"It's time for you to be asleep, Billy."
"I'm not a bit sleepy."
"You have to get up early tomorrow, remember?"
"Oh, I don't want to go to bed yet."
"It's bed time and sleep time."
"You'll be asleep before you know it.'
"Billy's mother didn't know the real reason why he didn't want to go to bed."
Even though I've had lots and lots of people tell me, "You've given me nightmares," for years, they always have a smile on their face.
Freddy operates on a lot of levels: as a character, as a symbol, now as a logo.
He's an American original. I can't think of anybody like Freddy.
He's kind of the rock star of boogeymen.
I think Freddy was to dreams what Jaws was to swimmers.
It is so on the surface scary, it is so scary when you think about who he is and where he comes from.
He was this child molester, you know, that the parents came after him and they bum ed him.
And then he comes back and kills what they love.
Freddy makes no apologies, Freddy is on a revenge motif.
Freddy Krueger has a plan, Freddy Krueger has a reason.
He is a metaphysical monster.
He moves into our dreams.
He doesn't have anytime and space limitation. That's what makes Freddy a little more fun to watch.
The "Nightmare" movies were more complicated and ambitious.
It's different from "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "Halloween" or "Friday the 13th."
You never, ever feel like you're in a slasher movie.
It's more fun, it's more open ended, it's more infinite.
It wasn't superficial. That's one of the things that makes horror films great.
"Nightmare on Elm Street" series, particularly, speaks to these adolescent fears of not having control.
You can only trust kids of your own age to even believe in Freddy Krueger.
And all the adults are telling you, "Get some sleep." "Get to sleep." "Get some rest."
And you know that's the worst possible thing you can do.
You can look at classic movie monsters -
Frankenstein's monster, the Mummy, Dracula - and Freddy just fits right in there with them.
"A Nightmare on Elm Street" not only speaks the language of cinema, but it speaks this universal story of the bad dream, the nightmare and the boogeyman.
In the early 1980s, Wes Craven - best kn own for such brutal films as
"Last House On The Left" and "The Hills Have Eyes" would find the inspiration for his most innovative project in the pages of real life.
The beginning of "Nightmare on Elm Street" really came to me with a series of articles in the LA. Times about young men who were dying in the middle of nightmares.
They were specifically mm the Asian Rim and in this particular case a young man had a severe nightmare and told his parents, "I can't go back to sleep, I'm gonna die, I just know it."
And the father was a physician and said, "Let me give you some sleeping pills."
The kid didn't sleep the first night, then the second night he didn't sleep again.
And then it became clear that he was trying to stay awake despite everything.
Then finally the kid fell asleep and they took him upstairs and put him to bed thinking, "Thank God that little crisis is over."
And in the middle of the night they heard screams and ran into the room and he was thrashing on the bed horribly.
Literally, before they got to him he fell still and he was dead.
In the aftermath, the parents found all the sleeping pills. He had not taken them, he had hidden them in the bed.
And they also found a Mr. Coffee machine in his closet with the hidden extension cord that went to the nearest plug which, to me, was just so out of a movie.
What if there was somebody in his dream that was, who killed him? What killed him? What if it's a guy? My own Bible training of the sins of the parents being visited on the children.That's perfect as something the parents did to him and just kind of pieced it together from there.
The reason Elm Street was used is that I wanted to have an idea of a place that was just pure Americana.
The school I taught at before l jumped ship out of academic teaching was Clarkson College of Technology in Potsdam, New York and the main street of Potsdam is Elm Street.
And then, of course, Elm Street was the street that Kennedy was shot on.
I remember showing it to Sean Cunningham, who did "Friday the 13th."
He was my first producer and he said, "I hate to say it, but nobody's going to be afraid of this
'cause it's a dream, they'll know it's a dream so they won't be afraid."
And it went around Hollywood for three years.
The one guy who thought that the script was interesting was Bob Shaye.
Freddy came along after 10 or 15 years and we had had some successes before "Nightmare on Elm Street."
We had made 3 or 4 films before that, small films, all of which we were able to sell and make our money back, but none of which did particularly well.
I always did think that producers had something to offer besides raising money. And I didn't get into this business because I wanted to make a lot of money, I got into the business because I wanted to entertain people.
When he started the company, which was 1968, originally it was not a production company, it was a distribution company.
New Line Cinema at that time was a small, tiny, tiny company, I think a few people out of a storefront in the Lower East Side.
Bob was a copyright lawyer and the way Bob started New Line was that he discovered that the copyright on
"Reefer Madness" had expired and he picked it up.
When I came to him he had just gotten
"Pink Flamingos" and it proved to be a big hit.
I think he would carry it around in the trunk of his car and show it at midnight shows.
They would distribute them in 16 mm to army bases and prisons and colleges. Those were their three venues.
That was the very, very, very beginning of New Line as a distribution company.
There was a lot of blood, sweat and tail that went into the whole process over 40 years.
To everyone's credit that worked there they worked as hard as they could for something they loved because it certainly wasn't for money.
It was rough, it was rough. There were times we couldn't cash our paychecks.
We'd go down to the bank and they'd go, "You can't do this," you know.
One of the guys said, "You kn ow, we know the youth market so well that if we could come up with a low budget horror film, we could really make money."
"Nightmare on Elm Street" came to Bob Shaye, he read it and liked it very much.
He immediately knew there was a premise there that was strong and original.
And I thought it was incredibly inspired because it had this great marketing hook that was a familiarity to the entire world, because we've all had nightmares. Everybody sleeps.
Bob is many different things, but he has an extraordinary intelligence and he was able to see how that could grab an audience.
We worked with Wes for six months, maybe even a year, on the story - again - with very little money.
"Nightmare" had a killer story. It's one of the two scripts I've ever picked up and read straight through.
It tried to be something as deep as it could be, you know, to get right into your soul. What's the source of fear?
It scared me so much, I actually didn't sleep the night after I read it.
I don't think there's any film I've ever worked on since then that was effective like that in terms of just being sheer, plain-ahead terrifying.
Now one step closer to making "Elm Street" a reality, the time had come to find the cast of characters: sympathetic victims, a resourceful heroine and the man who would terrorize their dreams.
We had a brilliant young casting woman, Annette Benson, and she found everyone.
I wanted very much to do young heroines who didn't trip and fall down, who could fight if they had to.
"Moving angle favoring Nancy. She's a pretty girl in a letter sweater with an easy, athletic stride and the look of a natural leader."
I really feel that she's a totally different kind of heroine and I don't think she is interchangeable like a lot of the gins in slasher movies.
Heather was interesting to me because she embodied sort of what I was looking for, which was a legitimate girl next door.
A survivor girl, one of the leading, classic ingredients of contemporary horror.
Heather probably being the leading example.
I never felt like, "Oh gosh, I really need to take a lot of time and develop a character.
I really felt like I was going to bring myself to the set and be as close to me as I could.
I think Freddy considered her a worthy adversary, but she also has to be the one to go.
She's like his penultimate, if not ultimate, challenge.
As hard as Nancy tries, the only life she can really save is her own.
And I think that that's actually kind of a very tragic part of Nancy's character is that as hard as she tries, she isn't that successful.
"Tina Gray, a strong girl of fifteen in a thin night shift, moves toward us down a dark corridor."
I did find the character Tina when I read it, there was something intrinsically sad about her because she as sort of a victim of this broken home and she's left to really raise herself.
Tina's experience was, "I want to feel good and sort of escape this life that I have," but I don't think Tina's character was much of a survivor.
"Tina turns to Nancy, but before either can say more, Rod Lane, a lean, Richard Gere sort in black leather interrupts.
I was pretending to be Italian. My agent at the time gave me a name called Nick Carri.
It was taboo. No Latin actor was going to make it.
"Hey, up yours with a twirling lawn mower."
Just, there was a lot of me in it, a lot of me: cocky, big ego, womanizer.
We weren't really typecast, but our essence of who we are really was displayed in those characters and I think that's why all of us were very successful in portraying that group of teenagers.
The character of Glen was kind of the romantic lead in a sense. He was the heroine's boyfriend.
We were looking at all the standard Hollywood guys, but I didn't see anybody that seemed to be that really charismatic.
Charlie Sheen wanted the role but he wanted $3000 bucks a week and we didn't have it.
Johnny hadn't done any acting, I don't think.
He was in a band.
I remember Wes saying that it was between Johnny and one other guy.
My daughter said, "Dad, Johnny Depp." I said, "Really? But he looks kind of sickly and pale."
She says, "He's beautiful." (laughing) And that was it.
The role of Johnny's was supposed to be a jock, some white dude, big muscular guy.
Johnny comes in with a little baby voice, really sensitive.
(laughing) "Did you see his face?" (mocking) "Did you see his face?"
But he really went for the straight-laced. He did everything he could do to be that wholesome guy.
I thought he was really successful in it.
Johnny was so terrified when he was first performing.
He would always be in sort of a cold, clammy sweat and his hands would be trembling.
He was really pushing himself, you know, into an area that was totally different and I don't think, something that he felt prepared for at all.
He had an energy level that just a lot of actors don't have and I think that's why he's become such a superstar.
He's always been very sweet about acknowledging that I gave him a start and I think on "Actor's Studio" I've heard that he has a nice comment about
"Nightmare on Elm Street."
What was your role in "Nightmare on Elm Street?" (laughing) I played Glen.
And what happened to Glen?
I get sucked into bed. (audience laughter) Not a bad gig, you know.
It's interesting the people you get to work with on lower budget films because a lot of them have quite distinguished careers and then their careers have maybe gone down a little bit and they dont get that mu ch work.
So, you can get somebody that's affordable and at the same time has fantastic experience and chops.
Whether it's Lieutenant Fuller in "Black Christmas" to Lieutenant Thompson, I guess I made a bridge between the two in some way.
He's worked with everybody I mean, John Saxon is the man.
You know, you realize this guy's a legend and he can act and he's awesome.
It's funny, he arrived at the first makeup session with two little boxes and he opened them up and there were hairpieces. I don't think he'll mind me telling this story.
He said, "Would you like this one, it's a little bit more full, or this one, I look a little bit more aged."
I think it's kind of rare in horror movies that the heroine has so many different relationships going through the plot lines.
We all clicked and that's part of his genius is picking the right people that had chemistry, that he clearly saw had chemistry.
We would have serious discussions with Wes about, "Look, we don't want this to be another "Friday the 13th" where it's just we're camping and then a knife goes through the bed and it's, "uhhh uhhh." (knife sound)
Let's really make it psychologically damaging and real and that's what the movie ultimately became.
Freddy's origins, they're sort of multi-various and they all come together with this character. One was, there was this kid named Freddy in elementary school
(laughing) and he would beat me up with some regularity.
So the name Fred/Freddy to me was like one of those names that just brings up all these bad memories.
And then there was this incident of myself as a child lying in bed at night and I heard this mumbling and couldn't figure out what the hell it was, you know. So I crept to the window and there was this man who, if you would say, "Oh, put Freddy down the street," that's what he would look like, you know.
Somehow he sensed that somebody was watching and he looked right up into my eyes and I jumped back in the room and sat on the edge of the bed waiting for him to go away and I went back and he was still there and he just went and then he started walking.
The thing that struck me most about that particular man was that he had a lot of malice in his face and he also had this sort of sick sense of humor about how delightful it was to terrify a child.
The way most villains are cast in these kinds of movies are usually stuntmen.
Wes' idea was to get a real actor in the role to add some personality and some elan to it.
I was casting for an old man because that's how Freddy was written. When I was reading older men, there was a softness to them, there was something about having seen, I think, so much of life, there was a tendemess to them (laughing) as far as they couldn't really be evil.
David Warner was origin ally cast as Freddy and I was excited because I saw "Time After Time."
I loved him as the villain and I was kind of excited about working with him and then at the last minute he said he had a prior commitment that he couldn't commit to their time frame and all that, and that's when Robert came in.
I was really sort of self-preoccupied with my first bout of success as a result of the miniseries My agent had suggested this film called "A Nightmare on Elm Street" with this guy Wes Craven, and I went on this interview expecting to meet the prince of darkness and there was erudite, tall, preppy, Ralph Lauren-attired Wes Craven there.
He looked kind of semi-geeky and he was much younger than I was looking for.
I saw him coming and it was like
"They want him to play Freddy?" He just didn't look it, he was kind of happy-go-lucky.
Wes is very kind to me and says that he saw something in me. And perhaps he did. I hope that's the truth.
He just relished being evil and it brought out that wonderful thing about Freddy of, it's the guy on the sidewalk frightening the kid, but he was also was able to do it in almost a funny way.
Robert created the character, he created a real, real character.
So everyone was thrilled because Robert brought much more to the table than a guy in a hockey mask.
The rest was makeup and once the makeup was on you didn't know how old he was anyway.
(laughing) It was like, "Duh, what was I thinking?"
David Miller was flesh off of "Thriller" with John Landis, so I knew I was in good hands because that was the state-of-the-an phenomenon.
The final design for Freddy was based on pepperoni pizza.
I was at a restaurant one night and I was having pizza and I was just kind of deep in thought.
I started playing around with the cheese, putting it around the pepperoni and I actually made Freddy's face on the pizza.
David just whipped open this medical textbook for me the first day I sat down and he said, "This is what we're going to do to you."
And it was real burn victims.
It's hard to imagine that Robert alone could have the patience for someone touching his face like that all the time. Always touching, always prodding.
A lot of what I discovered that I used for the entire experience of playing Freddy was those first few makeup applications in David Millers garage somewhere, teasing him or telling him to get a brush out of my eye.
(menacing) "David!" I found a little bit of Freddy in there.
When Robert was done with the day, as soon as they yelled "Cut!" he would start ripping it to pieces and throw them behind him as he would walk to the makeup room for me to take the makeup off, and by the time he would get there, half his makeup was off already, and there would be people behind him with plastic bags picking up the pieces, (laughing) and they'd come to me later on and say, (laughing) "What part do I have?"
He came up with a lot more physicality, you know, the way he was moving the claws and everything that were very original and distinctive.
I really made conscious choices I recognized how great the silhouette was and how great the shadow was. And so I really physicalized him a lot.
I used Klaus Kinski but I also used a little bit of Jimmy Cagney in there, that little spread-legged, strong gangster stance that Cagney uses, was something I kind of had going on in the back of my head, too.
A lot of the monsters of past were misunderstood, they were kind of innocent.
But Freddy Krueger is not innocent.
The real fact of Freddy that nobody really talks about, I think it was that Freddy molested the kids, but they really kind of... side-stepped that.
While we were filming the original film, there was this huge national news story.
The McMartin trial was going on endlessly. A school for children where the children had accused teachers of molesting them, on a very systematic way.
We had to soft-pedal the sexuality a little bit, but that was probably even better because it becomes subtext.
That's a character whose entire modus operandi is about the fact that he knows the fear he's causing you, he knows that he's screwing with you before the kill.
He could kill you right away, that's not the point. The fun is in prolonging it. It's the foreplay, in Freddy's case.
Freddy's in those teenage girls' bedrooms, he's in their bed with them, he's in their dreams with them, and that's about as much as you could ever hope to violate anyone.
That's more of a violation than rape and so I think that, in and of itself, is one of the great hooks to "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
You know, in my mind, the killer of children is about the most despicable thing you can think and the most, the deepest and most profound betrayal of the innocence of a child.
But at the same time, there was something deeper in the original about morality play with Freddy being a child molester and the whole town having their dirty secret that they had committed murder, group murder, themselves.
And it also made the whole moral issue of if it's a really despicable human being, do you have the right to take the law into your hands.
It is this story that makes you search your own soul about vigilante justice and decent people doing bad things in the name of what they consider justice.
Two wrongs don't make a right and, certainly, being bum ed alive is not due process.
Oh, I do think that vigilante justice is an answer to someone like Freddy Krueger.
I would never want that kind of crime on my hands, but it happens, it happens all the time.
Freddy is a warning. He is talked about and he's whispered about.
The spectre has infiltrated their imaginations.
I love the idea that behind one of those garage doors, in a white trash neighborhood, Fred Krueger was there with his vise making that thing... and dreaming and fantasizing about what he was going to do and when he put it on it emboldened him.
There was a lot of killers with masks and with some sort of an edged weapon.
Wes was sort of stuck on what the weapon was going to be.
What's the earliest weapon that mankind might have been afraid of?
And it would be, well, the weapon of an animal.
The cave bear, you know, something that could reach around the comer with these big giant claws.
And he described it as something like "long fingernails," so I went off and did some sketches and actually built the test fingers, how the glove might look and function.
Reading that script and knowing that I had to build that glove, I felt I was just building this whole character that was part of the film.
The claw extends Freddy, it extends his evil, it extends his anger.
Freddy made it in the basement, so the glove had to actually be kind of crude.
It almost looks like a junior high school shop project from hell.
I think in those boiler room scenes he's the scariest, 'cause he was always scratching those nails against the pipes.
He would really do that and annoy everybody.
How the glove affected me was, it's heavy, and when I put it on one shoulder dropped a bit and it affected my movement and it affected my posture, and I immediately thought, it's like a holster, it's like a gunslinger's thing.
So that posture became signature for Freddy Krueger.
When I first meet Freddy head-on in the alley we shot that in the middle of the night in Venice, California it was freezing.
Freddy was coming down the alleyway and his arms were extending.
That was all simple marionetting, where you've got guys on the garage roofs with long versions of fishing poles, with wire holding up the Freddy arms.
It looked ridiculous.
Jacques hated this thing and with good reason.
I was a little concerned that it was going to look too fakey, too cheesy, not scary enough.
I was surprised... at how well it came out in terms of people accepting it.
The death of Tina is pretty brutal stuff, I mean, it really holds up.
It appeared to be a little bit of a red herring because you almost kind of think...
Tina's going to be the heroine at the beginning, in a way.
That's the real nod to Hitchcock.
Since Wes wanted something really big and fantastic and out there for the first death, 'l'Ina's death, I suggested that we do a rotating room.
They took it from Fred Astaire dancing on the walls and the roof.
And that situation was quite a hairy situation, that scene where she's dragged up the wall, there were no wires or anything dragging her, we were rotating the entire set.
Everything in the room was nailed down, the cameraman was in like an airplane seat attached to the wall.
It would take a couple of people to just turn that room and actually make it move without using any mechanical means.
As you get turned upside down, you're still operating the camera, but you're brain is upside down.
I was either crawling or being dragged, however I was always on the floor.
Boy, did she ever do that that moment when she's killed she just nailed it.
The blood and her being dragged up the walls and down walls, a brutal sequence.
It was extremely disorienting. I know at the end of the take, she stood up and she said, "I can't move."
I had the sensation I was falling and I completely ﬂipped out. It was like, "Stop, I have to get out! I have to get out!"
And then here comes Wes, all calm, sticking his up through the window.
He's like, "Check this out, I'm standing on the ground, you're laying here, we're looking at each other, you're not falling." (laughing) It's like, "Ohhhh!"
As I looked around thinking I was going to reassure her, I started feeling nauseated.
It was a very, very strange set.
I remember that when the stunt woman slammed onto the bed, blood slapped me on the face.
There was this beautiful, sort of slow-motion (blood splashing sound) because we had the bed just loaded with blood. And the censors, the censors went after that whole scene. As soon as she hit the bed, we were not allowed to show any splash whatsoever.
There was nothing fake in the first one. We were all there in the same room, we were all acting together.
The reality of it being really there with the actor makes such a difference in their performance.
The fact that we do the stuff live and that we do it on camera and we get it in one take or two takes, or whatever, is part of the romance of the genre.
In the high school scene where I'm sitting in the class, we had a lot of extras there.
It's the first time that Heather is really confronted with the dream.
Lin Sh aye is the sister of the producer, so she had this really important part as the teacher.
I gotta say, I was somewhat shocked how much impact the English teacher had on people. That they remembered her and, "I have a teacher just like that."
And then the strange reading of "Hamlet," which is so Wes, you know, to have some classic Shakespeare reference on top of that.
I read it straight, and then Wes came up and asked me if I'd repeat it again in a stage whisper.
When "Cut!" was called, people started kind of laughing and then I received a standing ovation.
Wes and I, we always had a joke.
I'm like, "Try to explain this to me, Wes," and he's like, "I can't explain it, it's just a dream."
And I'm like, "Okay, thank you." (laughing)
The image of the body bag just in the hallway, scared me so much.
First of all, your psyche does not want to be in a body bag when you're alive.
Your body and your brain says, "Don't let them zip this up," because there's not a zipper on the in side so you're really at the mercy of the people taking care of you.
My heart was going out to Amanda because she had to do the grossest things.
There were eels and centipedes and it was very disturbing and I was upset. Both Heather and I were very upset while we were filming those scenes.
And she's always such a trouper and they always kind of push the envelope to see how much she would do.
And then, finally, she would say, "Okay, three centipedes... that's enough The hall pass line is, of course, became a favorite of people's, actually.
"Where's your pass?"
"Screw your pass!"
With Robert's voice coming out of my mouth, I guess kids didn't expect it and it just really grossed them out.
"No running in the hallway."
It's an archetype that Wes just tapped into, even the clothes that he wears, the stripes.
And the red and the green together actually were from an article on how the eye and the retina deal with color and those two colors were very difficult for the eye to see side by side. So I said, "Great, that will be the stripes of the sweater." (laughing)
So I, literally, made him into a sort of painful optical effect.
There was a lot of pressure on the original film, I think, because... there was no money.
There were tensions between Bob and Wes, and it was obvious to everybody.
And I knew that Bob had mortgaged his company and his life and his house and everything to create this film. And I knew that Wes had signed away the rights to the characters and all this to create this film.
Wes and I had a little bit of a disagreement about who was doing what, and he wanted me to stick in my role as a producer.
You've got two strong personalities, both of which shared a vision of the end but they might not have shared every day the vision of how to get there.
One of the big fights I remember between Bob and Wes was over the sticky stairs.
Bob was obsessed with this image and Wes wasn't particularly interested in it.
The Bob Shaye imprint in large measure came from some of my own nightmares that's why I was just offering them up to Wes. (laughing)
I don't know if it was in the script, but they decided to have the carpet just cut and then they poured in a bunch of oatmeal mixed with mushroom soup or something like that.
It was Bis quick If you mix Bisquick up too thick and you let it sit for about an hour, it becomes the most sticky, gooey, tenacious stuff on the planet.
Wes fin ally deigned to let me say "Action!" at least. (laughing) There wasn't very much directing to go on.
Letting him "direct," call "Action!" and "Cut!" on that, was kind of a way of saying, "Come on, we're friends," and you kn ow, "We're in this together."
You know, ultimately, I think Bob and I both respected each other all the way through and we both knew we had everything to win or lose with the film.
We had 80 effects, shots or sequences in a 90-minute film that we were shooting in 26 days.
Poor Heather's been haunted by phallic moments, you kn ow. (laughing) The first one with Freddy coming out of the bathtub between her legs.
They built a bathtub on our soundstage that had no bottom and then it had, instead, a tank.
So I had the distinct pleasure of having Heather Langenkamp sitting on my knees with her feet resting on my shoulders for an entire day.
And he's the one who has the hand that comes up with the Freddy glove on it.
Rod's death scene in the jail was technically complicated.
When they try to hang me, they hang me on fish wire, but the fish wire wasn't strong enough, so the first time I crashed and burned, I fell.
There's one shot in there where it's shot in reverse where the thing actually snakes around his neck.
It was the old days, it was the way to do it, you know. Kind of archaic, but it works.
"L couldn't even see the fucker."
Well the jail scene, I was really depressed. I'm not going to say the drug I was doing, but I was ripped.
I was passed out and Wes, I think, Wes was like, "Are you ready for this shoot?"
I'm crying, not because of the scene, I'm crying because my life is shitty at the time.
I really regret that I brought a substance and changed my acting, but I'm clean after 25 years. I'm sober.
What I like so much about the story, and about Ronee Blakley and John Saxon's portrayal, is that you really don't understand at the beginning why they have this kind of conspiratorial relationship.
I guess I played the role, or it was intended to be, someone who is harsh and a little tough.
My relationship with my father is the most distant and the most difficult.
He's not willing to go there and admit that Nancy's having these real dreams.
Heather was saying things about
"Fred Krueger" and I'd say, "Stop that kind of stuff, this is nonsense. Don't talk to me about that."
Ronee Blakley's character was interesting, you know. She's this alcoholic mother and it was important to me that there was this drift from a woman who was saying
"You're crazy," to her child.
And she actually has the weight of the world on her shoulders because of her crime in creating Freddy Krueger.
And once she has disclosed that she and her cohorts of the other parents have essentially caused the deaths of their own children, starts drinking heavily to the point where when Nancy is about to face her worst test, her mother isn't there and has to be kind of put to bed like a little child.
She becomes such an important yin to my yang.
I don't think the movie would have been as good without her being a little bit more intense than I think our average parent character is these days.
Nancy comes home and there's bars on all the windows.
And then, later, when she needs to get out of the house, she can't because she's locked mm the inside.
And goes to her mother and the mother says, "Locked, locked, locked." (laughing)
The battle's about to be enjoined with Freddy and it's going to take place in the house.
And what her mom has done by putting bars on is ensured that there will be no escape.
I'm trying to talk to Glen and trying to warn him that, you know, he's about to get killed by Freddy if he falls asleep and I look down and it's Freddy's mouth and tongue and he says, "I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy."
That shocked people so much.
It was one of the most startling moments of the first film and the special effects cost $5.
Heather wanted to, eventually, take that thing home and we thought it was a little strange.
Then the rotating room ended up getting used again for Johnny Depp's death, but that wasn't originally planned that way.
Johnny Depp went through a mattress.
(laughing) He's got his headphones on, and all of a sudden The blood spilling out of the bed, that was a one take deal.
Big pressure there.
Wes, who is now strapped to one of the camera chairs, would say, "Go."
We turned the room upside down, the bed was now at the top.
When they started dumping the red water, the blood, through the thing, as soon as it hit the ceiling and hit the light it immediately electrified the water, so the guy pouring the water got electrocuted.
You got hundreds of gallons of water now sloshing on the floor.
Which threw the weight off entirely, and the whole thing suddenly just shifted.
And the room started going like this.
That room started to turn.
And the room got out of control from the operators.
And there was no way we were stopping it.
It rolled all the way over because the weight of the blood went to the wrong side of the ceiling.
And we were up there jumping out of the way of cables and ropes that were ripping out.
Water went into all the lights and there were these huge ﬂashes in the dark, and we were spinning in the dark
(laughing) with sparks going off.
And the wall had a window in it.
And, of course, the blood all poured out the window on us, so the crew that was turning the room is standing there completely covered in blood.
So, the room stopped upside down and we were hanging upside down for at least 20 minutes.
Caused Jacques to make noises that no man should ever have to make unless he's actually dying.
It was pretty funny, though.
No one was hurt, we got the shot.
It just came out so totally cool. So, part of the reason that that effect looks like that is because of this fortuitous mistake.
I think there was a little bit more to Johnny Depp's bloody room scene.
I guess his head was going to come out of the bed once he gets sucked down in there and it spits him back out.
Actually, I remember it was pretty scary. I don't know why it was cut.
At a certain point, you felt like, "Well, the scene's over."
We did use the room again in "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo."
"Booby Traps and Improvised Anti-Personnel Devices?"
I had read this Army manual called "Improvised Weapons" and it was all about how to make booby traps.
Every one of those little gags and all those things were things that came out of either somebody's imagination or we got from one of the books on doing booby traps.
(laughing) There were several films that I did that had booby traps.
I just thought they were fun.
After a while I just said, (laughing) "You can't have any more booby traps, Craven."
The whole sequence of Freddy getting lit up in the cellar - turning, running up the stairs, falling down, rolling back down the stairs - is all one shot.
That was one take.
And I wouldn't have believed that anybody could burn for that long and then get up and start back up the stairs again.
We were just standing there in awe.
The scene where my mom gets pulled down into the bed in the fiery blaze of light, of all the scenes in the movie, it's the most fantastic.
You have Freddy, you have my mother, you have my dad, you have me, and nothing really makes sense at this point.
"I take back every bit of energy I gave you."
What the ending of the original "Nightmare on Elm Street" means, symbolically with Nancy turning her back on Freddy, is
"I won't participate in fear."
The fear that Freddy engenders.
It's a very simple solution to all this mayhem.
Nancy realizes that that's how you stop it is not to surrender to it. So that's actually, I think, a very satisfying ending.
It's a confusing scene because with the ending that we now have, it doesn't quite make sense. If I turn my back and and that was supposed to be a successful resolution, then the fact that Freddy comes back means I failed.
We were uncertain about the ending. We didn't really feel like we had it right.
Wes wanted the ending to be that Heather woke up in the morning and the sun was shining and she walked away.
He wanted to have a big hook to the picture so that he could have a sequel.
And I thought he was crazy. There will never be a sequel. Boy, was I stupid.
I've been accused of fighting for a movie that could have sequels but that wasn't really the case. I just felt that the ending to the movie didn't send the audience out with any great excitement.
He and I had lots of arguments.
I even think my father got involved. (laughing) They were asking his opinion.
I said, "Okay, fine I'll put them in a car and we'll have the car have Freddy's stripes.
They asked us to do three or four different versions of different things happening surrounding the car.
There always was this sense that Freddy was the car.
We ended up shooting two or three different endings.
There was one where I drive the car.
There was one where Johnny drives the car.
We shot it without the top coming up, we shot it with the top coming up.
The irony is that we used all of the endings, just about.
But it was always Wes' idea to pan to the little girls jumping rope, which is such an evocative ending.
That's the real ending and it's brilliant.
But he did get his hook. We kind of compromised on the hook.
The effect with Ronee works great on film, but when we shot it, it was really silly shit. (laughing)
It was just so comical looking.
I couldn't figure out how they did it, so I thought it was totally cool.
We had an articulated dummy that we used for several different things in the film, and so we just dressed it up as Ronee.
It had to be all very squishy 'cause he wanted it to go through a window.
And the dummy went (swooshing) and was sucked through the window. (laughing)
It worked well enough, there's no question about that, but, you know, when you see it today it's a little silly. But, so what?
I felt actually very bad about doing that, but I also felt very much that Bob was the only person that was able to get this picture going and championed it, so I gave him his hook.
I look at the entire film "Nightmare on Elm Street" as a precognitive nightmare of Nancy.
Everything in it will happen, but it hasn't really happened, she's just dreamt that it's going to happen and she's trying to warn everybody. And then it begins at the very ending there.
(singing) "...three, four, better look your door..."
Before I came on "Nightmare on Elm Street" the little jump rope nursery rhyme thing had been worked out.
(Singing) "One, two, Freddy's coming for you..."
(humming) which was set to this little nursery rhyme that I had written, but I had no idea of how that could be set to music.
And I think it was Heather's boyfriend who came up with that little rhyme.
My boyfriend was a musician. We were just sitting around the piano one time and he sat down and he just did this little minor key thing.
And I kept that element and kind of worked it into the score in a few places because it seemed to be important, and I'm sewing the film.
If you can get just the right musical phrase and then play it a million different ways, and backwards and upside down and different instrumentation, it unifies the entire film.
And then I thought, "Let's have a theme.
Let's get a melody involved here."
So, the melody is playing with your sense of order (playing piano), maybe we go to there (playing piano),
and another note that doesn't belong (playing piano).
That theme really created the flavor for the film.
When "A Nightmare on Elm Street" was rejected by every major Hollywood studio, Robert Shaye and New Line Cinema took the ultimate gamble by releasing the film on their own.
And on November 9, 1984, all eyes watched to see if that bet would pay off.
The film could have, literally, destroyed the company, and, so, there was a lot of tension around that during the release of the film.
When the film open ed to see this huge line around the block on Broadway of people waiting to get into the theater, then I knew that the fuse had been lit.
I took my son, who was 12. We sat and watched it.
My son nudged me and said, "Pop, this is really good." And I said, "Yeah, I think it is, it really is."
Completely scared me. I think I was enough removed from it that I got lost in the story.
Even though I worked on the film, there were parts that scared me.
It got into your bones on some level.
That's why Wes is so good at this. He really loves to explore the psychology of people's minds and understands that fear is one of the most important emotions that people have.
The fact that "Nightmare on Elm Street" was a critical success and a financial success helped me immensely. When I started on the film I was penniless.
It was the first film that made that amount of money for us. I mean it wasn't like hundreds of millions of dollars, but it was a few million anyhow.
It put New Line Cinema on the map.
To think that it was such a big financial issue that a company's life depended on less than $2 million - that's pretty amazing.
I think "Nightmare on Elm Street" put me into the big time, so to speak. I mean, it certainly gave me recognition.
Wes became "Horror Meister" Wes Craven and I became "Horror Star,"
"Slasher Star" Robert Englund.
It had already achieved a cult status very quickly, and very shortly after that it began to snowball.
"1" was the real seminal movie and it still has some really genius scenes in it.
And I think I did some thin gs that were really innovative and have had the chance to work with some enormously talented and wonderfully spirited people.
And it doesn't get much better than that in the business.
After their first taste of mainstream success, New Line Cinema immediately realized it was time to think about Freddy's future and the "Nightmare" they now owned.
I don't think that we were thinking about a sequel. Who knew that it would even be this successful? We didn't know.
After the film opened so big on the weekend the head of distribution went right in to Bob Shaye and said, "We need a sequel."
We weren't calculatedly trying to capitalize on the thing, we just, this was the only project we had that had sequel potential.
Bob Shaye had basically leveraged his ass off on the first one. He'd sold all the rights off to get the movie made.
The other entity, the other financial entity, I think, just kind of crucified him and took a lot of what he had.
So that when "Nightmare on Elm Street" the original made a healthy profit it wasn't really a profit that went into Bob's pockets, nor did it really help his studio.
What Bob came away with was a copyright on something that could be very, very valuable.
And New Line was always stumbling from one distribution movie to another distribution movie, and, so, this was a chance to be able to create a little bit of cash flow.
The signal definitely was there that, "I own this and I'm gonna do with it what I want."
Wes didn't want this movie to be a franchise.
I didn't want to keep going on something that was owned by somebody else.
I don't think that there was a real conversation about Wes doing "Nightmare 2" because he and Bob had such a stressed relationship. It was a long time before, I think, they spoke to each other.
The bone of contention really was a profit participation and not so much about having the courtesy to offer him to direct the next movie.
So, we ended up going to a young man, David Chaskin, who worked in our 16mm distribution department, (laughing) but he had written a script that we'd option ed because we liked it.
I just thought that it would be fun for Freddy to have a human avatar that's actually doing stuff in the real world. That was where I took off from: possession.
I thought the script was quite inferior and I had a lot of notes. And they said, "We just want to shoot this," so off they went.
A good friend of mine, Jack Sh older, agreed to direct the film.
Jack Sholder had been making trailers for us and he was very talented.
One of our first films that we ever produced he directed, called "Alone in the Dark."
Jack was pretty good technically. He had come out of editing, so he knew how to tell stories.
I was never a huge fan of the original.
I mean, I understood why it was good and I understood why it was successful, but I felt no compunction to follow the template of the first film.
I wasn't asked to do "Nightmare 2." I think that the script was probably developed quickly after "Nightmare 1."
To my knowledge, nobody ever talked about bringing Heather langenkamp back to do "Nightmare 2" simply because I think they had determined, at that point, to do a completely different story.
And, you know, that house was so iconic, that it made a lot of sense to focus on the house and the next inhabitants of that house.
There was a problem with Robert because Robert's agent started getting wise.
I was already feeling ownership of Freddy by then.
They were asking all kinds of money that we didn't have and we were certainly in a dither about what to do.
And Bob Shaye said, "Why do we need to have Robert Englund? Because it's just a guy in a rubber mask."
They didn't even know that Freddy was the franchise.
We started "Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2" with an extra in a rubber suit and mask.
And he was just atrocious. He would walk like a dime store monster. He would sort of hunker around.
Moving around like Frankenstein, going like this.
He was just terrible, terrible.
Jack said to Bob, "You're a fool if you use anybody else besides Robert."
So, by him saying that, I think early on, to Bob Shaye I think that kind of helped me.
It really proved to everyone that it's not just a guy in a rubber mask.
Casting "Nightmare 2" was a fascinating experience.
We really were looking for the best actors, period.
"Closer angle - the boy, about 17, four-eyes, bad skin, lousy posture and an obvious inferiority complex."
I was cast as Jesse in the lead role in "Nightmare on Elm Street Pan 2" after auditioning for the first "Nightmare on Elm Street" for Wes Craven.
I knew who Mark Patton was from
"Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean." I'd seen that and I just thought he was wonderful in that.
He had a real kind of vulnerability about him that I liked.
Brad Pitt and Christian Slater also came in to read for the role and I had no idea who they were.
How many famous people I actually rejected in favor of Mark Patton.
"Ronny Grady, a tough-looking wise-ass type, steps up to the plate."
The last day of filming "Weird Science" was the day I had an audition for "Nightmare 2."
Robert Downey Jr. gave me a ride to my audition and Mark and I went in and we read together and they hired us on the spot.
Robert Rusler and I were allowed to sit in on the casting of the girl, for the lead, for Lisa.
"Jesse opens the front door to Lisa Poletti. Real pretty, with an intelligence and sweetness about her. She is truly lovely."
The bond that Mark and I had really began mm the time we met.
There was just an easy quality in how we related.
I just loved her mm the minute I met her. She was adorable.
It was her first, you know, big break.
We auditioned her and we cast her simply based on her talent.
And the fact that she looked like Meryl Streep.
"Kerry, a dizzy, Bloomingdale's-punk, steps up alongside Lisa as the latter catches Jesse's stare."
The reason I love this movie is that it changed my life.
I had a ticket to go back to New York, move back to New York and be done with Hollywood and they cast me in the movie. And it was like the deciding thing of me staying here, and I never left.
And then it was just off and running, it was off and running.
The first big gag was the scene when the bus is hurtling through the burnt out desert.
Jesse was this nerdy outcast and Freddy is taking over and about to take him for this ride.
The whole movie is the ride that Freddy takes him through.
We had this mechanical bus up on a thing and it would tilt back and forth and we got into the bus.
And at, one point, there wasn't a whole lot of acting for me going on 'cause we were getting jostled all over the place At one point, it was, like, "wham!" and I slam my nose on the front of the bar and the rest of the day I was in such pain I was screaming and crying.
Robert was very into it, which is great. You need that, you know.
It's great to feed off of. For me, I love that.
For the first one, you didn't see anything of Freddy.
I mean, you saw him in the shadows, he barely said a word.
We tried to make Freddy a little more talkative.
Freddy got more vocal, his character got more dimensionalized.
"We got special work to do here, you and me."
At the time, horror movie villains -
Jason, Michael Myers - they didn't talk.
He had a certain black sense of humor.
David Miller started off doing the special makeup effects for Freddy Krueger and did a brilliant job. So brilliant, I guess, that when we came in to do the sequel, we decided to bring another guy in.
I just didn't have time to do another "Nightmare on Elm Street." I just finished the other one and I thought, "Okay, time to move on."
We got another guy, Kevin Yagher, who we'd worked with in the past.
Dave Miller and I just spoke at the very beginning about basically passing on the torch, passing the baton to me.
There's a big myth that we have a big rivalry going and all that stuff, 'cause he stole Freddy and all that. It's not like that at all.
They didn't kn ow what they had in "Nightmare on Elm Street 1," they had no idea what kind of hit it was going to be, so they barely took any photographs.
Kevin had a really hard time just trying to figure out what was going on on the face. It was like, "What is all this? I can't figure it out."
I wanted to give it bone structure. I wanted to give it cheekbones and kind of make it more like a male witch. You know, give it a hook nose.
I had convinced Bob Shaye to change Freddy's eyes from Robert Englund's normal green eyes to these sort of demonic, red and yellow/amber-colored eyes.
There was something add about it and it fits in fine, it actually worked.
"What that boy needs is a good goddamn kick in the butt."
The parents in a horror movie usually don't get to be up front and center and doing really cool thin gs.
They're usually in sort of reactive roles.
It's very dangerous being a male actor in motion pictures.
As I discovered, repairing a home is equally dangerous.
One of my favorite moments in Nightmare's sophisticated mechanical effects history, was the parakeet on a stick.
There was a scene in which the father was attacked by a bird in the living room.
I think that was a reference to the movie "The Birds."
The birds are the first ones to react to, like in a mine, they react to the gas, that was basically the concept. That the bird was the warning signal of Freddy coming.
So we built this demonic parakeet and it was demonic, I'll tell ya.
It was oversized, it had a rod coming out of its butt and it could flap its wings and move its head.
I think it didn't get used because it wasn't parakeet-like enough.
The physical effects guy was a guy named Dick Albain, he was an old-timer.
When I interviewed him I asked him what he felt his greatest work was and he thought a minute and he said, "I think the work I did with the Three Stooges' was my greatest work."
So that probably should have given me pause.
He had this big long stick with this invisible fishing cord tied to this prosthetic bird and he would wave it back and forth in front of my face.
He wanted it to attack.
The parakeet was not exactly what I had in mind.
It was one of those things that we just did in five minutes.
It just was so obvious that it wasn't going to work.
And sure enough, it cracked right into my eye, scarred it.
I don't kn ow if Clu ever recovered from the parakeet scene. He's a little tweaked by it still.
It scared the shit out of me. I was just petrified.
It was a kind of a dopey scene. I mean, a lot of the scenes in the movie were.
Any movie with Clu Gulager and an exploding bird, gotta be good.
One of the film's many detours saw a role reversal that introduced audiences to a new kind of horror hero, bringing Freddy out of the boiler room, and most memorably, out of the closet.
I think there was a certain amount of seduction going on between Freddy and Jesse.
There always is a dance with Freddy.
There always is a seduction, there always is a dare.
And if Freddy was in fact what they always say Freddy was - he was a pedophile, child killer - sex meant nothing to him.
All he wanted was me.
Because I was the vehicle he was going to move through.
Almost all the horror films of the '80s featured women as the protagonist and it's not hard to understand why.
They were easier to portray as victims.
It just made the sexual threat and the chemistry richer.
But I think they had to have made "Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2" to discover that.
Because when you suddenly cast your male lead in the victim role, and then you have him scream like a gin for 90 minutes, you're going to have some people going, "Well, that's not the manliest performance I've ever seen."
In fact, I may be the first male scream queen.
I simply did not have the self-awareness to realize that any of this might be interpreted as gay.
And I actually don't think that, originally, Jesse was written as a gay character.
I think it's something that happened along the line by serendipity.
I also had not the slightest idea that one of my lead actors was gay.
The fact that Mark Patton was an openly gay actor I don't think had been revealed at that time yet.
We made "Nightmare 2" absolutely clueless that it had any gay overtones whatsoever.
I'm absolutely sure there's not one moment that I remember that it was discussed.
I never saw it.
I didn't get it.
When I was shooting I had no notion this was happening. Although, I didn't get a blow job on the set, if that's what you mean.
But looking back,
it was so gay, it was amazing.
If you're called the "Homo Nightmare on Elm Street" on the net by a million pre-pubescent boys, then a bunch of grown men had to know what they were doing.
All I can say is we were all incredibly naive or all incredibly latently gay. I'm not sure which.
But I do think it remains one of the most sort of debated movies of all time because it's so, it's not even under the surface, it's so there.
You know, we've always pussyfooted around this.
Look, it was supposed to be subtext, alright, it really was.
David Chaskin, with out a doubt, knew what he was writing.
You have to remember again, this was the 19803, this was post-AIDS. People were really out a lot then... maybe not in Kansas, but certainly on both coasts.
And I started thinking about guys being unsure of their sexuality and I thought, "Well, that's pretty scary."
If David said that I am astounded, because I certainly didn't get it either.
There was so much like 3 & M and this really precarious relationship between Mark Patton and I throughout the movie.
It, you know, this is probably the "Top Gun" of franchise horror films.
I kind of think there was this subliminal thing that was going on in Jack's mind where he didn't really realize it, but everything he did amplified it.
You have a board game named "Probe" on it, he has a sign on the door that says "No Chicks Allowed."
The production designer in the film was gay.
And I think it became like an inside joke which they thought nobody would really pick up on.
But in terms of the kinky gimmick of "Pan 2," I think it's really interesting.
Freddy appeals to that gay part that's like, the questions, he appeals to the questions that Jesse's asking himself.
Freddy could represent the self-hatred, you know, in the gay community. He could also represent just the taunt.
"You son of a bitch!"
I think that Mark gave a really great performance because there were so many levels of his insecurities.
And I think that's what I was doing in "Nightmare on Elm Street" is I was revealing who I really was, and I think that came clearly through the screen.
The gayest thing in the movie, by the way, is Bob Shaye himself.
Bob Shaye has always been a slightly frustrated actor. He had wanted to play the father of Robert Rusler.
I said, "I need a real actor to play that role." Bob got very offended by that and, at one point, he even threatened to fire me.
Jack could end up being a jerk from time to time and that was one of his jerkier episodes.
I said, "Well, let me give you another role." So I thought, "Hey, I'll put him in this gay bar."
Jack said, "Go to the Pleasure Chest and get yourself an outfit."
So, I went to the Pleasure Chest and I happened to have my two young daughters with me, who were like 10 and 12 at the time. The guy who was the clerk was watching and my little daughter said, "Oh, there's a great
...thing to put on your arms with spikes and stuff," and "Here's a great T-shirt for you, Papa," and stuff like that.
So the clerk comes over to me and he said, (laughing) "I think these children should wait outside while you purchase what you're going to be purchasing." (laughing)
Bob Shaye looked darling in his leather costume.
As the bartender. He was so sweet. And I want you to know that we all believed him.
And then you have Coach Schneider's character.
He, like the character of Jesse, had some secrets.
I don't think Coach Schneider was ever a very good guy.
I did direct a lot of the shower scene with Marshall Bell and, wow, what was I thinking?
The Coach's balls being part of the attack.
I'm trying to think through whether or not there was something Freudian about that.
I love that scene in the movie. I mean, I don't care for Marshall Bell's ass, though. (laughing)
I don't think it was my idea to snap Marshall's bare ass with towels.
It's what I would've liked to have seen happen to my Phys. Ed. teacher in school.
You get what you give in life and Coach Schneider was really good at giving and he wasn't really great at receiving.
Read into it what you will, but I just thought it was a horror scene, which really makes me feel stupid.
If there was one thing that I could delete from my filmography and my entire life, it would be that dance scene in my bedroom.
I actually find that scene a little bit embarrassing.
"Risky Business" had had this very successful scene with Tom Cruise.
We were just riffing on that particular pop culture deal. It was some really uncool dance moves.
Mark didn't want to do it.
And Mark kept kind of postponing it and finally, when it came time getting closer to the scene, he said, "Look, I've got it all worked out, just roll the cameras and let it go and I'll give you a whole performance."
And I'm going, "Oh God, this is not what I had in mind." (laughing)
I understand the video was played in gay clubs a lot.
It will go along forever and ever and ever and my butt will bouncing and I'll have that horrible hair and those hideous glasses.
And, again, it was a choice. It was another one of those choices that really brought the subtext way up right in your face.
When the shit hits the fan, Jesse rejects his girlfriend to go and stay at the house with the best friend.
"I need you to let me stay here tonight." "Are you out of your mind?"
I can't believe that this particular line is written this way.
"Something is trying to get inside my body." "And you want to sleep with me?"
(laughing) Sounds like, "And you want to sleep with me."
At that point I realized, you kn ow, a lot of people are going to go down this road with these two boys.
And you get the, one of the strangest, most symbolic scenes potentially, in horror history, as Freddy tears his way out of Jesse's body.
I remember the screen play said distinctly, "Freddy bursts out of Jesse."
That's all it said. There was no description of what we're going to do.
Mark Shostrom created those effects and he did a tremendous job.
And the effect of making the prosthesis was very, very intense because you have to be buried alive basically.
My main memories of Mark was like kind of reassuring him because he had to have some life masks done that up until that time, I think, were maybe the best ones ever achieved.
We did everything involving Jesse. The main sequence was Freddy breaking out of his body at the end.
It took us like 11 weeks to build everything for this one sequence and pretty much every cut of th at is a different effect.
The different phases of the transformation it was storyboarded, designed very specifically.
We designed several different concepts for Jesse's transformation.
The blades growing... the eye in the throat.
Probably a little too reminiscent of "American Werewolf in London?
We had a dummy head of Jesse's face... which actually Kevin Yaghers girlfriend played Freddy's eye looking up at the back of the throat because she had a head small enough to fit inside our dummy head.
I'd never seen anything like that. It was the most extraordinary thing I had ever seen.
In Grady's death, I thought it came out really well.
I thought that I was gonna get a major prosthetic slash.
I wanted to see this mist of blood all over the place and we didn't quite get that.
We didn't have time to do... proper makeup and as an actor, you're like, "Well, wait a minute, you know, hook me up.
Let's do the whole thing." I don't know how to explain it, but the rhythm of the movie, when I die it stunned everybody.
There's a lot of "oohs" and "aahs" and abrupt screams, you know. And in that whole movie the whole theater was silent.
Despite its daring choices, the film prompted the biggest debate in the history of the franchise.
You know, everybody says that "Nightmare 2" kind of took a turn from the rest of the series, but there was no rest of the series at the time.
I can remember those awkward times on the set, it just didn't feel right already.
I remember really bringing up the script issues and saying, "This is really, really problematic. Especially the ending."
I do remember Freddy coming out of a pool party and feeling like, "Oh my God."
Wes objected to the fact that Freddy appears when everybody's awake.
There are certain rules you don't break and in the Wes Craven Bible, we broke a couple of rules.
If he's out someplace, just out in the open and surrounded by big teenagers, it's not going to have the power, you're just running up against the wall right away as a director to make that scary.
The pool sequence I remember. I think we were there for two weeks.
It was a lot of shooting. Chaos and swimming and fire.
And I think there was more tension in terms of Jacques Haitkin just struggling all the time to make the film look good knowing there were things like this pool party that just made absolutely no sense.
We were bound to some extent by the script.
New Line developed the script and we're hired to shoot pages.
We were all just basically trying to get the work done.
I do have a couple of bad memories of just going, "This isn't going to work, this scene. Why are we doing this scene?"
"You are all my children now."
"You're all my children now" I think, was the phrase he made up. He got into the character to the point where the character was telling him more about himself.
There comes a point when you're playing a character a lot when you know more about him than anybody else.
You just have this sixth sense about what's right and what's wrong.
What we were looking for at the end was to open up our film as much as we could in a movie that could not afford visual effects or big map paintings or big sets.
Lisa confronts Freddy to save her boyfriend to save Jesse.
We found spectacular iron foundry that is so incredibly huge that we don't have enough lights to light it.
There was a scene involving a mutant rat and a mutant cat.
And I have to be honest, because I was working on "Aliens"
I didn't pay too much attention and those didn't turn out too good.
The same thing with the dogs from hell, you know, with the masks on.
I was imagining them a little more frightening.
I did a robotic life mask for the very end when I burn up in that.
This meltdown head that I built, it was simple mechanisms with toothpicks and super glue and dental acrylic and it was just thrown together, but, to me it was this big huge thing we were building.
A wax bust was put under hair dryers and just melted.
So, he melted away and that was the only set up we had of that shot.
I save the hero.
Her character turned out to be the backbone of the movie.
That's why she's the one that finally confronted Freddy and won.
The character of Jesse is, in theater and movies, a female part.
I was the woman and Lisa was the man.
Ultimately, he finds love through a heterosexual encounter, at the end, but they could just be good friends after that, I don't kn ow. (laughing)
Lisa and Jesse could've been sort of the "Will and Grace" of the horror genre.
Then the coda comes, you know, the famous Bob Shaye coda.
Back on the bus.
There was a guy underneath my chair with his hand basically up inside my shirt ready to go like this at the end of the movie.
"It's all over."
We didn't have a happy ending on "Nightmare 2" either, did we? We sent 'em off down on a bus to hell.
We kill 'em all.
I do believe that he survived. I don't think they went off into the desert and burned him up or something.
He didn't go to Burning Man, let's put it that way.
Opening on November 1, 1985 to mixed reviews Freddy proved his power at the box office with numbers that New Line could not ignore.
At that time sequels would make 60, 50% of what the original made, so they were expecting that "Nightmare on Elm Street 2" they were hoping it would do 70% of what the first one did. It ended up doing 150% of what the first one did.
"Nightmare on Elm Street" was sold out in every theater in New York for every show by 10:30 in the morning.
I don't think it was until after "Nightmare 2" came out and we started seeing these huge numbers that they realized that they had a franchise.
You saw a man who suddenly opened up and just was staring into the future with the most shit-eating grin you ever saw.
"Nightmare on Elm Street 2" rocked Europe because they picked up on the whole psychosexual, homoerotic subtext.
They love that film in Europe.
I give New Line a lot of credit for the success of the series because what they were willing to do was not just do the same thing over and over again.
It's pretty interesting that in that day and age, as a sequel to a pretty successful film, that they went that direction and made those choices. Pretty ballsy. No pun intended.
I mean just to take the chances with the sequel that they did was bravery or stupidity.
We definitely earned our share of criticisms of pretty much everything from the nature of the film to the execution of the film.
We were trying to do something different, something original that hadn't been done in the first one. It was clear that it didn't work as well.
It's always hard to do a sequel 'cause the first one's just so good.
The second one was not quite as pure. It was much more of a commercial piece.
I don't think Wes communicated his displeasure with the thing to me directly, but I realized that soon afterwards that it was really a bad idea. (laughing)
It didn't have a unity to it, it just had a bunch of scenes, which I think the worst of the sequels or the worst moments... of the sequels, were just kind of striking scenes, but "overall" the story didn't often cohere very well.
I'm proud that I did the film. The film really was the film that gave me a career as a film director.
Jack knew what he was doing.
We found out his next film, "Hidden," an American classic.
Cracked Magazine sent me 'The 10 Gayest Horror Movies Ever Made,' and "Nightmare on Elm Street 2" was #1.
That I wear like a badge of honor.
I'm so proud to be part of that, (laughing) I really am. That makes me really happy. Cool.
The experience of making "Nightmare on Elm Street" was wonderful.
Even if Clu didn't get a blow job (laughing) on the set.
One day I did discover a hand in my trousers, but I just thought, "Boys will be boys." (sighing) Hmm.
Aware of Freddy's potential, but dismayed by the lukewarm reception from critics and fans alike, New Line Cinema was determined to get their franchise back on track, by recruiting some old friends and some new blood.
"2" had its serious difficulties, although it did well just based on the reputation and the growing interest in this storyline and particularly in Freddy.
Even though it was a successful film in terms of box office, it was a great disappointment, so I think there was a huge amount riding on what to do in "Nightmare 3."
On every "Nightmare" I would go back to Wes Craven and ask him if he was interested, so Wes wrote the original script for "Nightmare 3."
I wanted to take it up to the next level. I felt like if I'm going to do another one I want it to be somehow better.
I came up with the idea and then Bruce Wagner and I wrote, I think, a really interesting first draft.
It had a lot of good stuff in it and I think Wes did less of the writing and Bruce did more.
I was just about to start shooting "Deadly Friend."
I'd go away into pre-production and Bruce would be (typing sound).
But it didn't quite work. It was a very ambitious script, but it didn't have a lot of the human vulnerabilities and the characteristics we wanted.
There were no rules. Everybody could do everything. So it was just the kitchen sink thrown in and all the really elemental, scary things that in "Nightmare 1" had worked so well, was just, it felt like, "I'm just gonna throw a bunch of junk in It was good for what it was.
We just believed it needed more.
We were in the process of rewriting that script with Wes when our producers at the time had met with some young, smart up-an-coming writer-directors, Frank Darabont and Chuck Russell.
And they said, "Please hear their pitch. They have a great pitch. We think this is the best way to go."
When I convinced Bob and Sara that Chuck was the guy, that he was going to be able to write a really good script for it.
The whole series was in question. They really didn't know if they wanted to continue, so I was pushing the company itself. Let's make the third more fun, let's take the boundaries of imagination a little bit further in the whole series.
I give Chuck complete credit for what happen ed with the script in "Nightmare 3." - he and Frank Darabont.
The original script to "Elm Street 3" was darker and actually profane. I think Wes was trying to take it even into a more horrific place.
And I was much more interested in the imaginative element to the piece.
In fairness to the others who participated, Frank Darabont and his partner, they did some great stuff to it.
And they changed the game completely.
But, the script came in and it's like, "Holy shit, this is huge."
This is like a $20 million script that now we have to make.
The budgets involved in the series, that was another limitation, but you know, that brings out the best in you. I think every filmmaker has to kind of rise to the occasion when you start your career on a limited budget.
Despite Wes Craven's early departure from the project, another familiar face would make a welcome return to Elm Street. Street.
Bringing Nancy back was another hook that I thought was great for the series.
Wes Craven called me and asked if I would mind if he included my character in a script he was writing for "Nightmare 3" and he gave me the basic idea of how she comes back and is a psychologist for kids who are having these terrible nightmares.
It took some convincing. She had other things going on in her life at the time, but she did a great job and the character became a leader of sort of a new generation of "Elm Street" kids.
You've got this great gimmick of Heather as the binding element Heathers the one that's been through it and can tell them all what's going on
"You are the last of the Elm Street children."
The cast was just sensational, all these young actors were so good, which made this particular film stand out from other horror films at the time.
"Kincaid, an enormous and powerful-looking 17-year-old with a shaved head is huddled in the corner of a white padded room."
It was a well-built, muscular guy and I looked in the mirror and looked at me and said, "Oh, hell no." So... (laughing)
But my agent talked me into going anyway. So I had to catch the bus and get to the audition. It was just pouring down rain, it was running late and I was getting pissed.
So when I went in the director said, "Just do whatever you want to."
And I said, "Fuck you!"
And that's how I got it. I cussed his ass out. (laughing)
"Pan to Joey, a wan 16-year-old watching them from around the comer.
He has a tear drop drawn in ink under one eye."
In preparing for the role of Joey, I had no lines until the very end of the script.
The character was completely mute.
Showing as much as I could with my eyes.
"Jennifer, a girl of 14, approaches. She extends her hand for inspection - it is scarred with cigarette burns."
There wasn't a lot of rehearsal for the role.
That was something we all had to do on our own.
I just tried to connect with the emotional state of that character.
"Taryn, a 17-year-old girl, approaches. She appears exhausted, dark tired circles under her eyes."
How I approached the character was pretty much in the moment.
She has a drug problem. I think she has something hidden.
She has some kind of secret.
"All the kids of the Adolescent Care Unit are gathered: Kincaid, Phillip, Taryn, Joey, Jennifer, and Will, a 17-year-old confined to an electric wheelchair."
I have to tell you, growing up I played so much Dungeons & Dragons, I really felt secure with the aspect of the Wizard Master.
I mean, I was meant to play this role.
The cast member that stuck out to me was Patricia Arquette.
It was her first film. There was something so interesting and so haunting about her.
And I think that's always been a special gift for her in her other work as well.
At least a third of the male cast fell in love with Patricia.
I kn ow Rodney was in love with Patricia.
I'm mean like lovelorn.
He had mad affection for Patricia Arquette, you know. He didn't talk in the film but his ass was talking offthe film. (laughing)
It was so funny because they were all coming to me for advice, like, you know, I was dating her or something.
Nobody had a crush on me.
Everybody was in love with somebody else.
I think it also helped us off-set. We all became good friends.
I wanted to do something about the bonding of kids at that age.
I think the beauty of the whole "Elm Street" series is that there's something the kids know that their parents don't believe.
In "Nightmare 1" and "3" Wes really explores why authority figures are trying the best they can and are failing.
At that time there was kind of a movement of such places that even advertised on television, "Send us your troubled child and we'll make them okay." And, essentially, they were like prisons or, you know, insane asylums.
(screaming) "Take her to a quiet room and sedate her."
A lot of aficionados of the sh ow would come up and say, "Why were you so mean?" And I'd think, "Was I mean?
I didn't mean to be mean." (laughing) Because I had thought of her as a very respectable person who was doing her best.
So I thought I was a good guy.
It was a great horror riff on adolescence, on the point in our lives when we all realize the world is not such a nice place, and maybe everything we've learned in school or our parents have told us isn't exactly true.
One of the worst threats to them is the parents, (laughing) the "good intentions" of the parents.
When it happens in "Nightmare 3" where Kristen is, like, in her bedroom and her mom has some guy over, "Honey, I've got a guest." "And you don't want to keep him waiting." it's just tawdry and it's sad.
My daughter Tiffany and I had a difficult relationship. She was a teenager at the time, and, interestingly enough, she has done several horror movies herself.
So I used it, I just kind of fell into that mode of "mom with teen age daughter" thing that really didn't require a lot of acting.
And there's just something so real about that scene. Every time I look at it, I'm like, "Whew." (sighing)
I do believe that my character was definitely part of the mob that went after Freddy.
Elaine was guilt-ridden and she had this kind of bravado to cover it up.
But deep down inside, it's like, "Oh my God, what have I done?"
I got demoted from Lt. Thompson to a security guard with suggestions of being a little bit of a drunkard, I think.
He realizes that he's made the wrong choices regarding his daughter.
I think he realizes right there that he's ruined Nancy's life.
He was a broken man as a result of what had happened.
And that leads to his sense of failure as a man and as a father.
"Fred Krueger is dead."
It touched a little bit on the idea of suicide in the young.
Young people and suicide is a tremendous question.
Looking back now, there was a whole lot of suicide movies in the '80s. There really were.
I think the "Nightmare" series, it's a message to parents to please listen to your kid. Your kid's not crazy, your kid's not making stuff up.
To me that was the metaphor of "Elm Street," and "Dream Warriors" took it just a step further.
While the young cast immersed themselves in their roles, the team of special effects wizards behind "Nightmare 3" found themselves faced with a whole new set of challenges.
I read the script and loved it because it was just full of effects.
And I kind of pitched to them, "Listen, I'll do the movie, but I want to do all the effects."
And they were stupid enough to do it. No, they actually were really kind enough to give me the whole show.
It looked like the script was going to be more fantasy, you know, and fun.
I had to make it magical. I was going to be the one who was going to give it the look.
All the money that was spent was not spent on anything other than effects. Effects got everything.
There was an image with a roasted pig on a table that was a kind of a classic, nightmarish image.
All of a sudden this pig said, (growling pig) (screaming)
The budget was astronomical for making an animatronic pig. We ultimately just roasted a pig and let it spoil and the prop guys had to choose straws as to who got to puppet it from beneath.
The pig absolutely stunk.
But ultimately it looks gnarlier because it's real.
I can still smell that pig to this day.
My main job for "Nightmare 3" was the baby in the beginning of the film.
Patricia Arquette is running through the house and she rescues the little girl.
And when I met with Chuck Russell and I asked him kind of what he was looking for, he told me two words.
He goes, "Think Auschwitz."
And I did a life-size sculpture of the 5-year-old girl that was emaciated and shriveled and skeletal, I spent 10 weeks constructing this mechanical puppet, which is very realistic in detail.
When they brought it in to Chuck and I it was so terrifying and so grotesque and horrific that we felt like it just, we shouldn't do it.
And they never even rolled film on it.
I think they ended up having a prop guy super glue some fake skeleton together in about 10 minutes.
So they used that.
Well the biggest challenge for "Nightmare on Elm Street 3" was probably the snake sequence.
The scene with Patricia Arquette and the worm monster is often mentioned as a wild point in the picture.
That was a really exciting thing for me because it was the first, you know, gigantic puppet I've ever made.
When I first saw the prop I was stunned, because it was very, very phallic.
Chuck and I started laughing when we saw it.
I said, "You think what I think?"
He just said, "This looks like a penis." And I said, "Yeah, remember we talked about it? We had meetings about this."
He said, "I can't do that. We can't make it look like a penis."
I immediately called in the set painters and said, "Look, at least change the color." (laughing) We tried to throw the thing into blues and greens so it wouldn't be quite so Freudian.
That monster was wonderful in concept art.
In reality, it was a big prop that was actually a bit dangerous.
"Ready? Go!" (screaming)
It was really a scary thing to watch Patricia being eaten by that.
It was huge and so she was like in there.
We did a lot of reverse in those days.
In fact, when Patricia Arquette's being eaten by the snake, she's actually being pulled off.
The whole piece actually looked quite good that way. It gave it an eerie, dreamy aspect. But really we did it that way because the prop didn't work.
But also, we had three or four different puppets. We had one that swallowed Patricia that was only like 6 feet long.
Then we had one that was even longer for this overhead shot, then he regurgitates her. That was another one.
And then the final one was this whole mechanical thing that was a big, huge snake that kind of rears up and it was a radio-controlled face.
Knowing how much work went into that and knowing how difficult it was to kind of get that thing to set, I would've gone and bowed on hands and knees to him then because it was really an imaginative, really unusual effect.
The puppet sequence - where the marionette that's hanging on the wall turns into Freddy then he severs himself off and then grows to be normal size - that was pretty creepy.
We actually made a series of heads that we would, in camera, dissolve from one head to the next.
Bradley and the marionette tendons, you know, people just love that imagery.
It was done by Greg Cannom - my old boss - and he did a fantastic job.
I also remember Bradley Gregg during lunchtime just looked like spaghetti sauce all over him and spaghetti arms.
Eating lunch, you know, as if it was no problem.
And he's sitting next to me and they had to roll the veins so they didn't like get knotted or anything.
I'm sitting next to him reading and I'm just looking at him, going, "Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God. Oh, this is awful."
The work that Greg and everyone did in effects was absolutely extraordinary.
And the funny thing you have to remember about this film is virtually everything was done physically on it.
You know, in a way we're responsible for making the Freddy character a little bit more of a pop character. A media character.
And the Dick Cavett scene was a big part of that.
We spent a half a day shooting Dick Cavett and he said, "Well they told me I could pick whoever I wanted.
So I picked Zsa Zsa Gabor because I think she's the dumbest person I've ever met in my life and I'd never have her on my show. And if there was one person I would want to see killed by Freddy, it would be her." (screaming)
My other favorite kill from "Nightmare 3" was when Penelope Sudrow's character was lifted up by the TV set with the great line, "Welcome to prime time, bitch." (screaming)
"Welcome to prime time, bitch."
"Welcome to prime time, bitch."
"Welcome to prime time, bitch."
(laughing) Really a priceless line.
It was just classic.
"Welcome to prime time, bitch" was not a scripted line. That was from Robert.
That which, you know, was a modification of the original line because it didn't quite fit in my mouth, but people love that.
The one-liners and Robert's delivery of them, made the film, I think, a little more popular.
I actually enjoyed that scene when they had the mechanical arms come out and grab me.
That was, like, my favorite part just to scream.
(laughing) That was great.
We had to basically make a vacu-form puppet head that I made.
It would come out of this TV. We always had to use cut-aways, so we'd cut-away and it was Robert's head sticking through the TV (laughing) with antennas on his head. It was pretty hokey.
People have said that's their favorite death scene of the series.
It's just a great kind of surreal, surreal "Nightmare on Elm Street" '80s moment.
Having met his match in the form of the "Dream Warriors," Freddy Krueger became even more resourceful in finding ways to prey on his victim's darkest fears.
What "Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3" did was it went to the logical conclusion of how Freddy would operate within your subconscious and haunt you.
Freddy is in there with those private thoughts, with those private fears. He knows what makes you tick.
He knows what he can use against you because he gets in there.
My characters weakness was always women and not much has changed.
One of the more memorable moments from the film is the sexy nurse scene where Freddy is using kind of a sexuality trap in a dream.
The one character that we spent the most time interviewing and auditioning was the nurse who has to bare her breasts.
I had to go in and strip, which, you know, isn't easy, but that was the process. It was a little out of the norm.
She would have to stand there naked and stuff for the lighting and stuff. It was a pleasure.
I've had guys tell me, "Watching that scene was the first thing that really got me interested in girls and you've changed my life."
That's very ﬂattering, and, wow. That's amazing.
The physical effect of switching the nurse with Freddy was something we tried in a makeup effect that got a little too out of control and it wasn't exactly right.
What Chuck Russell wanted was her to have the head of Freddy and then have it trail off into this beautiful woman.
Freddy with breasts, it was too off-kilter.
Somehow the imagery was just, it didn't quite go.
Again, this was one of those points that no one can play Robert like Robert.
And it just looked like a gin with a Freddy face on, you know, talking like Robert.
It just didn't quite work.
The spitting of the tongues was really just a small piece of, it was like a type of latex that was rolled up.
I would open my mouth and do this barking thing.
The tongues were extraordinary.
You could stand right next to them and look at them and the puppeteering was so good that you couldn't see any phoniness to it whatsoever.
That was actually shot in a room that they built sideways, so I had to climb up on a ladder and be strapped to the bed.
That's what kills you in a crucifixion. Eventually, your heart can't pump blood to your extremities, so I actually passed out while I was up in this contraption.
And I also think it's why they hire young actors to be in all these horror movies, 'cause they can take the abuse.
The one I remember the most is when Jennifer Rubin got killed.
It was kind of the time when punk was really hot.
We were developing the character still, so I had just walked up to Chuck Russell and said, "Can I do this hairdo?" And he said, "Sure."
That line that she says, "In my dreams, I'm beautiful... and bad."
Oh my God, I mean, talk about one of the worst lines you would ever have to say on film.
One of the funniest things was Taryn was in her full-blown makeup, we went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner (laughing) and it was hysterical, because the way that people were looking at her, you would've thought that she was like an alien from a different world.
She ordered the chop suey with a look in her eyes and they backed off. It was very funny.
I have a little bit of a problem being emotional.
If I get into it, I kind of will try to kill you.
I remember I did stab him once (laughing) when we were really fighting and I got him.
Track marks on her arms turning into sucking little mouths was just brilliant.
Incredible stuff. Absolutely incredible stuff.
"Let's get high." (hissing)
Jennifer Rubin's sequence with an exploding head didn't quite make it to film.
"3,2, 1. Oh no!"(laughing)
They didn't figure out how to work my special effect.
Freddy's hypodermic needle fingers was my little anti-drug statement that is very, was very effective.
I got a lot of fan mail from people having quit drugs because of her. It touch es my heart to be remembered that way because this girl fights and never says die. But then I had to.
"I am the Wizard Master!"
I was a pre-Harry Potter.
And that was, again, the greatest thing about my character being a Wizard Master.
And having played Dungeons & Dragons, I was able to conjure up the spells.
That wheelchair was huge. And it was so huge, it virtually could not get down the hallway. It had been built too large, but it looks really frightening when you see it in the film.
But there was also difficulty because Freddy's claws were not retracting, so they put a 2-by-4 right by my heart, underneath my cape and I was just praying to God that Robert made sure that he hit it. (screaming)
I did get to show off who I was and I got to use my power, which I felt was pretty important, you know, you get to see exactly what these kids get to do.
Whether they got killed or not, that's a whole different story.
Faced with a grueling production schedule, difficult working conditions and an overburdened first-time director, tensions on the set of "Nightmare 3" began to rise.
Chuck came in with this massive passion, but what came out of that was how difficult it was to work with Chuck. (laughing)
They were very touchy about the imagery of Freddy Krueger and where we took it, and I was trying to, frankly, loosen them up, you know, and take it into a crazier place and move it further, or there'd be no point.
He was getting a lot of frustration from the powers that be over him.
It was just a really hard shoot.
I think there was more tension on that set than any set Ive ever been on.
I think Chuck really had his hands full.
We were always hours and hours behind because the stuff was so difficult.
Lots and lots of effects.
Chuck Russell, he was really somebody with tremendous detail with everything. Didn't let anything slide.
There was a couple of times, for me, that I think Chuck did not know how speak to some of us actors.
I don't think he had a great deal of experience before doing that film.
You were aware that there was this expectation of you to do certain things, but you just didn't really know what they were.
It was Patricia Arquette's first film and the first night that she shot, we didn't get to her 'til 4 in the morning.
She couldn't remember her lines.
We did 52 takes with her and still couldn't get it right.
She just couldn't do it, you know. We had to do cue cards.
She really rose to the game, but Chuck never got over that original discomfort and never really gave her the support that I thought that she deserved.
One thing about, I think, maybe any "Elm Street" film is you're trying to take young performers and get that sense of tension, get the fear, take them to the edge.
And it's not an easy kind of film to make.
The dream set at the end, kind of the climax of the film, was kind of an elaborate boiler room set that was stretching the limits for what we could do on budget and time.
I just remember it was like they, literally, cut the air conditioner off and it was crowded in there, it was hot.
Those scenes are hard because there's lots of fire, lots of smoke.
That smoke smells really bad.
Always the fire department was on our rear end. Always threatening to close us down.
It was mayhem.
If we could have photographed behind the scenes what was happening, it would have been a bigger circus than what was in front of the camera.
And I remember, at one point, the tension on the set was so thick that one of the producers stopped the whole shooting and he called everybody together and he went to the top of the stairs and he said, "This shit is going to stop."
After the 21st hour one day, I said, "Chuck, can you define for me what is a director?"
And he said, "The last man standing."
And I've never heard a better definition.
We put in long hours, but it was interesting. Everyone had their hearts in it.
And I think the results are on the screen.
The junkyard scene was filmed very late at night, early morning. I think I was there until 3:30 or so.
The sun almost began coming up.
Frank Darabont, who co-wrote that script with me, and I are both big Ray Harryhausen fans, so we found a way to get our little homage to Harryhausen with bringing Freddy's skeleton to life.
We decided to build a skeleton and found how difficult it was to build a stop-motion skeleton.
I wish he'd had Ray there because maybe we could have done a better job of it.
We used Robert Englund's attitude, his posture and stuff for the Freddy skeleton as much as we could so it looked like him.
I don't remember how they did it, but they must have put me on some sort of a dolly going toward this Cadillac fender in the back, the tail which pierced me.
I must say I didn't like the scene.
"3" was the first time when you see the souls of children. This is an effect where all the souls that are trapped inside of Freddy make an appearance on his body.
The screaming souls on Freddy's chest was something that we didn't really know we could pull off, but that particular effect actually is a quite haunting, strange concept that worked well.
It was actually a chest piece that fit under Robert's own chest. It was about 3 inches thick and inside there were cables that came out the back of him and all that. And they blinked the eyes and moved the jaws and all that stuff.
"It's a dead end."
One of the very toughest things, strangely, was the mirror sequence, the mirror hallway.
My character screams and breaks all the mirrors and it turns out that my dream power is my voice.
Mirrors shattering in that hallway was a really huge effect.
And this is before CGI, so we had to get very inventive.
I mean, unbelievably technically difficult.
It was something we ended up getting done at the optical house, at the last minute, literally manipulating mylar in front of a camera.
That sequence and where Freddy gets blown apart were two very, very complicated sequences.
We had to build this puppet head and this whole thing was mechanical.
And then, later, the guys, the optical guys, went in there and rotoscoped light pouring out of him and that's how he sort of just tore apart with the light of God.
They had to bury Freddy in the hallowed ground, that made sense.
And so Chuck understood sort of the religious connotations and things like that.
I wanted to bring in these kind of classic Christian values almost. We kill Freddy with a cross.
I mean, this is old school vampire stuff.
"Nightmare on Elm Street 2" was, I guess, the gayest horror film ever made and
"Nightmare on Elm Street 3" was the Christian version.
I think in doing the third one I knew we had to fill in a little bit of the Freddy back story.
And in the "Elm Street" series that means it has to be something big and dangerous.
I love the idea that some twisted DNA somehow made its way into this poor little nun, Amanda Krueger, who got the Christmas shift in the asylum, getting raped by a hundred maniacs.
"The bastard son of a hundred maniacs."
And this was just one of the ideas that came out that we realized was appropriate, but, in a way, dangerous to put on film.
It's always a balancing act between how much you're going to reveal the monster and how much you're going to keep mysterious.
With his dark history revealed and his bones laid to rest, the time had come for Freddy's final reckoning.
But if Krueger had to go, he would take with him one of Elm Street's finest.
Heather being killed off is not that unusual.
If the original characters were in the sequel, usually they didn't last until the end because they either aged or the studio would feel like now we have to have new characters.
I do believe that it's very appropriate that Nancy dies at the end of It's almost like killing a recurring character or a regular off of a television show, and it takes some courage.
Her dying off was in the original screenplay and it was a bold thing to do.
She goes out heroically, which is, I think, very fitting.
All stories of heroes have to come to an end and I thought that the way that she died in Patricia's arms was very touching.
But I knew it would in crease kind of the whole suspense and jeopardy.
If Nancy can die, anything can happen in the series.
Now that Krueger had been vanquished, at least for the moment, the filmmakers wanted to find a way to market Freddy to the masses.
There is something naturally heavy metal about Freddy Krueger.
And there was a sudden opportunity to use Dokken.
I just moved out from Tampa, Florida. All I knew was Dokken.
Doing the movie was kind of like our whole career: 50% talent, 50% luck.
It was specific. It had to be called "Dream Warriors" and try to make it spooky and the lyrics should be about the movie.
I still remember my version - it didn't make it.
Mine was (singing), "Dream warriors, we can be heroes inside of our dreams."
Which is exactly why it didn't get accepted. (laughing) That's how it went, yeah. (laughing)
The Dokken video was kind of ahead of its time.
We were at the early end of MTV and it was kind of the perfect opportunity to take heavy metal and horror and make one nasty thing out of it.
It was cutting edge, you know. Nobody had done it and we were like the first band to do that, you know, all that stuff and mix it with the movie.
I thought it was the greatest video.
It really helped our careers. And, in fact, ours was the first video ever included on a VHS of a movie. First one.
I can't sing the song anymore.
It's so high.
Even when I did it and I was young - I was probably 30-something, in my early 30s - it just was too frickin' high.
(singing) "Dream warriors"
(singing) "We're the dream warriors...
(singing)"Don't want to dream no more."
(singing) "And maybe tonight, maybe tonight you'll be gone. Dream warriors."
I have a platinum record from that Dokken song.
Th at is one of the few prop things that's actually up in my house because it's so funny that I could possibly have a platinum record ever with my white, Jewish rhythm.
I've never gone anywhere, or performed anywhere, any of us, where we either don't see the EP or an album, or get asked to do the song.
It's just part of our legacy.
"What a nightmare!"
"Dream Warriors" was released on February 27, 1987. Aimed straight at the mainstream, "Nightmare 3" paved the way for Freddy Krueger to become a household name.
I felt like, honestly, it couldn't be more frightening than what Wes did in the original, but I thought adding an element of wit and black humor would balance out some of the really dark imagery in the piece.
The fact that they made Freddy more and more jokey, took him farther and farther away from that child molester thing that just kind of sticks to you in a way maybe you don't like.
I think there's a great combination between horror and humor. And it always goes that way, it doesn't matter how scary your first film is.
They really walked a fine line with it. It was never cheesy or campy, it was always with a purpose.
It's why "3" was a little bit of a surprise for the series and for the fans and I think maybe hard to get exactly right after that.
There's only so much you can do with Freddy's comedy before it becomes too much.
After "2" there were not a lot of people that really thought that it was going to be successful.
So it was really up to Chuck to make it successful, and I think he made it successful.
"For the very first time in history, a small, independent film has swept the weekend box office grosses."
"The number one movie in the country last week. In Syracuse they called in the mounted police to control the crowds at theaters."
It was in the Top 10 grossers of the year that it came out.
That movie made a lot of money.
Seeing the audiences respond to it, seeing the series become so successful from that point on, was my payoff.
"Nightmare on Elm Street" went from being cult to being an international, huge success.
"The worst!" "Don't leave home without it!" (laughing)
When Siskel and Ebert reviewed the film they got into a heated debate on the show and Roger Ebert was very adamant that he felt like the film deserved an "X" rating.
Considering his movie is being pitched to teenagers and young teenagers. Don't talk to me about the "R" rating, they know exactly who they want to see this movie."
I have to say that over the years and having met lots of fans all over the world, that I think the fan favorite is "Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3."
I mean, more of my fans say they like that movie than any of them.
"Dream Warriors" is what the best franchise sequels in any genre should be, because it's a film that moves the franchise along, adds to the mythology without taking anything away from what's come before, and also manages - and it is a very hard thing to do - to maintain or reintroduce characters that we already know and care about while balancing them with new characters that we ultimately actually care about just the same.
There were some successful "Elm Streets" after it and some not so successful. But they were all, from that point on, I think more imaginative.
We started getting into the groove, so to speak, and everybody was wailing with ideas.
All the elements that worked in that I was instrumental in trying to feed into the next scripts.
And I think we set the tone for the other sequels.
After "Dream Warriors," Freddy's audience expanded far beyond expectations and New Line Cinema, like Freddy Krueger himself, began growing by leaps and bounds.
By this time "Nightmare" had a reputation and New Line had a reputation.
The company was really evolving into less of an unstable and uncertain entity, into one that was very finance able.
Bob was very good at promoting. I mean, in a way that Roger Corman did the same thing.
He was very good at promoting people who he thought were smart and he thought supported the company.
He was building an empire, he wasn't just making movies.
That was the New Line way. If they liked you, they left you alone.
They worked the crap off of you and they didn't pay you a lot, but you knew you were doing their next movie.
So if you got on that New Line boat, that was a good ship to be sailing on.
The way I got involved in "Nightmare on Elm Street 4" was very unusual and very complicated.
We had our pick really of directors, but, again, we wanted young, hot, up-and-coming, cheap.
I had come from Finland a few years prior to seek my fortune.
He and his pal were living out of baked bean cans in a single room in Hollywood somewhere.
I'd lost all my credit cards, all my money, I was really down on my luck.
I had seen the movie he made.
I think it was called "Prison."
It was made for about $1 million and it had a lot of sort of homemade special effects.
I knew he would be great. I met with him, I thought he was fantastic.
And after fifteen minutes Bob Shaye's like, "Okay, goodbye."
And he pretty mu ch throws me out of his office.
Bob kept saying, "He doesn't speak English." (laughing) He said, "It's not his main language."
I went five times back to New Line, pretty much unannounced.
I didn't, you know, call an assistant and make an appointment, I just would go and hang out in the lobby and go to Bob Shaye's office and say, "Hi, I'm back." And he's like, "The Finnish guy? What is he doing here?"
And every time he'd come in for an interview he looked, frankly, dirtier and dirtier and he'd wear the same clothes. And I really think they started to smell.
He was like a Viking, you know, this guy's huge. He had hair down to his ass.
And I thought, "God, I've got to hire this guy just to get him a bath."
We needed a director desperately and I knew it was going to be a huge amount of work and we decided, he's a big guy, you know (laughing) he probably has a lot 0 energy and he can work really hard 24 hours a day for six weeks to get the film ready.
So they kind of compromised and finally said, like, "Okay, you won us over. You can direct the movie."
I was very scared stepping into this movie. It was my first sort of a Hollywood movie and though it was only a $5 million budget, for me it was gigantic.
Brian Helgeland wrote "Nightmare 4" and he was another hot, young, up-and-coming writer that we could afford.
There was sort of a rough script, but a very, very sort of like a blueprint for the movie.
And sooner than we knew, the writers' strike started.
"Nightmare 4" was just this writers' disaster.
So a lot of it was really made up, because we had no writer to write it.
Mostly I would come up with the nightmares because I had an endless amount of nightmares in my memories from my childhood.
He knew that he had to make the film more visual and he had to up those stakes because we didn't have as strong a script.
What I felt was very important was to sort of reinvent the series.
From the very get-go I said, "I feel that Freddy has sort of become like James Bond of horror films and we should make him, in a way, the hero of the movie."
We saw a movie before the movie was made, which was called
"Chinese Ghost Story." We were inspired by the feel of it.
And this movie was really meant to be done in that Hong Kong action style, which is a lot of quick cuts, a lot of different shots.
Renny was like ahead of everybody on that film.
He totally understand the youth culture, he was young himself.
He completely understood how to make the script work.
Looking to preserve the continuity of the previous film Renny Harlin sought out a new cast of likeable young actors to team up with the last of the "Elm Street" children.
The casting of the movie was an interesting process. I wanted to see really fresh faces in the film, people that nobody had seen before.
"Alice is not especially well put together. And yet there's something about this shy-looking girl that suggests that she might be incredibly attractive if she had any confidence."
I was that gin. I was that shy girl. I thought I would never have a boyfriend.
Alice was a daydreamer, that was where she felt most comfortable.
In her mind, imagining being with the hunky Dan.
"Alice's attention drifts to a tough pick-up that is pulling up not far from them.
A handsome, dark-haired teenager, Dan, climbs out of the car."
Well, they made a joke, because they gave me the part pretty early on and the script -
I don't know if his name was Dan - they were like, "Just call him Dan, that'll work."
At first I was, like, man, these guys think I'm so bad, they're giving me my own name so I answer to it. (laughing)
I didn't know I was going to be in the film until my agent called and told me there was a script for "Nightmare on Elm Street 4" and I was in it.
They forgot to kill me in "Part 3" so that's why they brought me back in "Part 4." (laughing)
Oh, they let the black man live? (laughing)
We'll fix that.
I would tell my friends, "lf you're going to the movie to see me in "Part 4," go straight to the theaters, don't get no popcorn, don't get no drinks or nothin', 'cause my ass will be dead by the time you sit down."
I remember our disappointment in "Nightmare 4" that we couldn't get Patricia Arquette.
She had been such an integral part to "Nightmare 3" and people liked her so much.
I'm not 100% sure why Patricia Arquette did not return.
To this day, I don't know why.
I don't think there's any untoward reason, I think maybe she was busy.
Patricia was already starring in other movies then and it just simply may have been a conflict.
Maybe her agents wanted too much money and Bob Shaye didn't want to pay and said, you know, Bob Shaye-style, "Screw you."
They just wouldn't pay her the money that she asked for, and it was very little and definitely what she deserved.
"Kristen, a beautiful, but pensive-looking blonde teenager, is walking slowly towards the ominous house."
I think stepping into that role at first I was nervous, 'cause I'm like, "I'm not Kristen. Oh no."
You know, "I'm not Patricia Arquette."
The chemistry between Tuesday Knight was not as great as it was with Patricia Arquette.
It was quite difficult to do a scene that was a heartfelt reunion on the page with somebody I hadn't worked before.
I would have loved to have seen what that movie could have become had Patricia Arquette participated in it.
We ran into Jim Cameron, so Renny's quite excited and he introduces himself and Jim says, "Well, so how are you resurrecting Freddy this time?" And Renny just looks at him and goes, "A dog pisses fire."
Renny was really the one who did the whole dog pee thing to resurrect Freddy, which was, what a great way, right?
Someone just pees on it, he's back.
I'm a dog lover, so it just came naturally, this whole dog idea.
Because it is an animal and another animal together with the pee.
It comes out beautiful when you do it that way.
That's some strong pee.
(laughing) He had a urine infection like hell.
I think that a dog peeing on Freddy is, you know, again it's mythic. It's like, if you start to examine that and you want to be intellectual, it's a hound from hell.
Freddy come back, why you runnin'? Piss on his ass.
"How's this for a wet dream?"
The sequence that was maybe one of the more challenging ones was the water bed sequence.
I really did appreciate my death scene, and again, at the hands of a beautiful naked woman.
Always my weakness.
That bedroom was built on about a 4 foot high platform with a water tank that was the actual water bed.
Very complicated. I don't know how we pulled it off. And it was one of those scenes where everybody was getting frustrated.
"It's like 20-something takes. You guys have been shooting this for 6 fucking hours. If you can't get it, it's your problem."
There was definitely tension on the set on that day, but in the end it worked out perfectly.
Ken and Tuesday and I were the last of the "Elm Street" children and to just sort of summarily wipe us out at the beginning of "pan 4..
Just felt like a real sort of cheap trick.
What were we going to say, you know? We're going to go up to Bob Shaye and say, "Look, we want to be in the whole movie."
It was on page 11 , I think is when he got rid of me.
Should've got rid of me on page 2.
Kristen's death scene was kind of bizarre.
There was a beautiful beach, palm trees and all that, and she's suntanning herself there and Freddy turns into a shark.
Renny wanted my bathing suits to be like the size of a, like string, so I put it on and go, "There's no way that I'm coming out like this. There's no way." And he goes, "Oh Tuesday, your buttocks looks beautiful.
You come out like that."
And I want to get this shot and I get really pissed off at Tuesday, I'm like, "Come on," you know. And she's like, "I can't, I can't."
I'm like, "No, I'm not coming out!"
"No, no, it's beautiful. No, it brings love."
It's not because I'm some, you know, sex pervert, but I know what teenage boys want to watch.
So they had to sew a little thing. That's why I had that little Hawaiian job.
I do remember that just to stay with the sort of superhero concept with Freddy, I said, "Let's give him sunglasses."
Almost like now he's like Tom Cruise.
Which was again, it was kind of like against all the rules of the "Nightmare" movies.
After that, we cut to the scene where, you know, I'm in the big fight with him and so, I mean, she does sort of go down in sort of a blaze of glory.
It's kind of too late for her, but then she does pass it on to Alice.
Alice did take on the qualities of her friends as they were killed.
You could really see that are in the character in the course of the movie.
Somebody I could make seem timid and vulnerable in the beginning and who can then, in a believable way, become kind of like Sigourney Weaver in "Aliens" or something like that.
Poor Lisa. I just remember her being so shiny and they were always, always powdering her because she was exerting so much energy because she was so physical in that one.
They did send me off to a day of karate school.
I was terrified I was going to hit myself in the head with nun chucks.
And I've heard this comment so many, it's like, "The wig was so bad, it doesn't even look like Alice from the back."
That's all acting, you know, 'cause she's really kind of like a femme fatale in real life.
Your villain, to put a flip on a famous adage, is only as good as his hero. And when we look at the best of these franchises, be it "Dream Warriors" or "The Dream Master," in which case he fighting against a capable hero, those are the ones the fans generally like the best.
"Nightmare 3" and "Nightmare 4" has been the highest making movies. I ain't braggin' but those were the two I was in.
One of the cool thin gs about "Nightmare 4" is it's sort of a who's who of makeup effects.
I had done makeup effects for
"Prison" and so I got a call from Renny saying, "Would you like to do this film?" Yeah, okay, sure, absolutely.
I liked working with Renny. He was very creative and really began to push what we could do live, in camera.
I ended up passing the makeup off to Howard Berger.
"Here, go make Robert up for the next six weeks. And you can hear all his stories."
I was very polite and so I was waiting for Robert to finish talking before I would do stuff.
But Robert talks and talks and talks and talks.
"I saw Barbra Streisand in New York, my first time she was singing, she was still singing like small clubs."
I've heard every Robert Englund story ever. I mean, by year three or four I would sit there, I could finish them for him.
"I flew, no one grabbed me, and 37 stitches. I thought my career was over."
I could just say, "No, no, rest your voice." "80, this is what happen ed to Robert when he did this movie."
There would be times where I, literally, would just put my arm on Robert's head and hold him, you know, like put him in a headlock almost, and do his makeup, you know.
'Cause Kevin said, "Just get in there. Just disregard what he has to say.
Just jump in and start doing the makeup."
It was a completely collaborative unit that created those effects and anybody could come in with their ideas.
But they had no idea what the hell we were gonna be doing, so we would brainstorm and figure, "Well, what if we did this and what if this happened."
They would have a release date before they even had a script, so we were just always up against the gun.
I think on "Nightmare 4" we, literally, were shooting something, I want to say, like, two weeks before the movie came out.
Kevin called and was like, "Oh, we've got a pickup to do." And I'm like, "The movie comes out next week," or whatever. But it didn't matter, it's just the way those movies work.
I think I remember seeing the poster for "Nightmare 4" before we ever started shooting.
I was like, "This is just insanity."
I was pretty beat up from other work when I began "Part 4". I was committed, I just wasn't completely behind the project, I think, with enthusiasm.
After the first week of shooting, when I cut some footage together and showed it to everybody, I think everybody sort of woke up.
I went, "Aha! this is the 'MTV' Nightmare."
It's energetic, it's kinetic.
They were using tricks and techniques, both in camera and for post, that I couldn't imagine.
I was so excited about seeing that, that I mean, I, literally, got my second wind that night and for the rest of that shoot.
With Robert Englund back in the saddle again, Freddy set his sights on fresh meat.
Once again, taking each of his victim's fears to a whole new level.
"The Black Girl looks a bit nerdy, with thick glasses short hair, but makes up for it with a hip sense of style."
I loved my death scene. (laughing) It was actually my first on-camera kiss.
The idea of the hand coming through the desk, I thought that was kind of goofy and stupid.
It was like from another movie, I don't know what I was thinking.
I was thinking "Terminator" or something.
And I just remember when he was coming towards me, they said they had to use the real claws because it was such an extreme close-up.
So they were really sharp.
And I just remember he pulled my skin with the real claw so when I was done with the day I had these pin pricks all underneath my chin.
"Want to suck face?" "No."
When I said, "No," he came down and his dentures flew out of his mouth, he was like this close, straight into my mouth.
And it was like saliva and probably what he ate that day and just crud.
I heard that To}; said something about us doing ADR, looping her lines because she didn't sound "black" enough.
Renny came up to me and he's like, "You're going to redo all your lines."
And I was like, "Excuse me?" And he's like, "Yeah, because you don't sound like a black girl and this is not how a black gin is."
And it kind of pissed me off, to be quite frank. And so I confronted him on it.
And, it didn't go so well.
I don't remember this. I'm from Finland. What do I know?
I would deny it, too. Hell. (laughing)
If that's true, that must have come from somebody else. It sounds like Bob Shaye.
When it finally came out, Renny walked up to me and he put his arm around me and he's like, "I didn't know any better. I'm really sorry," you know. "You're getting some really good reviews and thank you for challenging me on that."
"Rick, Alice's brother, is shimmying out of an upper floor window and with surprising grace, he maneuvers to the ground and lands smiling in front of the girls."
First, Lisa and I were twins and then I was, I think, I was supposed to live.
And then there was this very elaborate, cool death scene.
Originally what happened is he went into the elevator and it was a nightmare elevator and the elevator started falling apart and the walls came off and he's like falling through space, darkness.
That was, literally, a scene where we ran out of money. And nobody knew what to do, how was he going to be killed and what's going to happen.
We were working with an unfinished script that we were finishing while we were doing it.
Somebody said, "Look, why does he have to die at all? Let's just not even have the scene."
And then, well, we already shot the funeral scene, he is dead, he's in the coffin.
And I said, "Well, he should die in some kind of martial arts scene, because we've already set that up."
We have no money to build any kind of a set, so all we could do was hang these fabrics and make it look like it's like Japanese or something.
One of the epic fails, I think, of the sequences in "Nightmare 4" is when Rick fights invisible Freddy.
The only death scene probably in any "Nightmare on Elm Street" where Freddy is not actually there.
And I worked really hard for about two and a half, three weeks just to get some basic skills down.
And then I got on the set and they pretty much said, "No, no, no, we don't want that," you know.
It was just, they wanted all big roundhouse punches.
That's not karate at all, it's full-on John Wayne bullshit.
So cheaply done, and so kind of cheesy.
I mean, massively lame.
I'd had an appendix operation.
I ended up like tearing my scars doing that scene and had to go to the hospital for that.
I love the cockroach scene. That's great.
You've got "Raiders of the Lost Ark" where you go, "lndy's frightened of snakes," right.
Okay, so what happens later on in the film? He gets thrown in the snake pit.
So we have this character who's frightened of bu gs, right, so what do you expect? You expect the same thing, you know, she's gonna be taken over by tons of cockroaches. And, you know, what we did was we completely turned it around and we had her tum into a cockroach.
"Debbie Stevens, is one well put together item. A tough but smart gin from the wrong side of the tracks."
I was working with Screaming Mad George, who was the makeup artist who did all of my cockroach stuff, and he was just fabulous.
I don't even know why he's called Screaming Mad George.
I think he just came up with that, you know, it's kind of crazy.
The makeup was in credibly challenging. Sitting in the seat for probably about three and a half hours getting all of the prosthetics put on and all of the makeup and all of the blood and all the guts that they had to attach. And then I had these huge arms.
It was all very visceral, you know, you had like tons of stretchy chunks of flesh stuff covered in slime and covered in blood.
I remember doing it and feeling like, "Oh my God, this is going to look so goofy,"
'cause the arms were floppy and ﬂipping and ﬂopping this and that way and nothing seemed to quite work.
When my arms break and fall off it's only my head.
So I'm in a box, I'm like low in a box like that, and on top is this big fake body that I had to do a body cast for.
So they've got me all glued in, I'm all in this thing. I sat in that box for five hours and I finally was like, "I have to pee." (giggling) And they're like handing me a styrofoam cup.
I don't have a penis! I can't pee in the cup! Can't do it, won't do it! Gotta get me out.
By building the set in a very specific way, making it sort of a forced perspective set and all that, it actually sort of ended up being kind of scary and surreal and weird.
I'm in gun in a cockroach cast and they're paying me to do this.
I love, my favorite shot is Freddy looks into the roach motel and it's his eye looking into it.
Ohhhhh, you know, in the roach motel and, "Splat!"
Working on the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies are a complete hoot because you don't just get to rip people apart, you get to do things that are imaginative and fun and surrealistic and it is an artist's dream.
The Rialto Cinema sequence is my favorite scene in the movie. It was very hard to accomplish the whole sequence.
We built part of the balcony seating sideways, so that she was actually hanging from the chair.
They mounted the camera on that balcony and that whole balcony turned so it became vertical.
And I wanted it to sort of build slowly with, you know, things starting to fly toward the screen and the popcorn starts flying and the drink goes.
And, of course, the hardest part was where she actually hits the screen and kind of blends and becomes part of the movie.
You actually see her hit the screen and go from a 3-dimensional person to a
2-dimensional movie and that had never been done.
To me, it was like a movie lover's sequence and kind of a homage to cinema in general.
Playing Alice - the one who never got married
(laughing) and never left the restaurant, old Alice - we tried old-age makeup and Renny didn't like it. So then, I think we finally ended up using a prosthetic.
Thick, rubbery stuff glued on to really get me looking old.
I came up with the idea of the faces in the pizza.
We did the horror pizza, the soul food.
"Rick, you little meatball."
We ordered from Domino's, we took pictures of him and did a clay press out of it. Sculpted all these individual little meatball heads.
And then we did a full-scale pizza with the real actors' faces in it.
And we made them all move around, "Aaahhhh." You know, doing weird things.
(laughing) I remember when he puts the fork into his face and it just kind of goes like that, it just worked so well.
My favorite sequence of all the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films is in "Part 4" when Lisa Wilcox leaves The Crave Inn. Get it, The Crave Inn?
"Come on, we have to hurry!" "What's going on?"
I remember coming up with this idea of a loop in the scene where it keeps repeating itself and that's how they figured out they were in a dream.
By the second time I'm in the loop, I have an upset stomach because I know something bad's gonna happen.
"Come on, we have to hurry!" "What's going on?"
And that's just such a brilliant realization of a dream, to me.
When we sat down to think about the ending and how to kill Freddy, we, literally, said, "Okay, well, how do monsters get killed in movies?" You can chop them up, you can shoot them, you can bum them, you can blow them up.
But what all those ways have in common is that it's always a force coming from outside that destroys the evil.
I brought in a picture of
"The Ecstasy of St. Theresa," which is this Bernini sculpture.
The expression on her face is of divine ecstasy, of having seen God. And so there's a scene she's supposedly defeated and she looks up at these little children who are like angels. And what we wanted was the idea that in that moment, God is filling her with ecstatic grace.
Then she could see him for what he was, which was just evil and, "just look at yourself, look how low you are."
That's how we created the whole idea of these souls trapped inside Freddy and that they're gonna be set free and they are from inside out.
They're gonna rip him apart and destroy him.
"1, 2, 3!"
We actually did all these little radio-controlled faces that kind of (shrieking) and moved around and screamed and stuff.
(laughing) I remember the little stubby hands coming in and grabbing stuff and grabbing his head and it was so goofy and looked so silly when we were doing it.
Steve Johnson built this enormous, gigantic Freddy Krueger chest and all these nude people were all painted up and pressing through this dental dam chest, and I just thought that was so cool.
You go on the set one day and there's, like, a bunch of girls walking around topless.
It's very important, symbolically, for this thing and you're bare, you're naked.
So I got them to take their clothes off and then I had these girls pressing themselves against the chest.
And I was like, "This is genius. Every teenage boy is going to love this."
"Linnea, push out! Push your chest out, Linnea!"
They were shooting this piece and people are pressing on it, you know, and pushing through it and I don't think it was mounted as stable as they had requested and up on top was this little Japanese woman, Michiko.
You know something went a little bit wrong and the whole thing came tumbling down.
You know, crew members are falling from the rafters.
Here's poor little Michiko crushed by a giant Freddy Krueger chest.
There was, in general, on the set an aura of panic.
Bob Shaye was sure that he had made the wrong choice, all through the production, so he would come to the set and look around and had this really grumpy expression on his face and this really son of suspicious look, like, "This Finnish guy has no idea what he is doing."
No one wants Bob on set.
Renny being the worst. Renny being, "You take care of it, Rachel! You take care of him!" (laughing)
And I would try to work hard and come up with great ideas and win him over, but I couldn't. He pretty much never spoke to me during the whole production, except, like, grunting and looking really unhappy.
Nightmare 4's success would ultimately be left up to audiences and the response to the film's release on August 19, 1988 was a surprise to everyone.
Pretty much all I could read was, like, great reviews.
They found all kinds of hidden meanings in the movie that I didn't even know the movie had and I was completely blown away. That was the last thing I expected.
It was the biggest of all of them. It far out-grossed anything.
And then, eventually, the movie made about $50 million dollars in domestic box office, which was at the time, the most successful independent movie ever made.
He delivered a great film, in my opinion, he did a really good job.
Renny Hanin I thought was a very talented director.
It's a tough thing to make fresh and he did.
Bob Shaye called me opening day and called me and said, "You know, I have a habit of taking a limo and driving around, going to different theaters and looking at the reactions of the audience.
Would you like to join me?"
And we start driving around going to these theaters and there's lines around the block.
I said to Bob, I said, "I gotta call my mom." Because my mom in Finland had been worried to death now for three years. Most months I didn't even have money to call my mom and she didn't know what was going on with me.
And I called his mother and told her in Swedish what a great guy her son was.
And my mother is like, "I'm talking to the head of the studio and he's telling that my son is a genius and he's made the biggest hit of the company."
At the time that "Nightmare 4" came out, I think it was probably, in a strange way, the hippest, deconstructed, kind of MTV film made.
Over that weekend my life changed completely. And the first phone call I got on Monday in my ﬂeabag hotel, I thought somebody was pulling a prank on me when the manager called my room and said, "I have Mr. Spielberg on the line." And that was the first call on Monday.
Just a struggling loser like the rest of us in Hollywood and within a year he was directing
"Die Hard 2" and hanging out with Sylvester Stallone.
It's one of those crazy thin gs in Hollywood. You just never know who's gonna become huge.
It wasn't long before other studios tried to cash in on the Freddy phenomenon.
Even Bollywood got into the act.
By now, there's Johnny Carson jokes, there's political cartoons of Freddy, Freddy's in the funny papers, Tom Hanks is making Freddy jokes in movies.
"It's 'Nightmare on Elm Street,' and that would make him Freddy Krueger."
Anything that's bad is
"A Nightmare in the National League,"
"A Nightmare in the NFL,"
"A Nightmare in the N BA," it's "A Nightmare in Iraq."
"When you take a walk down our opposition's memory lane, it starts to look like "Nightmare on Elm Street." (laughing audience)
We were so part of the vernacular.
Everything - from the beginning of the fact that it could be made into a sequel to the merchandising - were things that never, ever occurred to me.
It was interesting to see all the Freddy stuff, all the merchandise, you know, 'cause it was a million toys.
The Freddy gloves, the hat.
The early merchandising they just thought toys they just went for kids.
A misconceived idea, incidentally, a Freddy doll.
(cackling Freddy don)
He became kind of the ultimate cuddly toy to have next to you.
He became cool.
I'm like, "Okay, I made it!"
"I'm an action figure!"
Nobody ever takes them out of their packages anyway, so they're all hanging up on people's walls.
"We've got 12 of these Wall O'ffect Freddy Faces, 12 Deluxe Freddy Masks and
12 Screaming Freddy Chests of Souls."
There were watches, jewelry.
Freddy Krueger pillowcases.
At one point, some company even made Freddy pajamas for little kids, which, considering Freddy started out as a child molester...
"Kids, go put on your Charles Manson pajamas on before you go to bed." Kind of the same thing, you know.
The strangest piece of Freddy merchandise was Valium in St. Petersburg.
It said in Cyrillic, "Take one and he will come for you."
Unlicensed, I'm sure. Tough luck, New Line.
I think there was a point where I thought there was a little bit too much Freddy out there in pop culture.
It seemed like, for a certain amount of time, people just couldn't get enough of the character.
One of the nice things is Robert is a love able ham and he was just into all of it.
"I'm Freddy, and this is for you."
You could see the twinkle in his eye when he gets underneath all that makeup and - be it rapping with the Fat Boys, "It's time for Freddy." or selling his own 900 number, "Freddy Krueger is just a phone call away." he's having the time of his life.
You suddenly become woven into Americana then and you become legendary.
When you travel the globe and you say "Freddy Krueger" people kn ow who you are talking about.
By the time it got to television, (laughing) it was so much like, "Ah, they're going to drag this for every possible venue they can."
We said, "You know, maybe we can turn this into a syndicated television show."
The show that wound up being
"Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy's Nightmares."
It was going to really be this novel approach to television.
This was the promise I was told. That we were gonna be on late at night and we could be dark and we could really push the envelope.
This show gave a lot of sort of up-and-comers a chance to, you know, to get a start.
Anybody who wanted to direct one, could direct one, anybody who wanted to be in one, could be in one, (laughing) anyone who wanted to write one, could write one.
They had a guest star every single week.
Brad Pitt's in there, Mariska Hargitay.
I got to decapitate Lori Petty.
Not many people have that on their resume and I'm proud of it.
It was interesting having done a "Friday the 13th" TV series and then a "Nightmare on Elm Street" TV series. Both things really didn't represent what the movie franchises were.
"Freddy's Nightmares" as a concept was always anthological and to have him introduced, he was the Crypt keeper, he was Alfred Hitchcock, he was Rod Serling.
We were going to call ourselves, like, a dark, violent "Twilight Zone" with Freddy as a sort of host and participant.
I think they basically had him in for, you know, one day, two days or whatever, and did all those things so he didn't have to go in and out of the makeup.
He was only in the wrap-arounds really to my episode, but they also asked me to do two of the other wrap-arounds aside from my show.
And those were getting shot at the same time you were doing your episodes, so you would, literally, run to another set, which was not in the same building, do the stuff with Robert Englund, and as soon as you yell "Cut!" you ran back and did your other shot on the other stage.
So, it was crazy. (laughing)
"Freddy's Nightmares" - certainly a nightmare in many respects.
In a way it was like film school because I learned how to really be well prepared when you came on to the set because you were doomed otherwise. (laughing)
The only thing I could remember about the series was it was so cheap. Cheap, cheap, cheap. (laughing)
"No one's perfect, bubble head."
The budgets were quite low and they went lower as time went on.
I would say by the tenth one they were pretty miserable and I stopped paying attention.
They really didn't care about the show, it was just a cash cow, and so we just ran amok.
I mean, we'd do whatever it was we wanted to do.
"Action!" "Blend-o-matic!!" (laughing maniacally)
All of the early episodes were originally intended to be two half hours that were vaguely linked.
And I would say the first five or six episodes are pretty good.
In fact, I play significantly in one of them.
If you ever see the Pilot for "Freddy's Nightmares" you'll know what the show is supposed to be.
The "No More Mr. Nice Guy" episode of "Freddy's Nightmares" was great because it was the backstory of Freddy Krueger. It's the history of how Freddy became Freddy.
Tobe Hooper did the Pilot.
He's one of my favorite directors, and people, in Hollywood.
And Tobe did this dark, wonderful Pilot.
"Springwood's nightmares are just beginning."
My daughter at that time was 15 years old, or something like that, and she had just had a birthday and I got Robert to wish her "Happy Birthday" on camera.
"Happy Birthday, Robin. What are you, 15?"
She was like the star of her school, you know.
"Bet you wish you had a learner's permit, or better yet, a drivers license.
Too bad you're not going to see Sweet 16, bitch!" (evil laugh)
We really crossed the boundaries quite often in terms of what was acceptable on commercial television.
"Freddy's Nightmares" was very politically incorrect.
That was part of the fun of it.
"Yee-haw! Ride 'em, cowboy!'
"You got any saddle sores yet?"
You could go places that no other show would let you go.
There are scenes of relatively graphic sex and violence.
We did shoot a lot of extra footage, so to speak, (laughing) and we'd just go, "Yeah, let's have her naked in this shot," or something like that. (laughing)
Knowing full well none of this would wind up in the show. (laughing) Or we'd have some bloodbath knowing it was gonna get out anyway, so we'd just do it.
There was lots of that stuff, I mean, one of the ones I directed had like a full Peckinpah male-on-female violent sequence.
Because it was syndicated it played at different times in different markets and each of the stations could put it on whenever they wanted to.
But what happened was they put us on at
4 and 5, 6 o'clock in the afternoon in the Bible Belt and there was all this reaction and complaining.
The network clamps down heavily on censorship issues.
The "Safe Sex" episode, which was the last episode they bought for the first season, they said, "Cut out eight minutes."
"Time for the Big Bang, Cherry Bomb!" (kissing)
It really was not great television.
I can't bear to watch them now because they're just so wacked.
"How 'bout I make you a Bloody Harry?"
It was fun. It was fun to do. (laughing) It has not stand the test of time.
I blame, to some extent, the quality of the production that really hastened its demise.
Our crew from "Freddy's Nightmares," when we were canceled, went over and took over "Tales mm the Crypt" and single-handedly brought down the budget of th at show so that it was manageable, or that show would have been long gone, too.
After the stellar box office success of "Dream Master" and with the series at the height of its popularity, New Line Cinema decided the time had come to tackle deeper, more mature themes.
Freddy would become a father.
The story for "Nightmare 5" was controversial with some people.
I really think that I came up with the story. (laughing)
Because I was a new mother and I was consumed by my child who could very possibly have been the devil, he had "Omen" type qualities. (laughing)
I mean, the target audience was originally teenagers and to scare the holy bejesus out of them and that teenage audience was now growing up.
And I remember stressing that during the whole creation of the script.
In the late '80s, early '90s there was a minor movement in horror.
This kind of hardcore, unbridled, rock 'n' roll horror fiction.
We were radical, troublemaking horror writers who all emerged at right about the same time.
Splatterpunk writing had a direct influence on how the movie franchises were going.
Basically, as I understand it with "Nightmare 5," there was a Splatterpunk cattle call, where every horror writer who was working in that milieu got contacted by New Line going, "Pitch us."
Mike DeLuca, then a development guy at New Line, called me in to ask me if I'd be interested in writing and I went in and wrote, gave them a treatment called
"Freddy Rules." It posited the existence of a dream reality location called "The Coma Pit." It's the one place Freddy's afraid of.
And I was the only person in Hollywood without a script in their back pocket, so I did not get the job.
DeLuca was a huge fan of "The Light at the End." That was the first novel that Craig and I wrote, which was this punk vampire in the subways of New York, and he was always a fan of this thing.
And out of all the guys that pitched, Craig and I were the ones that won.
I thought it needed to have those themes of abortion and birth and motherhood.
These were the elements all coming together with Alice dreaming her baby's dreams, seeing Freddy leak into them and then going into Freddy's dreams, in the unconscious, to find out what made him a monster.
We wrote what we thought was a pretty solid first draft. They said, "Well, you know, you wrote a "Nightmare on Elm Street" movie like a Stanley Kubrick would do it." And then we said, "Yeah, cool, huh?" And they said, "No."
And our ass was out the door.
For "Nightmare 3" I had pitched them Freddy as a baby. And I went in - one of the executives was pregnant at the time - and I was, literally, picturing, "Picture the claws clawing their way out." And, no one liked my idea. (laughing)
So then I got a call for "Nightmare 5" and when they came to me they said, "Remember when you wanted Freddy to have a baby?
Well, we like that idea now.
What if Alice was the mom?"
Without an approved, finished script in hand and with a looming release date on the calendar, New Line sought out the next hungry filmmaker who could deliver a visually stunning "Nightmare" on budget and on schedule.
Stephen Hopkins, who was our director, was terrific.
He had really come from the art direction world.
He was just so visual.
I guess they'd been seeing a bunch of different people, but I did big storyboards, I had a lot of ideas about, you know, the three different scripts they had sent to me.
And Stephen was telling me some ideas and he started to doodle, like a cartoon, like a graphic novel. It was like, "Well, this guy's great."
Stephen was a big comic book buff.
He has tens of thousands of comic books.
Nice English guy, we got along very well, we were good friends.
Bob was very determined to make this one, back to being, you know, more serious and creepy, I think.
The idea was to make Freddy scary again because at this particular point he was definitely in danger of turning into like a game show host or a breakfast cereal mascot, which is, of course, what happened.
I got the job on Valentine's Day and it was out in 3000 cinemas in August.
I think we only had like 4 weeks prep for this film.
I remember, "Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5" I can't believe they're gettin,' it's so quick.
I mean, they did rush it.
The script wasn't really a complete script and in the end, I think, Mike DeLuca and I sort of just got all the different pages and put them into shape.
Basically it came down to Alice is pregnant and she's gonna give birth to Freddy, so how was this going to play.
We had to make up a set of rules for what he was doing to get himself into the real wand, which may be a little muddy in the movie, but it was essentially, get all four of her friends' souls and then get them into the baby.
Alice, well, she was an important figure.
The story certainly wasn't finished in the fourth one.
I felt a lot more confident just from my experience from doing "4" and doing a feature film.
The fact that they even called me back, I was super happy. I was like, "Yes! They called me back to do another one?"
And I was like, "Lucky. Phew!"
"Through the swirling crowd we see Alice standing with Yvonne, a very grounded black girl."
I thought it was really interesting when I played this character because you don't always agree with your friends.
"Why don't you take off?"
Hey, you know, sometimes you tell your friend, "You're full of shit."
Kelly Jo, she rocked. She was a real firebrand.
"Mark, good-looking, though considerably off-the-wall, steps into shot holding a small sketchpad and a large, excessive lollipop."
I actually would have made the character darker.
I wanted him to be a bit more goth, I wanted jet black hair and like bone shirts, but I got blond hair instead and shirts that looked better on camera, I guess.
It was hard to find the right actor for Joe's part, the comic book artist.
The Mark character was Stephen's idea, and it was based on Stephen, I would say.
He's a comic book guy.
It was my job to fall in love with Erika and that wasn't hard.
"Pan over to Greta and her mother standing at the edge of the group. Greta is living proof of what God can create when he's having a good day."
I remember that Stephen Hopkins told me that he chose me because I wasn't afraid to get really ugly. (laughing)
And I guess a lot of girls were concerned with that and they didn't really want to go that far, but I did.
Erika was just gorgeous, she was the funniest one, I think, of the lot.
We didn't really have a bad apple in the bunch.
I think everybody was pretty game for whatever they could do.
Inspired by the traditions of gothic horror, the cast and crew of "The Dream Child" set out to delve even further into the origins of Freddy's evil.
I think the dark, gothic thing was partly me because I remember Bob Shaye kept on saying, you know, "Every time he hires Europeans gargoyles end up on top of buildings," and all that kind of stuff. (laughing)
I also had my most thrilling experience on You were going to see who Freddy's father was in the asylum and it was Robert Englund without makeup, with my hair all greased back to show my bald spot.
I play Amanda Krueger, the nurse who gets locked into the asylum. It was a dream sequence.
I love the sort of Roger Corman, you know, huge, just the way the asylum looks.
And I got locked in a room and they'd gotten every performance art actor where they all got to do their crazy, psycho snake pit, "Cuckoo's Nest" thing.
What you see is what you get, I mean, it was a big room.
Hundreds of men walking around, acting crazy.
It got a little hinky, 'cause those actors they got a little, you know, it was like a mob.
And when they said, "Roll," on that I was like, "Oh my gosh."
Yeah, I was really fighting the flow for a while with those guys, 'cause not all of th em were film actors and they wouldn't hold back.
Like, "This is scary, this is really scary."
But it's a very effective sequence and it looks like a trillion bucks.
The idea of a thousand maniacs (laughing) raping a nun, that's always good stuff.
On "Elm Street 5," the changes on Freddy were to make him a little more aged and a little more weathered.
They brought David Miller back because they wanted to refine the makeup, make it easier, make it simpler.
I just felt - and I don't know what the limitations were, maybe it was time, maybe it was money - that the makeup for "Part 5" was nowhere as refined as the one that Kevin Yagher did.
Freddy gets born in that crazy birth sequence, (laughing) he comes shooting out like the "Alien" out of her vagina and runs all over the place. (laughing)
But it was quite disgusting, too.
We made a little puppet, it was a little foam rubber puppet and it had mechanics in the eyes and mouth.
I got to play with him off set and I was making him do this.
That was kind of when we were at the height of the latex prosthetic monster innovation period, right in the heartbeat before CGI.
It was a little challenging because he had to go from being newborn little baby, all the way up 'til the final Freddy look.
We actually had a small person for Freddy to make the set look bigger as the altar rose out of the thing.
In the church scene where I encounter Freddy and I tell him that his birth was the curse on the whole of humanity, "I will not allow it to happen again."
It was also very upsetting as a mother, 'cause Freddy curses.
"We'll see, bitch."
I'm his mom and I just didn't think that was very nice.
There was exactly one line of our dialogue left in the film, "lt's a boy"!
But it's also the one they used for the poster, so that worked out okay.
"Jacob, a boy of about six or seven years stands there, watching Alice. He's frail. Other worldly.
Not ghost-like, but possessing a strange, transcendent quality."
The first day, admittedly, I was scared because Robert's there and he's on set, automatically looks over
(laughing) and he points at me and he walks towards me, and I almost took a dump at that point.
The kid is terrific, he's just wonderful.
He'd gone through quite a difficult period of his life during that film.
My dad passed away in real life.
He was my hero and I loved him and it was really great to get to work, you know, and kind of forget about it and be in a real state of imagination, which is what that set was.
Amid constant script changes and a rushed production schedule, the cast and crew of "Nightmare 5" were left to wonder how, or even if, the finished film would play.
Now "Nightmare 5" is shooting, having gone through all of these other writers, they bring it back to me - the movie that I couldn't get hired to write - they brought it back to me for dialogue polish.
I remember the script was changing as we were going through it.
We were just racing to do it, and I mean, I didn't really have much time to miss things that weren't there.
I, eventually, just stopped trying to memorize scenes because I knew they'd be different the next day.
We would just put together sequences and solve problems with storyboard ideas when we couldn't figure out what to do.
He would sit while were doing the scene, literally, and go, "It'll look like this," you know, and draw the picture.
There wasn't always a lot of direction happening. Stephen was spread really thin and, he said at one point, "You're gonna pretty much have to direct yourself in these scenes."
We were at an old, like I think it was a Spaghetti Factory or something like that, where they made noodles.
And there were sets everywhere.
We'd have to shush people because they were trying to build while we were shooting.
There were all these different levels there and he'd be running up and down stairs to all the different locations.
As I'm talking about it, I can't believe we actually did all this stuff. I mean, I wouldn't even attempt it now.
If someone showed you a schedule to try and attempt to do all these physical effects or something, you'd just laugh.
"This boy feels the need for speed."
I was the first one to die in but it was a cool death scene.
They were working with special effects to build a running motorcycle that looked like it had been beat to hell.
Every time he was getting stabbed by something mm the motorcycle, it was starting to convert him into the iron man.
And, you know, I took a lot of inﬂuence from Giger, I think, at the time, you know, and a couple other great artists.
It was pretty fun to work with all that stuff and make it look the way it did, because even today people are like, "Wow."
Right on camera it was really good because you could see the stuff moving under the skin.
A lot of it was done in reverse, you know, he had prosthetics put underneath the skin, which would pull out.
We did tests and tests and tests.
We started with the hypodermics then we injected this chemical into it.
"Oh, nice." "Bitchin." "Cool!"
The biggest thing, though, was of course the suit. We had to build the suit - boom - ground up.
We didn't have time to do castings, molds.
The stunt driver was going to be wearing it.
He came over at least ten times to do fittings and we actually had Dan wear the head one time for a close-up of just his eyes.
The end of the scene, they put me inside a cab of a truck with all this makeup, a thing on my eye and this whole neck piece and I look just wrecked.
And I have a line where I'm like, "Hey, Alice."
"Want to make babies?"
People were pulling over and then I stepped out and they're like, "Oh my God." (laughing)
And we're like, "No, it's a movie, it's a movie." But it looked so real and it was pretty fun.
It was like the best Halloween costume I've ever had.
I was devastated when I found out they were cutting it down.
I've seen the uncut version and the cut version, and the cut version is just so truncated.
There's a snake hose thing that comes out of the exhaust pipe and it stabs the back of his calf. It's like, everything is just about to happen and they cut.
We just had to keep on cutting and cutting and cutting. We were sending it back and forward to the MPAA, I don't know, twenty times or so.
They cut out half of everything we did.
Well, every sequence in that went a lot further. That's about the best way to describe it.
My favorite kill would be Greta.
I think Greta's is really cool. I really do like that one a lot.
I went to high school with a girl named Greta who became a model and was as anorexic as possible.
Then there was the Monty Python "Meaning of Life" eating scene.
It just became almost like a vomiting food fight, I mean, it really was gross.
All the people at the dinner party were all laughing and there was something clownish and weird about it.
I like Greta's mom.
"Don't talk with your mouth full, dear."
Todd Masters did my makeup and he was fantastic and the first day that I went in for a makeup test, we did everything in three stages.
Spent a lot of time with Todd just moving my mouth around and my jaw to see what was the most horrifying way to sell it. (laughing)
And they wouldn't let me eat.
They told me that I had to have everything through a straw and we had long days and I got hungry.
And on, like, the third day or something I just said, "You know, forget it. I'm gonna eat, I don't care."
They served spaghetti with tomato sauce and all that tomato sauce was living in the pocket of my chin and I could smell it all day, it was gross.
And I haven't done heavy prosthetics ever since. (laughing)
They actually gave me a copy of Erika's head that didn't work for them, and I teased her one time that it was my bath toy and she kind of freaked out. (laughing)
Greta's death was deemed to be much too foul.
I just kn ow that the scene was much longer.
Much longer and gorier.
I think Freddy fed herself to herself in the end.
But it just kind of just happened super fast, the way that it ended up.
I don't think it was as good, it didn't have as much impact.
It's so silly in nature to take it seriously.
I think if we had longer post we could've fought more about it.
Well, the diving board scene was complicated because I had food poisoning.
I was so sick.
I thought I was going to die.
But, you know, the show must go on.
That was, maybe, one of the more complicated ones because everything about it was stop-motion animation.
We did lots of stop-motion animation in the film.
We had made foam claws, you know, at the end of the diving board, that we animated frame by flame.
And then the background was projected.
It was a rear-screen projection.
And that board had to tum into a claw.
And that was a difficult one for Kelly to act because she had nothing to work with.
I had never done anything with special effects before.
'Cause it's one thing to see it and you're on the set and then really come to life and you're seeing it on the film.
There's something, to this day I think, stop-motion gets that nothing else does.
Digital doesn't really do it because, in the end, stop-motion just charms you, I think.
I think I was surprised that that character lived.
(laughing) Freddy did not kill the black girl!
I know that he did in another series, but he didn't get me.
The ultimate thing that I learned from this whole experience was that hell is writing for other people.
We had this elaborate sequence in this artist's loft where all of her artworks came to life and it was really cool. And, eventually, it got turned, in the subsequent 13 drafts, into a comic book scene where Freddy's on a skateboard.
Obviously, the comic book sequence itself is preposterous.
I think I put the superhero sequences in 'cause I'm a comic book freak.
I love the reinforcement of the nightmare of the boy falling into his own cartoons.
Mark being sucked into the comic book was pretty straightforward and easy, I think. That was pure animation.
The whole set in my death scene was painted black and white.
You would think it was just color taken out of the film, but no.
When they shut those, they made my face really red, they got really bright clothes that I was supposed to be in, then they keyed everything back.
That was an interesting day. That was, you know, another actor doing the kind of cartoon Freddy in that.
"Black and White Freddy leaps to his feet! He is now transformed into Super Freddy."
They took Robert Englund's prosthetics and fit them on my face and then put other bits and pieces in there, 'cause I have a bigger head than he has.
The design for the Phantom Prowler had the 9 mm.
Th at was the first time I ever shot a 9 mm.
Just having it "click-click" like that, (gunshot) that was really fun.
That lightning bolt on my shirt wasn't supposed to be there, but one of the squibs went off and my shirt caught on fire. For me, I thought that was normal.
It's kind of crazy to think of what I had to do just for those couple lines.
The interesting thing is my death scene, I had almost nothing to do with it.
We used a replacement animation series of cut-outs and I animated it frame by flame to finish the action. That's the one that took the slash.
So, it was all done in the camera, basically, there was no opticals involved.
I was, I found out after it happened, and I saw Kelly Jo and Lisa crying and they were shooting the scene after I'd died and they said, "You died last night." And I went, "Huh? What?"
After we finished, I finish ed the Freddy Krueger stuff, the next thing you know I was laying in bed with this hot chick.
You see those two bodies at the beginning when the credits are rolling and they're making love.
It was just sort of a supposed, you know, stylized love sequence we were shooting.
And they said, "So Michael, what would you think about doing a love scene?"
I said, "As Super Freddy?"
And he's buff, (laughing) he's like Lou Ferrigno buff. So, it's like, however they made it look, it made me look good.
Definitely an experience. I'm like, "Damn, this is Hollywood. I love it. I want to do this more often."
After the loss of Dan and her friends, the stage was now set for Alice's final showdown with Freddy.
But with the fate of Alice's unborn dream child hanging in the balance, the filmmakers were desperate to find yet another fitting end for Freddy Krueger.
We had no ending to this movie, so Stephen did some wonderful sketches.
The exorcism sequence is something I wanted to do 'cause I'm a big "Exorcist" fan and I stuck it in.
Stephen had such a vision for that set. It was just in credible.
There was a certain quiet eeriness about it.
It was mind-bending to work out because you had to really, really work out in your head not the reality of what was going on, but the unreality. So getting all the angles right and stuff.
I had to hang upside down.
It was the single-most difficult thing I had to do, though, in any of the movies.
I mean, the moment they said "Cut" it was "Guys, come and lift me up."
But, you know, the blood rushes to your head.
There were so many high points in visual effects and fantasy in the film, trying to beat them all at the end was pretty tough.
Mostly, what I remember about "Nightmare 5" was that it gave K.N.B. the opportunity to really go nuts.
We basically handled this transformation sequence where Lisa turns into Freddy and then splits.
I had to wear the Freddy makeup for a whole day, about twelve hours.
It was not comfortable. (laughing)
And in the final stage it was Lisa's head and Robert's head, you know, it's a puppet head in like this and then pulled apart like this.
It was a challenge when Freddy's coming out of me.
There's a paraplegic gentleman there and she was having to hang onto him.
They took his, you know, legless torso and kind of harnessed it to Lisa Wilcox's body.
He was on wires, I mean, it was just endless.
I don't know, in a million years I wouldn't have thought they would find a legless actor to do that.
Probably no one's seen anything quite like the final battle of "Nightmare on Elm Street." It came out of desperate script writing at the end, trying to work out really how to end it and how to show this kid's anger with Freddy.
I'd say, "I kill Freddy." And they'd say, "How?" and I'd go, "How do I describe that?" I, and literally this is the only way that a 10- or 11-year-old can describe it, "I barf on him."
That's what I would say.
I'd say I barf on him and it goes through him and there's heads on it.
Having all these creatures that Freddy had eaten coming out of his chest on long tendrils like umbilical chords, which were all on wires and puppets.
Visually very interesting, but I think that a lot of those things were attempts to cover the fact that they had liposuctioned all the soul and intelligence out of the story.
I don't think you can ever kill Freddy, right? I mean, you can do what you like, he doesn't exist, he's a dream.
He was still struggling at the end to get out.
I think it's one of the things about a bad guy: that is, you can't kill him.
You can make as many as you like.
After four hugely successful "Nightmares", each one having outperformed the last, "The Dream Child" was released less than a year after its predecessor on August 11 , 1989 to generally negative reviews, becoming the lowest grossing film of the series.
People forget, "Nightmare on Elm Street 5" was a success - it was even a hit -- it just wasn't a blockbuster.
I think it came out very quickly after "4" and I'm not sure if that's, you know, it's a little less of an event.
Stephen did a lot of wonderful, disorienting work on that.
I thought he did a wonderful job, so I wouldn't blame necessarily any of the people making the movie.
Maybe it was the fact that Freddy was a little played out.
This was a period where, fans will tell you, the series was in decline.
And I tried to live up to the promise that I made to the fans that we were not going to make a movie that we did not think was going to be good, "5" was arguably lame.
Honestly I wish it was scarier. If it's a series, you have to work really hard at keeping it at what it's original roots were and I think it kind of strayed from that.
As an ongoing narrative of what happens to everybody on Elm Street, probably a lesser movie in the canon.
I have to take some of the blame for
"Nightmare 5" not working since the story was so much a part of what I wanted to say.
They touched on some really serious issues. Abortion. I mean, that's heavy.
I don't think it was the "Pro-choice Nightmare." I think it was like controversy for controversy's sake and if we made a political point, fine.
So it's like the "Juno" of horror movies. (laughing)
I guess she should have aborted him, right?
Maybe it shows abortion's a good thing. (laughing)
After the disappointment of "The Dream Child," New Line Cinema found itself at a crossroads with the future of Freddy Krueger, prompting their boldest move yet.
Frankly, like with everything in the world, it's time to move on. I mean, we were truly running out of good ideas and I sensed that.
And so they wanted to do, you know, what could they do to go out with a bang.
The only way now to revive it after "5" hadn't been as successful, is let's make sure that everyone knew it was the last "Nightmare."
So it will be the end of Freddy, we'll kill off Freddy and it's the end.
Th ere was always multiple drafts going and I had been a big, big fan of a young New Zealand filmmaker by the name of Peter Jackson and I'd been talking him up for a while and I made the case.
Peter and his - he had a writing partner at that time named Danny Mulharen - the two of them wrote a script.
Peter Jackson, actually, he turned out a draft of "Elm Street 6."
He was in our office typing away at the time.
In his conception Freddy is this kind of.
Tired, decrepit figure. No one takes him seriously anymore.
In fact, in the ultimate sort of insult, kids put themselves to sleep with laughing gas or sleeping pills just so they can go and kick him and beat on him, kind of "Clockwork Orange"-style.
That's what the kids of Elm Street do now 'cause he's such a joke.
And at one point, you know, Freddy sort of manages to kill one of these kids, you know, just enough to sort of get some energy back.
And there's a cop. He gets involved in a fire in a house and is sort of knocked out and ends up in a coma.
And because he's in the coma, he's permanently in Freddy-world.
When "Nightmare 6" came up I basically said, "Would you allow me to direct it?"
You've given me these promotions and they expected me to come back and produce it.
So, Peter and Danny were writing this draft and DeLuca was also writing a draft totally different - and that draft became "Freddy's Dead."
I said, "We shouldn't call it "Nightmare on Elm Street Part 6," we should call it "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare," which everyone loved.
When the smoke cleared, everyone decided that DeLuca's script for Rachel was the way to go.
But, you know, the great benefit of what Peter and Danny did is through that process of really working at New Line, that sort of sealed Peters introduction to Shaye and really laid the foundation for what would come much later, which was "Lord of the Rings."
I was happy to do "6" because of Rachel.
Rachel was getting to direct. I go way back to Roger Corman days with Rachel.
I was very excited to hear she was directing one of them, that's, I thought, "Wow, that's a great story."
Going from sitting in an office desk to going up to directing one of the films.
For the first time in Elm Street's history, the story moved from suburban Springwood - the now abandoned town that Krueger had all but destroyed - to an inner city shelter where a young man with no memory, a group of outcast teens and a woman with a secret, battled Freddy once and for all.
It was very difficult making the choice of Shun Greenblatt.
I know that we had the most difficulty casting that part because the part was, you know, somebody who doesn't have a memory.
"Close up on an eighteen-year-old named John. His face betrays a map of anxieties, an expression better suited to a middle-aged neurotic."
You think I'm Freddy's son, that was the big hook. You know, Freddy had a child, who was he, how come I'm still alive all the other kids are dead in Springwood.
Then using that as a catalyst for the story and for Freddy's character, to use me as a catalyst to get out of Springwood to torment the rest of the world.
The kids I remember because you fall in love with, you know, you meet all these really interesting kids.
"Carlos, a 16-year-old deaf boy, "narrates" like a sports commentator as Tracy rigorously works out on a punching bag."
I was supposed to play the lead. I was brought in to play Shun Greenblatt's part.
When I read the script I just felt more connected to Carlos.
I immediately clicked with the character when I read it and that's how I do everything.
I guess you could say, you know, worked out for me and worked out for him.
Then I got this wonderful actress, Lezlie Deane, who starred for me in "976-EVIL"
Very evocative of Jodie Foster when she was young.
"Maggie turns and moves toward two security guards struggling with a seventeen-year-old gin named Tracy."
Well I think Rachel read the scene with me and we actually, you know, got up and started fighting.
We got like a little like, "yeah, yeah, yeah." It got aggressive, I mean, you know in a safe kind of way, but it was really, that was actually one of the funnest interviews I'd ever done before.
Breckin Meyers an amazing guy.
He's come along way, he's got a great career going right now.
He's a good guy. Lezlie Dean e's one of my best friends. We all stayed connected, which was really cool.
Me and Ricky and Breckin, I mean, we were like three peas in a pod.
You couldn't separate us.
Then we got class actors in there, like Lisa Zane and Yaphet Kotto giving it gravitas.
"We see that Maggie's a striking woman, lucky enough to possess that rare combination of beauty, strength, and confidence."
She was, you know, somehow innerly compelled to protect children, not knowing what her own secret was yet.
Lisa Zane I really liked for the part because she had this sort of waif-like feel that you sometimes thought she was quite lost.
You can't keep your eyes off her on the set. She's like a cat, she's so feline.
And she would throw you offtrack. You would never believe that she was Freddy's daughter in some way.
They said, "You're his daughter and you get to kill him."
I was like, "Wow, alright. That sounds pretty good.
Can I get that in writing?" (laughing)
If you're going to make a story about Freddy's daughter then you're talking about the mythology to start with, so that was basically where we started with the original story ideas.
Rachel, you know, certainly had a bit of a stain from her work with John Waters, you know, she has that sensibility.
Let's not be coy about this.
A lot of the crew members were John Waters crew members.
Our Prop Master at the time was married to Traci Lords. I mean, you know, it just doesn't get any better than that. (laughing)
We set out to have fun on that movie and there's stuff in that movie that I love.
The first scene in the airplane, the beautiful, robust actress to my right was actually a replacement. The original person who was supposed to do that role was the great Divine, who had passed away right before we started shooting.
We intentionally made a decision, you know, to kind of do a Warner Bros. cartoon.
It was just after "Twin Peaks" came out and so there's a huge influence of "Twin Peaks" in it, which is why I went toward humor, quirky humor more than horror.
It does have a great sight gag, though, when Freddy drags out the big can of spikes.
That image in my mind is like Bugs Bunny doing it in some old Bugs Bunny cartoon that I loved.
There's a town just full of adults who are sad because their children are gone and seeing that carnival scene with all the adults wandering around kind of aimlessly and heartbroken.
The carnival scene was so creepy because there weren't any kids left but us.
And we wanted it to be chock full of cameos. We got Tom and Roseanne in that, who were like the biggest tabloid couple in the world at that time.
Obviously they weren't doing it for the money or anything else; they were doing it because they were a fan of the series and they were like wanting to be a part of the last one.
They just spent most of their time pawing each other.
Dry humping each other in the makeup trailer, you know. (laughing)
And I get kissed on the face by Roseanne. I mean, that was amazing.
Unfortunately, we ended up keeping her for like the whole day. I think she thought she'd be in and out in two hours. I think it was not a good experience for her.
One of the cool things was the kid Carlos who wore the hearing aid.
"Aaaaahhh, mommy, not my ear!"
The q-tip from hell.
Any child who's ever had an earache knows what it's like when somebody comes towards you with a q-tip.
Caries' death, which I think is probably the most effective death that I did in "Freddy's Dead."
We worked our butts off to do that.
I mean, just the makeup every day, to put the earpiece on that you saw. You know, I was in four hours of makeup before we even started shooting. We were shooting in this electric plant that was like the real deal.
We weren't allowed to get any blood in there, but we had to blow the kid's head up.
It was sort of a "Scanners" kind of a deal.
And Bob wanted to do something more interesting and he had this idea that we could blow the head up like puzzle pieces.
Weird, organic head parts.
And I really now wish that we had done something like that, that was more visual and more interesting.
"Nice hearing from you, Canes." (laughing)
When Breckin did the whole video game and got sucked into the TV, and to see that whole thing on set, was, you know, was really cool.
Some of the scripts, the writers will indict a particular teen fad and Freddy kind of throws it back at 'em, you know. I mean, "Nightmare 6" when he says, "Great graphics," you know, is like one of the first gamer jokes ever.
Before the Wii, Nintendo had this Power Glove it didn't work at all, but was this totally groovy looking glove, and you sort of moved it around like the Wii and said, "Now I'm playing with power."
And we wanted to use the Power Glove and Nintendo said, "No." And Bob said, "I don't care that they said no, I'm going to do it anyway."
"Now I'm playing with power."
I really want to do this and it's really a great line, but I think it's really risky. Bob said, "I don't care," you know, "whatever."
And we used it and it's great and it sold more Power Gloves and Nintendo never sued. (laughing)
But that's the kind of maverick Bob story that I absolutely love.
One of the more disturbing scenes in the movie deals with child molestation.
It was really interesting whenever I shot the scene with my father. I thought to myself, "God this scene's coming really easy to me, I don't have to go prepare for it or anything.
And I was like, that's cool in a way because it wasn't really hard work. And then, maybe three weeks later after that, I started getting ﬂashes of being molested. It was weird how it just sort of pulled that scar back.
Ultimately, in her dream, she sort of realizes her fantasy and she beats the crap out of this guy that's been abusing her.
That scene actually changed my life.
It set me on a journey in life of dealing with things and dealing with my own fears.
So that scene right there was very poignant.
I think all that father-daughter stuff is nasty and cool and no one could've come up with that but Rachel.
We were doing the fighting scene and he went back like that to hit me with his glove and he actually hit me.
I had to go to the hospital, get stitches, get a tetanus shot. So, I have a scar.
So that scar on me I get to look at every day in the mirror and be reminded of Robert Englund.
Why does Lezlie Deane survive in that movie? She has no business surviving in that movie.
Way too many people survive in that movie.
It was important to me to come up with things that expanded the mythology.
And I think that was important in order to kill Freddy, that you had to understand more about his backstory.
And in the original script, there was this sequence that was described as
"a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride through his psyche," and that sounded wild.
I thought it was a really clever way of making you feel a little sorry for him or vulnerable for a split second.
I get offers all the time to play villains in certain things and, at that point, when they said to play Freddy's father, I said, "Well, as long as I don't have to look like Alice Cooper.
If I can look like a hayseed, really degenerate, old drunk."
I thought I'd play the most disgusting father I can play.
The coolest thing ever (laughing) was getting Alice Cooper and the most excited I'd ever seen the crew.
I mean, the crews excited to see Johnny Depp and all that, but, the crew having Alice Cooper on set was like, "Aaaahhhh!"
I always knew they'd find a way to blame me for Freddy. (laughing)
I got blamed for the Vietnam War, for everything else.
That was very cool.A lot of people wanted to kill Alice Cooper, you know, early on in his career, and I got to.
Tobe Sexton, who played young Freddy, really had it down.
To play the young version of Freddy Krueger was something I really took seriously and something I really took time to, like, work on. And, actually, I met up with Robert Englund and found out about the character, how he did the voice, where he kind of brought it from.
'Cause I think that's kind of the essence of Freddy.
And he really did play it well.
He really had the eyes down on the whole thing.
There was a secondary scene there where he goes after me with a blade, but maybe it was too heavy.
"Go inside honey."
You see Freddy and his daughter, you see her as a little girl in that creepy backyard.
Working on this film as a little girl, was a really terrifying experience, to say the least. (laughing)
This is supposed to be my father and he's, you know, brutally murdering my mother, banging her head against the house. And seeing that, the tears just kind of started to flow.
You know, I just went with it and tried to imagine that that was really happening.
For Krueger's last stand, New Line Cinema tried to live up to the promise to save the best for last, employing a gimmick that would make Freddy's finale truly jump off the screen.
There's the great thing that Rachel came up with and for me, it's that wonderful 3-D sequence.
The 3-D element was, again, a gimmick that we thought could revive the series.
This idea of doing the last ten minutes in 3-D, which was a tremendously complex technology at that point.
I don't kn ow if the 3-D was really all that effective.
The audience didn't know when to put on the glasses, they weren't sure when they were supposed to do it.
When Maggie in the film puts on her 3-D glasses that's when you put on yours, at the very end
"You're going to need these 3-D glasses to navigate the dreamscape.
Put 'em on now."
It was funny to watch people, like, that didn't know, were going, "What's wrong with the screen."
They're like, "You're supposed to put on the glasses." They're like, "Oh, okay."
How about Freddy Krueger in IMAX in 3-D like "Avatar"? (laughing)
We actually did some groundbreaking work at that point on the technology, but a lot of it didn't work.
She just had me jut some things toward camera in an unnatural way a few times.
This camera was like huge and it was like a million dollar camera.
You had to be so precise in hitting your marks, otherwise the whole gag wouldn't work.
Rachel was really on the cutting edge and, you know, the little dream demons that she wanted in there they were all CGI in a time where nobody did CGI.
PDI was into the beginning of the computer technology because they were working with, they had been working with Jim Cameron on "Terminator 2." And at one point - and they'll kill me for telling this story - they sent us a clip from "Terminator 2" with our footage of Arnold on the bike.
Jim Cameron would never, like that would be the end of our career forever, if he ever knew that one piece of his footage got out by mistake.
I'm like, "I'm cutting this into my film." (laughing)
I love the fight, the big fight to the death, though.
That was my favorite.
It wasn't clearly imagined, in terms of what awful things they'd be doing to each other, so, a lot of it was sort of invented there on the set.
And I'm having to hold this, like, pipe bomb with the sparkles coming out.
And we're gonna blow up Freddy and his, you know, snot, blood and bones is gonna be all over your lap.
We blew the shit out of him.
And in Freddy's case I would argue, at some level, his death in "The Dream Master" and in "Dream Warriors" are more fitting final deaths than the death he gets in Given the fact that we've done several others after -
Freddy didn't really die - it makes that one look a little more facetious, I guess, in its execution.
On September 13, 1991, fans swarmed to the final "Nightmare" and the film delivered a box office take that showed even in death, there might still be some life left in Freddy.
As one of the publicity stunts for the film, they created Freddy's funeral.
Freddy's funeral was held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary kind of to put a cap on the whole wand of Freddy Krueger.
They brought the press in and we all had to stand over a fake coffin with Freddy's stuff all around it.
And I had to go and look mournful.
There was a bunch of other cast members from other movies of the "Elm Street" series there.
It was like a big reunion.
It was like a burial, like a real burial deal.
It was a really clever way, once again, of them promoting the film, of going, "Guys, this is it.
This is the last one. He's dead and gone."
Freddy's really dead this time. Not.
I remember seeing on Fifth Avenue a bus rolls by and there was the poster "Freddy is Dead," and I said, "Well, it must mean that they've milked the cow as much as they could," you know. (laughing)
It wasn't standing very tall itself and then, so after that, we realized that we were at the end of the line.
We jumped the shark a little. I'm not going to deny that. But we wanted to. We wanted to do the movie we made.
"I'll get you, my pretty!"
"And you're little dog, too!"
But it may have been a mistake to take it so humorous. I think we should've gone from the humor into something that was more scary.
I think because we thought it was gonna be the last one, I think it was okay to kind of deconstruct and self-destruct.
I told everyone it was going to be the last one, of course, but I didn't know. (laughing)
"Is them any chance he's going to be coming back!"
No. No, no, no.
No, no, no. No.
(Freddy's evil laughter)
(Freddy's evil laughter)
Now that Freddy was dead and buried and with the tenth anniversary of the original "Elm Street" approaching, the inevitable question was raised: Could everyone's favorite boogeyman be resurrected again?
The answer to that question would come from Wes Craven himself, who conceived a radical new approach to the story.
Most people say their sequels are the last sequels that are going to be made and then they make ten more.
We didn't know that we were going to be able to work with Wes again.
And the way "New Nightmare" happened was I got a call from Bob Shaye out of the blue.
And, to his credit, he said, "I've heard some interviews with you saying you felt you didn't get a fair shake and I'd like to try to make that better."
And he did. He went back and gave me retroactive cuts in sequels and he also gave me a little bit of the merchandising, and so forth.
Wes and I had ironed out our differences and I was anxious to do something with Wes.
And he said, "Look, we killed Freddy, we admit it. We said he was dead forever, but we thought maybe there's one more film there."
Wes has to come back and answer his critics and finally put the nail in the coffin, and apologize a little bit for "Freddy's Dead."
I went off and looked at all the other films and said, I don't know how I can make any sense of it.
And then it kind of jumped the shark and thought, I'll do it about all the different people who participated in the first one.
There was the idea, well, Robert's not Freddy, you know, Freddy is Freddy. Freddy is an entity unto itself, that is now out of control and, once again, it is allowed to be terrifying.
Because there was no place else logically to go that was original and suddenly it was like, "Wait a minute. We can do this and make some interesting comments."
Bringing a menace into the real world from your imagination and having that menace not go away, is a terrific idea.
It was so special and unique that it was worth reviving the whole series.
I was very consciously taking the reality of the first film and bringing it over into "real life" in a way that it was always quoting the original.
Well, it was really cool to see my name in a script.
But then after I digested the whole idea, then I thought, "Well, you know, average people are going to think that this is really about me and this is my story or something like that."
Heather had gone on and done a television series, "Just the Ten of Us," which was very, very sort of mom-and-apple-pie-ish.
Just by coincidence - and it wasn't planned on the part of the producers or anything - three of us had been on "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies.
So it was definitely a running inside joke on the set.
This looks like something out of "Nightmare on Elm Street"
I still get all of these letters from people with this fascination of the Lubbock babes from
"Just the Ten of Us" all being Freddy Krueger you know, victims.
As it turns out, a stalker that had started, you know, calling Heather at all add hours and threatening her life, turned out to be a fan who was ticked off because the series had been stopped.
And, as a result, I ended up moving to London for a couple, maybe five months just getting away from it all.
And it struck me as such an incredible irony that everybody had been telling me my whole career that, "What you're writing is bad and it's going to make people want to go out and kill somebody."
And it was a fan of this very bland show that actually turned out to be threatening.
And so this idea, I think it was maybe some food for Wes' thought process.
Wes came to me and said he had been talking to Heather a little bit about how if he can delve into her private life and put some of it on the screen and would I mind if he screwed around with me a little bit.
There was a theme of how this actual movie we had all participated in had kind of haunted our lives and, in a sense, made it like we could not be something totally different from that film ever.
So I said, "Yeah, count me in," you know, "I'm on board."
And th an I saw the script and I loved it.
I pitched that to Bob and I remember just thinking and saying, "And Bob, you'll have a big scene."
(laughing) He says, "Ah, I kind of like that."
I don't think I did a particularly good job, but it was okay.
"Oh come on, Heather, kids love horror."
It was kind of like a valentine to the fans.
And, at the same time, it was a great reunion for us.
And also I think we all got to go, "What have we done?"
It was like everybody that worked on the first one had come back and it was just interesting to see how they'd grown and how their careers had changed.
Coming back to work with Wes is always a treat.
I came back, not as a teacher, but as a nurse, so, but, it was still one of those generic public servants. (laughing)
John Saxon had renaissanced, yet again.
This guy's the guy that's worked with everybody from Elvis to Quentin Tarantino and Robert Redford and Bruce Lee and Freddy Krueger and everybody else.
I suppose I imagined it might be the last.
It sounded like a fin ale.
All the other directors had been first-timers and they had to be helped through a little bit, but Wes was, by then, the master.
It was a very pleasant film. I remember how fun it was and what a sense of love there was on the set.
Not to be mushy, but just everybody really liked each other and was having a great time.
(practical joke, laughter on set)
Heather Langenkamp playing herself was so smart and one of her best performances ever.
And she was, you know, a young mother at the time and so finding all those elements from her own reality, that she could bring into the movie, worked so beautifully.
Some of the things th at Wes kind of brought in that were similar, is that I'm married to a makeup artist.
"Chase Porter, good-looking, early 30s, tweaks the levers of a remote control device."
I was playing Heather's real life husband, David, who was Wes' special effects guy, who didn't want to play himself because it would be a curse. So, I was more concerned about the curse.
When I went in and met all the real special effects team that were doing the movie and I met David, I realized, like, I was the least non-special effects looking guy on the planet. They're like blue-collar, hardworking, beard. They all had heavy metal T-shirts on, they all looked like they hadn't slept in about nine years.
I'm like the dorkiest special effects guy ever.
"Behind them, at the edge of the set, Chase's wife, Heather Langenkamp, 30, dressed in woman's pajamas, and his son Dylan, 5, watch from their chairs."
I remember having a blast on this film.
This was, every day was an adventure.
Who doesn't want to be chased around by Freddy when they're 7, like, for real.
We got along, you know, just like mom and son. And I was, of course, very protective of him.
He had some scenes where he had to really go through difficult emotional things.
And there was a time when his parents came to me and said, "We have a way to make him cry and we don't like to do it too often, but we'll do it." I said, "Okay, fine." And so the mother left the set and the father whispered in his ear and said, "OK, your mothers dead." (laughing)
And after he'd go through some hellacious scene, his reward was a Happy Meal.
I don't think horror movies or being a kid in a horror movie is inherently bad or going to do any psychological damage or anything like that.
All little kids do anyway is play pretend, so if you can do it professionally, rock it.
"Heather opens the door to Julie, a direct, open-faced young woman."
Even though most of the people in the film had been in the original film, I didn't feel at all like I wasn't a part of the group or part of the ensemble.
In the original script that I read, Julie, the babysitter, was a pawn of Freddy's.
Julie was the stalker, Julie was the one harrassing them. Julie, yeah, she was all those things.
Wes said to all of us that, "You might be the one that's causing this," and so, but none of us really, we didn't really need to know that in order to play the part.
I had done a number of films with David Cronenberg: "Scanners," "Videodrome," The Dead Zone," "The Fly."
But Wes has a very narrow mind, in the sense of this is what's going to scare people and a broad mind to extract.
There's something that goes on in the making of a horror film where you're dealing with these things that in real life are terrifying and sometimes morbid and horrible, but by acting it out you release some sort of childish laughter, which is totally contradictory from what you would expect, but it just makes for a very tight-knit crew and cast.
As part of Wes Craven's darker reality-based "Nightmare," Freddy himself would undergo a major reinvention.
It was discussions with Wes that Freddy was not to be the kind of wisecracker that he had become.
I wanted it to be something that was not quite what was in the movie.
He wanted it to be something different, something new, more bulky, more muscular. Everything on it was different.
It was supposed to be the real Freddy.
I felt it looked great to have him look that, kind of German, sleek.
He's not really burned in that one, like, his skin is split, like you'd see in a real anatomy book.
This was an actual, real hand and real blades that grew out of his fingertips.
It was a whole different design and I thought it was kind of an interesting look.
What I found out from Robert was that the thumb was a little clumsy to work with when it had a blade on it, but it looked good.
Sometimes I think it was smart, sometimes I think it was a mistake.
I don't know. I've gone around and around with that in my mind over the years.
The opening of "New Nightmare" is actually a tribute to Roman Polanski's
When the woman first starts to go mad, the walls of her apartment crack.
Of course, we shot the earthquake scene where I'm in bed with Chase and then we're rocked out of bed by this earthquake, probably the first or second day.
And then we did have that very devastating earthquake.
On January 17th was the big Northridge quake.
A lot of us had close calls.
When we came to the set, the crew just looked at me like, "What are you making a date with the devil or something?" (laughing)
At that point everybody thought, well, it's game on. We basically, we've opened Pandora's Box.
This was the reality that was invading our movie.
Fact and fiction were strangely combining.
This is great. We're all gonna die. It's fantastic.
But what was interesting was, Wes was able to work that into the movie.
We got a secondary crew and went out and shot second unit because we're never gonna get shots like this otherwise.
There were jackets that were given to the cast and crew that had Freddy on the back.
They had "7.1" put in the corner because it was right after North ridge.
We have the one scene where I go to the TV studio to have the interview and then Freddy shows up and he's in makeup.
Being on a talk show as Freddy, you know, really just being a whore and working the crowd with the Freddy fanatics, which of course is all true. There really were those things.
Robert Englund and I did a public appearance together on a television show in the San Francisco area and it was about whether this kind of movie is bad for children or not.
There were parents in the audience and then kids.
All the kids leapt to their feet and started going, (chanting) "Freddy! Freddy!"
And I remember looking at the show host and the parents and they were all like...
Robert is just like, "You're all my children And it was like, "We've taken over the asylum."
It is that empowerment of embracing the symbol of the evil thing in a way that you're in control of it.
What we're doing is good, you know, because the kids, it was giving them a sense of empowerment in a way that I could never have guessed.
I remember that scene is so great because I'm sitting there in the background, you know, there's a million fans wanting his autograph and then, you know, I'm sitting there looking at my watch, like, "Can we go yet?" which is the story of my life. (laughing)
When I got sent the first draft, there were some scenes that aren't in it, that were never shot.
Rather than Wes being in the house up on the hill, he showed up in a van driven by, I think, Michael Barryman from "The Hills Have Eyes" and he had cut his own eyelids off and he was trying to stay awake.
I was constantly on the run from Freddy.
The way to save my life was to write the script.
I remember reading it just going, "Wow, that's really weird." (laughing)
Of course, I ended up going with, "I'd rather be in the luxurious house living like a king. (laughing)
And Wes comes off as this kind of creepy, horror-meister in a way. And then when he shows that the script is actually on his computer, the exact words we've just spoken one minute earlier, (whispering) "What kind of choice?"
"Whether or not you're willing to play Nancy one last time." those are the moments that make that movie so terrific.
I remember liking very much the scene where Heathers husband is coming home in the car.
When you think about a Wes Craven movie, you think, "Well, how do I die?"
(singing) "That's me in the corner..."
Son of crooning R.E.M. "Losing My Religion," getting eviscerated.
It was, of course, very violent.
Freddy's claws coming up.
But, the fact that he was a husband and he had a little child or something, I felt very touched by that scene.
But the one thing that they did later when I saw the movie, was they did this thing where they did an insert of me scratching my balls.
We had a ball stand-in for him. (laughing)
I just want to say to you, Wes, that is not how I would scratch my balls, ok? It's not.
This is how I would scratch my balls.
And, of course, the scenes that followed were the cemetary scenes and that was interesting, too.
Everybody comes to be a mourner.
If you look in the background, everybody's somehow affiliated with
"Nightmare on Elm Street."
Tuesday Knight was there, Jsu Garcia.
So it's just a great way to catch up with people and see how they're all doing.
A warm family farewell, now it's turned into something horrible.
And that's the nice thing about Wes: he's not afraid to create horror in broad daylight.
The park scene is, for me personally, one of the most moving scenes because the little boy climbs the tower, tries to reach to God and then falls and says, "God wouldn't take me."
It's one of the more profound moments in humanity, you know, when one's faith is contradicted by the events that happen.
They ended up actually getting rid of the park.
We asked them - we have 10 acres out in the desert - and we said, "What are you going to do with it?" and they were going to haul it to the dump.
So we rented the flat bed trucks.
And growing up I've had that park in my backyard ever since the filming.
There's a lot of ways to bring childhood into a horror movie that I realized And one of the ways is to bring an old story that we all are really familiar with.
"Hansel and Gretel" was interesting to me because there's been a lot written. It's very hard to find Grimm fairytales in a children's bookstore anymore. (laughing)
That was one of the most horrifying child stories. When you think about the witch fattening up the little kid inside the cage, it is absolutely horrifying.
So, that Wes picked that story was perfect.
In a sense, children need literature to recognize the nightmares that children have.
And then you had all these toys in Dylan's room that were his protectors.
Rex was my stuffed animal bodyguard who would keep Freddy at bay from the bottom of my bed.
Imaginary, although effective.
I was lucky enough to keep some props from the film.
This is Rex. This one is the repaired one with the claw slashes on it.
It's funny because I have the other copy of Rex in my house to this day.
And it always kind of takes a tug at my heart because it's this thing that protects you but also gets slashed in the process but can be repaired and that sort of childhood innocence in the form of a little animal.
My character, she has so much pressure and she's, like, really kind of not dealing with it that great.
You need a lot of other supporting characters to lift up the spirit of the movie, to keep it moving.
And so you had Fran Bennett.
Fran Bennett was incredible, she was definitely our favorite. We loved her performance and would quote her lines constantly in editorial. (laughing)
"The man from your film?" Yeah, it was just great fun.
I asked Wes how my name got to be Dr. Heffner.
He named it after somebody in the Motion Picture Association of America.
"You have let your child see your films, haven't you?"
It was almost me just saying the lines without adding anything at all, until it came to the glove.
Each time that glove got on my hand, it was like some electric something happened in my body.
"Cut this evil out of him."
That was like, "Whoa, man. This is strange."
My favorite scene in the film was the death of the babysitter in the hospital when she's dragged around the room.
We, again, had a rotating room.
I'd done something similar with a 40-foot room with Jeff Goldblum as "The Fly."
This time we decided to actually show Freddy in some of the scenes dragging her up the wall.
Wes said, "You have to scream.
It's a horror film, you have to scream." So when I'm getting drug up the ceiling, I had to do a lot of yelling and it was scary.
That was a particularly hard scene to film.
When they were filming my shot, there was nobody behind, but they would put a cross of tape on it and say, "That's your babysitter getting killed, you're terrified, it's horrifying, you need to cry."
When we previewed the film, it was amazing to watch the audience reaction to it and, you know, just how Heathers finally taking control of the situation, but it's too late to save Julie The freeway scene was probably, by far, the most ambitious thing in the film.
We were allowed to have a mile of this freeway. And we were out there night after night after night doing all these very elaborate, sort of choreographed scenes.
Where Freddy's all lined up at that center median.
We had a stuntman who owned a truck and we kind of built the sequence around that.
We projected a picture of the truck on a screen behind me.
Fifty or a hundred takes probably to get the crouched down at the exact moment.
We did that and then the next day I couldn't walk.
In the film it almost looks like I'm hit by these cars. They had a big fake claw, 'cause there's a point where he picks me up with it and that was really fun, 'cause they had a harness, it drops and I think that was my first stunt I had to do.
In the original script that I read there was a scene with the claw mobile, with Freddy behind the wheel of a giant claw that was kicking up sparks on the road.
It would have been awesome to see that, you know, the claw mobile, but there was no money to do such things.
And everything just gets completely messed up from then on.
It's this strange, like other-worldly reality that I enter, once I enter that house.
Dylan leaves for me the pills to follow him into the netherworld.
The end sequence takes place in kind of hell.
Cynthia Charette had done "Shocker" with me and she designed it based on Etruscan ruins, kind of being taken down to the essence of where evil would live.
We were working, you know, in subterranean sets and boiler rooms with live fire.
And I just remember walking around and shooting tons of photos, you know, of everything. I'm like, "This is cool."
And this wall, there's like a Cerberus stone carving and this big demon thing.
Weird paintings and iron rod gates and weird stuff like that, the whole way through.
I'd rather go there than Chuck E. Cheese any day.
I think Heather probably deserved stunt pay after all the times sh e's worked with me.
There's got to be at least one stunt check from New Line Cinema she didn't get.
We're really hand-to-hand combat.
I mean, it's really fighting and I stick him in the eye with the eel and then I try to catch him on fire and then I actually, you know, say, "Fuck you!"
And I loved that, 'cause Nancy just never gets to say that. (laughing)
And then he yanks me by the hair and he throws me up against the wall, and if you'll notice, right next to my head it says, "Lust."
At that point, you know, Nancy and Freddy's relationship always had a sexual component.Am I gonna kiss her or gut her?
You know? It had to be that fine line there.
To me, that is just the embodiment of our battle through the whole, all the movies.
K.N.B. made a really long tongue that, you know, wraps around my neck and my head.
It's actually, like, my least favorite thing I've done for "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
We built a big, you know, foam latex cable-operated tongue and lubed it up. And, of course, that's always going to bring about jokes no matter what. You know, like, "Hey, ha ha ha."
When you're the only woman there and men are wrapping, like, a giant phallic symbol around your head, (laughing) it really was awful.
I can remember telling, sort of lecturing the crew, "Come on now, she's a human being and don't have a laugh at her expense."
There's also a whole transformation thing, which we got to do a whole Freddy Krueger change-o head.
A bunch of crazy stuff in that film.
Well I remember Wes wanted to get a real reaction out of Mike at one point.
And I said, "Wes, I can scare anybody. I can scare the biggest grip on this set.
You want me to really tum it up?" And I did.
And I'm supposed to run up some stairs, run down some stairs, and he pops up.
They didn't tell me he was gonna be there to scare me.
Scared the bejesus out of Mike.
I didn't blame it all on Wes. I could have.
"Wes made me do it!"
I totally don't mind now, I get it. I mean, it was probably good 'cause they got a good reaction.
The nice thing about that movie is that my character is really like Gretel and my son is Hansel.
We're both just trying to get back to the normal life that we had before Freddy started invading our dreams again.
And at the end we come back out of it and go back to the normal wand.
This is something that's ageless. That's kind of what I wanted to say, is that this kind of movie, this kind of story could be found in "The Odyssey," could be found in Greek tragedies.
It's the type of story that's been part of humanity for millennia.
Hailed by the New York Times as, "an ingenious, cathartic exercise in illusion and fear,"
Wes Craven's "New Nightmare" was released on October 14, 1994 to glowing reviews but disappointing box office. However, to many, Wes Craven's final nod to Freddy remains a high point in the franchise To me, it's the end of the "Nightmare" series, you know, despite what all other nonsense they did after that.
But, to me, that really was the finale and I think Wes wrapped it up quite well.
And, I think, without a doubt, it's my favorite of the films now. I think it's so smart.
Every time I see it I find something new.
I love what we say about Hollywood and ourselves When the movie opened I think it opened opposite "Pulp Fiction," so
"Pulp Fiction" was obviously a tour de force.
I think the film kind of got lost a little bit in that, but thanks to, you kn ow, DVD and everything like that, it still has a fan base.
That film was very much ahead of it's time. I think that's one of the reasons why it's had a pretty good afterlife and pretty good legs.
When we look back, it was actually a relatively well-reviewed film at the time.
It was almost a little too unique and cerebral. So, it wasn't so much scary, it was just clever.
It had a lot of story, a lot of logic, a lot of reason. And those things aren't necessarily important to a Friday night crowd of teenagers.
I think it was the precursor to "Scream."
"New Nightmare" was made for the people who made the film, kind of adults.
"Scream" was made for the audience that watches the film and those were the central characters.
"Is that the one where the guy had knives for fingers? Yeah, Freddy Krueger."
And you notice that Wes, a lot of the characters take a swipe at 'Nightmare on Elm Street."
"It was scary. Well, the first one was but the rest sucked."
She did it with great relish, I noticed as well.
So many years later, it's like, I'm just philosophical about it, so I tapped into something. Half of it I was aware of and half- maybe much more than half - I wasn't aware of what I had.
And it's just like something you step back and say, "Wow. I might've started that, but it took on a life of its own."
Fueled by fans' desire to see two titans of terror battle to the death, "Freddy vs. Jason" was a film inspired by the classic horror match-ups of the '30s and '40s.
"Freddy vs. Jason" has been incubating since the first 14-year-old boy came up to me after the first
"Nightmare on Elm Street" and said, "Dude, you think you could kick Jason's ass?"
Each time I did another "Friday the 13th" movie it was talked about.
Which is that male adolescent fantasy.
It goes back to "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman." This is nothing new.
And then when we finally got to "Jason Goes to Hell," of course, at the end the hockey mask is on the ground and Freddy's hand comes out of the ground and grabs the mask, which, by the way, was my hand. So, I technically did a shot as Freddy.
There was a problem with it because we didn't have the rights to "Jason" - that was Paramount. And it took a long time for Paramount to finally lose their option. They wanted to distribute the film and so it was a combination of things.
I never really had any participation after
"New Nightmare" - that was kind of the end of it for me.
There was always this little bit of a conflict in terms of how to conceive of "Freddy vs. Jason," of how to write "Freddy vs. Jason," how to tell the story.
The problem was, even if you have these two characters together and they're both box office boffo, Jason lives in this wand and then Freddy is over in the dream world.
How do you get those two together in a way that they can successfully fight each other.
I remember being at New Line during the gestation of "Freddy vs. Jason" and it seemed to go on for years because it did go on for years.
It is, arguably, the single longest developed project in the history of Hollywood.
I just thought it was always one of those legend projects, but I didn't realize that so many people had actually been working on it.
I think there were 13, 14, 15 writers on that script.
Something like 17 or 18 writers.
So many dreams, so many ways that Jason has killed people.
It was a real challenge to try to kind of reinvigorate everything.
I believe I was playing off of a draft they had, so some of the things in the draft I did were original, but some were also in whatever the previous draft was.
The only thing we were given, was the notion of, that everybody across the board liked, was the notion of the Freddy cult.
I created the head of a cult of Freddy fanatics who were called Fred Heads.
And they all wore, like, the striped sweaters and everything. And that cult was somehow instrumental in the plot and trying to sort of resurrect Freddy.
Ron Moore, of now "Battlestar Galactica" fame, and I came up with a take.
The O.J. Simpson trial was going on during the time we wrote it and one of the drafts had this whole thing where Jason actually gets caught and he's actually going to go on trial.
And the main character's the defense lawyer.
I mean there was a lot of weird-ass shit in those screenplays.
One of the highlights was when Freddy Krueger actually pissed in the Holy Grail. (laughing)
I know that there was a boxing scene. I know there was a hockey scene.
I know that Freddy got beamed as a satellite ray into the sun.
He had to collect thirteen dream demons or something like that.
Freddy raped Jason's mother or Jason at one point. They had a love baby, I don't know. Some of th em got a little weird.
You got all these pieces sort of built on top of each other when, at the end of the day, I think if you ask most of the fans, I want to see Freddy as I know and love him best, Jason as I know him and love him best and just let these two sort of forces of nature go head-to-head.
It's Ali vs. Tyson, it's the irresistible force vs. the immovable object, and let them go. And ultimately, thankfully, it ended up in that place.
I think it was the fact that we didn't change their mythologies.
We came in saying, "There's a way to really screw this up." and that's if you start changing who Freddy is, who Jason is. If you start reinventing their backstory fans are going to go nuts.
Those guys, ultimately, because they grew up as fans of both these franchises, got it.
I think what we tried to do, and succeeded in some fronts and didn't in others, was make them at least truly evil, scary characters again.
Things we always thought about were, what were the fans going to think and what will Wes Craven think.
And, you know, we just tried to basically, God, not screw it up.
When it finally got together, we had trouble finding a director, too.
They met with probably 40 directors.
They met with every director you could think of. We went to one of the executives and said, "You should really think about this guy Ronny Yu," because we were big fans of
"The Bride with White Hair."
We always were pushing for Ronny from day one. We really liked Ronny. And then, at the beginning, I think he said no.
That first meeting my intention really was to go in to tell Bob that I don't want to do the movie.
We had a lot of meetings with Ronny. I remember a meeting at least 5 hours long where Damian and I were literally acting out the script.
I told him straight away that I'm not a fan of both franchises, but he said to me, "That's great," because he wants somebody to come in with a different angle.
At this point we were looking for journeymen.
I like the guy's cultural influences, he's also a nice guy that I felt like I could get along with, and he got hired.
There was an assistant, a gentleman by the name of Jeff Katz and I think he's been a great help to me.
When I dropped out of college to intern at New Line, my real goal was, I need to get on "Freddy vs. Jason" before it comes out, because that's like my dream movie to go make. I grew up on these things.
And when I started writing Bob Shaye as a little kid, it was built around the idea that some day I'm going to come out and make a "Nightmare on Elm Street" movie.
He is the hardcore audience, you know, of "Freddy" and "Jason" and he told me everything.
I was lucky enough to be a 24-year-old kid living the dream.
And to have your first movie you work on be your childhood dream movie is a pretty cool and surreal experience.
I was very involved once they started developing the idea. I was in contact with people at New Line.
They were saying, you know, "We're finally going to do this."
We always assumed that it would be Kane.
I always envisioned him as a Jason that could beat the shit out of Freddy.
And then they hired a director and then all of a sudden I started getting the feeling that something was changing.
Immediately we had some casting issues because before I'm on board already the studio decided that they want a new Jason And I was never given any kind of reason.
I mean, I know the thinking there. I think, physically, they were looking for somebody that was taller.
Could Kane probably have done it? Sure.
But I also do think that you were dealing with the idea that from a directorial point of view, they were very clear, they wanted the idea of one guy big and burly, one guy small and lanky.
I think, that to me, really was the largest piece to that decision.
I said, "Fine," you know, "this is their call and I'm fine with it."
It was nice to hear that a lot of fans were not happy withe idea either, but it was going to be a success to matter what, just because people wanted to see the two characters together.
The biggest question was, who would win the high stakes match-up: a maniacal dream stalker or a brutal force of nature?
When I was making "Bride of Chucky,"
I learned, "Don't take this too seriously," you know, have fun with the monster. So, I used the same sort of principle to apply on "Freddy vs Jason."
Just that little outsideness that Ronny Yu brought to it, being a Hong Kong director, really helped it, I think. It's got a terrific cast, you know, Jason Ritter, Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Katharine Isabelle from all of the "Ginger Snap" films. So, a terrific little cast.
"Lon', 17, pulls a stuffed toy, like a Furby but creepier, away from her friend Kia.
Lori is an attractive, trusting gin next door."
When I was 8 years old I lived in Brooklyn and I went down the street to my best friend LeeAnn's house and they were watching "Nightmare on Elm Street," and I thought, "This is just too terrifying." I had never seen anything like that before, I'd never been allowed to watch horror movies before.
I was so traumatized by this movie that I couldn't, literally, couldn't sleep for weeks and it changed my physical appearance. At the age of 8, I lost like 10 pounds. My teachers got so concerned that they called my mother and said, "ls there something going on? is she being abused at home?"
And my mother found a picture of Robert Englund the actor, and Robert Englund in the Freddy Krueger makeup and pasted them up near my bedside table. And every night before I'd go to sleep, literally for like a year, I would have to look at it and say, "lt's just a movie, it'sjust a movie. He's not a real guy."
And I remember thinking, "I'm gonna grow up one day and I'm gonna be an actress and I'm never gonna make movies that scare little kids."
Cut to, a couple years later.
I was always joking to her, I said, "Your scream can break glasses."
When I was screaming and hysterical, I really feel that came from a place that I've repressed for so long that I was able to tap back into immediately.
She almost, like, lost her voice after the movie.
And I didn't tell Robert this story until the last day of filming and he thought that was just so hysterical.
I was really excited to work with Jason Ritter and he was actually a late addition because, I don't know if people know this, but Brad Renfro was originally playing that part of Will.
I was a big fan, I thought he was a really good actor and we were excited.
You know, rest in peace, Brad Renfro. Brad Renfro, I think, was, like, one of the more promising young actors that we'd seen in a while.
As I'm sure everybody knows, he had a lot of personal problems and those problems became clear when he showed up to the set.
I actually had to screen test with him and they thought our chemistry was so good together, that really kind of part of the reason I ended up being cast was because of Brad.
Suddenly I remember John Ritter, who worked on "Bride of Chucky."
And I also then remembered that he has a son that also is an actor.
I was thrilled with Jason Ritter, he's one of my favorite people now. It was sad, it was sad to have to lose one to get the other. In my ideal world, there would have been two Wills.
You need to have one guy that the audience should invest a little bit of their emotion.
Personally, I thought we should invest a little bit more on Jason.
For me, he's almost like a samurai that went nuts.
You know a samurai is so loyal and Jason is so loyal to his mother.
We have Freddy here, really tormented him, humiliated him.
I never asked anybody to like Freddy, certainly not to feel sympathetic for Freddy.
Freddy likes his work.
We always saw it as, you know, Freddy was the psychological manipulator.
I don't think that Wes ever saw this as a high body count type thing.
Freddy was more cerebral, plot-driven, manipulative.
For us, "Friday the 13th" was more fun, bloody, high body count.
So, in that sense, we tried to stay true to both characters.
Freddy sort of enlisted Jason to be his little minion to help him kill people.
One of the funniest things I thought about in that movie was that, you know, Freddy was about to kill people and then Jason would kind of circumvent him, you know, beat him to the punch.
"She's mine! Mine!"
And then it became a competition of them fighting after the same prey.
And so that's how they became adversaries, which was kind of cool.
I'm actually the only one that Freddy actually kills in "Freddy vs. Jason."
So, I'm a very lucky, lucky, lucky man.
"Mark sits at his desk, going through drawers.
He pulls out a framed black-and-white photo of him on the shoulders of his older brother Bobby."
The character I play in "Freddy vs. Jason Bobby, ends up becoming a tormenter of Mark, but he's actually his older brother. And, even though I am Scut Farkus mm "A Christmas Story," and I'm kn own as a turd worldwide around Christmas, I don't think that was a motivating factor for hiring me as Bobby because you had to have a lot of sympathy and pathos for Bobby.
That was two of my favorite characters; we loved that relationship.
There was this kind of unspoken history where Mark's brother was, you know, killed at some point by Freddy.
And it really ramped up the pain that Mark's character felt in losing his older brother and gave him a lot more momentum and impetus as to why he reacted the way he did.
And that did just get hacked to shit.
I'm walking through this elaborate bathroom set and then committing suicide was a full day and a half of shooting wearing nothing but what we call in the industry, a "cock sock."
Shooting the bathroom scene, I had the prosthetics coming out, the blood tendrils coming out of my feet, rooting me to the floor.
And so, those took like three or four hours to set.
And then we had the other sequence where I'm walking towards Mark.
This prosthetic has got all these little air bubbles in it that expand and contract and some of them are filled with smoke and some of th em are filled with blood, some of them are filled with pus.
And right behind me, you've got five special effects guys on their knees, smoking cigarettes, blowing the smoke through the tube, pumping these things. (laughing)
And on their knees waddling as quietly as they can and you're trying to be all sexy and scary, you know, while you do this monologue towards Brendan, and you've got five people up your butt.
We shot more with Mark, that dream stuff, that I would love to see actually go back in at some point on DVD, that has a little more of Freddy screwing with him and is a little more sort of drawn out in the classic Freddy tradition.
It was really cool for me, you know, to be in scenes with Freddy and have him be doing these very, like, classic things.
Like, he would be stalking me when I was in the corner in the bathroom and he'd be taking his claws out and, like, dragging them down my face.
And, you know, I'm trying to act scared, but in my mind, I'm like,"Oh my God, this is so classic." Like, "I can't believe he's doing this.
He must really like me."
Originally, Brendan was gonna vomit all this stuff.
I can't even remember if it's in the final cut.
When you're working on a Freddy movie, there's so much going on that you're like, "Oh, really? We're setting me on fire now?
OK, sweet, nice, good. What's next?
Me getting my face slashed? Awesome. Let's do that."
Brendan Fletcher is a very, a really good actor.
He's got a fantastic range and a lot of passion and integrity and a pleasure to work with.
Zack Ward is a liar. Absolute liar.
"Dude, that goalie was pissed about something."
The character of Freeburg, I think was, I don't even know if you would say inspired by the "Jay & Silent Bob" character.
I feel like it was sort of a direct rip off.
It almost takes you out of it because you're like, "Wait, is that that guy from "Jay & Silent Bob"? And what is he doing here?"
I mean it was amazing. When they offered this and I went and I played Freeburg and it was, like, a lifelong dream come Wait, I didn't play Freeburg. I wasn't in that movie!
But it's never gonna be the way you picture it, you know.
Stuff gets rewritten and they change things. I mean, you know, it's an organic thing.
I think most of my regrets about the cuts are stuff that made the movie illogical.
As a writer, the stuff that drives you crazy, is like, "Well that doesn't make sense anymore because you cut this scene."
Or, you know, dialogue that just seems ridiculous now 'cause it's out of context.
"Freddy died by fire. Jason by water.
How can we use that?"
My philosophy is everything in the movie should set up for the end fight.
I finally had dragged Freddy back into reality, into Camp Crystal Lake where Jason's there waiting.
And it was a grueler because, instead of chasing Heather around in her underwear or lovely Lisa Wilcox in her teddy, instead I'm rassling with a 6 foot 7 Canadian who's been in over a hundred movies and is buff and hard and can drink me under the table.
It was a rough shoot. I did a lot of my stunts.
I think the final battle was a lot of fun.
So over the top, the violence and everything, that the audience would laugh at the violence, rather than really affected by the violence.
I got such a kick out of that because I thought, like, they finally deserve it and they're the only two that can torture each other the way they've been torturing everybody else.
Maybe the thing that I hate the most is Kelly Rowland's monologue right before she dies.
We didn't write a word of it.
"What kind of faggot runs around in a Christmas sweater?"
And when I saw it, I mean, it actually really bothered me that she used that word.
I'm surprised they kept it in.
Interesting enough that nobody, not New Line, not the studio, nobody sort of picked it out.
What our original idea was she's talking to Jason and she basically says the lines that Nancy said in the original "Nightmare."
"I take back every bit of energy I gave you."
She says, "I'm no longer afraid of you. I take back all my fear."
And Freddy's behind her and says, "Wrong one, bitch," and that's what kills her because she is mistaking one mythology for the other.
But, um, the faggot line made it. (laughing)
I actually did do a lot of my own stunts to the point where I was like, a little frightened, you know.
There's this one scene where I'm running out of the burning building and, like, the whole dock is about to blow up.
It was only supposed to blow up about, you kn ow, 30 feet from us and it ended up blowing up, it like ricocheted.
And everything, all hell broke loose.
We were hauling ass to get out of there and then we just dive right into the water and I remember afterwards you could tell, from the look on the director's face and sort of all the people in production's face, like, that something went drastically wrong.
My shoes would get burned and I don't even notice.
Well they just sort of said, "Okay, well we got that. Moving on.
That's destroyed. Is everyone okay?"
But it was a great sequence, you know, at the end, you know. It's all worth it.
The most cathartic part about it is that I get to cut Freddy's head off.
It was like, "Fuck you.
Why'd you have to play that guy to traumatize me for all those years?"
That's my favorite moment I've ever had on film.
Even They did a couple endings that usually ended up in hell that was a very sort of classic third act sort of set piece location, a lot of those early drafts.
Freddy and Jason were coming at each other and then just before chains went into both of them and pulled them apart and, I believe, Pinhead came out and said, "Now gentlemen, what seems to be the problem?," which I thought was hilarious. That didn't work for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that New Line did not own the character.
We have a title name, "Freddy vs Jason."
I always thought that the ending should be on these two monsters.
It shouldn't be on any other people.
But somehow the studio thought differently, and so we shot the ending with a love scene.
I'm about the be de-virginized.
Will was having sex with Lori for the first time and hand turns into a glove, which confuses me.
For me, it's a little bit sort of wimpy.
I think they only showed it once and, I mean, the audience hated it and I hated it, too. It didn't really make any sense.
Bob came in and says, "Okay, guys, we have a problem here because the audience hated the ending. So what are we gonna do?"
And I hate to say, "I told you so, Bob," you know.
I immediately come up with Jason coming out from the lake.
I remember "Apocalypse Now,"
Martin Sheen's head coming out from the water. That is the inspiration, that's how I got the idea.
And Bob says, "There's just one thing I want to add." I say, "What?" "
"I want Freddy to wink at the end." I said, "Great!"
Nearly two decades in the making, "Freddy vs. Jason" finally arrived on August 13, 2003 and fans turned out in droves making it the highest grossing entry in both the "Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th" franchises. The film's success proved that by themselves Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees were forces to be reckoned with, but together they were unstoppable.
Before the release of the movie we had this, like, press conference, you know, in Las Vegas, you know, almost like a boxing match, like a Rocky boxing match, you know.
"Mama's boy here he's stupid and he ain't got no style!" (audience boos)
And then they both come out and then they fight each other.
They smash the table and smash the chair and I'm stuck in the middle.
I'm scared. It scared the hell out of me. (laughing)
When the movie came out it was the highest horror opening of all time.
I think it was the highest grossing of the bunch.
I think it opened to $25 million or something the first weekend.
Like, it was huge.
That's really a fan-inspired film and that's probably one reason it did $135 million worldwide.
This movie made a lot of money. So, if you think about it, a lot of people have seen my bum.
Like a lot.
That performance at the box office was really driven by convening the non-fans, getting those guys back that had not seen one of these movies in several years.
There's nothing that brought it up to the level where you could feel, this is about some important human issues, aside from just two men smashing each other.
So, it didn't do it for me.
It's just a fun movie. It's kind of like a big comic book.
Personally, I just felt that my instinct was right, even though I don't have that much experience, you know, with both franchises.
I'm so happy that the audience also endorsed that.
There were some interesting ideas at one time. There was a, you know, a "Freddy vs.Ash vs. Jason" that was talked about.
At that point we had all pretty much gone with the idea that it would be fun to go and get a real hero to go against them and not try to mix the mythology.
I think that Sam Raimi wanted Bruce Campbell to win, which I thought was a terrific idea.
Making the world safe from sequels, Ash.
But I think that would be even harder than it was to pull off "Freddy vs Jason."
As you can see it, it wasn't that easy.
It was debated for a second, but it was never a serious consideration.
We didn't find the right combination of elements to make it work.
I think with me, it's about time for "Freddy Meets Viagra."
Who won, Jason or Freddy?
It's fair to say it's a draw, ultimately.
They both sort of won.
I think the winners probably Jason Ritter because he gets to do a love scene with Monica Keena at the end.
I think that if you were a fan of Jason you definitely thought he won, and if you were a fan of Freddy, he won.
And that really, to me, is actually the perfect ending.
Freddy's winking at the end there, so, you know, he's still clickin'.
Well, in my mind, not necessarily in other people's minds, I think it's Freddy.
I think it's Freddy, Freddy, Freddy.
After forty years, the company that started from the trunk of its founder's car, saw itself at the end of an era.
In 2008 Bob Shaye's mini-major empire was consolidated into its parent company, Time Warner.
Merging with Warner Bros., of course, gave them almost unlimited resources in terms of financing, but it also tied their hands in many ways and already then New Line changed from this really maverick, independent company that it had been.
By the time we were making "Nightmare 7," New Line was already, you know they called it "mini-major," it had no resemblance to an independent film studio whatsoever.
You could never make a film anymore there for less than 20 or 30 million dollars.
You know, I'm like, "Don't you understand we made these films for 5 dollars."
But all the sort of small, more interesting stuff got lost in a bunch of corporate people working within the company.
Bob could no longer say, "Screw it, this is what I'm doing."
The company was getting unwieldy and the politics were getting unpleasant.
It was probably time to move on.
When Bob was then forced out of the company, that was incredibly sad and incredibly shocking.
I still have sad feelings about the tum of events, but I think, as somebody once said to me, divorce can also be a good deed.
I was sad, but in a way it felt like, okay, this has been a blessed run.
And they made some absolutely amazing, obviously, some phenomenal films within that.
After the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy it was kind of like an epiphany and it may have been good to go out with a bang.
And imagine that this guy created this company from nothing and it became a billion-dollar-making company winning Oscars.
That's the American Dream, and Bob Shaye and Sara Risher, they have lived it.
It's, obviously, a sort of triumph of the underdog.
It changed our lives forever. So, we owe a lot to Freddy Krueger.
Forged with passion, ingenuity and a maverick spirit, New Line Cinema entered the annals of Hollywood history as a pioneer in the world of independent filmmaking.
And those who were there from the beginning will never forget the house that Freddy built.
Bob Shaye launched some incredible careers.
There was something really special going on during that time.
New Line really was a filmmaker's studio, because Bob always saw himself as a filmmaker.
Whether you worked in the mail room, you were an unpaid intern, wherever you came from, if you had a good idea, they'd use it.
One of the greatest times of my life, those years that I spent there.
That's what drove us all, was just this excitement to be working on a, you know, Hollywood film and I get to be inventive, I get to be creative and think of things that have never been done before.
I'm very fond of the "Nightmare" series and I love looking back at them and I'm very proud of them.
There's actually so much more in this series than, I think, even the people who make it sometimes are aware.
They're kind of hallmarks of the era and, I think, the best ones. Take that, Jason.
I'm even going after Jason 'cause I don't care, 'cause I'm gangster.
It's become part of, it's part of my life. There's not a day that I don't think of "Nightmare on Elm Street."
I was the boy in school that people threw rocks at, and then I was the one that ended up on the silver screen.
So, you never know how it's gonna go.
What was once sort of, like, "Yeah, I was in "Nightmare on Elm Street 3," has turned into a definite sense of pride about it.
And I think that that's going to live on and on and on.
I have literally met executives,"I'm having a meeting. But I'm a Freddy fan, you've got to sign this." I'm like, "Okay, this is off the chain."
It's still in my life. Look, it's been years and years and no other movie I did is still in my life like this.
Still, now, I mean, even after all the other work I've done, it's always, you know, Kristen from "Nightmare on Elm Street."
You were the guy.
Wow, I was so scared.
That, to me, is, "Wow, it really meant that much?"
It's incredible how these films have impacted people who are fans of horror films.
Horror fans are really hardcore and they're loyal.
So, that for me is the greatest part of all of it.
They're just the most rabid, you know, and they want to know everything.
And, I'm like, (whispering) "I don't know. I didn't write it, I just got killed in it."
I am very proud to be a part of something that became such an iconic film of its era and I'm very proud to have been a pan of Wes' vision.
I think this film has its place firmly planted in film history.
I'm proud to be a part of what I think is probably the best horror film series ever done.
I learned to believe in imagination in films.
I learned that there's a way to do it. It's such a brilliant, elastic media.
Now I've done it and I began to love it, you know, I became a fan now.
The best thing that ever happened to me was "Nightmare on Elm Street."
It changed my life. It made my career and pulled me out of poverty and paved the way for a career that has lasted now over twenty years.
If New Line is the house that Freddy built, my career is the career that Freddy certainly launched and built at some level.
And so, what can I say? I love that crispy, burnt motherfucker. I love him.
Freddy will always be Robert Englund to me and he just created this persona.
I think if you got the wrong guy under that makeup it wouldn't have worked at all.
Without Wes Craven and without Robert I don't think it would have been, obviously, it wouldn't even have existed, but I think it's just a testament to their talent that that character became so big.
We only get so many great, classic stones. That's what separates us mm the animals, are the stories we tell.
And "A Nightmare on Elm Street" by Wes Craven is just a great goddamn story.
I can overemphasize how important Wes Craven is in my life. I think back, you know, he's given me this role of a lifetime.
If I never work again, I can kind of die happy that I played a role that is so important in American cinema.
As Garrett Morris used to say, "Baseball has been berra, berra good to me "Freddy's been very, very good to me and Wes taught me to respect the genre and I'm glad I listened.
What I say to the fans is thank you. And I say that to everybody who's participated in making all the films.
There were better ones, there were not so good ones, but they're all good in and of themselves and I know everybody broke their back to do the best that they possibly could.
And so, it was a fantastic experience.
We were able to do what I always like to do, is to really entertain people.
When I die, it'll be, you know, in my obituary, I'll probably be best kn own for inventing Freddy Krueger. (laughing)
It will be something like that that will summarize my entire career.
And I think for Robert it will be, it's the man who played Freddy Krueger.
You know, no matter what else you do in life, it's just one of those things that a film has it's way with you. (laughing)
And now a reading from "Freddy vs. Jason," as the part of Bobby played by Zach Ward And scene commences.
"Oh, that's right! Everyone forgot. That's why they weren't afraid anymore."
"Let's kick this motherfuckers ass all over dreamland. Hey Freddy! Where you at, you burnt faced pussy!"
"I guess I better go gnash my teeth for the paparazzi."
"How much longer will you go on blaming your dreams for your own weaknesses?"
"You'll need a hallpass."
"Screw your pass!"
"Miss Langenkamp. Miss Langenkamp!"
"I am the wizard master! I am the wizard master!"
"Free me, you idiot, I'm your fucking memory!"
"Hey, up yours with a twirling lawn mower!"
"There's four letters in my name, Rod. How can there be room on your joint for four letters?"
"Hey, yo, needle dick. I bet you're the only male in this school suffering from penis envy."
"Faster than a bastard maniac!"
"Time to die, Scarface limp dick!"
"It's super Freddy!" (laughing maniacally)
"Come back to me, Jesse. I love you, come back to me!"
"I'm right here." "Oh." (screaming)
"Are you ready for it, boy? You been a waste since the day I took you in. Now it's time to take your medicine."
"Thank you, sir. May I have another?"
"Jesse, it's okay, it's all over."
"Just step away from her, son, just like your ass depended upon it."
"Oh great, now it's my dick that's killing me."
"You know, you're one major league hunk."
"Yes, I am one major league hunk."
"No, mother, you just murdered me. Take that to your goddamn therapy."
"Somebody please wake me up!"
"Look for me in the tower."
"School's out, Krueger."
"Stay with me, Heather." (squirting sound) That's the blood coming out of my eye. (laughing)
"What the fuck are you doing in my room, dude?"
"Welcome to my world, bitch!"
"Gin, you better put a lock on that window."
"In my dreams I'm beautiful and bad."
"The deadly dinosaur?"
"Goddamn it, Kristen, you ruin everything! Every time I bring a man home, you spoil it!"
"The map says we're fucked!"
"It's a goddamn cherry bomb! Jesus, Jesse! What the fuck!"
"I have a feeling we've done this before."
"Cut the evil out of him." "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!"
"When that time comes, you're going to have to make a choice whether you're willing to play Nancy one last time."
"Whatever you do, don't fall asleep."
~OCR by Arifis~ ~2014~