him: "He was acting...Like Freddy." When she admitted that she had received another phone call, he promised to speed home. As he left, the camera panned back to his work bench, where the new glove prototype he had developed was now missing.
That night at Dylan's bedside, Heather read some of the Hansel and Gretel storybook tale to Dylan, but she paused, remarking that the violent story would give him nightmares - but he urged her to continue: "I like this story," he claimed. She finished the tale of how Gretel fooled the witch and pushed her into an oven's flames to kill her once and for all, and to save her and her brother. The story ended when the two followed a trail of breadcrumbs back to their house where they were safe. Before Dylan went to sleep, he told his mother how Rex, as a guard under his sheets toward the bottom of his bed, kept "the mean old man with the claws" from moving up toward him at night.
While driving home in his pickup truck, Chase struggled to stay awake and was weaving across the median dividing line. When he dozed, four sharp fingers of his new bladed glove poked through the driver's seat upholstery in front of his crotch, and then Freddy's entire arm thrust upward and clawed open his chest. When his truck went off the highway and crashed, Heather was startled awake on the couch in her living room. Dylan was standing nearby, asking: "Mommy scared?" She replied: "It was just a bad dream." He explained why he was out of his bed: "Rex woke me up. He was fighting." Police officers at her door notified her that her husband had died in a car accident when he fell asleep at the wheel (# 3 death).
To see the body for herself and identify it, Heather visited the LA Morgue's basement, where there were three bodies covered with sheets on gurneys in the hallway, and she heard a woman's wailing. In the morgue itself, she heard the whirring of a grinding tool, and was led to Chase's corpse by one of the attendants - after one quick look at his bloodless, gray face, she wanted to take a second more extensive look, and noticed four slashing, deep claw-like marks running down the length of his chest. She was told it was a horrible wreck, but she believed there might be another explanation: "It looks like he was clawed." The attendant tried to be consoling: "Sometimes it's what we don't see that gets us through the night."
During the graveside memorial service in the cemetery, the ground heaved and jerked from another earthquake. Several gravestones, statues, and markers were toppled, and the coffin tipped and fell head-first into the pit. Heather lost her balance and her head hit the framework surrounding the gravesite, and she entered into a state of unconsciousness:
Panicked, she was revived by one of her Nightmare film's co-stars, John Saxon/Lt. Donald Thompson (Himself), and was reoriented.
That night, the wind howled outside Heather's house as she laid awake in bed. She found Dylan again transfixed (sleepwalking?) in front of the television (but it was still unplugged from the morning!), watching another scene from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) in which she starred. [It was the scene in which she asked Freddy in the boiler room: "Who are you?"] Dylan complained that he couldn't sleep in his own bedroom, but she insisted: "Honey, you have to sleep." He sang Freddy's rhyme to her: "One, two, Freddy's coming for you..," and told her that he had heard the song in his bed and under the covers: "Kids singing. Way down there with the man. The mean man." The evil man was "trying to get up into our world" - after which Dylan made the sign of the claw.
Heather treated his nosebleed and took him to her bed. He was suffering grief from his father's death, and was partially comforted knowing that his father was with God, although he asked: "Do you have to die to see God?" She replied: "I think you have to pray and reach out." He also wondered: "Why does God let there be bad things?" As he tried to go to sleep, he requested: "Can you come with me in my dreams?" She smiled: "I think that only happens in the movies. But I'll always, always be right here when you get back. And I'll make sure that nobody gets your toes." As she reached for a cup of coffee (at midnight) to keep awake, Dylan reached down for Rex - protectively next to his feet.
In a daytime playground scene, Heather spoke to John Saxon about her son's "bizarre" behavior from time to time, and he suggested that she see a doctor if really worried. He explained how her son's behavior was understandable for a kid who had just lost his father. She admitted that "crazy" ancestors were in her family lineage: "It's in my family, you know...A very close relative died in an institution." He turned it around to reassure her: "You have a crazed fan after you. That's what's making you crazy. Probably Dylan, too." She half-joked that Freddy might be calling her - "He's a man or a boy with a deep Freddy, you know, voice." He described how a stalking situation "really gets under your skin if you let it," and that she was definitely not crazy.
While they talked, Dylan had precariously climbed up on a tall playground rocket structure, and ascended up the surface of the nose cone to the very top where he stood and reached his arms up toward the sky. When Heather saw him dangerously stretching and losing his balance, she ran to the base of the structure as he miraculously fell into her arms and she cushioned his fall. Dylan seemed unphased, and solemnly told her: "God wouldn't take me."
At her home as she fetched mail from her front yard postal box, Heather noticed one grimy letter - inside was a burnt page from a dictionary with the letter "E" at its center. She deposited it in a drawer filled with other similarly burnt pages, with different letters: "H," "A," "W," etc, and then steadied herself. She called Robert Englund at his home (partially converted into an art studio) to talk about her concerns about the return of a stalker who was phoning her and sending mail, and the return of "Freddy nightmares." Englund guessed: "He's darker, more evil," and then revealed that Wes Craven's script for the new movie was written "as far as Dylan trying to reach God" -- the scene at the playground. [Englund seemed possessed or he was tackling his own nightmares through his art - his macabre oil painting was of a razor-clawed, slashing Freddy with terrified victims.]
That night, Heather tossed and turned in her bed (during another nightmare), as Dylan was seen sleep-walking into the kitchen.
Heather located Dylan monotonously repeating "Never sleep again" in the kitchen, and walking in circles near the TV. He had placed the pages of her letters on the floor, spelling: ANSWER THE PHONE. The phone rang, and when she answered it, Freddy laughed, said: "I touched him," and obscenely thrust his tongue at her through the receiver. Frothing at the mouth, screaming and kicking, Dylan fell to the floor with another convulsion episode.
Dylan required medical hospitalization at the Hollywood Hospital, where pediatrician Dr. Hefner (Fran Bennett) voiced worry about the effects of horror films on children: "Those films can tip an unstable child over the edge." Dylan required overnight care for further tests. Dr. Hefner also speculated: "Sometimes, what a child says or fantasizes will give a clue to what ails him." Heather provided no answer, concerned that her child might be diagnosed as "unstable." Privately, the doctor surmised: "The early symptoms point to childhood schizophrenia." Heather told her mute son: "You have to fight it, whatever it is that's after you, and you've got to come back to me. You can't make it alone." To "feel safe," he gestured that he needed Rex for protection, although he first required treatment before returning home. Dylan was medicated to help him sleep, but he spit out the pill when no one was looking.
As Heather drove home, she phoned Robert Englund, but the message said he would be out of town for some time. Instead, she met with director Wes Craven at his luxurious home to talk about his script for the new film - he explained its development: "I dream a scene at night, I write it down in the morning." He described the "very old" entity in the script that "lives for...the murder of innocents." He confessed: "I sort of think of it as a nightmare in progress." The entity "can be captured sometimes...by storytellers, of all things...for a while, it's held prisoner in the story...But the problem comes when the story dies...the evil is set free." Craven admitted and agreed:
When Heather asked what Freddy was now doing, Craven explained:
He then described how Freddy could be stopped - through Heather's role as gatekeeper:
Heather knew it had become more than that -- and asked: "How can we stop him?" He responded: "I think the only way to stop him is to make another movie." Once the script was finished, Heather would be faced with a choice: "Whether or not you're willing to play Nancy one last time." [The script, in progress, was being written on Craven's computer with their dialogue, as they spoke it.]
That night, Heather suspected that Dylan was suffering from "sleep deprivation," causing his symptoms of childhood schizophrenia - with "trance-like states, mechanical behavior." Heather experienced another nightmare herself:
Heather raced to the hospital to see Dylan during non-visitation hours (in the middle of the night), and found worried babysitter Julie asking to see Dylan, because she had experienced a "really terrible dream" about him. Heather's arm wound was treated, with skeptical Dr. Hefner pondering Heather's tale of another recent earthquake. The doctor reported that Dylan was heard talking to himself about his major fear - a man coming out of his bed. Heather mentioned that she forgot to bring his stuffed pet Rex, who prevented Freddy Krueger (Dr. Hefner: "The man from your films?") from appearing. Heather rationalized that all kids had seen the Nightmare films: "Every kid knows who Freddy is. He's like Santa Claus or King Kong..."
Heather dozed off in Dylan's hospital room and experienced another frightening nightmare:
To protect her son, Heather woke up. Heather lurched onto the empty bed - she cried out to the nurses, who restrained her: "He's got my baby!...Freddy!" She then realized from the shocked look on the nurses' faces that she had fallen asleep, and they thought she was crazy. Dylan had been taken downstairs for further testing, with Julie, and it was recommended that Heather go home and rest. She was assured: "Everything is fine."
Heather ran to the restricted pediatric testing area, told a nurse who asked for a security pass: "Screw your pass" [a repeat of a scene in the Nightmare film], and was told about Dylan's diagnosis: acute sleep deprivation. Extremely sleepy, Dylan again asked for Rex, fearing: "The bad man's getting awful close," and Heather promised to go home (nearby, "right across the freeway") to retrieve his stuffed animal. She also instructed babysitter Julie to "keep him awake."
When tricked by two nurses who sleep-sedated Dylan with a shot, Julie punched one of them, and threatened the junior nurse (Jessica Craven, Wes Craven's daughter) with a hypodermic, and then locked Dylan's room door. He began drifting off to sleep, as Heather was apprehended by security guards on her way out. Suspicious, Dr. Hefner questioned her about using recreational drugs, her family history of mental disturbance, and her own "suffering from any delusional events." Heather denied "seeing" Freddy Krueger. Dr. Hefner suggested putting Dylan in foster care, just long enough so that they could run tests on Heather.
Dylan fell asleep and began to have another nightmare of Freddy:
She found her son and John (whom she had called to help) safe in her home. As she went outside to talk to John, the house had been transformed and manipulated by Freddy into becoming her house on Elm Street - and she was reliving her role as "Nancy." She asked John: "Why are you calling me Nancy, John?" and he replied as her Lieutenant father, Mr. Thompson: "Why are you calling me John?" When she asked about Robert Englund and Freddy, he sternly but lovingly told her: "Freddy's dead. Don't start losing it like your mother did."
Inside her house, "Nancy" watched on the TV a reprise of her final scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) that had just been similarly repeated outside. She followed a trail of Dylan's sleeping pills, laid out like Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs, taking her to Dylan's room. He was gone, but she found his stuffed dinosaur Rex completely eviscerated. The pills were his way of telling her to join him in a lucid dream: "You've given me a way to join you." Heather swallowed a few of the pills, and then dropped down into Freddy's dreamscape world:
Mother and son ran from the exploding inferno and dove into the pool of water, emerging back in the real-world at the foot of Dylan's bed.
They hugged as he told her: "We're saved. The witch is dead." She noticed the loosely-bound script for the finished film ("Wes Craven's New Nightmare") on the floor - with a personal note to her written by Wes on the title page (in voice-over): "Heather - Thanks for having the guts to play Nancy one last time. At last, Freddy's back where he belongs. Regards, Wes."
Dylan asked for her to begin reading the script:
The excerpt was a description of the prologue of the preceding film.
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
Writer/director Wes Craven's post-modern reconceptualized film was the seventh in the series, but not following the continuity of the previous five films. After Freddy was "killed off" in the last film (Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)), his spirit was released into the 'real-world' to haunt the life of actress Heather Langenkamp and her family. It was necessary to make another Freddy movie (with a Hansel and Gretel fairy-tale subtext) to keep the killer's evil imprisoned within the story.
The script for Wes Craven's new, intellectualized Nightmare film was the film itself - a film-within-a-film. After five non-Craven sequels, Craven himself brought back the original concepts of the film, although he added real-world characters to the Elm Street roles in order to blur the boundaries of the worlds of film and reality.
With a production budget of $8 million (estimated), and box-office gross receipts of $18 million (domestic).
Body Count: 5 (4 were killed by Freddy, in dreams and in the real-world). Freddy's own death was the 5th one.
Also Worth Your Attention...
Producer Robert Shaye
John Saxon/Lt. Donald Thompson
Director Wes Craven
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