Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street

1984 / 2010

Written By Edward Gambichler

(co-host of Flicks Picks podcast new to 2011)

“Its real……………I’M REAL…………..”

Freddy Krueger , Nightmare on Elm Street ( 2010 )

When the original “Nightmare on Elm Street” first came out back in 1984,  director Wes Craven

introduced us to not only one of the most original premises in the history of the slasher genre, but one of its most iconic villains:  Freddy Krueger.

As the story goes, Fred Krueger was a mass child murderer who was captured, arrested,  but was freed on a technicality by the courts ( based on an improperly signed search warrant ). However, in a bit of “lynch mob justice”, he was then torched to death in his boiler room hideout by the residents of Elm Street. Dressed in an old fedora, burnt red-green sweater, and armed with a glove modified and fitted with knives for finger extensions, he returns years later as an evil spirit to exact his revenge on the children of the Elm Street mob.  His method of killing is to take their lives in their dreams…..killing them in the process……and leaving no trace…..

Now 16 years later, director Samuel Bayer brings us his vision of the original horror classic. This hasn’t been the first horror movie to be remade for the next generation of filmgoers in favor of having to come up with an original concept, and it certainly won’t be the last.  However,  ( between “Halloween”, ” Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Friday the 13th”, and “The Last House on the Left” ) due to the icon status of its main antagonist, it has been the one that the fans have been the most “up in arms over”.  I don’t know if its because the fans have a problem with the word  “remake”…..but the word the current producers of these new version of the classics are using…..a “re-imagining”.  Freddy Krueger seems to be one of those rare characters, like Norman Bates or Hannibal Lecter, who the fans don’t want “touched”.  And I would have counted myself along with that breed of uncompromising adulation were it not for one small problem………I prefer ( in this case ) the re-imagining over the original inception……

The Freddy Krueger character in the 2010 version was played by Jackie Earle Haley ( fresh off his brilliant role as the vigilante superhero Rorschach in the movie, Watchmen ) whereas in the 1984 version, the role was originated by actor Robert Englund ( who at the time had starred in the original version of the TV series “V” ).  Although Englund played the role in 9 films, I’m only going to use the first film in the series to compare it with the 2010 version because I feel that after the 2nd movie…..the character had been cheapened to a certain extent by the filmmakers feeling the need to infuse him with an unnecessary amount of “camp” humor ( thus diminishing the impact of the character and the fear we are supposed to derive from him).

In this modern incarnation, Fred Krueger is the gardener at the local pre-school where most of the kids went when they were young.  He was very loved by the children and they, in turn, were described by one of the character’s mother as being his “Life”.  We see scenes of him running around with them, playing tag , and with not a trace of fear on their young innocent faces…….but love.   However, some of the parents noticed that their children have been acting “strange” and based upon what they told them about their friend Fred and his “games” they reached a conclusion no parent would want to consider.  So instead of going to the proper authorities with their “findings”, they chase down Fred Krueger ( who violently protests his guilt ).  They corner him in an abandoned steel mill and burn it down ( along with Krueger ) thereby sparing their children the ordeal of having to relive their “trauma” on a court’s witness stand.

It is in this facet of the “re-imagining”, however, that gives the 2010 version it’s brilliance.  If any one knows, a child’s perspective of events is sometimes not what actually happened.  This fact ,along with the film’s reveal that no evidence of any actual wrongdoing on the part of Fred Krueger was ever found, “changes the game” completely.  This now leaves us, the viewer, in the uncomfortable position of having to sympathize with a traditionally unsympathetic character.  For the entire film , every act of murder committed by Krueger ( no matter how gruesomely savage in nature ) feels in a sense “justifiable” in our eyes.  And it is to Haley’s credit as an actor, that it makes us difficult to discern the ( wrongfully accused….? )character’s innocence or guilt until the ending of the film.

Also, this is not a Fred Krueger who is waging war on a group of teens who are the offspring of his tormentors.  His targets are a group of young men and women who he has a “past” with.  He knows everyone of his victims……….personally.  While they have only the vaguest recollections of him, his memories of them are what makes the kills that much perverse.  He plays with and tortures them with his memories of them…..while they spend their final moments struggling with their repressed memories of who he is and why he is doing this to them.

Also, this version introduces us to the concept of “micronaps”.  The character of Fred Krueger attacks these victims in their dreams…..during sleep.  In the original, the victims would only encounter Krueger during normal nighttime REM sleep.  However, in this version, the victims are struggling with “sleep deprivation”.  They’ve been up for hours…..even days at a time.  They are susceptible of falling asleep at the drop of a hat.  Some of the teens have been reduced to taking ADD pills or epinephrine shots or even latte mocha grandes just to keep their eyes open.  However, even then that is not enough.  As soon as they rest their eyes for a moment…or just “faze out” or even daydream….they are in HIS WORLD.  And he waste no time in going after them.  No unnecessary scenarios or illusions tailor made to lull them in a false sense of security…….this Krueger pulls you down into “his” Hell.

I’m not a big fan of remaking the classics…..but I’m happy to say I was more than pleased with this one.  It doesn’t crap


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Written by MARK MILLAR

Pencils & Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR.

Variant cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU


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SUPERIOR #4 (of 6)


Written by MARK MILLAR

Pencils & Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU

Variant cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU


On-Sale – 1/5/11

NEMESIS #4 (of 6)


Written by MARK MILLAR

Pencils & Cover by STEVE McNIVEN

Variant cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU


On-Sale – 12/29/10

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