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Dustin Putman

Dustin's Blu-ray Review
Never Sleep Again:
The Elm Street Legacy
Reviewed by Dustin Putman

The Film
3.5 Stars
(Release Date: January 21, 2014) – Ever had a burning question about the lore of spectral murdered child molester Freddy Krueger and his mystical, finger-knived exploits on Elm Street? Ever wondered about the behind-the-scenes stories that led to the creation of 1984's "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and its seven sequels? Want to see what the vast majority of the actors involved in these films look like today (well, in 2010, when the interviews were conducted) as they discuss their respective roles? "Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy" will satiate all these desires, and so much more. Directed by Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch, this sprawling 240-minute odyssey through one of the most popular and lucrative horror franchises in film history is detailed, exhaustive and endlessly entertaining, it's 4-hour running time flying by in a veritable wink. Narrated by Heather Langenkamp (who played heroine Nancy in Wes Craven's classic original and 1987's second sequel, as well as portrayed a version of herself in 1994's "Wes Craven's New Nightmare"), the film is edited with spot-on pizzazz, interweaving talking heads with film clips in a way that truly brings these iconic movies to insightful life.

With the notable, disappointing exceptions of Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette, practically every prominent actor and director shows up to collectively contribute to the story of a low-budget horror-fantasy that almost single-handedly turned upstart studio New Line Cinema into a Hollywood force to be reckoned with. From the root of Wes Craven's initial idea for the story to the conception of Freddy, from the infamous homosexual subtext of "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge" (discussed in-depth in my book, "The Fright File: 150 Films to See Before Halloween") to the MTV-style innovation of Renny Harlin's "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master," from the controversial 3D "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare" to the groundbreaking meta themes of "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" (predating his own "Scream" by two years), from Robert Englund's superstar rise to his battle with Mr. Voorhees in "Freddy vs. Jason," no stone is left unturned. There are no two ways about it: "Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy" is a genre lover's wet dream incarnate.

Blu-ray Picture/Sound

As is often the case with documentaries, the 1080p transfer of "Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy" features footage culled from a variety of sources, some new, some vintage, some in better shape than others. No matter what is on the screen, however, the image is nicely resolved with a strong uptick in clarity from the DVD version. A light, pleasing layer of grain naturalistically permeates the image and blacks are inky. Banding is apparent here and there, but minimal. The lossless DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio doesn't exactly have an explosion every minute, but it is immersive all the same. The music score sounds excellent, while dialogue is clear and full. The film sounds great.

Blu-ray Features
Audio Commentary with Andrew Kasch, Daniel Farrands, Thommy Hutson and Buz Danger Wallick; Extended Interviews (1:40:56, HD); "First Look: Heather Langenkamp's 'I Am Nancy'" (6:42, HD); "For the Love of the Glove" (18:16, HD); "Fred Heads: The Ultimate Freddy Fans" (12:50, HD); "Horror's Hallowed Grounds: Return to Elm Street" (23:10, HD); "Freddy vs. The Angry Video Game Nerd" (5:30, SD); "Expanding the Video Game Universe: Freddy in Comic Books and Novels" (15:45, HD); "The Music of the Nightmare: Conversations with Composers and Songwriter" (13:40, HD); "Elm Street's Poster Boy: The Art of Matthew Joseph Peak" (7:31, HD); "A Nightmare on Elm Street in 10 Minutes" (10:07, HD); Teaser Trailer (0:56, HD)

Bottom Line
"Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy" was came out on DVD in 2010, but that release can safely be put on moratorium now that this superb documentary has been upgraded to high-definition. Looking and sounding better than the standard-def DVD ever could and carrying over all of the previous special features, this Blu-ray receives a passionate recommendation. For fans of the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" series, it's worth the double dip, and for those new to the party, purchasing "Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy" is a no-brainer. Kudos to Image Entertainment for giving this great film the treatment it deserves, in the best digital format possible.

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© 2014 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman