Director – Daniel Farrands, Andrew Kasch
Cast – Heather Langenkamp, Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Robert Shaye, Lin Shaye, Jack Sholder, Johnny Depp, John Saxon, Mark Patton, Clu Gulager, Patricia Arquette, Renny Harlin, Alice Cooper, William Malone, Mick Garris, Tom McLoughlin, Patrick Lussier, Kane Hodder, Ronny Yu, and Jason Mewes
Release Year – 2010
Reviewed by John of the Dead
The Nightmare on Elm Street series is one of horror’s most notable franchises. That is thanks almost entirely to Robert Englund’s Freddy Krueger, who invaded the one place where we are completely vulnerable – our dreams. The series has had its ups and downs, but overall it still remains one of the best we have ever had. Also, it sparked the careers of several Hollywood notables, with the most famous being Johnny Depp (of course). When I came across this colossal documentary I was beyond excited to spend 240 minutes (yes, it’s 4 hours long) learning what made the series click – something you cannot learn from the films alone. With series creators Wes Craven, Robert Shay, and actor Robert Englund leading the way, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is an incredibly knowledgeable experience I highly suggest you check out.
Directors Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch do a fantastic job of making this an engaging experience. The template is the usual simplistic documentary format, and execution sells the film to the viewer. I was amazed at how many notables were interviewed, including Heather Langenkamp (also the narrator), Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Robert Shaye, Lin Shaye, Jack Sholder, Johnny Depp, John Saxon, Mark Patton, Clu Gulager, Patricia Arquette, Renny Harlin, Alice Cooper, William Malone, Mick Garris, Tom McLoughlin, Patrick Lussier, Kane Hodder, Ronny Yu, and Jason Mewes, with this only being a FEW of those who appear. Of course, many more appear via archive footage that is consistently thrown in to substantiate someone’s claims about the series or filming.
Along with writer Timothy Hutson, each of the initial 7 films are broken down with cast and directors giving their take on the filming process and the impact of the film. On top of this, Freddy vs. Jason is also broken down, and once again the director (Ronny Yu) and cast members are on hand. To make things even greater, Kane Hodder, the most famous Jason Vorhees of all time, is interviewed about being passed over for Ken Kirzinger in the film. The awesomeness continues though, as even the short-lived TV show “Freddy’s Nightmares” is dissected by its creators. This effort debuted one week after the Nightmare on Elm Street remake was released, so it is not mentioned. Also, it was a waste.
Overall, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is a crucial film for those who love to learn more about the horror genre and want to use a documentary to do so. There is so much knowledge presented in this film and it would be a shame if you did not learn it for yourself.