Wes Craven is going back to Elm Street... Well, in a manner of speaking. The director is revisiting A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, as well as SCREAM, as part of AMC Networks' new online streaming service Yeah TV, which offers the audience a plethora of information while they watch a movie. Think of it as a commentary, but not just an audio one, an interactive one. Craven is providing all new information for fans who want to dig deeper into the worlds of ELM STREET and SCREAM, and he took the time to chat with yours truly about it briefly while he was in Austin, Texas, promoting the new service.
Of course, we also found some time to chat about ELM STREET, the future of SCREAM and his new comic book series.
What can you tell us about your involvement with Yeah TV?
Craven: Well, the first contact was I got contacted by a friend about some people who wanted to interview me about Nightmare on Elm Street, and then they also said they'd love to do Scream. So I did the interviews, which were both very good. Then I kind of forgot about them, and then a year later they called me back - this was just recently - and they were offering me two slots on this new site. I went and saw what they were doing and I was just delighted. When they asked me if I wanted to come to SXSW, I said great. I think it's very state of the art and unique. I went to the site just to watch ten minutes of The Exorcist, and I was so excited about all the information that was coming, I ended up watching the entire film. And I've seen that film many times, but I learned a lot of new things. It's a great way to immerse yourself in other aspects of the film aside from what's on screen. If you want the behind-the-scenes tour, when my face pops up on the screen, you can tap on my face and the movie stops and the interview portion begins. And you have time as a director to tell the whole story, as opposed to DVD commentary when you're sort of racing to get through the story before the scene disappears and you're onto something else. It's a much broader, deeper look at the films.
Does doing something like this make you appreciate NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET all over again? Are you able to reassess it, or is it always the same movie for you whenever you look at it.
Craven: Well, there were a few new things about Nightmare on Elm Street that I learned, believe it or not. There was a piece of information that came up on the screen that said, "Freddy Krueger's entire screen time was only seven minutes." And I went, "What, really? Wow!" (Laughs) I didn't even realize it, but I guess the less you show of your villain, the better. You don't want to grow tired of him. So things like that gave me an appreciation of the craft of the film. And then watching the commentaries of the actors and actresses saying I did a good job, that felt really good, it always helps when you feel like you're doing your job well.
Do you think the future of movies and series is on the web?
Craven: I think the experience of going to a theater and seeing a movie with a lot of people is still part of the transformational power of the film, and it's equivalent to the old shaman telling a story by the campfire to a bunch of people. That is a remarkable thing, if you scream and everyone else in the audience screams, you realize that your fears are not just within yourself, they're in other people as well, and that's strangely releasing. But on the TV, you can still watch it with friends. We watch films on so many different mediums now, that I think they'll compliment each other for a long time.
For the people who are aching for another SCREAM film, is there hope for SCREAM 5?
Craven: So far I have not heard anything about SCREAM 5 from Bob Weinstein. There is some talk about a television series, but I don't think anything has moved forward on that yet. That's what I'm hearing more than anything else from the guys at Dimension. It would be them picking up the phone and asking me if I wanted to play with them, so...
And what's next for you?
Craven: I'm doing a five-issue comic-book series called COMING OF RAGE, which is about a teenage kid who is born into a family of vampires and doesn't know i until his coming of age, so to speak, which comes in the middle of a bar fight, when he's gone into a place he shouldn't have. He's helped by a guy and a girl, and she turns out to be a zombie, and the guy turns out to be a werewolf. It's a road picture, believe it or not, sort of "them against the world." And it turns out each one of them has one human parent, so it sort of bridges both worlds. It's a coming of age - or coming of rage - story, what can I say? I wrote the entire outline with Steve [Niles] and now he's off writing the entire first drafts of all the issues.
And that could become a feature film one day?
Craven: Oh absolutely, that's part of the deal. I have first dibs on a feature of it.
I remember years ago when you directed MUSIC OF THE HEART, which you wanted to make for a change of scenery, so to speak; do you ever have the urge now to do something outside the horror genre?
Craven: There's always the fond hope that someday I'll get to do something else, but I've come to terms with the fact that I'm very good at making genre pictures, and I can express basically anything in them anyway. Making MUSIC OF THE HEART was a great experience, but I probably won't go back in that direction again. Unless I get a chance.
Thanks so much for your time, good luck with everything!
You can check out A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET on Yeah TV right HERE.