Take 26 directors with variable degrees of notoriety, give them each $5,000, a letter of the alphabet, and one method of death and give them the creative independence to draw from their background in horror to make a short that perfectly encapsulates their wildly different ideas. What you get as a result is a film with so many diverse motifs, and with such distinct lack of restraint, that you are left feeling as though you have just been subjected to the foulest spelling lesson you will ever experience. The ambition is set to dizzying heights before the letter A has even begun.
Dudley Moore once wrote a piece of music consisting entirely of endings. That's sort of what we've got here – 26 bloody goodbyes, with only the briefest of preliminary hellos.
The very concept of Freddy Krueger is now carved deep into the pop culture psyche, just like the notion of a slasher killer brings to mind an instant association with hockey masks and machetes (or the occasional chainsaw), the name Freddy will stir up images of fedoras, tattered sweaters, facial disfigurement and rusty claws. And maybe a few awful jokes.
Covered extensively over the course of this last week, the Nightmare on Elm Street series steadily and unwaveringly began to transform into a gigantic joke, even Wes Craven's valiant efforts with New Nightmare could not successfully steer the series back on course. By then the damage was done and Freddy was just not scary anymore.
A winning mix of supernatural chiller, conspiracy thriller and police procedural, Ultraviolet ran for six episodes on Channel 4 back in 1997. Even 15 years on, it remains one of the best TV vampire shows ever: there's just some fang about it.
Bradley Scott Sullivan's debut feature starts strongly and messily, with a bloody corpse on the road, a confused and scared cop uncertain what to do, and a blinded girl wandering the woods, one of her eyeballs left behind on the end of a branch like a pickled onion on a cocktail stick. It's quite an opening, and it's all shot with a twitchy, grainy, grindhousey 70 feel.
Fandom for children is a very different thing to the fandom of a healthy, well-adjusted adult. As a child, your interests can be distilled to a Top Trumps mentality; who is better than who? Who could beat who in a fight? Naturally, this attitude permeates into adult life sometimes. We are, after all, only human.
One of the most hotly contested debates of my childhood was over who would win in a fight: Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees. Every kid had their favourite character and series to root for. Personally, I rated the stalker of Crystal Lake a lot higher than the curse of Elm Street. The raging debates would alternate; if Jason was in the dream world, Freddy wins. If Freddy got pulled into the real world, Jason takes it. Of course no one could ever agree on which of these scenarios was more likely, and so the arguments reached Palestine/Israel levels of meaningless brutality.
Finally, some good-hearted souls decided to settle this conflict and made a movie.
If Freddy had to come back, I'm glad it was Wes Craven who got to take a swing at this rotting equus ferus (yes, I'm being a smartass). Craven wisely chose not to try to salvage the franchise as it was left, which was somewhat akin to a motorway service station toilet bowl, and instead let' that crooked old boat smash against the rocks and sink. Instead he chose to make a film set in a world where all of those movies exist, Freddy Krueger is a fictional character and things are about to get meta.
In the world of horror franchises, you're not legit until you go 3D or set a sequel in space. Sadly, Freddy went 3D.
Of all the inappropriate opening title songs, I think Freddy's Dead is the worst offender. I could not name it, or even hum the tune, but it carried that generic inoffensive early '90s rock sound. IMDb claims it was by The Goo Goo Dolls, so there you go, exactly what you want to hear at the start of a horror movie.
With the news recently breaking that The Walking Dead's Glen Mazzara is in talks to write a prequel to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, it appears that someone else is interested in getting involved in some King action. With the 30th anniversary of Cujo's film release this year, Sunn Classic Pictures have been trying to push a remake that could potentially see a release this year.
Five movies in and it feels like I am a million miles away from the amazing original. Was it denial or just a foolhardy perseverance that drove me to do this retrospective? I can truthfully say that, while I remembered the series took a huge decline in quality with every sequel, I honestly did not comprehend how bad it got until I got to A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.