Sunday, February 3, 2008
Last week, Yahoo News (and Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and blar dee blar blar) announced that New Line Cinema is intending to “re-launch” the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise for a new generation of moviegoers. Not surprisingly, they’re in cahoots with horror production company Platinum Dunes, the people responsible for the remakes of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, THE HITCHER, and the upcoming FRIDAY THE 13TH and NEAR DARK “re-imaginings” – AND who lack enough shame to remake THE BIRDS for Universal. Platinum Dunes truly puts the whore in horror.
And now they’re coming for my beloved ELM STREET, easily one of the greatest horror movies of all time. As. It. Is. But just like TCM and just like Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN, no amount of respect for the classics will stop the box office juggernaut from romper-stomping the last ounce of vitality out of a cherished franchise like a kitten in a mosh pit. The only encouraging detail about the new ELM STREET is that due to the Writers Guild strike, no script has been started. (And all this while I thought that the only good the strike was doing was keeping PRIVATE PRACTICE off the air. Hang tough, people.)
It’s a vain hope but maybe, just maybe, if we all eat our vegetables and believe in fairies really, really hard, someone attached to the new ELM STREET will google this blog between idle bouts of Warcraft and hot Asian teens and heed the following advice.
First, lest we forget, Robert Englund is still very much alive. There is no reason except your own misguided ego to go casting Justin Timber Von Van der Biek or some other flavor of the week to stumble in the footsteps of a living legend. Englund and Wes Craven created nothing less than one of the most original and enduring villains in screen history. Anyone else stepping into that role will find themselves at the mercy of a ravaging, carnivorous locust-plague of critics and fanboys. And I will be there on the sidewalk, handing them little cups of water to keep them hydrated while they run you down. Hell, a lot of us are pissed that Andrew Divoff stopped doing the WISHMASTER sequels: how incensed would this make us then? Englund is so indelibly Freddy that you can see the character surface in just about everything else he’s ever acted in. Get him a personal trainer and a fresh director to slap some of the ham out of him and don’t fix what ain’t broke. (And Mr. Englund, If you're reading this, I'm sorry to imply you're hammy. But we can't take a chance that any of 2,001 MANIACS is still stuck to you.)
The second and most important piece of advice is for your story.
We all know where you’re going with this. You’re going to tell us Freddy’s back-story. And that’s okay: we know you’re an uninspired faux prequel trumped up to sell popcorn and that’s what uninspired faux prequels do. Just make sure that as the story develops that Freddy Kreuger is evil. I don’t mean mean. I don’t mean that he’s lashing out at a society that didn’t hug him enough. I mean the kind of evil that you have to hiss to pronounce correctly. Remember, this is the kid that resulted from a gang rape in an insane asylum. How much more do you need? Freddy did not become a monster. He always was one.
No flashbacks to abusive parents, step, foster or otherwise.
No stripper/prostitute/tweaker mom with a heart of gold.
No bullies scarier than he was.
No cheerleader that turns him down for prom.
No naively optimistic psychologists.
No long lost sibling or pal from the orphanage or kindly janitor that represents his last shred of humanity.
I will, however, allow a priest or other spiritual figure that wastes his/her life failing to convince the authorities of Freddy’s sociopathy. But only if you have to.
Kreuger’s soul is so tar-black that when the neighborhood PTA lynched his ass, he got fast-tracked past the Burning Lake and promoted to a demon that could kill Johnny Depp in his sleep. He didn't die and go to Hell - Hell recruited this muggafugga, that’s how freakin’ evil he is. Please have enough respect for us and for 2 out of the 8 Freddy films that you won’t dumb his evil down to a misunderstood childhood.
Now, everyone at home, repeat after me: I do believe in fairies! I do! I do!