Documentaries: Never Sleep Again - The Elm Street Legacy

The franchise spanning documentary, Never Sleep Again, chronicles the years of the Elm Street series.

"Hug it out....beaatch!!!"
My all-time favorite horror movie franchise is unequivocally the Nightmare on Elm Street series.  I grew up watching all of the films and they were the catalyst for my love of scary movies in later years. Freddy Krueger’s sardonic sense of humor and the imaginative ways he took out his victims set him apart from the other generic slasher film protagonists of the time. Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is a tour-de-force; a four hour long epic journey through the original seven films, the ill-fated TV series, and the fan-service filled Freddy vs. Jason.

Never Sleep Again brings back many of the film’s original stars, directors, special effect/make-up artists and producers. It’s also just as much the story of the rise of New Line Cinema as it is a behind-the-scenes look at the films themselves. Heather Langenkamp, who played Nancy in several of the movies, is the narrator for the entire documentary and also gives many in-depth interviews about her experience working on the sets. Director Wes Craven discusses his feelings about creating such an iconic series and how it evolved, for better or worse, without his direct control in the many sequels.

The documentary is well put together and they examine each film thoroughly; there are loads of never-before-seen clips, storyboards and pieces of concept artwork on display. Individuals who are interested in how films are produced and created will be in heaven, as they show the entire process for each film from start to finish. The directors and actors reflect on what they enjoyed about each film and what, in hindsight, didn’t necessarily work out for the best.

"This is one strange kind of porno...."
I enjoyed the segments on all the practical effects they used the most, and it blew my mind the amount of love and work that went into the props and make-up. It’s also fun to see how the actors aged since participating in the movies, especially since it’s been 30 years since the first film was released. I consider myself a well-versed fan of Nightmare on Elm Street and there was still TONS of information and trivia that was new to me. Many questions and speculations fans have had over the years are directly answered in this film.

While four hours might sound like a long running time for a documentary, it doesn’t feel that long and there is so much interesting information that it just flies by. The art design used in the film is outstanding and each section is segued into the next by cool stop-motion animation. It’s very high quality and professional looking and keeps the whole film cohesive. I cannot recommend this film enough to both horror film fans and just film aficionados in general.

-Michelle Kisner