A Look Behind The Horror: Never Sleep Again/I Am Nancy
As two of the recent episodes of the MacGuffin Podcast show, we had some amazing opportunities for interviews at the Crypticon Horror Convention this month. Due to the woes of a glitch in our recording process, we can’t properly share one of the coolest experiences with you: Spencer and John interviewing writer/producer Thommy Hutson and actress/producer Heather Langenkamp about the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, and their thoughts on the history of the Elm Street franchise.
One of my favorite things about being a movie fan is listening to other fans speak about their passions. Listening to someone who is both a fan and a filmmaker makes for an experience that is doubly inspiring. Hutson and Langenkamp each have given an incredible amount of time and effort to properly chronicling the story of the Nightmare on Elm Street films. Their end product is an amazing four hour documentary (with hours more of bonus interview footage) that amounts to the ultimate gift to Elm Street fans, and a chronicle of a part of film history that Langenkamp pointed out could easily be considered worthy of the Library of Congress.
With the remake of the 1984 original coming out this past April to unimpressed reviews, an examination of what made the first film such a classic is timely and useful. Langenkamp’s continuing enthusiasm and dedication to the Elm Street franchise speaks both to the enduring nature of the series and to the great experiences she had working on the installments she appeared in. As she spoke, she had nothing but praise for Wes Craven and for Robert Englund, for their work and creativity and for the environment they created on set. She was able to put a great deal of trust into Wes Craven with New Nightmare, to not question the idea of playing “herself” in the film. With the roll of Nancy Thompson defining her early acting career, she has now come to embrace the roll of filmmaker on both this documentary and the forthcoming I Am Nancy.
We all agreed that the character of Freddy Krueger is unique among horror villains, for the sheer sort of terror he can invoke: there is no simple running away from Freddy. When asked about what films originally got him into horror, Hutson responded that while it may sound like the obvious answer (given his involvement with the documentary), the original Nightmare on Elm Street really was the gateway.
Hutson previously wrote the documentary His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th. However, he said that he preferred the experience of making Never Sleep Again, because they were working without the same kind of running length limit as he’d had to for His Name Was Jason. When we wondered whether he would continue in this genre and do more horror documentaries, he mused about revisiting the Scream franchise, perhaps ten years down the road. It is clear that Wes Craven’s influence on contemporary horror cinema can’t be denied.
Never Sleep Again is required viewing for fans of the Elm Street franchise, horror film in general, or those interested in film history. More information on it can be found at elmstreetlegacy.com. Information on I Am Nancy is available at iamnancy.net.
Many thanks to Heather Langenkamp and Thommy Hutson.