It all started back in 1984 when Wes Craven gave the world of horror one of its most iconic villains. Of course I’m talking about Freddy Krueger. Described by “final girl” Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) as a man with “knives for fingers” and a “dirty red and green sweater,” this sleep haunting boogeyman caused bad dreams for moviegoers everywhere in the crazily original flick A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Naturally, a successful horror movie in the 80’s is going to spawn a number of sequels. And while some were outstanding like A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS (1987) there were more than a couple that just didn’t make the cut. I’m talking to you FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE (1991).
Craven returned to what he started in the clever NEW NIGHTMARE back in 1994. This underrated thriller brought back many of the original film’s stars – as well as a handful of cameos from the sequels – all playing themselves. While this new take on Freddy didn’t smash any records, you certainly couldn’t keep the bastard son of a 1000 maniacs down for long. Krueger returned to square off against another horror icon in FREDDY VS JASON in 2003. This horror hybrid made a hefty sum at the box office yet wasn’t able to lead to further battles between the two. However, Krueger once again returned to frighten (?) audiences – this time with Jackie Earle Haley in the role – in the 2010 remake of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. This re-imagining made an impressive enough amount of dough, but for many horror fans it was an utter cinematic failure.
Here we have a once great villain with the ability to expand, yet a sequel is nowhere to be found. And yes, as much as I disliked the last ELM STREET movie – I don’t think hate is too strong a word - it feels as though there is something missing in the world of horror without revisiting Elm Street once again. I love this character, at least what the great Robert Englund brought to him. So while that last flick didn’t satisfy, it certainly made enough moola to warrant a sequel. Platinum Dunes very own Brad Fuller said that a sequel to the remake is something that “Andrew [Form] and I think about all the time.” Apparently they do have a script and it is ready to roll once the studio wants to push it forward, but they can’t seem to build any excitement for the project.
For an old-school fan, I absolutely need another entry in the series. Of course it would be nice to see a NIGHTMARE closer to the original. And if you want to do it right, I think it is safe to say fans had enough of Haley and his grimacing impression of Freddy. Do this right! Let’s bring back Englund for starters. It seems plausible that he’d be up for at least one more film. The wit and spooky charm the actor brought to the franchise is irreplaceable. Even when he was playing himself in NEW NIGHTMARE, he just brought a touch of class to his performance. Sure he is getting up there in age, but if Harrison Ford can return to Han Solo and Indy, than Robert Englund can once again don the glove for creative slicing and dicing action.
Since they’ve already established new faces to Freddy’s victims in the remake, it might not hurt to recast it altogether. I personally don’t think Rooney Mara would be all that willing to return since she is off to bigger and better things. However we don’t need to once again tell Nancy and her friend’s story as it was already disappointingly re-told. Even still, the character of Nancy feels as much a part of the Elm Street mythology as the man of her dreams is. And frankly, reaching too far out of the wheelhouse and making a “coming out” remake of FREDDY’S REVENGE would also be a huge misgiving. So you either go a completely different route, or maybe, just maybe a little DREAM WARRIOR action might not be such a bad place to start.
The 1987 sequel directed by Chuck Russell and written by Craven – Russell, Bruce Wagner and Frank Darabont are also credited – still holds up as one of the best in the series. Not that I want to see a heavily butchered re-imagining of this cool flick, but the story lends itself to be explored more faithfully to the series than the previous offering. By focusing on a group of f*cked up Elm Street kids and an older and wiser Nancy, you could certainly explore new ground without simply making an exact replica. You could even add a couple of nods and winks to the original film – I wouldn’t mind another shot at “Welcome to prime time bitch!” With the right talent involved, they could certainly find a unique way to tell this story while still keeping to what made Freddy iconic in the first place.
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but I want a sequel to A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET done right! Give the glove back to Robert Englund at least one more time. Hell, why not offer a couple of roles to such vets as Lisa Wilcox and of course Heather Langenkamp? Instead of sticking directly to a sequel to the 2010 film why not return to that psychiatric hospital with all the Elm Street kids haunted by the menacing murdering madman haunting their dreams? There is ample opportunity to explore a new group of Dream Warriors ready to give Krueger a fight. If nothing else, give us a proper sequel that returns this franchise to the nightmares we all knew and loved. One, two, do you want Freddy coming for you?