Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is one of the best documentaries made on a single franchise cutting through the typical back-slapping you tend to get with interviews and instead there was honesty about the flaws the movies had, difficulties filming and how the franchise ultimately built New Line Cinema.
RLJ Entertainment | NR – 238 min. – $29.98 | January 21, 2014
Directed by: Daniel Farrands, Andrew Kasch
Writer(s): Thommy Hutson (written by)
Features: Commentary, Interviews, Featurettes
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Disc Size: 45.0 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
Quick Hit Review:
Alongside Friday the 13th, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise has endured numerous sequels and even launched a couple of careers (see Kevin Bacon in F13 and Johnny Depp in NOES). The originals are considered classics while the sequels have varied in quality. From the filmmakers that recently released Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy painstakingly outlines each and every Elm Street movie up to Freddy vs. Jason.
Documentaries about movies or franchises can be tricky and turn into love-fests and while there was some nice things to be said about each entry, the participants – which include Robert Englund, Wes Craven, Chuck Russell, Renny Harlin, Kane Hodder and Monica Keena – offer up their insights into the respective movie, warts and all to go along with sometimes troubled production and critical receptions.
Clocking in at nearly four hours, Never Sleep Again is an amazing documentary where you will learn each and every little thing about each of the Elm Street movies and interviews with hundreds of participants large and small, in front of and behind the camera. Obviously it’d be hard to get through it all in one sitting but I found it to be really engrossing and as someone who isn’t a huge fan of the series outside of the first film, I still was impressed.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
The 2-disc release comes in a standard HD Slim case.
Audio Commentary – Directors Andrew Kasch and Daniel Farrands, Writer Thommy Hutson and Cinematographer Buz Danger Wallick sit down together for the entire length and discuss how the documentary came together which is pretty impressive given the length.
Extended Interviews (1:40:56) are the bits that didn’t make it into the fill documentary. These alone are feature-length and are quite interesting to view.
First Look: Heather Langenkamp’s “I Am Nancy” (6:42) is a sneak peek at the actresses own documentary on Elm Street.
For the Love of the Glove (18:16) – Yep, even Freddy’s infamous gloves get its own featurette looking at its conception and how it became a collector’s item and now in a private collection.
Fred Heads: The Ultimate Freddy Fans (12:50) is about the numerous fans the serial killer has garnered.
Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: Return to Elm Street (22:10) is my favorite of the features where host Sean Clark leads viewer on a tour to the famous locations where Nightmare on Elm Street was filmed.
Freddy vs. The Angry Video Game Nerd (5:30) – James Rolfe of AVGN talks about Nightmare on Elm Street and the evolution of Freddy into the video game world.
Expanding the Elm Street Universe: Freddy in Comic Books and Novels (15:45) examines Freddy’s foray into other mediums.
The Music of Nightmare: Conversations with Composers and Songwriters (13:40) has interviews with Charles Bernstein and others involved in the musical side of the movies.
Elm Street’s Poster Boy: The Art of Matthew Joseph Peak (7:31) is about the poster artwork and its importance in the series from the perspective of the artist.
A Nightmare on Elm Street in 10 Minutes (10:07) goes through the movie, with line-readings from the actors today, in a mere 10-minutes.
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy Teaser Trailer (0:56)
VIDEO – 3.25/5
Considering the bulk of this documentary are recorded interviews on simple soundstages and using digital cameras, although it is a 1080p high-definition transfer, it’s not the prettiest looking picture especially considering it was originally released on DVD 3 years ago. Still, production photos look good and even the interview footage has decent detail levels though pixilation and artifacts are noticeable.
AUDIO – 3.0/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo track provided isn’t anything phenomenal but gets the job done where the interviewees voices are clear and the music used comes through well enough, but as one would imagine, it is flat.
OVERALL – 4.25/5
Overall, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is one of the best documentaries made on a single franchise cutting through the typical back-slapping you tend to get with interviews and instead there was honesty about the flaws the movies had, difficulties filming and how the franchise ultimately built New Line Cinema. The Blu-ray has OK video and audio transfers but there’s a fair amount of bonus materials.