Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
This time, Freddy’s “New Nightmare” invades reality.
By Mark Shapiro
Published in Fangoria #134.
If there’s one thing Robert Englund is dreading, it’s hitting the promotional trail and having to explain to friends and foes alike why—after Freddy Krueger bit the dust amid much hype in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare—he’s back in all his razor-fingered glory in the tentatively-titled Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.
“People will think we lied to them,” says Englund, “and I can understand how they might be disappointed by the idea of another one. But I know they’ll like the latest Nightmare.”
The reason for both Englund’s return to the franchise and his confidence in the new installment is that Freddy’s daddy, Wes Craven, is also back in the writer/director’s seat. The filmmaker assures that for this New Nightmare, he’s created a horror of a different color. “When I decided to do the seventh Nightmare,” he says, “I came to the conclusion that the most interesting thing was to make a movie about the effects on the real people involved in making the Nightmare on Elm Street films. Rather than invent another story, I decided to create one about the people who made the movies. In that sense, we’re doing more of a documentary than a feature film.”
Craven refuses to get much more specific about New Nightmare’s storyline, stating only that the film “is based on a series of events in Heather Langenkamp’s life—specifically a stalking incident following the actress’ stint on the sitcom Just the Ten of Us. Englund adds more hints. “It takes place in Los Angeles in 1994,” he says. “Heather and her child are getting strange messages from a stalker. That’s when the reality and the dreams begin to blend.”
Adding to the sense of verisimilitude is the fact that in addition to Langenkamp, John Saxon and Craven play themselves, along with Englund (in addition to his role as Freddy). New Line Cinema execs Robert Shaye, Sara Risher and Michael De Luca also put in cameo appearances as themselves, as do the boys from KNB, who are creating the non-Krueger FX scenes. The task of scarring up the dream stalker falls once again to David Miller, applying what Englund describes as “a different kind of Freddy makeup.”
“Everybody came back to play themselves because it’s pretty much about all our lives,” explains Craven. “This is a Heather story rather than a Freddy story. The other six movies were just that, movies. What we’re doing now is real life. The story postulates that the spirit of Freddy Krueger has been around for a long time and that, he was kind of on a leash. But something very strange and dangerous happened once they stopped making the films. The entity has decided that since he’s no longer confined to the Freddy character, he’s going to make his move.”
Craven adds that the seventh Nightmare (briefly subtitled The Real Story) will contain no teenagers and no Krueger one-liners, while Englund promises that it will contain a new and improved dream killer. “Freddy is darker, bigger and stronger,” the actor says. “He’s broken out of the constraints of the previous movies and will be used structurally to examine the idea of whether Hollywood was responsible for creating Freddy, or whether Freddy existed before Wes came up with the idea. It answers the question of where Freddy began and ended.”
How the film itself will conclude, though, is anybody’s guess. “At this point, I have no idea how this movie is going to end,” Craven admits. “Nobody does. We’re all just watching and waiting.” The wait will be over for audiences when Wes Craven’s New Nightmare hits theaters October 7.