Wes Craven’s New Nightmare — Script
An ancient, evil spirit caught in the Nightmare on Elm Street story seeks to come out of films and into reality by haunting the cast and crew the of the original Nightmare in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. New Line Home Video included this script on the original DVD release in 2000. It is available here in PDF format.
New Line Cinema, wanting to work with original Nightmare creator Wes Craven again, reached out to the director to resolve lingering animosities that had developed over the past ten years. “It began with [former New Line CEO] Robert “Bob” Shaye asking me to come into New Line because he had heard that I had some problems with the way the business side of A Nightmare on Elm Street had gone over the last ten years and that had been instrumental in me not wanting to participate, not just creatively but business-wise, with New Line,” Craven said.
“Shaye listened carefully and in the subsequent month made good on all the things I felt had been left unattended, so that was the first half of why I came back to work for New Line. There were significant payments and the beginning of a very uniform and predictable accounting of profits and so forth. Then he asked me if I’d be interested in bringing Freddy back again, one more time. I always felt that under wonderful circumstances I’d love to get my hands on the franchise one more time. When I realized it would be the tenth anniversary and the seventh film, it was attractive to come back from a position of strength and do it. So, we agreed, that’s Bob Shaye, Sara Risher, Mike De Luca, the creative heads at New Line and myself and my producer Marianne Maddalena, that unless we could bring Freddy back in a way that wasn’t farcical, like saying it was all a dream and Freddy isn’t really dead, we wouldn’t do it. If we couldn’t do it in some way that was justified, then we wouldn’t do it at all.” (Screams & Nightmares: The Films of Wes Craven)
Craven watched the Nightmare sequels to see where he could take the story after Freddy’s demise. “I think in some ways the stories became more strained,” asserted Craven. “I think the problem with making sequels—and I think every sequel suffers from this—is that if you continue with the villain as the center of the story then you have to introduce a new set of victims every time. After a while, it becomes repetitive with no real story continuity—except with the villain. I think [the story] gets stretched thinner and thinner where it becomes unrecognizable and less germane to the original idea. And I went back and looked at all of the sequels and, after a while, I had a problem following any sort of story line or consistency to build a story on. That was, ironically, the propulsion for jumping out of the film entirely.” (The Nightmare Series Encyclopedia)
“I decided if I were to do it, I would want Heather to star in it,” Craven added. “I felt that she epitomized the spirit of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I called her and we hadn’t seen each other for some years, so we had lunch and discussed how our lives had gone, we talked about New Line Cinema and everything else. There were a few [stalking] incidents, especially one that had come out of Heather having made the first film and having gone on and done a television series (Just the Ten of Us). The attendant of fame had caused her some real difficulties and frightening moments. So, I left that meeting thinking I would love to work with Heather again. I realized that things that happened in real life are just as dramatic as things that happened in fiction.” (Screams & Nightmares: The Films of Wes Craven)
“Everyone in [the original] film had somehow been touched by the phenomenon that was A Nightmare on Elm Street,” explained Craven. “Robert Englund was always known as Freddy, and Heather and Nancy were inextricable. New Line Cinema had been built on it. When I came away from that conversation [with Heather] I called up Bob Shaye and said, ‘I think I want to do a movie about the phenomenon of A Nightmare on Elm Street and use that to jump outside the stories entirely.’ And also try to deal with this idea of censorship and if horror films are good or bad and whether they cause people to do [bad] things. Because that had been a growing, insistent question continually asked of me. My sense was, going back to Greek mythology, there is a lot of great literature about horror. And that a story about horror, in a sense, exorcises it or gives it form. It’s the beginning of coming to terms with it and if you repress these stories you would, in a sense, be allowing something that is ineffable to sort of travel unimpeded through our consciousness. So that became the essence of [the film’s premise]: That stopping the stories about Freddy has allowed him to come out into real life. It was also a subtle warning to the censors on my part to say, Back off unless you want to experience the real thing rather than seeing it in cinema.” (The Nightmare Series Encyclopedia)
“The simple way to put it is, what if New Line stopped making the Nightmare series and unintentionally released the spirit of Freddy to go where he will, and he decided to cross over into our reality,” elaborated Craven.” His only limitation is that he must pass through the actress who played the character who first defeated him. I proposed that to New Line and they went for it surprisingly quickly, so I wrote and directed New Nightmare.” (Screams & Nightmares: The Films of Wes Craven)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 7: The Ascension
Script by Wes Craven
A STEEL HAND, shining dully in the dark shadows of a filthy boiler room — being assembled slowly over —
METAL FINGERS — COMPOSITE SINEW — the SPARK of hammer on metal — then — the thing suddenly flexes as if alive —
CLOSE ON REMOTE CONTROL DEVICE — clean hands manipulating levers —
THE STEEL HAND — forms into a heavy fist — thumps on table — then the GRIMY HANDS of the CREATOR thrust in again — begin affixing long, shining blades to the end of the steel fingers
CLOSER ON BLADES — gleaming, dangerously long.
CUTAWAYS TO FURNACES — belching FIRE and SMOKE.
STEAM PIPES — hissing and dripping into endless depths of this hellish place.
THE HAND — fitted with the final claw — now a super-modern, almost futuristic version of Freddy’s glove — flexing and trembling.
THE MAKER’S RIGHT HAND — caresses it — then retracts and lays itself on the filthy work bench — the MAKER’S LEFT HAND ENTERS FRAME WITH A HUGE CLEAVER and raises it over the wrist of the right hand — then strikes down hard!
CUT TO A CAMERA AND DOLLY — BEHIND, IN THE SHADOWS — A SHADOWY CREW GASPS — we hear a muffled EEUWWW — THE STUMP OF THE MAKER’S RIGHT ARM — now spurting blood — raises
Wes stops as his HOUSEKEEPER emerges from the kitchen with a steaming cup of coffee. Heather drinks immediately, despite the scalding heat. When the housekeeper disappears, Craven continues.
I can tell you what the nightmares are about. They’re about this… entity. Whatever you want to call it. It’s old, very old, and it’s taken different forms in different times. The only thing that stays the same about it is what it lives for.
Killing innocence, one way or the other.
She notices the haunted eyes.
She looks. The rest she can guess, but what the hell was in the closet? She crosses and opens the door, looking down to see
The broken remains of her coffee pot. She looks back to her bedside table. The coffee pot is gone.
The merest sound brings her head around, and she finds herself looking into a face not ten inches from her own, a dark, scarred figure, face contorted with menace, eyes catching the scant light just enough to glint incredible hatred and energy.
Heather lets out the scream at the same second he strikes, lunging forward and driving her backwards over the bed, landing atop and pressing his ugly face right into hers. Now there’s enough of the moonlight to glimpse the pocked and crisped skull.
XCU TWO SHOT and he drives down hard, but as he does, the bed suddenly twists up and over at the same instant, and the AFTERSHOCK HITS! Heather is thrown to the side at the last possible second. The blades slashing past her throat and hitting her up-thrust arm, a split second before she careens out of bed entirely.
Hitting the floor hard, knocking herself out cold. As the quake’s last RUMBLES shake the room, then fall away.
CLOSE ON HEATHER on the deck. Shaking herself back to consciousness. Looking around in shock.
The room is normal. Only her bed seems affected, so askew half the mattress touches the floor.