The ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ remake that could have been

03.08.16 2 years ago

Platinum Dunes' 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street was worse than bad; it was an entirely uninspired riff on its predecessor, with none of the terror, charm or killer subtext of Wes Craven's original. Not even an excellent actor like Jackie Earle Haley — who was rendered unrecognizable beneath pounds of cat-like makeup as nu-Freddy — could overcome the film's glaring deficiencies.

Here's something interesting: while NOES is being remade yet again by New Line Cinema, Bloody Disgusting just provided an intriguing window into what might have been. What many fans don't know is that before music video director Samuel Bayer took the helm, Inside directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo were in talks to direct the remake. And based on what they told the horror site in a recent interview, if they'd had it their way the film could have been something more than just a tired rehash.

“Our idea of a good remake is to have a new vision on the same thematics,” they said. “Here it was to really use the fact that Krueger is a child molester. So the idea was to have a twisted version of the Goonies with a bunch of kids being stalked. We thought it would have been great for a remake to switch the teenagers of the original with real kids. Beside childhood is the moment in life when you are truly and deeply frightened by nightmares, when you”re not able to see the difference between reality and dreams…”

The idea of using children instead of teenagers as the film's protagonists is an interesting riff on the original, but unfortunately it's a less commercial idea for a genre that lives and dies on pulling in teenage opening-weekend crowds who want to see themselves reflected on screen. Not to mention, killing off children on-screen isn't the most appealing concept for audiences who are traditionally squeamish about seeing child characters die. There's no word yet on which direction the new remake (being scripted by Orphan screenwriter David Leslie Johnson) will take, but I'd bet good money that it won't stray too far from the “teens in peril” conceit that made the franchise such a success in the first place.

For more on the upcoming remake, check out my seven ideas for building a better one. Also, the original Nancy still rules.

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