Freddy and Me, Horror Re-Makes, and "Nightmare On Elmstreet" 2010


by Cynthia Rodriguez

I'm going to tell you about the longest "relationship" I've ever had. It's complicated so you may not understand. It's as complex as the other person involved. He is a troubled, disturbed, socially unaccepted, completely psychotic and calculating individual. Who is this charming madman? It's no other than the man of everybody's dreams, Mr. tall, sienna-burnt dark, and fugly himself, Freddy Krueger.

It all began at the tender, impressionable pre-teen years. From the time I experienced the first, original "Nightmare On Elm Street" movie I was hooked on horror films. Freddy gave me a new appreciation for the genre. A cousin of mine used to joke that it was a good thing I turned out to be an artist, or else I probably would have been a serial killer. Well, it was amusing at the time anyway. What may have given everyone that idea was the fact that I was so obsessed with Mr. Krueger and it manifested itself in several ways. I was Freddy for Halloween for about 4 or 5 years of my life. It was a blast scaring the neighborhood kids at the door trying to get Halloween candy. But hey, that's why they say, "Trick OR treat", right? That costume was one of my prized possesions. I owned every bit of Freddyabilia I could get my fake, knife gloved hand on. I believe there is more merchandise available today than there was back then, including a site which sells custom made REAL knived gloves. Sure they cost about one month's rent but I am SO getting one of those. I could imitate his voice almost perfectly. I used to have fun freaking out my friends on the phone with it. I have a very cool watercolor I did of him when I was a teen which I guess would probably count as my first portrait painting. I also have an old picture of me at one of my first jobs (I believe it was a local drug store in Queens, NY), one of the years I dressed up as him for Halloween. That may have been a contributing factor of me becoming unemployed shortly after. Also, who else would come out in their Highschoool yearbook dressed up as Freddy Krueger? Sure, at one point my parents considered sending me to therapy for it, but I convinced them it was just part of my creativity, and entertainment. Yes, I was an interesting child. Some kids slept with their teddy bears, and Rainbow Brites, I slept with my talking Freddy Krueger doll.

One, two, the re-makes coming for you, oh excuse me, they call them "re-imaginings" now. What a crock o' shit. I think that horror films may be the most re-made, (or re-imagined), recycled, re-done, re-altered movie genre of all time. I believe there are several reasons for this. This is when I feel comparing horror films to porn is appropriate. Lots of similiarities. One is that both can be made in someone's basement. With horror, throw in a mask, a couple cutlery utensils, some ketchup, and voila. Second, both genres' actors are not exactly known for their Oscar caliber, suberb thespian skills. Most of the time it's a bunch of nobodies. At best, with the horror, if you're lucky you'll get the latest teen sensations from music and television on the screen for five minutes until they get slashed out of the picture. Now I didn't say it would be any good, but with horror, even when it's bad, it's good. A horror film that may blow at the box office can become a "cult classic" on DVD.

Three, Four, this bitch is at your door. Feeling this wouldn't be complete without a little feminist slant, I must say, even as a staunch horror fan, it has not gone unnoticed that just as in other genres such as most sci-fi, and action movies, or MOST films period, with the exception of the "chick-flicks", the horror film has also been dominated by the male species. Perfect example of this would be the fact that pretty much every horror icon is of the masculine type. Freddy, Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees...Chucky. There is yet to be a huge, superstar female serial killer slashing her way to horror film greatness. It would certainly be a refreshing touch to see some sociopathic, bloody action from a gal spewing some smart ass commentary of her own, while stalking and terrorizing some scantily clad drunken frat boys, "Don't run, don't run. Your castration will be so much easier, (for both of us), if you just stay still."

Five, six, hold on to your ____, (okay that one is just too easy.)

Now lets get back to Elm Street. I thought the original was brilliant. It revolutionized horror films. When the nightmare began, it was a dream come true for a whole new world of fantasy horror. Of course since then they have dragged it out, milked it dry. As they have others. They send them to space, to hell, to Manhattan. They tag team with other. These are not just horror films. They are franchises, and Freddy is no exception. Seven, eight, now for the part that I hate...

I was dreading the re-make. I knew it was coming even before it was announced. It was inevitable. They had already taken Michael, and Jason so I knew it was only a matter of time. And of course they were ripe to pick a new Freddy which just the thought of that gave me chills, and not in a good way. Anyone around my age thinking themselves worthy of being called a "Generation X"er knows there is no Freddy Krueger unless it is Robert Englund. Yes, Jackie Earle Haley is an excellent actor but there is no comparison.

Because of this Gen X bias I realize I cannot fairly rate this film. Not that that's stopping me from doing so. On it's own, it's okay. It's watchable. It has all the ingredients, and usual suspects. Plenty of slash, bam, thank you ma'am moments, and cute, young stars of today. Back then, we had Johnny Depp in the original, now they have one of the hunky guys from Twilight. Even in this genre, it has become guilty for CGI overkill. No more just using latex, and cornflakes. In the future I suspect we may be victim to more Elm Street "re-imaginings", maybe a prequel, Freddy as a child or in his tweens, with Robert Englund doing a cameo as his Dad. Whatever it may be, I know I'll be stupid enough to be right there in the movie theatre to see it.

Nine, ten, here we go again.


Lisa said...

This made me remember when we saw that Friday the 13th at Carmike :) PuhLEEZE kill off the Abercrombie models!!

I'd be stoked for a female serial killer! I don't want to say anything about it yet since I haven't seen it, but one of these days I want to rent "Jennifer's Body"...cause I do love me some Megan Fox. I don't care what people say about her, I'd have a beer with her and chat.


Lisa! thanks for the comment! Omg, yeah that was fun. LOL, "kill off the Abercrombie models" for realz.

Please take them out of their anorexic misery.

I LOVE Megan Fox, although I'd want more than to have a beer with her...and THAT'S why they call this...Lesbiatopia. :)

Melissa said...

I'm just not even going to endure it.
Even this review has reminded me of the intense, seething rage I felt at learning of the remake. I mean, come on, didn't they just finally do a Jason vs. Freddy? And that was cool, right?

The only man I could ever say I have been IN LOVE with is a huge horror fan, and when we dated he dragged me through a crash course in all the greats - the original NOES and all its sequels, all the F13s, all George Romero's shit, the original Last House On the Left, so on, and so forth.

What these remakes lack is the intense social shock value, no matter how much they fuck them up with CGI overkill. Very little is going to disturb me more than the extended rape scene in I Spit On Your Grave. Thinking that something as twisted as the first The Hills Have Eyes came out over 30 years ago seems unthinkable, but so little envelope is left to push.


Thank you Melissa for your comment. I just saw this now, (because I just put up another post).

Very well said. A woman who knows her horror flicks.

Just the fact you know about "I Spit On Your Grave" makes me want you as my new BFF...

Btw, did you know "I Spit On Your Grave" also had another movie title? "Day Of The Woman".

IMOOOOO said...