A Nightmare on Elm Street Collection
Street Date: March 2, 2013
Available On: Blu-ray
The Film: All seven of the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films starring Robert Englund on Blu-ray (“The Dream Master,” “The Dream Child,” “Freddy’s Dead” and “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” in HD for the first time).
The Extras: Every film includes a variety of featurettes and trailers and there is a bonus DVD disc with additional material including three of retrospective featurettes and a pair of episodes from the “Freddy’s Nightmares” television spinoff series.
Recommendation: When it comes to horror films my appreciation of the genre is often expressed in an academic, rather than visceral, sort of way. I look for the social commentary that often exists beneath the gore, rather than counting up the bodies or judging the quality of the film based on the ingenuity of the death sequences. Sometimes the commentary is intended, sometimes it is simply a byproduct and unfortunately sometimes it isn’t there at all. But I wasn’t always tangled up or burdened by having to explain why I enjoyed a film; I simply enjoyed it. I remember seeing “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and its second sequel “Dream Warriors” in my early teens and while I quite liked both films and saw both multiple times I never really ventured out to see any of the other movies in the franchise. This means that I missed the interesting, but misguided “Freddy’s Revenge,” the surprisingly good “The Dream Master,” the lows of “The Dream Child” and “Freddy’s Dead” and the different, but solid closing chapter “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.” Viewed as a whole the series is better than I expected, particularly when compared with its franchise contemporaries “Friday the 13th,” “Halloween” and “Hellraiser,” where the majority of the films were simply rehashing the same material over and over again with diminishing creative returns. It is interesting to chart the evolution of the character Freddy Krueger who, unlike Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, was more than a murder in a mask and made actor Robert Englund a household name. The set also further emphasizes the disappointment that was felt regarding 2010’s remake, which felt about as redundant as the “Psycho” remake, with what seemed like the perfect casting with Jackie Earle Haley replacing Englund as Freddy.
The set includes all the previously released bonus features from the DVD set. It doesn’t have any newly produced materials, but it’s hard to imagine that there is much more than could be said about the films that aren’t contained within the various featurettes. It’s refreshing to hear filmmakers and producers talk about the mistakes they made and how they tried to rectify them in the next installment.
The video quality of the set is quite impressive. Six of the films are spread out over three discs (only the original film has its own disc), but this doesn’t appear to have had a major impact as all the films look about as good as could be expected considering their modest budgets. In many cases the special effects held up better than I expected them to.
If you’re a fan of the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise and didn’t already pick up this set while it was a Best Buy exclusive I highly recommend buying a copy.
-Ryan Michael Painter