5 Reasons Why: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is the Best Elm Street Sequel
In 1984, Wes Craven introduced Freddy Krueger to the world. Freddy was a “dirty, child murderer” who was caught by police but released due to a technicality. The parents of Elm Street did not think justice was properly served, so they took it upon themselves to exact revenge. Revenge is a dish best served on fire, which is exactly what they set Freddy on, killing him and finally, hopefully, finding some peace. Problem is, Freddy came back from the dead, scarred and burned and looking for action. Now, he had supernatural powers and a thirst for vengeance. He was going to kill the Elm Street kids one way or another. He just had to wait for them to fall asleep.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is truly a classic film. It spawned six sequels, a crossover film with Friday the 13th, and a remake that is better left untouched (or, ya know, unwatched). Some of its sequels were worthy successors, such as Part 3. All in all, however, none of its sequels were able to match up to the original. Except for one. It was a film released 10 years after the original, and it brought back both the original cast and the original writer/director, Wes Craven himself. Craven returned to the franchise he created and the result was a truly remarkable film that both paid homage to the original and truly innovated the genre. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is a wonderful film. It’s also the best Elm Street sequel.
5) Wes Craven Wrote It
Wes Craven, for years, had been a master storyteller. From The Last House on the Left to The Hills Have Eyes, Craven knew how to craft a terrifying tale. Never was that more evident than with his 1984 film, A Nightmare on Elm Street. That film was a massive success that spawned several sequels. Yet, besides a writing credit on the third installment, Craven was almost completely absent from any of the other films. That all changed with Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. The seventh Nightmare brought back the one who created the first, both as a writer and director. The quality of this film proves that nobody knows Freddy better than his creator.
4) Heather Langenkamp Starred…As Herself
In the original Nightmare on Elm Street, Heather Langenkamp played final girl Nancy Thompson and her performance cannot be overstated. She was exactly the kind of tour-de-force needed to take on Freddy Krueger. Nancy Thompson was the only one who could take on Krueger and she more than held her own against the Dream Demon. When Langenkamp returned to the role of Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3, her performance left much to be desired. On its own, Dream Warriors was a great film. But Langenkamp’s performance at times seemed bland, by-the-numbers and dare we say, boring. Her death at the end of the film should have felt like a much bigger deal. It did not and, for a while, fans of Nancy were left with a bad taste in their mouths.
But then came Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Though, technically, she portrayed “herself,” Langenkamp once again returned to the role that made her famous and she encompassed everything that fans loved about Nancy in the original. She was strong, determined, courageous and unafraid to bring an ass-whooping to Krueger. Heather Langenkamp knocked it out of the park with this performance, as she showed the world that she had the courage to play Nancy one last time.
3) Robert Englund Got To Be Evil Again
As more sequels were made following the success of the original, the Nightmare on Elm Street series started painting its main antagonist as a bit of an anti-hero. Yes, Freddy Krueger was a bad guy, but he was kind of cool and funny too. This trope would reach its apex in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. In that film, Freddy murdered characters by video games, Looney Tunes gags, and chalkboards. Freddy had become a parody of himself, which is what caused the need for Freddy to die in the first place. Then, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare was released. This version of Freddy was back to being dark, scary, and unequivocally evil. Robert Englund, the actor who portrayed Freddy Krueger, got to be bad again and he was oh-so-good at it!
2) It Was Meta Before Meta Was Cool
“Meta-Horror” became a Hollywood trope, beginning in another Wes Craven film entitled Scream. That film was one of the first mainstream horror films that featured characters who watched horror films. Characters referenced everything from Halloween to Craven’s own Nightmare on Elm Street. Scream was a true game-changer for horror movies. But Craven did it in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare first. In the film, an evil entity that took on the shape of the fictional Freddy Krueger began murdering the people who made the original Nightmare on Elm Street film. It featured Heather Langenkamp, Wes Craven, Roberts Englund and Shaye and more in featured roles, playing themselves. If that’s not meta, we don’t know what is.
1) It Was the Perfect Ending to the Series
Besides a crossover and a remake, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare could be considered to be the real Final Nightmare. And there couldn’t have been a better ending to the series. The film brought back everything fans loved about the original film and gave a fitting end to a much-beloved character. In the end, Nancy won, Freddy was killed, and Wes Craven got to finish the story he started all those years ago. We couldn’t think of a more fitting end.