After critics and fans alike tore apart the "Halloween" remakes from Rob Zombie, a name that seems trustworthy enough in the genre, you'd think Michael Bay would have better sense than to touch the 1984 Wes Craven classic "A Nightmare on Elm Street." But then again, Michael Bay and sense have yet to collide in anything cinematic.
You have to first consider, much like in the case of "Halloween," these films have already overstayed their welcome. The Krueger chronicles had already suffered through eight chapters before this unnecessary revamp. Even Robert Englund, whose entire career has centered on playing the world's least fashionable burn victim, opted to hang up the bizarro-Cosby sweater.
Enter Jackie Earle Haley. After a promising beginning in the original "Bad News Bears," Hollywood's newest king of creep has moved on to a portfolio of perversion. Following up on a scene-stealing turn as Rorschach in "The Watchmen," Haley is as visually unappealing as Englund ever was, which is as high a compliment as "Nightmare" could receive. But with the amount of makeup they cake on the Krueger character, they could have slapped the claws on Clint Howard and saved a fortune on cosmetics.
But if you head to a horror flick for anything more than campy acting, half-naked teenagers and at least a kiddie pool's worth of blood, you've lost your gory roots.
And it is these gory, blood-splattered, slash-tastic roots that are nowhere to be found. No one appreciates a backstory in a horror film. One should always be able to appreciate a sadistic kill-machine without going through his stale, recycled, sexually frustrated beginnings. In this case, Freddy was a gardener (which, much like a dream-murderer, ceases to exist in real life), chased out of town after being found out as a pedophile. Then, the head guard from "The Shawshank Redemption" catches up to him and burns him alive in the schoolhouse. Now, doesn't everything make sense?
These molested children grow up and continue to be haunted by the evil gardener in their dreams, which sounds more like a half-assed cutaway from "Family Guy" than a proper back story for a sleep killer. The victims meet up with each other for the first time since the days of yore, only to be mowed down like an unsuspecting nest of baby rabbits. Where's the pizzazz? With such a broad and never-ending backdrop as dreamland, it would be very easy to create some new and perhaps revolutionary slaughters. But instead, we receive standard slaughter. Maybe even sub-par slaughter.
Which leads to this question: How hard is it to come up with an original and captivating horror villain? The 1980s seemed to be overwhelmed with characters that frightened teenagers into abstinence. We get things like "Final Destination," and in a tragic turn of events, the Tooth Fairy in "Darkness Falls," (which wasn't half as terrifying as the Rock in "The Tooth Fairy"). Is there no hope for the horror, already neck-deep in critical lampooning, now destined to suffer the death of a thousand "Gigli's"?
Sure to fall off the box-office map after this weekend, viewers will soon realize there's only one horror movie worth paying $8 for: "Furry Vengeance." Now there's something to haunt your dreams.