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I Am Nancy (2011)

Cover art:

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I Am NancyStarring Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Wes Craven, Tom Kircher

Directed by Arlene Marechal


In the documentary I Am Nancy, Heather Langenkamp explores the strengths and weaknesses of her character of Nancy from the A Nightmare on Elm Street series through both her own experiences and fans’ perceptions as well as through interviews with a few of its major players. From these interviews and interactions we find out what made, and still makes, Nancy such an important heroine.

Langenkamp and director Marechal went to multiple conventions around the world and asked fans to describe why they like Nancy and why she is so important to them. A wheelchair-bound fan from the UK explained it best I believe when she said that Nancy shows us to use our inner strength to fight the worst in our lives, make it through, and become stronger for it.

At these same conventions Heather goes on the hunt for Nancy toys and collectibles and discovers that most ANOES merchandise is all about Freddy, and the few pieces relating to Nancy look nothing like her. To fill this market void, Heather hires an artist to make a doll of herself as Nancy, which I personally would love to get my hands on if/when it ever hits stores.

To counterbalance the fans and their views on the character, Heather chats with Robert Englund about their interactions on the set and their respective views on why the movies, and their characters, have kept ever-growing fanbases. Another interview is with Wes Craven, the creator of the series — and of Nancy — who discusses where he got his inspiration for the character. As some of that inspiration came from influential women in his life, Heather also meets with his daughter, Jessica, who explains what it was like growing up with Wes Craven as a father. She talks further about finding out there was a bit of her in Nancy and how she influenced her dad’s choices in the movie, including selecting Johnny Depp to portray Glen Lantz.

I Am Nancy is a must-see for fans of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series and of Heather Langenkamp. It is at times funny, at times quite serious, and oftentimes very touching. What really makes the documentary about Nancy, and Heather, feel so real and personal is that Heather understands the fact that Nancy is secondary to Freddy to most people, and she has no problem poking fun at herself.

4 out of 5

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Emilie Noetzel