Over the years we have seen Hollywood run out of ideas and hit the remake/reboot button on some of the best known films. I have created this scoring system to look at how good or bad the comparisons between the original and remakes are. I haven’t gone for just quality I have looked at a range of subjects.
Today I am going to look at both ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ Films
1 – Stars
With this category I will be looking at which has the bigger names involved. I will be picking 5 main characters and one wild card on each film.
Original – Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Johnny Depp, Ronee Blakey and Amanda Wyss
Robert Englund – is one of the biggest icons in horror and would be anybody’s pick for favourite Freddy, but it would be fair to say the love for his performance comes from the one liners including ‘I’m your boyfriend now Nancy’ ‘I beat my high score’ ‘welcome to wonderland, Alice’ ‘How’s this for a wet dream?’ and many more. Who can forget his laugh after each of his kills too?
Heather Langenkamp –was brand new on the scene when she appeared in what was only her second feature film and over the 30 plus years she has never managed to make as big an impact on the industry she could have, with the highlights being her appearances in the sequels.
Johnny Depp – this was his debut feature film and 74 credits later, 3 Oscar nomination he is one of the biggest stars in the Hollywood land now.
Amanda Wyss – Amanda is the actress who has the iconic first death in the film and she went on to become a serial guest star on a range of television shows but kept them going for her whole career up to now.
Ronne Blakey – brings an Oscar nomination to the table but stepped away from acting in the 90’s.
John Saxon – has an amazing list of films to his name working with the biggest names in the business and could easily be the biggest star to appear in this film at the time.
Remake – Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner, Thomas Dekker, Jackie Earl Haley, Katie Cassidy and Kellan Lutz
Jackie Earle Haley – A former child star who actually auditioned for a role in the original gets the role as replacing the icon Englund. He had 13 years away from acting before returning in 2006 and got nominated for an Oscar, he bought a darker side to Freddy lost the witty lines.
Rooney Mara – Rooney took the lead role and even though she admits she only did it for the money just look how far she has gone since that performance where she was nominated for an Oscar in another remake ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and followed it up with critical acclaimed performances.
Katie Cassidy – Katie wasn’t a stranger to horror remakes with this being her third all of which have been heavily criticised too. Katie has forged out a successful television career becoming a main character in ‘Arrow’.
Thomas Dekker – was John Connor in the Terminator television show as well as appearing in plenty of horrors.
Kyler Gallner – hasn’t gone onto being able to be a leading man yet but has continued to a supporting actor for many different types of films.
Kellan Lutz – Appeared in the Twilight franchise and is mostly known for his body which lead him to get the role in the legend of Hercules film.
Conclussion – How can you really pick who had the bigger stars Englund is an icon of horror, Depp is now one of the biggest names in Hollywood, but when it comes to the remake Mara is now one of the most sort after actresses and Jackie Earle Haley can creep anyone out with his performance. Dekker and Saxon both come off as great low budget actors who appear in anything, out of the remaining stars I am going to lean towards the remake having an overall bigger star appeal.
Winner – REMAKE
Who is the creepy Freddy Krueger?
2 – Story
As the remake should look to use aspects of the original the question here is does the remake build on the original idea enough to make it worth bringing the story back.
Original – I am keeping this basic, we have a group of four friends who all have the same nightmare about a burnt man with a knife glove only when he hurts them in the dreams they die in real life. we hear who he is and how he ended up dead we also see how they fight him off and out of their dreams. All of this was very simple and all you needed in a 80’s slasher film, it was the sequels that looked further into his origin story so anything else you know can’t be used in the conversation against the remake.
Remake – In the remake we have Freddy haunting the dreams of the children because of what the parents did, but where this one stands out is Freddy never killed anyone as a human, he also knew the children when they were young and allegedly molested them. on paper that actually sounds better because it shows that Freddy could have been innocent, where this ends up falling short is the fact he did it and by doing this ruins the fresh idea.
Conclusion – This will come off controversial but I was very close to picking the remake and if the final reveal about Freddy actually committing the crimes didn’t happen it would have one, I have to pick the original here because it bought us an icon that still lives on strong with us 30 years on.
Winner – ORIGINAL
3 – Special Effects
When it comes to a lot of films being remade we get to see different technologies to create special effects, we end up having the clash between practical effects and CGI but which look most effective?
Original – The effects used here in 1984 were brilliant making everything work for a slasher film.
Remake – Has a bigger budget and CGI which helps let the film get to the modern level, the school scene stands out as something very good but otherwise it is standard what you would expect.
Conclusion – I think the original achieves a lot more with the effects available because the remake has such a big budget you would expect it to be almost flawless.
Winner – ORGINAL
4 – Memorable Scenes
Most films always have iconic scenes and with this category I will be picking 3 from each film and looking which will be remembered as the ones everyone goes to about horror scenes.
- First it would have to be Tina’s death scenes brutal and will always be remembered as Freddy’s first.
- Second it would have to be another death scene and this time it will be Glen’s because of how shocking it was in a place you are meant to feel safe.
- Third will be the school scene where Nancy gets a visit from Tina’s ghost with Freddy waiting for her.
- School scene, which this time we have Kris seeing the visions but the flash between people being there and being gone is the highlight of the film.
- Actually seeing what happened to Freddy being chased and burnt alive
- I liked the opening sequences because it was the only original kill.
Conclusion – When you look back in horror film history I think the original will have two iconic moments that everyone still talks about today, I don’t think the remake brings enough new to the table.
Winner – ORIGINAL
5 – Box Office
We all know that Box Office seems to be all that matters in Hollywood but which film made the most money on its budget?
Original – made 14x its budget
Remake – made 3.3x its budget
Winner – ORIGINAL
6 – Awards
We as critics can talk and talk about films, we all have our own opinions but when a film gets nominated for awards it shows how we have come together to praise a film or criticise one. Which film got the most positive awards?
Original – Won 2 Awards and nominated for another 3.
Remake – Won 2 awards and nominated for a further 9, only one award it won was Worst Horror Film. It was nominated for best horror in Empire Awards and won People’s Choice Award but they only pick the commercial films not the real horrors of the year.
Winner – ORIGINAL
7 – My Rating
How do I rate the film, this one is easy to work out but do you agree with my scores?
Original – 90%
Remake – 75%
Winner – ORGINAL
8 – Audience Rating
For this section I am going to look at the scores each film got on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes with the points going to the highest scoring film.
Original – 7.5 IMBD 94% Rotten Tomatoes
Remake – 5.2 IMDB 15% Rotten Tomatoes
Winner – ORIGINAL
Winner – Original 7 – 1 Remake
In the past I have stuck up for the remake because I do think it did try to change elements from the original, if you take out the Robert Englund factor I do think the remake would get a lot more credit but just too many of the original fans wanted to see the same old Freddy. I also think the remake brings the serious side back to the Krueger character. In the end you will never beat the original but when you compare the two films as individuals you might find that the remake is a lot better than you think, even if it doesn’t quite reach the same levels the original had.