THE NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET COLLECTION
Review by Michael Jacobson
Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon et al
Directors: Wes Craven et al
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 16x9 Enhanced
Studio: New Line Cinema
Features: See Review
Release Date: September 21, 1999
Box Set ***1/2
For fans of Freddy, this is the ultimate DVD collection.
All seven films from the series are included, with a comprehensive eighth
disc containing all the goodies and extras you could hope to amass for this
franchise. As I have reviewed the
original film and Wes Craven’s New
Nightmare independently, here is a brief rundown of the films that fell in
NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S
A rather uneven sequel, hindsight has proven this to be the
entry that fits into the series the least well. Freddy returns by slowly possessing a young boy (Mark Patton)
and forcing him to do his nefarious bidding.
NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM
One of the series’ best entries, and more of a sequel to
the original than number 2. The
remaining Elm Street kids gather in a mental hospital and learn to use their
various dream powers together as a team to do battle with Freddy.
NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE
DREAM MASTER ***
Directed by action master Renny Harlin, what this film
lacks in story and character strength, it more than makes up for with pure
entertainment value. Some of the
best special effects of the series are here, along with some of Freddy’s best
NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5:
THE DREAM CHILD *
Boring and uninspired, this is easily the least of the
series. Freddy uses the dreams of
an unborn child to wreak his havoc.
FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL
By combining a storyline that takes place mostly “ten
years from now” with a few flashbacks, this is one of the most surreal films
in the franchise—at least when it doesn’t indulge in pure silliness.
Freddy is too much of an icon by this point to start trying to explain
him away. Mostly fun, nonetheless.
The original 3-D ending is intact on this DVD.
All discs are anamorphically enhanced, boasting fresh transfers, and none are a disappointment. As the series progresses and the films become more current, the quality generally improves, but I dare say, there’s none in the set that would rate below 3 stars. Even the many dark scenes in the series generally look good, with well defined images and very little to no grain.
All films also boast terrific 5.1 remix soundtracks.
These new mixes add extra depth to the
dynamic range and progressively better use of surrounds for punch and eerie
effects as the films get newer and newer. Once again, New Line
delivers the goods.
In addition to commentary tracks on numbers 1 and 7, this
set boasts an “encyclopedia” disc to accompany the films.
On it, you’ll find trailers to all films, some music videos, in-depth
interview footage for all of the movies, including a full documentary for the
first film, a generous abundance of DVD ROM extras, and an interactive game.
In it, by exploring a labyrinth and gathering clues, you’ll uncover
more hidden features and extras than you can count, including outtakes,
Freddy’s MTV appearances, and even the original ending Wes Craven had filmed
for the first movie. In other
words, enough to keep you busy for days.
Nightmare on Elm Street was the film that made New Line Cinema into a major player in the industry, and the studio has certainly given the franchise all the respect it deserves with this box set. With terrific anamorphic transfers for all films and an absolute wealth of bonus material, this will no doubt be the set by which all others in the future will be measured by. If you’re a fan, then this is a package that’s definitely worth the money.