Saturday, February 27, 2010
Remakes, The Ultimate Nightmare
Thursday was the premier of the new trailer for the remake/re imagining of "Nightmare on Elm Street" from the company Platinum Dunes, who in the past several years have brought us the remakes of classic horror films no one asked for, so far they have chalked up "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" "Friday the 13th", "The Hitcher" and "The Amityville Horror" to their list of franchises that they feel need to be updated. In my personal opinion I have never really had any intention to watch any of these remakes for fear that they would tarnish the memories I have of the originals scaring the cum outta me.
Since the premier of the new trailer for NOES I have watched it at least three times. The reason being that there is something in this film that peaks the interests of mine and reminds me of the attitude I had when I was thirteen years old when I watched the original, even before I saw it when I was a little kid I remember being afraid of this charred and scarred character before even being formally introduced to him thanks to home video.
Since then, I have been intrigued with the story of Freddy Krueger, of course as the years and sequels and ridiculous puns, jokes, comebacks, "Now I'm Playing With Power!" (NOES: Freddy's Dead) have gone by there really hasn't been a real memorable NOES except for the original and a GREAT follow up that took nearly ten years to make with "Wes Cravens New Nightmare"
Why is the new "Nightmare on Elm Street" different for me?
It all comes down to origins of the character and the story..and no I am not proposing a prequel to when Freddy was a custodial engineer (or a janitor if you wanna be a dick about it) at a school in Springwood.
I am talking about the real reasons as to why Wes Craven had done the original. Now the story goes that a group of Cambodian refugees from Hmong tribe to escape Pol Pots Khmer Rouge to seek refuge in the United States. Once they fled they began to have horrific nightmares and refused to sleep, and once succumbing to the exhaustion and eventually falling asleep, the refuges would wake up screaming and would immediately die. The total number of people who had suffered from this and eventually die was three.
These instances would be documented in an article by the LA Times during the early 80's, which were read by Wes Craven and thus the idea of being subject to harm by something created in your dreams enticed him to write "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and from that a franchise was born.
Now, how can a horrible thing that has happened in Cambodia translate into an American horror movie, simple. The movie itself lends itself to the negligence of parents to their calls and cries for help from their kids. Their constant shrugs off of the teens desperate calls for help were merely overlooked as "teenage drama" and Craven captured how parents pay little attention to their children.
Now with this being said it raises the fear of thinking that the world that you are able to create inside of your dreams could in fact harm you and quite possibly lead to your death. And to me thinking that some of the things that I dream about nightly could kill me leads me to the validated fear that my own phobias and scenarios that I can conjure up in my own brain were lethal. And to know that you are your own worst enemy is frightening on its own.
And that's what makes this movie so much different and eccentric than "Friday The 13th". The Voorhees saga of blood and brutality followed the predictable formula of chase hot slutty teens and inflict carnage on a monumental scale. The Friday series never lent itself to any social opinion or commentary of the time and never meant to allow itself to be poignant with its story, if there ever really was one to follow in the series.
Craven had such a great and creative way in allowing the social contexts to become a huge part of his horror genre and much like he did with the post Vietnam War America that was analyzed in "Last House On The Left". NOES was able to make a visceral feeling of dread of what the mind was capable of doing, comparatively the horror films nowadays tend to not make a resounding impression on contemporary society with buckets and buckets of blood as the classics from yore. With the only exception being "The Mist" that was released a few years ago, that was possibly one of the best movies of the year that no one had seen.
The slasher genre was given a new standard with NOES and that is what makes it unique in the horror genre and which is why I have such a high standard and admiration for NOES. Now, the remake or whatever I will only hope to be able to retain that type of origin that propelled the original story several years ago. It can be said for many movies nowadays on whether or not they provoke some sort of commentary on contemporary American society and its even harder as a horror film to be effective and entertaining in its terror while at the same time commenting on modern culture or issues as well.
With the movies nowadays we have to be able to see the forest for the trees.
"A Nightmare on Elm Street" is one of the few remakes that I am looking forward to because of not only the legacy that it has but also of the intelligent metaphor and themes that encompassed the story to begin with, as long as they are able to keep that and are able to honor that in this remake, count me in.