REVIEW: NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY / CERT: NR / DIRECTORS: DANIEL FARRANDS, ANDREW KASCH / WRITER: THOMMY HUTSON / STARRING: HEATHER LANGENKAMP, WES CRAVEN, ROBERT ENGLUND, JOHN SAXON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW FROM THEHORRORSHOW.TV
The subtitle for this 2010 documentary could well have been 'everything you wanted to know about A Nightmare on Elm Street but were afraid to ask'. At almost four hours long, it's an exhaustive trip down Elm Street, with contributions from many of the key players from in front and behind the camera.
From the origins of the original dream demon himself, Freddy Krueger, to his showdown with Jason from Friday the 13th, the film covers all the bases. Well, apart from that awful reboot, of course. Let us never speak of it again.
There's plenty to learn, such as David Warner being set to play the crispy child-killer until 'scheduling' problems arose (more like cold feet). Robert Englund is his usual chatty self, and keen to discuss the role. It's especially nice to see Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon and original director Wes Craven speaking so candidly about the experience and production.
However, it's the producer, and then head of New Line Pictures Robert Shaye who is the most revealing. Acknowledging the famous spat between Craven and himself, he is enlightening and surprisingly frank. His little sister, actor Lin Shaye also appears, as do many of the 'kids' from the franchise. It's surprising how little some of them have changed, and they all remember the time on set fondly, despite occasional mishaps or some of the films getting a poor reception. When exploring the much-maligned second film for the alleged homoerotic subtext, the cast really get into the spirit! Naturally, the behind-the-scenes special effect footage, although of VHS quality, is brilliant and eye opening.
Each film has around forty minutes dedicated to it, going through the series chronologically, treating each with respect but without fawning sycophancy.
It was also good to see the forgotten metal band Dokken take the spotlight due to their theme for the third film, Dream Warriors. Alice Cooper also has a say about his role as Freddy's dad and Renny Harlin (The Long Kiss Goodnight) explains how he practically begged to direct the fourth instalment and the frankly rubbish TV series is even given space.
The only face conspicuous by his absence is Johnny Depp, but with so many talking heads and fantastic anecdotes, he's not really missed.
For a four-hour film, it sure does fly by, and you certainly won't be snoozing during it.