Before bringing cool meta to the big screen in the Scream films, Wes Craven brought us this. A delightfully wonderful piece of art imitating life imitating art. This film doesn’t really take into consideration the five sequels, though they do mention it, and it is more of a self-reflective commentary on horror movies, and the actors in them that become larger than life in the public eye. This sequel is more psychological, in my opinion, and has some major cameos. So, let’s get to it, shall we?
Nancy, errrr….I mean, Heather 🙂 plays herself in this film, and has a husband, and a son, Dylan, played by the adorable Miko Hughes (Gage from Pet Sematary). Husband Chase is a special effects artist, and in the opening sequence, she dreams that all three are on the set of a movie. When a Freddy’s hand prop comes to life and starts to attack, Heather promptly awakens when an earthquake hits. She senses it was all a bit too real, and has been very stressed as the 10th anniversary of Nightmare draws closer. Heather has been receiving harassing phone calls and mail for months. It doesn’t help that Los Angeles keeps experiencing hella earthquakes. Not to mention that Dylan acts trance-like and screams whenever he sees Nightmare on the television. Though Heather doesn’t want him watching it, it seems to be on all the time. Hmmm…Freddy maybe? Chase had to leave for a movie shoot, but it turns out he has been helping work on a new Freddy glove prototype.
Babysitter Julie is a really cool chick, and drops by to watch Dylan for Heather because she is appearing as a guest on a talk show. The host asks her whether she would trust her child with Robert (Englund, that is), whereby he breaks through a false wall onto the stage, dressed in full Freddy garb. After being killed off in part 6, the audience wants him back, and begin cheering and chanting his name. Some of them are even dressed like him. This is one cool crowd! But it is interesting to note how people, like many of us horror freaks, become obsessed and almost possessed by our favorite films and villains, and it really speaks to the prevalence and widespread popularity of horror films. After the show, she has a phone call to come to New Line Cinema. Bob Shaye (played by…Bob Shaye) has a proposition for her. Wes Craven has been working on a new script and wants her to reprise her role as Nancy. She all but brushes it off and returns home. Dylan has been having a huge freak out, and his favorite toy dinosaur, Rex, is sliced open with four distinctly familiar cut marks. Julie helps him sew Rex up, and Heather calls Chase and tells him to come home. He finally agrees, and leaves the movie set. Later on, Heather is reading Dylan a story before bed, “Hansel and Gretel”, and he tells her the Rex protects him from the man who lives under his sheets, past the foot of the bed. She tries convincing him it’s not real, but he says it’s different when she’s gone. Chase is murdered by Freddy on his drive home, and Heather is notified by way of two cops on her doorstep in the middle of the night.
She goes to the morgue to view his body (and pukes upon doing so) and notices he has four huge gashes in his chest. At the funeral, several big names are there, including Wes Craven, John Saxon, Robert Englund, Bob Shaye, Nick Corri (yes, I know he goes by Jsu Garcia now), and Tuesday Knight. An earthquake rocks the funeral service, causing Chase’s coffin to crash and fly open. Freddy grabs Dylan and pulls him down into the ground. Heather grabs Dylan and saves him, and sees her husband’s eyes open and he tells her, “Stay with me”. She freaks out as John Saxon pulls her up. It was just a daydream….or was it?
Once again, Dylan begins acting strange, and the original film pops up on the television in the middle of the night. The next day, she talks with John Saxon at the park about her nerves, the possibility of mental illness, and Dylan’s weirdness. Dylan climbs up a huge tower that doesn’t seem to be too safe for children anyway, and he falls. Luckily, Heather catches him just in time, but you know that had to hurt. She receives more harassing mail and phone calls, and decides to phone Robert. He is at his home, painting, looking quite normal and un-Freddy-like. He begins to act evasive when she mentions her dreams, and how Freddy is actually darker and more evil in them. He recognizes this, and when the camera pulls back, that is exactly what he is painting.
That night, Dylan gets weird, yet again, and tapes knives to his hand, and attacks his mother while chanting the Freddy anthem. She’s had enough and takes him to the hospital, where they want to run some tests, so she leaves for a while. Heather goes to talk to Wes about his new script and all the weird things that have been happening, and he kinda sorta mentions that he’s been having dreams, too. He asks her whether she’d be willing to play Nancy, one last time. It’s clear that he means in real life, not a film.
At home later, Heather’s nightmare comes true when she sees a news story about Chuck and Terry, the effects guys, who were found murdered and sliced open in a field. She begins hearing noises, and looks in the closet, when Freddy pops out and says, “Miss me?” He attacks Heather, slicing her arm badly, and an earthquake hits again. She makes her way back to the hospital, where Dylan has been put in a special unit because he freaked out again. The doctor makes Heather come with her to bandage her arm, and when she tells her it happened in the earthquake, the doctor says there wasn’t one. She is automatically suspicious of Heather, but lets her go see Dylan anyway. He begins talking and acting like Freddy and spews some sort of yuck all of his mother. The doctor and nurses rush in, and the main doctor rips open Dylan’s clothes and reveals that she has on a Freddy glove. Heather awakens and Dylan is gone. She runs to him, much to the dismay of the doctors, who are still concerned that Heather is mentally ill, and might be a danger to her son. Once she makes it to floor he is on, a nurse asks for her pass, to which she replies, “Screw your pass!”, to the fan’s delight. Heather’s single strand of grey hair has returned, and she meets Julie in Dylan’s room.
The doctors take Heather away, but not before she tells Julie to make sure no one puts Dylan to sleep or gives him any medicine. So, of course, the nurses come in, do a switcheroo, and inject him anyway. Julie threatens the nurses and locks the door. She tries to keep him awake, but Freddy appears behind her, and drags her up the wall, across the ceiling. This is obviously an homage to Tina from the original, and is pretty awesome. Dylan runs away when the door is finally opened, and takes off across the freeway to go home. He wants Rex and he wants his mommy. Heather takes off after him, and chases him across the busy highway, nearly getting killed in the process. Seriously, what is it with Miko Hughes and always being near big fucking trucks in his films? Anyway, they both make it home. Heather had called John on the way, and he shows up at her house, acting like her father in the original, calling her Nancy, and wondering why she is calling him John.
John, as Donald Thompson, leaves, telling Nancy/Heather to get some rest. She has an idea of where Dylan is – under his covers, past the foot of his bed. She follows a trail of sleeping pills (like the breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel), and finally reaches a huge fiery, nasty looking place. She’d brought a knife with her, and goes in search of Krueger, who promptly attacks her. Dylan rushes out and stabs Freddy with the knife in his leg. Dylan jumps into this big oven thing with flames all around to get away from him after Freddy knocks out Heather…err…Nancy…Heather/Nancy. Freddy begins to pull a Stretch Armstrong and grabs Dylan, who fights him the whole way. He attempts to eat Dylan, but Heather/Nancy comes to, and begins to kick ass. As there is always something phallic in these movies, Freddy develops a huge nasty tongue that would put Gene Simmons to shame, and wraps it around Nancy’s head and throat. Dylan stabs at the tongue with the knife, and together they shove Freddy back into the pit, and turn up the flames. He morphs, and screams, and twitches, and I guess, all the things someone would do who was on fire, and eventually the whole place blows up. Heather/Nancy and Dylan make their way back to the pool where she initially fell in, and begin swimming. They end up falling out of the end of Dylan’s bed, safe and sound, but probably a bit smelly. Not that it matters. Just saying. She notices the script laying on the floor, and reads the inscription from Wes Craven. He thanks her for “having the guts to play Nancy one last time.” Dylan is curious, and wants her to read it to him. So she does…
Okay, so, in a nutshell? This movie is awesome! I’m sure many of you will agree, because from what I’ve heard, this seems to be one of the favorites. Freddy was actually creepy in this one, the way he was intended to be, and didn’t hold anything back. Even his lines are creepy, not slapstick, not comical in the slightest. I think this is one of the biggest reasons it has become so popular. Wes Craven got to kind of take back all the sequels and aspects he didn’t like, and make what he wanted to make, plain and simple. The formula is so straightforward, yet so psychological and mind-twisting. I love seeing actors playing themselves, well, okay, only in horror films really, but still. Everyone loves Nancy Thompson AND Heather Langenkamp, so it only makes sense that this movie would be fantastic and wild. I love not knowing if what we’re seeing is real, much like the undertones of Rosemary’s Baby, and if it concerns Freddy Krueger, well, that’s even better. There were so many amazing scenes in this, making it really easy to get some good screenshots, which I can definitely appreciate. Though I hated that Julie the babysitter died, I can see why this was necessary. If all the characters we loved lived, it wouldn’t be a horror movie, would it? The cameos were great, although if the movie is based on the real people themselves, they may not technically be called ‘cameos’. The sleeping pill ‘breadcrumbs’ part was one of my favorite scenes ever, and I really dug all the references to the original film. It was delightful seeing all the little nods to Freddy, and the original cast, and it was really beneficial that the earthquake damage shots were real. I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts, because I get the impression that many people like to couple this one with the original, and ignore the rest of the series.