Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)

I realized that I have yet to write a review on any of the many many horror documentaries that are out there.  The reason?  Well I’ve seen a lot of them … a lot.  But to be perfectly honest I’ve never really been all that impressed with horror documentaries.  But NEVER SLEEP AGAIN changed all that.  This is the most comprehensive, interesting, and fun documentary I’ve seen in a long time.  Directors Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch put together a really insightful and interesting 240 minute documentary that explores each NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET film in detail and gives us some really incredible interviews with the franchise’s top names.

When I sat down to watch NEVER SLEEP AGAIN I was unaware of the 4 hour run time.  But before I knew it I had watched the entire documentary in one sitting and was never bored or checking my watch.  The majority of the horror documentaries I’ve watched usually fall prey to one of two problems (sometimes both):  They are either a vehicle for promoting the film and lack substance or the interviews are really superficial and don’t dive into the “nuts and bolts” of the creative minds behind the film.  But directors Farrands and Kasch don’t just score some big names to be in this docu, they really get some incredible insight out them.  We of course get interviews from Wes Craven and Robert Englund, but not the typical “I loved working on this film/franchise … I really feel we made a solid picture” yada yada yada bullshit.  We get some real in-depth analysis from Craven, Englund, and everyone interviewed.  It’s a really fascinating documentary.

The cuddly man himself!!

The film starts with a kick ass claymation opening credit sequence that immediately goes into the history of New Line Cinema (which in and of itself is totally interesting).  And then we get into some deep fucking analysis of the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.  We get at least a solid 45 minutes to an hour on the original flick alone (the longest segment on the docu).  Then after this we get each and every ELM STREET flick analyzed with interviews from all the main players for each film.  We get to hear from the stars, director, writer(s), f/x crew … everything.  Then after each film is discussed we even get a detailed discussion of FREDDY’S NIGHTMARES, the short-lived syndicated TV series.  Ever since I saw NEVER SLEEP AGAIN I’ve been looking for the complete TV series; after hearing about all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans, I’m eager to give it another shot.


But perhaps the best part of the docu is when they talk about A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE and how “gay” it is (their words, not mine).  When director Jack Sholder and writer David Chaskin look straight into the camera and say that they honestly had no idea how “gay” and homoerotic their film was you won’t be able to keep from laughing out loud.  It’s a truly hysterical moment.  Check out this YouTube video a fan put together about all the “gay moments” in NIGHTMARE 2:

But besides this fantastic discussion there’s tons of other really interesting facts about NOES 2:  Did ya know that Brad Pitt, John Stamos, and Christian Slater all auditioned for the lead role of Jessie?  That Wes Craven refused to work on Part 2 because he never intended NIGHTMARE to become an ongoing franchise?  That Robert Englund wasn’t even originally going to play the role of Freddy in Part 2?  All true!!

The crew & filmmakers behind NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!!

When I find a film that I really love I find it hard to keep gushing on and on about it (but give me a flick I hate and I can go on for days).  This is simply the best horror documentary I’ve ever seen.  Directors Farrands and Kasch give us an amazing, fan-oriented film that delves into and examines every aspect of the ELM STREET phenomenon (they even talk about all the various merchandising products like the cereal and the board game) that you could ever hope to know about.  This is without a doubt the most complete work on the subject of A NIGHTMARE ELM STREET.  Definitely check this one out; I can’t recommend this one enough!!

My Summary:

Directors:  Daniel Farrands & Andrew Kasch

Plot:  5 out of 5 stars

Gore:  7 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem:  0 out of 5 brains

Reviewed by Scott Shoyer

17 Responses to “Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)”
  1. l3pr3chaun says:

    This one is also a great one:


  2. l3pr3chaun says:

    And so is this one too:


    • Bill; you eventually have to check this one out (NEVER SLEEP AGAIN). You’re gonna love it!! The directors compile some of the best and most in-depth interviews I’ve heard. And you’ll learn everything you’ve ever wanted too about the ELM STREET films.


  3. Demian says:

    I just got this through netflix yesterday, I plan on watching it this weekend. I didn’t even notice that it was 4 hours.

    Btw working on another photograph with Joshua Hoffine, should be ready in a couple weeks. It involves a robot:)


    • After you watch the disc you have, make sure you get the disc of extras … it’s like another 4 hours of info!! A simply amazing docu.

      That’s awesome you’re working with Hoffine again. Can’t wait to see what he does with robots!! I never got around to contacting Joshua and asking him for an interview. I need to do that!!


  4. Buzz says:

    I watched this with a couple of friends, us all being big fans of the Nightmare series and I thoroughly enjoyed it also. It’s a very deceiving movie. We put it just after eight o’clock, stopped it once to order take out and then watched the rest straight through. It was well after midnight by the time we’d finished watching it and we were all looking at each other as if to say “What the hell? Why is it so damn late?” Any movie that can make time fly like that deserves checking out and this being a documentary deserves extra credit.

    My favourite part was defiantly the beginning. Watching the amount of effort and innovation that went into making the original Nightmare on Elm Street was incredible. I think this really shows what a group of talent people can do on a small budget, a tight time frame and a hell of a lot of vision. Even in the days of mainstream blockbusters chock-full of CGI effects, this film can still hold its own. The only thing that I’ll say looks a little bit out of place is where they used fishing rods to extend Freddy’s arms so they could drag along the sides of the alley. However in the context of all the other great things that they did this is easily over looked and forgiven.

    I think that modern day film makers could learn a lot from just this section of the documentary alone, the main point of which is stop using so much fucking CGI! Now I’m not saying that I hate CGI because I think it’s actually made some wonderful advancements in films but these days it seems that the only technique film makers seem to think is available to them is CGI. The major problem with CGI is that it has a very unreal quality about it, almost as if a voice in the back of your mind is telling you that what you’re looking at isn’t really there. The scene where they used cheap spandex to portray Freddy’s face pushing its self out of Nancy’s wall, that is very real and all the more creepy because of it.

    The part where the start talking about how “gay” Jessie is and about the “gay” overtones fill the rest of the movie was a real revelation for me. I mentioned this to my friends as we were watching the documentary and one of the guy’s who actually is gay, berated me by saying “What, are you blind? It’s all over this movie!” And yes it does seem kind of obvious now that it’s been pointed out to me. I duno I think my love of He-Man as a child has conditioned my brain not to see these kind of things.

    Freddy’s Revenge was one of my favorites because I think there is something really scary about an evil force taking over your body and forcing you to do it’s malevolent biding. What’s more Freddy’s take over was a gradual thing, making Jessie’s loss of power truly tormentful. I also quite liked the idea of the lead protagonist in a horror movie being a guy as well. I mean I understand the point in making most horror movie protagonist’s female in the 80s and 90s because then they were seen as more vulnerable. This is certainly not the case anymore though, with some women being more cut throat than most guys and some guys putting even the most girly girls to shame. The truth is that guys can be just as vulnerable as girls and as a guy I tent to identify more the male characters in a movie than I do the female, so it was nice to watch a guy struggle with a demonic horror villain for a change. Of course now I can’t watch Nightmare on Elm Street 2 without spotting a homosexual reference every five minutes. Damn you Documentary!

    It was great seeing all the different directors talk about the series and their personal take on it. They did mentioned how they all tried to individualise their films which I don’t really agree with. Dream Warriors set the formula or how the other Nightmare’s would go (with the exception of New Nightmare) but I’m ok with that. Why try to fix what’s not broken?

    I too would really want to get my hands on Freddy’s Nightmare’s now. I’ve steered away from them for years because all the critics said that they were terrible but what the hell do critics know right? After watching this documentary I have to say that Freddy’s Nightmares do look really enjoyable. I mean come’on these were done by the same guys that did Tales from the Crypt for crying out loud and I think we can all agree that how amazingly awesome that show was.

    The part of the documentary where they were talking about doing New Nightmare was also great fun watch. It seemed like a fun nostalgic trip down memory lane for the entire cast and crew, one which the audience was taken merrily by the hand skipping down a road where people were getting casually torn to shreds on ceilings; fantastic. It was great to see so many of the original cast and crew throughout the series come back even just as extras, to play homage to the series and still create an original and (dare I even say it?) scary movie.

    The final part of the documentary dropped another boom shell on me. Freddy vs. Jason I thought was actually a really good film for what it was (i.e. a bit of fun) but I had no idea that one of the original endings had Pinhead wrapping Freddy and Jason in chains and saying “now gentlemen what seems to be the trouble?” That would have been an awesome ending and would have bummed the film up several notches up on the awesome meter. Ronny Yu go out get the rights to the character, film this and edit it into the movie now! Ok I realise that I’m being a bit of a fanboy here and usually I say pandering to fanboys is a bad idea (e.g. putting Venom into Spiderman 3) but fuck that noise, you should damn well pander to me and put Pinhead into your movie, NOW!

    Overall this documentary is very good. It’s given me a greater understanding and appreciation for the Nightmare films, especially the first one. It’s a definite recommend for anyone that liked the Nightmare series or even anyone that’s just generally interested in how films are made. I’m probably going to watch the Nightmare series again soon but before I do I’m going to watch this documentary again. Yep it’s an informational film good enough to watch twice, maybe even more.

    Just quickly anythinghorror check out The Fear of God: 25 years of The Exorcist. That’s a pretty good documentary, not quite as good as this but still well worth a look. There is some “oh wow what a good film we’ve done,” kinda stuff but not much. It really does show what an asshole William Friedkin is but also his drive to make one of the most memorable horror films ever.


    • I’m embarrassed to admit that I never even heard of THE FEAR OF GOD documentary. Definitely gonna track that one down. And you’re absolutely right about how the time flies during this flick. We’re not talking about an hour and a half documentary “flying by” … we’re talking about FOUR HOURS. I couldn’t believe it. I sat there mesmerized laughing and really engrossed by what was going on in this docu. Easily the best documentary I’ve ever seen!!


  5. Deggsy says:

    I’ve got this on the way to me because of this review, looking forward to it, thanks! :-))


  6. steve says:

    Really, Greatest horror documentary ever…and probably top 5 documentary all together…i’ve seen the first 4 hours of ken burns baseball documentary, that’s probably better…looking forward to seeing “don’t you forget about me” that john Hughes documentary.


    • NEVER SLEEP AGAIN is by far the best horror docu ever made!! Loved every second of it and it many ways it way more entertaining than the movies it’s covering!! lol


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  2. […] comes along and completely blows ya outta the water (as is the case with NEVER SLEEP AGAIN; see my review), I find that most horror documentaries focus on the heyday of the horror genre … you know; when […]


  3. […] me.  Now I’ve done horror documentaries before, but they’ve all been about films.  There’s NEVER SLEEP AGAIN about the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise; THEY CALL HIM JASON about the iconic killer Jason […]


  4. […] me.  Now I’ve done horror documentaries before, but they’ve all been about films.  There’s NEVER SLEEP AGAIN about the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise; THEY CALL HIM JASON about the iconic killer Jason […]


  5. […] LAKE MEMORIES: THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF FRIDAY THE 13TH was released by the same team behind the NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY documentary, which I think was way more entertaining than the entire Elm Street […]


  6. […] LAKE MEMORIES: THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF FRIDAY THE 13TH was released by the same team behind the NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY documentary, which I think was way more entertaining than the entire Elm Street […]


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