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.
When horror films open with a cheeseball ballad, devoid of any irony because it was made in the '80s (where irony spent most of its years starving to death) there is really nowhere else to go but down. You know for damn sure the filmmakers aren't really interested in scaring you, so we'll just nip that idea in the bud right now.
Another strong sign that this isn't going to be much great shakes in the horror department; it's directed by Renny Harlin, whose greatest cinematic accomplishments are Cliffhanger and Deep Blue Sea. That's not a slight on either of those films, but they are hardly the stuff nightmares are made of. Cutthroat Island, on the other hand.
There is a strange new trend of former genre TV showrunners moving on to pen needless prequels to popular genre movies. We had Battlestar Galactica genius, Ronald D. Moore, working on the appalling prequel to The Thing. Most recently was Lost not-quite-as-genius, Damon Lindelof, who shat on a page and gave us Prometheus.
The latest name to move into prequel territory is the recently ousted showrunner of The Walking Dead, Glen Mazzara, who is tasked with writing a prequel to The Shining.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors presents a cruel dichotomy for me as a film fan and a fan of Freddy Krueger; it brings the franchise back to its roots, expanding the mythology created in the first film and creating some wonderful visuals within the dreamscape portions of the film.
But it also turns Freddy Krueger into a gurning fuckglove without an ounce of menace or mystery in his mank-covered bones. It's the franchise equivalent of two steps forward and a somersault back.
So is it a worse offender against the series than its predecessor?