Thursday, May 19, 2011

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy and My Impression on the Movie Series

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy - 3.5/5

With this summer debatably having the most sequels of all time, everyone has their own opinions on serial movies. Do they work? Are they unoriginal? Why are they so popular? For some, when a favorite movie gets slapped with the foreboding green light to sequel, teeth cringe. This even happens to movies the person didn't terribly like either. Why is Hollywood so unoriginal? Why must they continue a story they already made and finished?
One would argue that it makes Hollywood loads of money. Some big-name series that have made it to theaters with very successful (if not more) sequels like Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers create huge uproars. Why oh why do they want to make more of this "garbage"? Well, for starters both Pirates 2 and 3 are in the top 10 highest grossing movies of all time worldwide and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is number 11 domestic making almost $100 million more than its predecessor. Obviously, it pays to sequel. What's so wrong with continuing a product that will make a company more money? Apple does it all the time with their "re-inventing" of the iphone. Why can't a movie company earn back more money so they can keep in business. They're also keeping their public happy with the continuation of films that super-fans really want to see more of.
However, this not only happens in Hollywood, but happens in every country with every popular movie franchise. People complain constantly saying it's Hollywood that's not original, but alas (!!): China has their very popular Love Undercover series and The Eye trilogy, and Korea has Marrying the Mafia I through III. So it's apparent that Hollywood is not the only country who has caught on to this sneaky marketing ploy. There are also series of films that are adapted from books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. However, those usually aren't piled in and tagged with the dreadful "movie series" logo because those were lucky enough to be series in book form prior. So my question here is what's the different between a book and a film series? They're both stories, aren't they? Then we come to your very famous series that usually aren't worth complaining about like Star Wars, The Godfather, and the new Batman series (though maybe this is where I should mention The Godfather was actually a book too before being film).
Then here comes the dreaded horror sequel. The genre that easily has the "worst" and most "gimmicky" sequels and series of them all. They create something original that excites fans everywhere and then continue to make these huge box office money-makers (percentage-wise) and spew them out fairly cheaply. Some famous series that had great success would be Saw and Final Destination. Which brings me to the super long 4 hour documentary I watched tonight, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy.
What this documentary showed me is that movie series are much more than what people give them credit for. At first I only found this doc interesting because they went into depth about how they make-uped, casted, and brought to life this huge film series (and mainly the first one). It was intriguing how much money they made off this series which actually molded the backbone of the production company New Line, which later on created the Oscar winning Lord of the Rings films. This series was a landmark. Although, it was the ending that really touched me. All the people that worked on it, whether it just be in one film or them all, really and truly cared about the series as a whole. Their blood, sweat, and tears went into this franchise that is now a milestone in the horror industry. You can't tell me that's not incredible. It's changed my view on the movie series and I really think people should hold their tongues before criticizing these huge money machines.
There were also some really interesting facts I learned from the documentary. Wes Craven actually got the idea of the dream-killer Freddy from a newspaper article on how a child was afraid to go back to sleep because he had a foreboding that he would die (and his fear came true). I also learned that for one of the later Freddy movies, Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame) wrote a script that didn't make the cut, but forever attached him to the New Line production company. This series did incredible things for directors, actors, and producers. So then I ask my question again, why do we condemn sequels all the time?


  1. As far as the movies proper go 4,6 and New Nightmare are my favorites. Part one is mediocre, I feel like it's comprised of a lot of the worst takes of a lot of scenes. 5 is the worst of the lot by far, while 3 is terrible considering its reputation and pedigree, 2 is the one I'm most curious to revisit. 4 and 6 are cheesy, stupid fun to the best of my memory while New Nightmare is legitimately terrifying. It was Craven's "Scream" before "Scream" and proof that he also could execute good ideas instead of just come up with them.

    As for the remake, I'd rate it below the three original Nightmares that I like. Although it is easily the most visually arresting of all the films.

  2. I just added New Nightmare to my netflix because of some of the things the documentary said. From the looks what I saw, it did seem super "Scream before Scream" so that perked my interest fully :). Do you not count Freddy vs Jason?? Because the doc did.
    The doc really didn't speak at all about the new remake.

  3. I forgot about it completely...and I mean that literally. But I did watch it. For arguments sake I'll rate it a tie with the remake.

  4. That's really interesting because I heard not many people enjoyed that one.