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WonderCon 2010: A Nightmare On Elm Street and the Need To Embrace Your Inner Boogeyman

By  · Published on April 6th, 2010

If there were a ranking of upcoming remakes listing the movies in order of necessity, this month’s redo of A Nightmare On Elm Street would sit squarely in the middle of the bunch. (Although to be fair, the list would be heavily tilted toward the unnecessary end.) On the one hand, the franchise could use an update in the special effects department and an improvement in quality actors (sorry Heather Langenkamp and Ronee Blakley). But on the flipside the original Wes Craven film is still scary as hell. Subsequent sequels watered Freddy Krueger down to a walking and talking punchline, but that first movie still manages to pack in more than a few terrifying moments. Now Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production shingle is set to release their update, and WB brought some of the cast to WonderCon to tell us why we should care.

Jackie Earle Haley plays Freddy Krueger, and while I’m still not entirely sold on the new lip-less makeup for Freddy’s face, I do think his casting here is one rare bit of perfect synchronicity. Haley is a very talented actor, but even better for the role at hand he carries a layer of menace with him thanks to roles in Shutter Island, Watchmen, and most affectingly Little Children. During the Q&A which also featured Kyle Gallner, Katie Cassidy, a supremely dorky Thomas Dekker, and Rooney “the new Nancy” Mara, Haley thanked the fans for their lobbying on his behalf to get him the role before it had even been offered. He then discussed his initial preparations for playing such an iconic character including going back and watching the first Nightmare film but avoiding all of the sequels because of their substantially lighter tone. Haley wanted to portray the human side of a serial killer and began reading up on real-life murderers, but he eventually realized Freddy is more than simply a psychotic killer. “Freddy is the boogyman” Haley decided, and he needs to be portrayed appropriately.

The scene they showed is the full version of the diner bit teased in the trailer. Kellan Lutz’ character, Dean, is sitting in the Springwood Diner trying desperately to stay awake. The dimly lit dive is empty aside from him and a waitress who disappears into the back, so Dean gets up to find her and instead runs into Krueger’s razor-lined glove which slashes his hand. Dean awakens to find his hand has actually been cut and is soon joined by Kris (Cassidy). They chat briefly about their nightmares, and she steps away long enough for him to slip back under again where he comes face to face with Krueger. They fight over a knife but when we return to the real world we see Kris watching in horror as Dean appears to be holding the knife to his own throat. Things don’t end well for Dean…

A Nightmare On Elm Street hits theaters on April 30th.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.