Directed by Wes Craven, Jack Sholder, Renny Harlin, Stephen Hopkins, Rachel Talalay
Distributed by Warner Brothers
As an associate producer on the award-winning documentary Never Sleep Again (review), it’s pretty safe to say that I know the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise as well as anyone possibly could. These films are much beloved amongst genre fans, and Freddy is without a doubt one of the single most recognizable villains ever. That’s why when this box set first hit our radar, I’ve been hoping and praying it would deliver. Truth be told, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
First off, let’s be clear… this is the same exact box set that’s been available overseas and region free for months now. Nothing has changed for its domestic release. I’m not gonna bother reviewing each film individually because if you’re reading this, then you’ve already watched each countless times. You, too, know their ins and outs, and honestly, after working on NSA so long, I’m still pretty Elm Streeted out. That being said, we’re gonna talk about how the movies look and sound along with the bonus DVD.
The collection includes Wes Craven’s original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) as well as its six sequels: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), Dream Warriors (1987), The Dream Master (1988), The Dream Child (1989), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994).
Out of all the Blu-ray transfers, it’s the original A Nightmare on Elm Street that looks and sounds the best, rocking a full 1080p and 7.1 surround mix. It’s pretty incredible and the benchmark for quality in this package. The rest of the movies all sport a 5.1 Dolby surround mix and definitely look better than their DVD cousins, but it’s nothing dramatic. Sadly, of all the movies included here, it’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors which gets the short end of the stick visually as the transfer is at times blurry and muddled, but then it has moments of razor-sharp brilliance. Simply put, it’s inconsistent but even at its worst looks better than any standard definition package. The only other true sin committed here is once again the uncut version of A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is completely absent. Come on, guys, get with the program.
The supplemental features from each film have been ported over from past releases, and the majority of them are in standard definition. No need to rehash all of that because you undoubtedly already own them so let’s move on to the DVD bonus disc, which clocks in at over three hours of goodness.
Things kick off with the 30-minute featurette Fear Himself – The Life and Crimes of Freddy Krueger. Think of this as sort of a condensed version of Never Sleep Again. The focus here is on Englund and Craven, and rightfully so. I highly recommend giving this one a spin; it’s short but meaty. From there we get two episodes of the “Freddy’s Nightmares” TV show – “Miserable Life,” directed by Tom McLoughlin (Friday the 13th Part VII: A New Blood), and “Killer Instinct,” directed by Mick Garris and featuring Lori Petty. Given that the show wasn’t exactly stellar to begin with, these things look absolutely hideous transfer-wise, and I’m not even sure why these particular episodes were picked. Of the two “Miserable Life” is easily the better episode, and it’s good to see Friday VII star Lar Park Lincoln stretching her legs in Nightmare land. Still, both are home to mere glorified cameos from Krueger and don’t exactly achieve what their intentions were. Capping things off we have 20 minutes of interviews in Conclusions, in which genre luminaries Clive Barker, Sean Cunningham, and more make an appearance; and then finally there’s Welcome to Prime Time, which consists of interviews from past documentaries as well as the hidden bits from the old Nightmare DVD box set. All in all this is a pretty solid offering.
The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection without question has its ups and downs, but you cannot beat the amount of Freddy bang you get here for your buck. If you’re a fan, this is nothing short of an essential must-have so pick it up with confidence and enjoy. Till next time… PLEASANT DREAMS! *insert Freddy cackle here*
A Nightmare on Elm Street:
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge:
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors:
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master:
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child:
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare:
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare:
4 out of 5
5 out of 5