Film remakes are tricky. Change too little and you wind up with Psycho. Keep the basics in place while introducing some genuinely cool ideas, and you get something that's just as good as - if not better than - the original, like Dawn Of The Dead. Go too far, and Planet Of The Apes happens. Literally. No matter what movie you were trying to remake, it will be Planet Of The Apes.
The newly released A Nightmare On Elm Street isn't a shot-for-shot remake of the 1984 horror classic, but does it go too far with its changes? See what you think.
For the first time, Freddy Krueger will not be portrayed by Robert Englund. The actor had played Freddy since the character's inception, reprising his role for more than twenty years, through seven films, dozens of television episodes, and this Italian commercial for a snack food called "Fonzies":
This time around, Freddy will be played by Jackie Earle Haley. The casting director was so enamored with Haley's performance as Rorschach in Watchmen that he was brought on to the film's set before most of the cast and crew. After several days of reciting "you're locked in here with me" on command, someone suggested that Haley could actually be in the movie if he tried out for the role of Freddy.
This might come as a surprise to some of you, but Johnny Depp was in the original A Nightmare On Elm Street. The remake's director wanted Depp to return, but since his character was a teenager and the man is in his forties it just wouldn't work. Thankfully, there's CGI.
It took months of 3D modeling, texture artistry, motion capture, rendering, and voiceover work, but Johnny Depp is officially back in the form of a Tyrannosaurus Rex that looks almost as good as the one in Jurassic Park.
In the original film, Freddy Krueger was a child murderer that died at the hands of an angry mob, then returned to extract revenge on his killers by stalking and killing their descendants in the world of dreams.
Now, Freddy is a video game programmer that gets zapped into his own game, instantly going mad as the result of years of murder simulators and depraved virtual sex. If you die in your sleep while playing his game, you die. If you die in his game itself, you die. If you eat a turkey leg in the game, you get full in real life.
Freddy's four-bladed glove is a legitimate horror icon, like Jason's hockey mask or Lara Flynn Boyle's face post-2000. It's also gone, replaced with a new weapon - a Desert Eagle handgun with "NIGHTMARE" etched on the barrel.
The distinctive burns covering every inch of Freddy's skin have also been removed in favor of edgy full-body tattoos that represent sleep through symbols such as Zs and sheep and the word "sleep".
Focus testing revealed that Elm Street was not menacing to the 18-34 year old male demographic. The movie now takes place on Elm Terrace, with the "ace" on the street sign scratched out and replaced with "or" in red paint.
The 1984 version of A Nightmare On Elm Street ended with Freddy lunging forward to bite the main character, accidentally lodging a tank of compressed air in his mouth. Frozen in place by acute scubaphobia, Freddy presented a perfect target as the main character took aim with a rifle, then shot him directly in the shoulder. Freddy spun over a railing and into deep water, presumably dead.
Now, Freddy succumbs to cancer in a French lakeside house, his closest friends and family members at his side.
We're spelunking through the movie catacombs this week. Join us, won't you?
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