Released: May 4th 2010
Director: Daniel Farrands, Andrew Kasch
Distributor: 1428 Films
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Renny Harlin, Alice Cooper, Monica Keena, Ronny Yu, John Saxon, Erika Anderson, Clu Gulager
Review Rating: 5/5
Never Sleep Again takes the viewer behind the scenes of one of the greatest horror movie franchises, giving insight into the casting process, the makeup, and the creative use of special effects. Within this documentary, the cast members and crew reminisce about the time they had filming and the stories that have stuck with them over the years.
The movie progresses through each of Freddy’s tales in order. The first being ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ written by Wes Craven, who talks about his inspiration for the terrifying character, and the process of getting the story from his imagination to the big screen. I really enjoyed learning about the origins of a character that is firmly cemented in horror movie culture. Wes Craven tells the story of when he was a little boy and he saw a man looking in his window giving him the inspiration as an adult to create Freddy Krueger. This documentary also gives the viewer a look into New Line who, when taking on the Elm Street franchise, was a small company giving a very small budget for what would become one of the most loved horror movie franchises of all time.
The almost four-hour long documentary held my attention the whole way through. I was completely fascinated to see the hard work and struggles that were faced to create these legendary movies. The cast and crew spoke about the long grueling hours and physically exhausting scenes they worked on. For a lot of the people involved, these movies were a launching pad for their careers and you can see how much that means to them as they speak fondly of their time working on Elm Street. This is especially true for Robert Englund who played Freddy Krueger for the entirety of the franchise. He will always be known as Freddy to millions of fans across the world.
I also really enjoyed hearing about the various different scripts that could have made it to the screen and seeing those stories compared to what actually made it to film. Almost all of the ideas whether they were used or not came from writers who were either unknown or not well known. It seems as though anyone with a good idea was accepted to be a part of the Elm Street legacy. As someone who has been a fan of these movies for years, it was truly amazing to learn that they were created for the most part by people with very little experience in the industry.
A moment that has stuck with me from the first Elm Street movie was Tina Grey’s death. The brutal way she was dragged around the room by the invisible antagonist before meeting her end was horrifying. This documentary gave me a look into how that scene was created. A rotating room that was manually powered created the effect. A technique that I learned was used a lot during the entirety of the Elm Street franchise. I found it really interesting to learn about the workings behind the scenes of a movie before CGI was available, as everything had to be created by hand. Everything was real and I think that adds to the power of these movies.
Overall I would definitely recommend this documentary. If you are a fan of Freddy Krueger and Elm Street it is a brilliant way to learn more about the franchise and to see what it took to create the masterpieces that many people still love today. Watching this has made me want to go and watch all the movies again, just so I can experience them with more knowledge of just how much work went in to create them. It has given me new-found respect and an even bigger love and adoration for these movies.