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NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET...
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by:  Andrew Kasch & Daniel Farrands

Starring:
Robert Englund
Heather Langenkamp
Wes Craven
Lisa Wilcox
Alice Cooper

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Cast and crew members unite for what turns out to be the absolute be all, end all retrospective look at one of the most popular slasher series of all time, A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Is it good movie?
Not long ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to review Crystal Lake Memories. That particular documentary serves as the ultimate companion piece for the Friday the 13th series, and I was able to name drop this work while doing so. If youíre wondering to yourself whether or not you would like to pick up Never Sleep Again or Crystal Lake Memories, the answer is simple: get them both, right now and perhaps buy two copies of each so you donít have to share with your sister.

Yes folks, this documentary was the first horror retrospecticus from 1428 films (besides of course His Name is Jason, where co-directors Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch collaborated), and it is no slouch. It runs over FOUR HOURS long, and is totally independently funded and created. The guys reached out to the cast and crew from the franchise and asked them to bring along any unseen footage or other gems from their time working with the dream master.

There are a lot of downright emotional stories being shared here, and a lot of brutally honest admissions from the cast members about their emotional states, and disagreements they may have had with one another, the studio, the director, and more (I admit quivering a little when Bob Shaye discussed losing all control of New Line, the studio he built due to petty politics). Are you looking for behind the scenes footage? Stuff you've never seen before? Artwork? Outtakes? Trailers? Merchandise? Concept storyboards? You're going to see it all here. On top of all that, the documentary has a beautiful visual style that's accompanied with really cool "bumpers" to introduce each film.

There's just so much involvement here that it can be almost exhaustive. As with Crystal Lake Memories, I recommend chunking this up- not because it's boring, but because it can be so much information that it's best swallowed in smaller pieces. I know that if you're anything like me, that's a fool's request and you'll binge-watch the whole thing and that's fine.. but know that everything about each film is examined in such great detail. Want to know what Englund thinks about the emotional and societal subtexts of each film (yes, there's plenty of talk about how gay Freddy's Revenge was)? You'll get that.

Folks, there's really nothing more I can say about this documentary. It's just exhaustive, pulls no punches, and offers tons of new material and insight. Though the newest Nightmare film is ultimately passed over pretty quickly, that's pretty forgiveable (especially since that movie went over like a huge fart in church). Hell, we even get some good dirt on Freddy's Nightmares!

This review can be summed up fairly quickly- do you like the Nightmare on Elm street films? Buy this now.
Video / Audio
Video: 1.78:1 widescreen in 1080p- looks great.

Audio: DTS-HD MA, totally basic for the most part.
The Extras
First up, if you have the time for it is a full on commentary track from writer Thommy Hutson, Directors Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch and DOP Buzz "Danger" Wallick. This is exhaustive but entirely listenable, as the guys do a lot of discussion about how they landed the cast and crew from the various films (great stories here) as well as adding even more background information about the films being discussed. This isn't a must-listen, but it's certainly worth it if you do. The guys clearly have passion and love for the subject matter.

Want more depth from the stars? There's a bunch of extended interviews split up across the films. It's all totally worthwhile, but understandably cut due to the already massive length of the film. Totally worth watching, without question.

A quick promo for I Am Nancy gives us 7 minutes of con footage as the (shockingly still quite attractive) Heather Langenkamp pokes fun at the fact that she's been slightly overtaken by the Freddy character in terms of popularity.

For the love of the Glove runs about 20 minutes and goes through several of the popular competing websites that create real metal-and-leather Freddy gloves. Really interesting to see the love and care put into these things, and to catch a memorable story from when one of the gloves was stolen from the set.

Fred Heads: The Ultimate Freddy Fans is a highlight reel from huge fans with massive collections of merchandise. Also highlights from people who were fans and got to work on the films (like Jeff Katz), and cast/crew members who have interacted with some of the passionate people and forged some great relationships.

Horror's Hallowed Grounds takes a 20 minutes episode and dedicates it to the locations used in the original Elm Street film, and even features Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss taking us around the areas. This is excellent stuff, nostalgia at its best. Lots of fun re-enactments too.

Freddy vs. The Angry Video Game Nerd talks to James Rolfe, an internet sensation who rips on old video games in a fun, episodic format. This is a quick look back at his NOES NES review, but it would have been nice to have the actual video.

Expanding the Elm Street Universe deals with the various comics and books that have been written about the franchise. Having actually read a few of these (the novels in particular), I must say they're totally worth a look. This runs about 15 minutes.

Music of the Nightmare naturally interviews many composers and contributors to the Elm Street soundtracks, from original composer Charles Bernstein (who provides excellent insight) to Christopher Young to even Dokken! This is some really cool stuff that I won't spoil. Hearing some alternate takes on things and some stylistic justifications is really cool though.

Elm Street's poster boy interviews Matthew Joseph Peak, the dude who created the art for the first five flicks. Really interesting stuff here from a creative genius who gave us some amazing and memorable poster art.

A Nightmare on Elm Street in 10 minutes is a funny and interesting piece with the various actors spouting lines from their characters that are all put in order and take the series from start to finish. There's some classic stuff here, including an appearance from the wizard master!

A teaser for the documentary is also included.

Last Call
I have nothing else to say about this set. It's the best companion piece to the NOES series you could possibly ask for. Buy it at whatever price they're asking for!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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