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The Dream Collection
on 12 May 2004
If you're a fan of the Nightmare On Elm Street series, then this is the best collection that you'll most probably EVER see. It provides everything you could ever possibly want as a fan of the series, and a whole lot more.
All seven movies have made it to this collection, from the chilling original, to the comedic finale. And of course, the much welcomed and fiercely original bookmark to the series, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, is included too. The movies have without a shadow of a doubt, never looked better.
All of the prints are crisply remastered, to the point where even the 1984 original looks like it was filmed yesterday. The colours are so incredibly vibrant, and it truely brings the movies to life. The ever-colourful Freddy, the wild fantasy death scenes and the myriad of dream imagery look the best that they ever will in this collection, making you understand once and for all what the DVD format was made for. Even the 3D ending to part 6 is included, with 2 pairs of 3D glasses thrown in the mix.
And let's not forget the sound. With new enhanced Dolby 5.1 soundtracks for each movie, you have the choice of absolutely immersing yourself in the nightmare. You'll be guaranteed bad dreams if you spend too much time watching these in full surround sound with all the lights off. The one element lacking in the sound is the scarce Commentary. Commentary tracks appear only on the bookends of the series, both of the Wes Craven written/directed movies, his original vision and the new nightmare. Part 1's is the amusing and informative laser-disc track with Wes Craven, Jacques Haitkin, Heather Langencamp and John Saxon. New Nightmare's is a Wes Craven solo, which is deeply insightful and informative. Despite the inexcusable absense of Robert Englund, these are great tracks, and the other movies didn't quite warrant any anyway (other than profuse apologies for 2 and 6, but these appear in the bonus disc anyway)
The bonus disc itself is its own seperate monster. The Labyrinth game, in which you must DVD-remotely explore a Freddy World full of clips and interviews (almost four hours worth of them). The hit-and-miss element is the fact that you have no idea what you're about to unlock, and sometimes you are forced to solve puzzles. Luckily, more often than not, this doesn't extend much further than switching on the light or solving riddles such as "in the group of three, the last two it be" which appears next door to three switches. However, for the less inclined, there is an index of each movie, listing the interviews that relate to them. These feature many insightful words from Wes Craven, Robert Shaye, Rachel Talalay and of course, Robert Englund. You'll find the directors having their say, ridiculous music videos, psychologists and the likes of Clive Barker no less, and of course, all the theatrical trailers too. But if you want to view the shabby alternate endings, the delightfully hammy Freddy MTV spots, along with a few other interesting pieces of info which are unlisted in the index, you'll be forced to enter the Labyrinth.
Additonal, but untested-by-me DVD-ROM features include interactive screenplays, a trivia quiz for each movie (which unlock a final quiz on the encyclopedia), screensavers, an interactive freddy, and various little things to keep you entertained for hours.
If I were to rate each movie democratically, alongside the Godfather or Pulp Fiction, this collection would probably get maybe 3 stars. Some of the films are undenyably weak in places, bordering on questionable and ridiculous. And don't argue with me here. I've been a hardcore fan all my life, but if you can watch freddy's DOG PEE resurrection in part 4 and take it seriously, you're more of a fan than I'll ever be. But it's the flaws that make it all that more interesting. I love this collection of movies, and as with all my favourite horror movies, it's the inconsistancies that make it all the more fun.
But I simply can't rate these movies against all others, because a 3 star rating would be absurd and uncalled for. Rating this movie as a fan, I am obliged to give it 5 stars. Because, let's face it, is a casual movie-goer who hasn't seen any of the movies REALLY going to splash out the money to buy an 8 disc box set? Of course not. If you're reading this, it's probably because you're a die hard fan of all things Freddy. And it's my duty to inform you that everything you want is right here in a superbly packaged, individually cased box set, overflowing with special features.
For fans in the UK, or other non-region 1 areas - don't buy the region 2 box set (as of this date). It's poorly packaged, it leaves out 98% of the special features, and the last two movies are missing. That's like a book without an ending. Like me, you'd be much better off importing the thing. I learned this the hard way, but now I have never been happier. Even if you need to splash out on a new tv, a new dvd player, or a NTSC-PAL conversion box, i assure you, it'll be well worth it. I've given up waiting for anything comparable to the Region 1 box set to be released (until this week, freddy's dead wasn't even in print here) so at the extra cost of a cheap as heck £30 multi-region dvd player that could handle PAL output, I was the proud owner and viewer of the holy grail for a Freddy fan.
So in conclusion - all 7 movies, looking and sounding the best they ever have. Two commentary tracks. Screenplays. Trivia games. A bonus disc with around 4 hours of material. A large booklet outlining the series. Two sets of 3D glasses for the finale. And a themed cardboard box to hold it all in. If you're a casual fan of the series, it's the complete collection for you to watch, enjoy and explore. If you're a casual movie fan, have a think about it. But if you're a hardcore fan like me, this is nothing short of a 5 star collection, and if you don't already own it, I can only pray that you soon will.