You can see our other Nightmare on Elm Street lists here. Today, it’s time for the 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street re-make, aka, the one Michael Bay literally had to beg someone to direct
It had to happen eventually, especially after Michael Bay’s production company, Platinum Dunes, scored such a huge hit with their Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) re-make. Eventually, someone was going to re-make Nightmare on Elm Street, and challenge us to care about a Freddy Krueger not played by Robert Englund. By the time Platinum Dunes got around to doing it, they were old pros at this kind of thing. In addition to Texas Chainsaw, they’d also done Amityville Horror, The Hitcher, and Friday the 13th. What they ended up making was something admirably flawed, following many sound impulses (e.g., taking Freddy to a darker place) but ultimately lacking the magic of Craven’s original.
1. The director turned it down twice, and only agreed to do it after receiving an impassioned email from producer Michael Bay
As Nightmare on Elm Street director Samuel Bayer put it, “I think it’s hard to argue with the richest guy in Hollywood,” referring to Michael Bay’s efforts to court him. Prior to Elm Street, Bayer had directed music videos and commercials for over two decades, but had yet to direct his first movie. That wasn’t for a lack of trying; it’s just that none of the projects he’d been attached to ended up getting produced. Michael Bay had also started his career in music videos, and wanted to help Bayer pop his feature film cherry. However, by the time Nightmare on Elm Street came along Bayer had already turned down Bay’s offers to direct Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror, and then he turned around and said no to Nightmare on Elm Street. Twice. Bayer told ShockTillYouDrop.com what happened next:
Michael sent me an e-mail and made a lot of sense. Just talking about the business and why this was a good movie to make. There was a lot of opportunities in doing this that might not have happened with another film […] I thought whatever that first film was going to be, it better be the right one. Michael said I could wait forever and it might not ever happen. He definitely got my appetite whet and the more I thought about what could be done with this franchise, the more excited I got.
Sadly, Bayer has yet to direct another movie beyond the Elm Street remake.
2. That Jackie Earle Haley-Johnny Depp story about the 1984 Nightmare on Elm Street may not actually be true
The rumor: Jackie Earle Haley auditioned for the first Nightmare on Elm Street, and his friend Johnny Depp tagged along but was so handsome they asked him to audition, eventually giving him, not Haley, a part in the film.
The truth: Jackie Earle Haley told Moviesonline, “It is possible that I auditioned for Nightmare on Elm Street and don’t remember. It’s also possible that I could have been sitting next to Johnny in the waiting room. That’s the only thing I could figure where that started from.”
3. The Director & Jackie Earle Haley both used to direct commercials
Samuel Bayer directed such classic music videos as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Blind Melon’s “No Rain,” and Garbage’s “Only Happy When It Rains,” and commercials for brands like Chrysler and Nike. Nightmare on Elm Street was his first break into directing a feature-length film, but his leading man had some experience behind the commercial camera too. Jackie Earle Haley started his career as a child actor, most notably in Bad News Bears, but his awkward teen years hits his career pretty hard. So, he quit acting, moved to Texas, and made his living directing TV commercials.
4. They wanted Jackie Earle Haley to play Freddy because they loved his Watchmen screen test
Jackie Earle Haley’s career renaissance began with his Oscar-nominated performance as a child molester in Little Children in 2006 before hitting an entirely new level with his scene-stealing performance as Rorschach in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen in 2009. Within a month of the release of Watchmen, Haley had been cast as the new Freddy Krueger. It’s tempting to assume his role in Little Children played some part in the casting, especially since the producers of the Elm Street re-make chose to make Freddy a full-on child molester just like Wes Craven originally intended but shied away from back in ‘84. However, that gives them too much credit. According to the director, what actually happened was that during the development process they somehow got their hands on Haley’s Watchmen screen test, and were so blown away they decided their list of actors to target for Freddy consisted of one man: Jackie Earle Haley.
5. Their main source of inspiration was The Dark Knight
Remember that this movie was being developed throughout 2009, less than a year after The Dark Knight came out and set a crap-ton of box office records. So, pretty much everyone in Hollywood was using Dark Knight as their go-to reference for how to do things. Samuel Bayer was no different, telling Fangoria:
“If I have to tell you what my main influence was, I’d say without a doubt, that The Dark Knight is a hell of a movie. In fact, I told all my cast and crew that we must do with Freddy what Christopher Nolan did with Batman. I’m trying to make a dark and serious film, and I hope I’m achieving that. One of the most extraordinary aspects of Dark Knight is the way it integrates Batman into a believable world, and I want to do just the same with Freddy. That doesn’t mean, of course, that the classic elements of the mythology will be absent from our Nightmare on Elm Street.”
6. Wes Craven would have liked it if they had at least asked him to act as a consultant
To get the first Nightmare on Elm Street produced, Wes Craven had to sign away the rights to the characters, and he’s regretted it ever since. New Line’s former boss Bob Shaye resolved their grievances as a precursor to making New Nightmare, but New Line still maintained ownership of the franchise. When they farmed out the re-make to Platinum Dunes, there was nothing obligating anyone to even give Craven a heads-up. The professional courtesy would be to at least give Wes Craven a call and offer to let him work with them as a consultant, but Craven told IGN that didn’t happen, “”Yes it does hurt, it does because its such an important film for me that, unfortunately, when I signed the original contract I gave up all rights to it and so there’s nothing I can do about it. I was much happier with Last House on the Left that I could kind of shepherd it towards production and we found a really wonderful director.”
7. Their Freddy design is similar to what Wes Craven originally wanted back in ‘84
Wes Craven originally wanted part of Freddy’s skull to be visible through the head as well as pus to be seeping out of the sores. It was his make-up artist, David B. Miller, who dissuaded him of this notion since in 1984 such a thing was entirely too impractical, even if they somehow used a combination of a live actor and puppets.
Jump ahead over 20 years, and thanks to the advances in make-up design as well as the ability to augment the practical effects with CGI, makeup artist Andrew Clement achieved what Craven could not: A Freddy whose burn-scarred face was realistic enough to almost cause the audience to turn away in disgust. Clement told Fangoria, “We’re using silicone material that, until now, the Freddy saga hasn’t used, and created a brand new look. We did exhaustive research on real burns. We tried to catch the textures, colors, etc. of those wounds. Samuel Bayer tells us all the time that the goal is realism, so that’s what we’ve gone for.”
8. They weren’t supposed to kill any of the characters at the pool scene
Though the film is set in the fictional town of Springwood, Ohio, they filmed in Illinois, partially due to a very generous tax credit afforded them by the state. They were able to convince two different area high schools to serve as locations for scenes in the film, but only after assuring the School board that none of the characters would be killed during a big pool scene involving 200 extras played by actual local high school students.
9. Warner Bros. wanted to post-convert it into 3D, and Michael Bay said no
Let that sink in for a minute. On behalf of Platinum Dunes, Michael Bay, the guy who’s directed all of the Transformers movies, actually said no when the studio wanted to slap a gimmick on to his movie in order to make more money. Elm Street’s director and other producers all agreed with Bay, and obviously they all eventually convinced Warner Bros./New Line that a 3D post-conversion was a bad idea because the movie wasn’t filmed with 3D in mind. Remember that mere months after Elm Street came out Clash of the Titans scored huge box office figures due to its 3D post-conversion, but the 3D was such a transparent cash-grab that it is often pointed to as the beginning of the end for America’s love affair with 3D.
10. The Deleted Scenes include an alternate opening and ending
Nightmare on Elm Street’s Blu-Ray contains several deleted scenes you can view in full as well as others which can only be briefly glimpsed in the Blu-Ray’s other special features. The deleted material includes:
- Alternate opening: A burn patient (Fred Krueger) painfully dies in a hospital
- Dean’s alternate death: Kris hosts a garden party which ends with Dean falling to his death
- Krueger confronting Kris in his candlelit lair
- Krueger, as Kris, taunts Nancy as she drowns in the blood-flooded hallway
- Alternate final sequence: Quentin encounters Krueger in a dilapidated church
- Additional footage of Freddy killing one of the Elm Street parents in a bedroom dream sequence and an alternate ending of Freddy bursting from a sleeping Quentin
11. There was originally an idea that one of the characters would keep a “Nightmare Map”
Multiple media outlets were allowed to visit the set during filming, and by complete coincidence several of the scenes they had a front-row seat to and ideas mentioned to them by crew members never made it into the finished film. Luckily, when the movie came out ShockTillYouDrop got a chance to ask Samuel Bayer about one such now-excised portion of the film involving something called the “Nightmare Map”:
We had something, at one time, one of the characters – every time he went into a dream – he’d come back out and write down where he had been and that would be a clue for the other characters. It’s just something that didn’t translate. It’s this wonderful idea that meant more on paper than it did on the screen. But I’ll be selling my Nightmare Maps on Sunset Blvd. for a dollar a piece
12. Jackie Earle Haley and Rooney Mara signed up for multiple films
Jackie Earl Haley’s contract was for three total films while Rooney Mara’s for two. It is now 4 years later, and there is no indication that a sequel is ever going to happen.
13. It is the 8th highest grossing slasher film of all time.
As of 2014, $63 million domestic for Nightmare on Elm Street is still good enough to make it the 8th highest grossing slasher film of all time, trailing the Friday the 13th re-make ($65 million), I Know What You Did Last Summer ($72 million), the 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre ($80 million), Freddy Vs. Jason ($82 million), and all 3 Scream films, the first Scream’s $103 million making it the king of all slasher movies. Once you adjust for ticket price inflation, Elm Street plummets to 24th on the list, actually passed by Elm Street 2 (#21), Freddy’s Dead (#20), Dream Warriors (#12), and Dream Master (#10). Worse yet, with its $35 million budget the 2010 Elm Street cost at least twice as much to make as any of those prior Elm Street movies.
You can use the following links to check out all of our other “13 Things…” lists: Nightmare on Elm Street 1, Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and Freddy Vs. Jason.