Book Review: The Nightmare Never Ends – Author Jim Spenser

THE NIGHTMARE NEVER ENDS: THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF FREDDY KRUEGER AND THE NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET FILMS (PAPERBACK)
Written by Jim Spenser
Published by Citadel

Publication Date: 1992
Format: Color – 212 pages
Price: various – OOP

Not a recent release, but none-the-less a great release. Any fan of Freddy or Nightmare on Elm street will seriously dig into this book. I believe I purchased this when it first came out in 1992 at a horror convention. Let’s just say this bad boy is loaded with photos and Freddy information. All the great FX gags and Krueger moments are captured in B&W and full color for fans to enjoy and reminisce about the old days when you’d anxiously await another release from New line. With a new Freddy rumored to be on the horizon, you still have to give full credit to this original incarnation of the boy fathered from 1000 maniacs, had an abusive father played by Alice Cooper and was burned to death and tortured in his adulthood for molesting young kids.

Besides a great gallery spread thought from films 1 though 6 there’s alot of literature pertaining to each film and its production. A Nightmare on Elm Street which was almost called “Bad Dreams” for marketability reasons is explained as the first and most profitable horror film which set New line Cinema into the mainstream of horror release production companies.

Though we find out that in reality the company was under stress to create a hit that would yield them profits. A Nightmare on Elm street was a gamble that really wasn’t expected to be “that” hit. Though as we know it once the public got wind of Freddy, the rest was history. At the time several directors were being considered as well as actors to play the Freddy role. Lucky for us lightning struck and brought us the winning team of Wes Craven and Robert Englund. Another aspect explored is the progression of makeup that Freddy developed into. The first film revealed as using lighting to hide much of his features. The following films began to bring Freddy into the light and in turn a re-development of the bone structure and makeup was needed. All this and more entertain the pages within and the rise of the a popular icon in horror.

The famous turning room which was created to pull off the “Nancy scene” was in fact that. A room which was created to turn with the camera attached to make the appearance of ‘Nancy climbing the walls. Several of these type effect were ingeniously created to pull of many of the famous Freddy kills. The book covers all of these and the happy accidents that occurred to what we see on screen.

Film #2 “Freddy’s Revenge attempts to do something that changes the perspective a bit. That is Freddy jumps out of the dream world and appears at a party to terrorize the locals. This change of narrative in a way goes against the grain of the original lineage and concept. So in short #2 is regarded more as one-off. Several scenes are shot using props of Freddy dogs, rats and animals. this includes a canary scene which didn’t make the cut In short its received by the community but still an odd man out from the series.

#3 By this time Freddy is in fill swing and making box office numbers. Dream warriors inspires an audience who takesto the “war against Freddy” concept and delivers in spades. Full on Fx, clever dream worlds and the usual smattering of Freddy style kills makes #3 a huge success. Also introduced is Freddy’s original who was the bastard child of 1000 maniacs that gang raped his nun mother Amanda Krueger. The story evolves, and Amanda is brought into the picture as a new focal point to embellish on.

In the overview of film #3, we learn that many of the FX scenes were actually accomplished per backwards recording (recording then running the film backwards). Other gags were achieved with mechanics, custom built props and even a real dead pig. The bed scene is displayed which is setup vertical with a blue screen behind it and filmed to look like the top. Director Chuck Russell took the helms after a successful run on “Dreamscape” to help bring some of his surreal nightmare approach to this special segment of the series. In all its a fascinating tale of the mechanics behind the whole shoot. Being one of my more favorites of the series, it was a pleasure to really get the whole picture spelled out more clearly.

I wont spoil the rest, as it continue in this narration style through the 4th, 5th, and sixth films giving you more than you could ever want about the series.

It’s fair to say that this is one of the most complete Freddy books out there at least up to film #6. There’s plenty of photos, and lots of information about the productions. I would love to see the author publish a re-edition that completes the current lineup. Perhaps with a new remake on the way we’ll get to see a revised volume, but none-the-less, any NOES fan will really dig this edition. I especially enjoyed all the background information and decision making chapters that evolved with Freddy on each film. While this book was published back in 1992, you can still find copies and Ebay auctions available for fans of the series.

http://www.amazon.com/Nightmare-Never-Ends-Official-History/dp/0806513683/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244416826&sr=1-1

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