If you’re still convinced that you’ve read everything to do with “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” then tune in to “Never Sleep Again,” and you might find a surprise or two. As a jaded horror geek convinced he’d heard it all, “Never Sleep Again” spared many a shocking anecdote about the making of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and its entire legacy. From its sequels, spin off, and misguided but notable cultural influence, “Never Sleep Again” never misses a beat and promises something entirely new for the horror fan interested in a refresher course in Freddy Krueger. After being on DVD since 2010, Image Entertainment releases the acclaimed and award winning documentary on Blu-Ray for folks anxious to indulge in Krueger on Blu.
At almost four hours long, and narrated by Heather Langenkamp, directors Andrew Kasch and Daniel Farrands compile an exhaustive and incredibly admirable treasure trove of “Nightmare on Elm Street” information that doesn’t just explore the making of the movies, but the concept behind Freddy Krueger, and why he tapped in to the pop culture of the eighties with immense fanfare. “Never Sleep Again” isn’t just a celebration of the film series that made bonafide stars out of Robert Englund and Wes Craven. It’s also never afraid to poke fun at what makes the film series so entertaining and yet so damn goofy.
There’s a lengthy look at the botched “Freddy’s Nightmares” television show that garnered big horror talent but is infamous for being so god awful. There’s also looks at oddities like the Freddy hotline, and Freddy Krueger children’s pajamas. Beyond the more eccentric effects of Krueger’s popularity there’s an extensive look at the early conceptual sketches for Krueger, and there’s even a glimpse at how Krueger’s entire face was modeled after the cheese on a pizza pie. There’s also a great exploration of “Freddy’s Revenge” and how it earned itself the reputation as one of the most homoerotic horror movies of all time. True, there is the noticeable lack of Johnny Depp, who appeared in the first “Nightmare” and garnered one of the most memorable scenes of the entire movie series.
But that caveat is easily forgiven once we’re given a very unique and entertaining look at how they pulled off the still amazing gushing blood from the bed scene. Like directors Farrands and Kasch are prone to do, “Never Sleep Again” is first and foremost a testament to the power of independent horror. As well it’s an examination of how an independent horror film fueled a studio like New Line in to mainstream success. “Never Sleep Again” is still as excellent as ever and should be required watching for horror buffs alike. I’m surprised it took a few years for “Never Sleep Again” to come to Blu-Ray, but for the hold outs, it’s finally here. The Blu-Ray extras, much like the documentary, are impressive and incredible for any self-respecting “Nightmare” buff.
Among the features there’s a great four hour commentary with directors Kasch and Farrands, along with Writer Thommy Hutson and Cinematographer Buz Danger Wallick, of whom have a great time just being fans. They discuss the process in shooting the documentary, their own memories about the film series, and it’s an entertaining sessions with four very enthusiastic filmmakers. There’s almost two hours of Extended interviews, “Nightmare” fanatics need apply. There’s a six minute look at the Heather Langenkamp documentary “I Am Nancy,” as well as the hour long “For the Love of the Glove,” a look at the fan love for Krueger’s glove. “Fred heads” is a twelve minute look at the collectors of the series and memorabilia.
“Horror’s Hallowed Grounds” is a twenty three minute look at the locations featured in the original “Nightmare” as hosted by Sean Clark, and “Freddy vs. The Angry Video Game Nerd” is a truncated version of the popular web episode where James Rolfe plays through the terrible NES “Nightmare” video game. “Expanding the Elm Street Universe” is a great look at the novelizations that extended the universe of Krueger for fans, while “The Music of the Nightmare” discovers the music of the documentary and films. “Elm Street’s Poster Boy” is a seven minute dedication to poster artist Joseph Peak who created some of the most memorable posters for the film series. Finally “A Nightmare in 10 Minutes” is a fun pastiche of the interviewees acting out the original “Nightmare” in ten minutes.