7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The ultimate (though not quite perfect) Freddy collection,
This review is from: The Nightmare On Elm Street Collection (Region 1)(NTSC) [DVD]  [US Import] (DVD)
The Nightmare on Elm Street DVD Collection is pretty much a must-have for all Freddy fans, especially those like me who basically came of age watching Freddy do his thing. No movie releases apart from the original Star Wars trilogy invoked more excitement and conjecture in me than did the Elm Street sequels, and all of the films are really just as good now as they were when they were released - better, in fact, thanks to DVD technology and the abundance of special features it makes possible. Of course, the technological explosion in terms of cinematic possibilities we have witnessed in the years since Freddy's birth comes with a price - it is now almost impossible for horror fans such as myself to actually be scared by a movie. Even today's youngest generation will never feel the true magic that Freddy cascaded onto his original audience - they have simply become inured to such primal feelings via the saturation of pop culture itself. Still, though, we who have just turned the door on youth can rediscover the feelings the Elm Street movies first wrought inside our souls, and several of these films do possess the creepy potential to insinuate their horrors into the hearts and minds of the younger generations. The original will never be as shocking as it was in 1984, but it is still a powerful film built on grand archetypes of good and evil that will never fade away. The third film, in contrast to the second one, shows just how effective a true sequel can be at not only recapturing what has come before but expounding upon its very essence in a way sure to delight the audience. Films four and five highlight the innately human propensity to take a good idea and milk it for all it's worth, transforming the core idea that gave birth to something innovative into purely entertaining, meaningless echoes of its original dark self. Freddy's Dead shows just how difficult it can be to recapture the magic that even studio executives know has been lost, and then Wes Craven's New Nightmare makes up for all the bad things, as Freddy's creator returns to the series and recreates and redefines his now-stagnant creation into something just as different and unsettling as the original.
The seven movies basically need no exposition on my part, so I will turn my attention to the extras included on this definitive Freddy collection. For one thing, you get the option of watching the original 3-D ending to Freddy's Dead (along with two sets of 3-D glasses) as well as the 2-D ending that the video release included. The 3-D ending does not make up for the general problems with Freddy's final "death" but its availability to the home viewer counts for a lot in my book. Each DVD allows you to jump to any death sequence you choose, which some fans may like (even though Nightmare's essence was not really about the increasingly outlandish kills). The set comes with a bonus DVD that purports to feature The Nightmare Series Encyclopedia. I found this DVD somewhat tedious after a while, but it does feature a brand new documentary on the series. You also get a number of interviews with the men and women who helped bring Freddy to life as well as interested bystanders such as Clive Barker comparing his Hellraiser films to Craven's Nightmare series. There is a Freddy trivia game included for those who like that sort of thing, a very impressive booklet featuring the original press kit information on each film, two film commentaries, a screensaver, trailers, and cast and crew information. A lot of this bonus material is made available in the form of a labyrinth in which you must travel from place to place picking items at random - fortunately, much of the material is much more handily available through an index of features on the disk.
Two things disappoint me about this collection. For one, the Labyrinth is aggravating and really not enjoyable to explore; I really don't know why industry people think fans enjoy having to work our way to the special bonus features we paid for in the first place. My other disappointment is the lack of commentaries. The original film features a marvelous commentary by Wes Craven, actors Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon, and director of photography Jacques Haitkin, while Wes Craven's New Nightmare contains a fascinating commentary by Wes Craven alone, but these are the only commentaries available over the entire series of movies (the third movie definitely deserves a commentary of its own). Deleted scenes would also have been a welcome addition, especially given Craven's abundant comments concerning scenes he had to remove from his Nightmare films for various reasons. Still, this collection delivers the goods that all Freddy fans care the most about, as the widescreen, digitally remastered versions of the seven films are stunningly impressive.