Nightmare on Elm Street, A (Blu-ray)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Directed by Wes Craven
Distributed by New Line Home Entertainment / Warner Home Entertainment
Own it on Blu-ray on April 13, 2010. For more information visit WarnerBlu.com
Wow. I remember seeing A Nightmare on Elm Street in theatres way back when I was just a little kid. The Eighties do not seem so long ago, and it really trips me out when I overhear folks talking about some films from this decade being classics. In my childhood movies that were considered classics were usually filmed in black and white and were released sometime during the Thirties through the Sixties. But alas, the years they are passing me by. Lots of flicks I grew up watching are now considered modern classics by today's youth and society in general. While that may be a bitter pill for me to swallow age-wise, I must admit some of them are very worthy of that moniker. Big screen baddies like Jason, Michael Myers, Pinhead, and of course Freddy are without question this generation's Frankenstein Monster, Dracula, and Wolf Man. With the release of New Line's Blu-ray of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, we finally get to see one of our own receive the royal home video treatment that it deserves.
I'm not going to sit here and relate to you just what makes Freddy's first fear film foray a classic. Nor am I going to give you a brief synopsis of the movie's plot. If you're reading this and do not know who or what Freddy is by now, then you need a lot more guidance than even Dread Central can give you.
Instead, let's look at the main reason you're here: to find out what -- if any -- reason there is to replace your fine old original Elm Street DVD.
Let us begin with the look and sound of the product. By now it almost seems cliche to talk about a Blu-ray transfer. High definition technology has pretty much been perfected so it is safe to assume (unless otherwise noted) that the picture quality and sound are going to be on par with what you would expect. However, just as I would note a bad transfer, I have to also make mention of a truly stellar one. The bottom line here is that this version of A Nightmare on Elm Street is simply brilliant. It literally looks like it was filmed just a few months ago instead of the decades it has been. The perfect complement to the pristine video transfer is this disc's sound mix. The tracks are a true treat for the ears. It's obvious that A LOT of love and attention went into this remastering as a whole. If this disc were bare bones, I'd get it just for the print. It's that damned good. Prepare to see and hear this film like you never have before. Bravo.
It should be noted that this Blu-ray is home to all of the special features found in the Infinifilm DVD release from a couple of years back with the exception of the Freddy's Coming for You trivia challenge and DVD-ROM bonus material. It's odd anything at all would have been omitted given Blu-ray's vast storage capacity. Still, on with the goodies, of which there are tons!
The Blu-ray packs two commentaries, one from the original DVD release with Wes Craven, Heather Langenkamp, and John Saxon (which flows better and is more intimate), and one with what seems like every conceivable person who had anything to do with the film's production. From the F/X coordinator to Englund himself, the gang is all here. Well, all in the sense that everyone contributes, but not all in the sense that they were contributing at the same time. The new commentary is comprised of several commentaries that were recorded at different times and then edited together. Yep, there's an awful lot of stimuli here. Brace yourself, and let's move along.
Along with the two commentaries, there are several featurettes that run between ten to fifty minutes, and honestly you couldn't hope for more. The first featurette entitled Never Sleep Again: The Making-of A Nightmare on Elm Street (not to be confused with the upcoming mega-documentary of the same name) follows the process of bringing Craven's vision to the big screen. From casting to the F/X, no stone is left unturned. Back then the giant we all know as New Line was just a fledgling company. While listening to Robert Shaye and crew, one begins to wonder how this project ever got off of the ground to begin with. Thankfully it did, and the rest is horror history.
From there we get a little ditty called The House that Freddy Built: The Legacy of New Line Horror. Yep, it's no secret. New Line was built upon the scarred shoulders of one Freddy Krueger. As a result, the studio has a ton of admiration and love for the genre. This featurette details all of their other horror franchises, like the Final Destination series, and most notably how they were able to bring everyone's favorite pissed off mama's boy, Jason, and even Leatherface to their table. Could Pinhead and Myers be far off? The New Line crew doesn't think so. Ponder that for a moment. Never mind Freddy Vs. Jason; can you imagine the serial killing battle royale that could take place should everyone get their ducks in a row? Sure, it'd probably be kind of silly, but hot damn, who wouldn't want to see more of their favorite villains square off?
Next we get a featurette known as Night Terrors: The Origins of Wes Craven's Nightmares. Fans in the know have all heard Craven's stories about his inspiration for the Nightmare movies, and truth be told, I thought this was going to be yet another rehashing. Instead, it's a fairly detailed exploration of what nightmares are and how they affect the people who have them. Pretty nifty, and thankfully not just the same old stuff.
Things are then rounded up with three alternate endings and a feature known as Ready for Freddy Focus Points, which enables you to see alternate takes and learn filmmaking secrets behind the flick by jumping to video highlights while watching the movie. Very nifty!
Companies need to go a long way for their home video packages to be considered perfect. With this release Warner Brothers has proven that they not only are prepared to go that far, but they're willing to go even further. A masterful job, indeed! I know I am gushing like the geyser of blood that emits from Depp's bed, but with good reason! Freddy fans, rejoice! This Blu-ray is your dream come true.
Five ... Six ... Go and buy this disc!
1) Director Wes Craven, Co-Stars Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon, and Cinematographer Jacques Haitkin,
2) Wes Craven, Co-Stars Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, and Ronee Blakley, Producer Robert Shaye and Co-Producer Sara Risher
5 out of 5
5 out of 5