INT: Never Sleep Again

Last Updated on July 26, 2021

If you guys listen to the JoBlo podcast (and really, why
wouldn’t you be?), you know that I recently had an amazing opportunity. In
addition to being opinionated about movies, TV and video games, I’ve been a
makeup artist for years. For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing makeup for
, the definitive documentary about the
NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise. In that time, I’ve gotten to chat with and
paint on cast and crew from all the films, including Tuesday Knight, Jennifer
Rubin, Clu Gulager, Brooke Theiss, Charles Fleischer (the voice of Roger Rabbit,
who did no less than ten voices in the few minutes I had him in the makeup
chair), Rodney Eastman, David J. Schow, Pricilla Pointer, Sara Richer, Jsu
Garcia and Jeff Katz.

The guys behind this incredible walk down a very scary
memory lane are co-directors Dan Farrands (A HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT, HIS NAME
WAS JASON) and Andrew Kasch (THIRSTY) and producer
Thommy Hutson (HIS NAME WAS
JASON). In addition to being some of the coolest guys I’ve ever worked with,
each of them is an absolute wiki on the subject. The three of them took time
out of their very busy schedules to chat with me about the process, their
personal history in the business, their love for the NIGHTMARE films and who has
been the hardest actor to find. They also provide me with Pringles, which makes
me a very happy woman.

How did you guys get into the business?

Kasch: I started out like every other horror geek
of my generation, reading Fangoria and renting videos. I eventually co-directed
a surreal backyard horror film called THE FALL which ended up doing some good
festival play and that caught the eye of an aspiring horror cable network (which
I won’t name). I moved to L.A. where I pulled double duties as a
filmmaker/journalist for them until the whole network became one giant cluster
fuck. But out of the ashes we created Dread Central, a great horror movie
website which gave me the opportunity to connect and work with many great
filmmakers and actors. Eventually, I met Dan Farrands in the trenches of HIS
NAME WAS JASON and we’ve been creating projects together ever since.

Farrands: I’d like to say I had a famous uncle who
was a movie studio chief (or even a second cousin who was the Best Boy on a
Keanu Reeves film), but that was not the case. I really knew no one in the
industry but had it in my mind from a very young age that I was going to make
films — and by the time the ‘tween years were upon me, I became utterly
fascinated by horror films. I grew up in the ’80s, so it was truly the horror
boon — Michael, Jason and Freddy were my three biggest movie “heroes” so it
surprised no one when I attended my high school reunion that I went on to write
a HALLOWEEN sequel (a job for which, although the finished film bears little
resemblance to my script, I remain eternally grateful), a slew of FRIDAY THE
13TH projects, and now I get to put the final candle on the cake with this
retrospective on the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series.

I have to credit two important mentors with giving me my
first break, or at least my first inkling that my Hollywood pipe dreams were
worth pursuing. The first is Frank Mancuso, Jr. who was the very first movie
producer to write to me and give me that proverbial “you’ve got something here,
kid — don’t give up!” sign of encouragement (and Frank’s father DID happen to
be a big studio president, so to get that kind of reply at 14-years-old, I felt
I’d been touched by the hand of God!). Second is the late Moustapha Akkad, who
gave me my first big break when he hired me to write HALLOWEEN 6 when I was just
24-years-old. Not a bad way to enter these “hallowed halls” — and everything
I’ve learned about the business and any job I’ve ever gotten since I can
attribute to Moustapha.

Hutson: For as long as I could remember, I wanted
to make movies. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told
them I wanted to make movies. That stayed with me and I always told my parents
— who would laugh — that when I was 18 I was moving to California. And I
did. I was fortunate enough to meet the uncle of a friend of mine who won some
Emmy’s for editing a soap opera. We had lunch when I first got to LA, he took
me to some screenings and told me how things worked. I then went to UCLA,
interned all over the place to soak up as much as I could and kept working at
writing and producing. And here I am, I guess!

What do you guys think it is about NIGHTMARE ON ELM
STREET that makes fans so loyal?

Kasch: What makes people so obsessed with any
boogeyman? Why do we collect action figures of people that scare the shit out of
us? I think that’s such a deep psychological question that it can’t be summed up
in a few sentences. If it could be answered that easily, we wouldn’t have a need
for documentaries like these.

Farrands: The NIGHTMARE films were bold and
terrifying and pushed the envelope in a way that the FRIDAY series and other
horror films of the era did not. Freddy Krueger was unique in that he had more
of a personality — mainly because he had a voice — whereas Michael and Jason
were these faceless enigmas hidden behind their white masks. They each have
their place in the pantheon of modern horror — no disputing that — but Freddy
fans truly love this guy. Which is kind of freaky since he started out as a
child molester/killer — and then cut to a few sequels down the road and kids
across America are playing Freddy video games and wearing Freddy pajamas to
bed. I guess there’s no explaining the appeal of a good villain. Darth Vader
certainly has his fans too — and I am not ashamed to say I had Darth pajamas!
(Maybe I still do.)

Hutson: I think there is just so much imagination
and horror and fun and fantasy to the NIGHTMARE movies that it creates a sense
of wonder in fans. We want to see what Freddy is up to, what he’ll do or say
next. Also, fans want to see and experience what the filmmakers can — pardon
the pun! — dream up in the ELM STREET world. It’s a canvas where literally
anything can happen and fans clamor for that imagination up on screen.

And, of course, the character of Freddy is so dynamic,
terrifying and so very powerful, it’s like a fascinating attraction. It’s also
been such a wild ride to see the character of Freddy transform. He’s run the
gamut. I guess the whole NIGHTMARE loyalty is almost akin to the funhouse at
the carnival: you might have been on it a hundred times before, but you know
going in it’ll be dark and scary and fun…so you keep going back for more. And
bringing new people with you.

How do you go about getting talent from the films?

Kasch: A few people are old friends, but our
wonderful producer Thommy Hutson and production manager Annette Slomka have been
on the phones night and day trying to track down anyone involved with this
franchise. They’re so damn good at finding these people, it’s scary. Heather
Langenkamp has also been instrumental in helping put this project together and
we feel blessed to be working with her.

Farrands: Thommy Hutson, who also worked on HIS
NAME WAS JASON, is one of the biggest NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET fans in the known
universe. Fortunately, over the years he’s developed close connections with
some of the top talent from the NIGHTMARE series, especially Heather Langenkamp,
so it’s fantastic to have him on board. Several people I’ve known for many
years (such as John Carl Buechler, who did our special FX makeup work on
HALLOWEEN and who worked so closely with us on my various FRIDAY THE 13TH
projects) crossed over for a time into “Freddy’s World.”

Andrew Kasch is friendly with several people from the
series, including Michael Bailey Smith (“Super Freddy”) and David J. Schow, so
there is no shortage of relationships and connections to the NIGHTMARE alumni
among our team. It’s a small town — and an even smaller genre — so everyone
kind of knows everyone else. And I’d say it’s one, maybe two steps removed.
Fortunately we’ve got a great team and we’ve managed to put together an amazing
lineup of people from the NIGHTMARE series that I think the fans are going to
absolutely love!

Hutson: On a show like this, it can be both a
really easy process and a really (really!) difficult one. Lucky for us, between
myself and the rest of our amazing crew, we all have great connections to cast
and crew in the NIGHTMARE world. But, it always starts the same way: we make
lots and lots of calls. Calls to agents, managers and publicists for those who
have them. Calls to SAG and the WGA for those who don’t so we can track people

Most of the time the response is very positive, “that
sounds great,” “how cool,” stuff like that. From there, it’s just a matter of
telling them who we are, what we are doing and that we’d love for them to be a
part of this definitive look back. Then, we work to put them on the schedule.
The whole process is a huge undertaking and it can take weeks to find someone,
call them, get the answer and then find time to interview them when they, too,
are available. it’s like an intricate puzzle and every piece has to fit. Lucky
for us, the puzzle looks great so far!

Who has been the most difficult to find?

Kasch: Obviously big A-list stars like Johnny Depp
are incredibly hard to get ahold of because they’re always busy. But right now
we’re all obsessed with finding Mark Patton, star of NIGHTMARE 2. The man has
literally dropped off the map. Not even SAG knows where he is! We feel like we
won’t have a complete doc unless we get ol’ Jesse in the hot seat.

Farrands: Hands down Mark Patton, the star of
NIGHTMARE 2 We currently have an APB out for the guy across every corner of the
Internet! At first we heard he was living in Venice, CA; then he apparently
moved to Palm Beach, FL; now there’s a rumor he may have moved to Mexico! You
can run but you can’t hide, Jesse! Freddy’s coming back for you! But
seriously, we really want Mark on the show — the stories behind NIGHTMARE 2 are
legendary and I feel the project will be incomplete without his input. So if
anyone reading this knows how to find Mark (and can deliver him to us
unharmed!), we will guarantee you a very special place in the credits of the

Hutson: Mark Patton, where are you!? By far, he
has been the most difficult to track down, but I won’t give up. The most
fascinating thing about it is it makes me ask myself: even with all of the
technology and social networking sites, and people who know people who know
people, etc…is it really possible to disappear? I still have faith the answer
is “no.” Which means one thing: Jesse Walsh, you will be found!

Can you tell me some good “where are they now” stories?

Farrands: I think the best “where are they now”
stories have to be the long list of huge stars that came out of the NIGHTMARE
series. I mean, what other horror series can boast it gave a start to such a
long roster of A-list talent? To name a few, you have Patricia Arquette,
Lawrence Fishburne … and even Johnny-Freakin’-Depp! Then just look at the
incredible pool of behind-the-scenes people who got their feet wet in the world
of Freddy Krueger: Wes Craven, Renny Harlin, Oscar winners like Brian Helgeland
and Peter Jackson, who actually tried his hand at an ill-fated draft of

As the story goes, at the time Jackson was so broke, he was
sleeping on the couch of New Line topper Mike DeLuca when he wrote it! We also
learned during one of our recent interviews that Renny Harlin was so poor at the
time he interviewed for the job to direct NIGHTMARE 4 that he was living out of
his car — and that the first thing he did when he got the gig was to go to IHOP
and treat himself to the biggest breakfast of his life! It’s those kinds of
“rags to riches” stories that always amaze me, especially when they relate to
people who have gone on to become some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

I almost know the answer to this after
doing his makeup, but do you have anyone particular who was a challenge to

Kasch: Interviews are usually easy to do, but when
you’re working ten hour days and conducting one after the other after the other,
your brain slowly turns to jello. Charles Fleischer, one of the greatest voice
actors alive, came in at the end of one very long day and became a verbal
kaleidoscope of cartoon voices. I was so worn out, I had no idea how to interact
with him. He was nice and absolutely hysterical, but he KO’d me pretty quick as
an interviewer. At the same time, you welcome people like that because they help
break up the mood (and give you a great outtakes reel for the DVD). We’ve been
blessed in that everyone has been really cool so far.

Is there another horror film franchise you’d like
to tackle?

Kasch: At this point, I feel like I’ve worked on
every major horror franchise there is, so I’d like to move out of documentaries
and do more work on original narrative projects. But if I could tackle any other
documentary, I would love to do one on Japan’s RING franchise or maybe J-horror
in general.

Farrands: After this one, I really don’t know what
else there is left to do. There is already an incredible documentary on JAWS
called “The Shark is Still Working” which I hope against hope finds a
distributor soon — it’s truly the most comprehensive and compulsively-watchable
documentary on the making of a classic film that I’ve ever seen. But does
anyone really care about a Pinhead or Leprechaun documentary? I doubt there’s
anybody out there (except for a select few — and you know who you are!) pining

Out of all of them, I’d say CHAINSAW deserves its props
(even though so much has already been done on the franchise with all of the
Special Edition DVDs), but at this point I think we should give it some time,
let the current franchises like SAW and SCREAM play themselves out and develop
their own sense of nostalgia, and then let the generation that was inspired by
those films pay tribute to them in their own documentaries 20 years from now. I
think this final tip of Freddy’s hat is the best way to say “thank you and good
night.” After this is done, I have a slew of new projects to write, produce and
one to even direct. It’s been fun — and a true honor — to have had my hand in
the Big Three horror franchises of the past 30 years. And I hope that the fans
of the original NIGHTMARE “octilogy” — if there is such a word — will
appreciate the level of respect and admiration we have for those films.

Hutson: After we all wake up from being inside this
amazing “nightmare” — which has turned out to be on of the best experiences
ever, thanks to an amazing, talented and gracious crew, I think my primary focus
will go back to the narrative projects I am writing and producing. But, twist
my arm and I’ll tell you there is something I’d love to tackle. Now, I know
there have been lots of bonus features, but I’d love to one day do a
comprehensive, really fun and cool look back at the SCREAM franchise. I
absolutely love the films. They are fresh and fun and scary. The characters
were people you not only wanted to watch, but you really liked them. And, the
mystery of the killer was always something you wanted to figure out. Everyone
involved made those films a great reason to go to the movies: laugh, scream and
have a blast. I’d love to really get behind the scenes with all of the cast and
crew and take that ultimate look back — and now, a look forward since a new one
is being prepped. (Dimension, Wes…are you listening?)


Source: AITH

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