The Film (5/5)
I started getting into horror during the slasher boom of the 80's, and as such I was obsessed by current horror icons, Jason, Leatherface, Chucky, Michael Myers, and of course, the subject of this documentary Freddy Kreuger and the Nightmare on Elm Street Series. Nightmare on Elm Street as a series now encompasses 7 feature films, a crossover with the Friday the 13th series (Freddy Vs. Jason), a TV Anthology show (Freddy's Nightmares), and a remake starring Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley.
Aside from the aforementioned remake, Never Sleep Again covers everything in the Elm Street series. You might think that the films probably don't get a lot of time to breathe, this is taken care of by the films epic 4 hour running time. If you have to ask who would sit through a 4 hour documentary on the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, than this film is not for you. However, for rabid fans of the franchise (of which I count myself as one), Never Sleep Again is like Elm Street crack.
You might find yourself daunted by the prospect of setting through 4 hours of information, you may heard before (and if you're a fan you probably have), but the documentary simply breezes by. Each film and the TV series gets roughly half an hour of discussion time, before moving on to the next part of the series. This format allows for each film to get a good amount of time in the spotlight, and a good deal of information for fans, but each never overstays their welcome.
Also, while the film deals directly with the Elm Street series, it also indirectly tells the story of the rise and fall of Bob Shaye and New Line Cinema. The film features roughly 105 participants, and they all offer a differing and unique perspective on the series.
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is not Nightmare on Elm Street : The Public Relations Puff Piece, it is a completely honest examination of one of the most popular horror franchises of all time. If you're a fan, this is a must watch.
This is a very well done and professionally looking documentary. Never Sleep Again is presented here in it's original 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The look of the film runs the gamut from very sharp interview footage, to less than great shot on VHS archival footage. Overall, the transfer is very good.
The audio is of similar good quality. Never Sleep Again is presented with a 2.0 stereo track. The film is not the most audio heavy film, but the interviews are recorded well, and there is no real problems with distortion, background noise, or hissing. The dialogue is completely audible throughout, like the video, it is a solid track.
You would think a 4 hour documentary would offer enough to satisfy the appetite of the most rabid of Elm Street fans, however, upon finishing the documentary I popped in disc 2 (yes this is a 2-disc set), which features a ton of extra interviews and featurettes. You would think after 4 hours of film there wouldn't be much left to say, but that is quickly proven wrong by the excellent amount of trivia offered on this disc. The featurettes kick off with a short piece called For The Love of the Glove, and then we get a sneak peak at Heather Langenkamp's upcoming documentary I Am Nancy. A short piece called Fred Heads, about obsessive Freddy fans and the things they collect including the standard posters and actions figures down to their various Freddy tattoos. This is followed by Horror's Hallowed Ground: The Return to Elm Street which offers a tour of various NOES locations including the famous Freddy house. The disc is wrapped up with a segment by the Angry Video Game Nerd on the NOES video game, Expanding the Elm Street Universe, Freddy in Comics and Novels, The Music of Nightmare which is a series of short interviews with the composers who worked on the score for the franchise. There is also Elm Street Poster Boy, an interview for the artist responsible for the first 5 films artwork, and then finally Elm Street in 10 minutes ,and a teaser trailer.
If 10 years ago someone told me there would be something more comprehensive on Elm Street than the Nightmare Encyclopedia disc included in the DVD box set, I would've through you were crazy. However, Never Sleep Again : The Elm Street Legacy not only surpasses that disc, but makes it completely obsolete. This is an excellent overview of the Elm Street franchise, and needs to be seen by all dedicated fans of Freddy. Highly Recommended.