With the act of creation, you’re letting yourself be exposed. Sometimes this can lead to para-social relationships, but in some cases, this can lead to tragedy as those who cannot discern between fiction and reality take matters into their own hands. In 1994, Heather herself had the veil broken, having to face the mythical killer that got the best of her, as the lines between fiction and reality were smeared into a dreamlike haze in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.
Almost a decade after her breakthrough role, Heather Langenkamp is adapting to her new life away from the franchise. She has a loving husband, a son and rising prospects out in sunny Los Angeles. Unfortunately, poor Heather now must deal with a stalker, and the legacy of the Nightmare on Elm Street may be harming her and her son. Her fears may soon manifest, however, as elements a bit more with an unknown presence taking matters into their own razor-tipped hands. With real-life tragedy mirroring the events on screen, it might be up to her to finally finish this story.
With Nancy’s demise in the third instalment, the franchise has consistently honoured her sacrifice. Her return is once again more than welcomed, playing a fictionalised version of herself. In real life, she was married and had a family. Although the meta-narrative stops short of casting her family for the role, Her son, played by Miko Hughes, who you might remember from Pet Semetary, does a fine job, especially when it comes to the more psychological aspects. The meta also allows us to see John Saxon as her father figure, and seeking guidance from Craven himself is another master-stroke. Of course, Robert Englund returns too, and it is great to see him appear more human (especially if you grew up watching shows like V). While watching him transform from a light-hearted co-star to a menacing child murderer is a testament to the acting abilities of Robert Englund.
The blurring of fiction and reality is the central core of New Nightmare. Even Heather herself had had a fair share of stalking incidents and trying to bring a child up in a world, where a nightmarish killer, that you have crossed paths with is seen as a hero. Speaking of, since Freddy died, and his spirit might be in the real world, this stalker, isn’t Krueger but The Entity, meaning he has a cool new design. It also might be due to the new decade, but the kills feel bloodier, and grittier since leaving the silver screen version Springwood. While mid-90s California is a fantastic location for this new Entity to stalk.
There have been far too many stories about the dangers of when reality and fiction blur, and Craven’s meta approach is a wonderful way to examine the world a decade after his creation. Seeing Langenkamp for a final outing, one film after Krueger had, is delightful. One that captures the zeitgeist and its history in a complete and unforgettable package. It is fitting that one of the best films of the series is a film that manages to step outside the celluloid and looks back, at the twisted delights that 10 years of Krueger has brought.
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