Released in 1994, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare was Craven going meta two years before Scream. Essentially the tale of Heather Langenkamp (star of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street and the sequel Dream Warriors) as she experiences strange and unsettling events in the “real world”, the movie is a “film within a film”. Many of the characters in the film play themselves, such as New Line Cinema’s Bob Shaye, Robert “Freddy” Englund, Wes Craven, and John Saxon, each desperate in their own ways to help Heather face Freddy in one final showdown.
While putzing around on YouTube, I stumbled across a clip from “Siskel & Ebert” where they review Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and I was pleasantly surprised to see Roger Ebert praise and defend the film, highlighting its clever storytelling method and appreciating how unique the concept was, at least for the time. Siskel didn’t think so highly of it but I guess he’s never been a big horror fan, so…
I wanted to share this with each of you because Wes Craven’s New Nightmare was not only one of the first horror movies I was allowed to rent but it was also my first full foray into the A Nightmare on Elm Street series (I saw a clip from Nightmare 4 but my mom made me change the channel before I could keep watching). There’s some sentimentality on my end as I not only see clips from the movie but also see one of the most respected film critics of all time positively weighing in on it.
Horror has always been smart and pushed boundaries, and Wes Craven was a master of his craft.