Remake Vs. Original! A Nightmare on Elm Street

Welcome to a new feature at Danny Isn’t Here, wherein Hollywood must answer to my poison pen for their incessant remakes! Now, I realize that this feature will require my watching many, many shitty remakes, but because I am both brave AND bored, I shall endeavor to do so. FOR YOU.

And thus! I bring to you:

 versus  !

Round One! The basics.

A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984. Written and directed by Wes Craven. 91 minutes.

A Nightmare on Elm Street, 2010. Written by Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer, directed by Samuel Baker. 95 minutes.




1984 was a pretty good year. I was a precocious 3-year-old, pleased to find that dismal Orwellian predictions had not yet come to pass.

2010 is shaping up okay. I’ll have traveled to Mexico twice this year! Also we just got a new water heater. square.


Dude, it’s Wes Craven. He created a startlingly original premise and villain in Nightmare that have influenced Hollywood horror for over two decades. +2

I am wary of multiple writers. Wesley Strick did write Wolf (yay!); he also wrote The Saint (no). Eric Heisserer has already been dismissed on this blog as a writer of  hackneyed sequels and remakes. -1


Dude! It’s WES CRAVEN. +5

Samuel Bayer has directed a bunch of Green Day videos. But also some Bowie videos! But also some Sheryl Crow videos. -2

Film length:

Both films are in the magic 85 to 99 minutes zone. square.

Round One goes to…Original!

Round Two: cast recognizability.

The original Nightmare had a few excellent actors of note and several terrible nobodies, like most slasher flicks of yore.

Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) is an accomplished theatre actor alongside his many television and film roles. +2

Heather Langenkamp (Nancy) was in that Just the 10 of Us show. Also she’s super cute. +0.5

John Saxon (Nancy’s dad) has 194 credits on IMDB, but I’ve never seen any of them. +0.5


I’ve never heard of any of the rest of these folks, and they all suck. -3

I guess horror filmmakers today find cast promo shots too quaint, thus the sloppy photoshopping on my part.

The new Nightmare has all sorts of names!

Jackie Earle Haley (Freddy Krueger) made an excellent Rorschach in Watchmen (reviewed here) and was in Shutter Island (reviewed here) and The Bad News Bears movies! +1

Rooney Mara (Nancy) is up-and-coming with roles in Youth in Revolt and Tanner Hall. +0.5

Kyle Gallner (Quentin) has had significant roles in Veronica Mars, Smallville, Jennifer’s Body, and The Haunting in Connecticut (which I reviewed here.) +1

Katie Cassidy (Kris) was in Taken, Supernatural (reviewed here), Harper’s Island (reviewed here) and Melrose Place. +1

Thomas Dekker (Jesse) has been in Heroes, The Sarah Connor Chronicles and lots of horror movies. +1

Kellan Lutz (Dean) is apparently in those Twilight movies, about which I care nothing, but woah.  He’s hot in just the way Marla likes ’em! (blonde and big-browed) +1 

Connie Britton (Nancy’s mom) is totally Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights! And a bunch of other stuff. But Tami Taylor!! +1

CLANCY FUCKING BROWN. +5 (by the by, why did you do this movie, Clancy? I do not understand you.)

Round Two goes to…Remake!

Round Three: the heroine.

The original Nancy begins the movie with a light heart and radiant personality. She’s adorable and fun and a highly loyal friend.  She actually looks enough like a teenager that when she groans with dismay while looking in the mirror: “Oh my god. I look TWENTY YEARS OLD!”, it’s not too hilarious. And when shit starts going down, homegirl has backbone. She doesn’t passively wait for Freddy to come after her; she fights back! More on that in a bit. +1

New Nancy is angsty, maudlin and mousey. She’s a terrible painter and speaks out of the corner of her mouth in a fully irritating manner. She’s also the typical useless “heroine” in a horror movie, getting herself involved with no proactive plan of resolution. Plus, she looks super old. The makeup artist does her up all pale and sweaty with deep circles under her eyes to demonstrate how tired she is, and it’s not doing her in any favors in the “I’m totally in high school, you guys!” arena.  -1

Round Three goes to…Original!

Round Four: the boyfriend.

OMG! It’s Johnny Depp! SQUEE! And we see his abs in this movie! Like Nancy, he’s fun and light-hearted and just cute as all hell. He’s also a very affectionate, if dumb, boyfriend. +2

Of course, he also ALWAYS FALLS ASLEEP despite Nancy’s urgent warnings. -1


Seriously? Johnny Depp vs. KYLE GALLNER? Why must he be so squirrelly in every single role? (except The Flash!) He’s actually perfect for New Nancy in that he’s also marble-mouthed and glum, but I had to see his pale, flabby, middle-aged flesh in a Speedo, and for that, I will never forgive this movie. -1

Erin: He’s wearing a Joy Division shirt. That’s how we know he’s cool.

Marla: He’s wearing a Joy Division shirt. That’s how we know he’s OLD.

On the other hand, New Boyfriend TOTALLY stays awake. He’s the only one in ANY of the Nightmare movies who does it right on that score. +1

Round Four goes to…Original!

Round Five: the mom.

Original Mom is a massive alcoholic and is either ambivalent or oblivious to her daughter’s problems. Also, she’s slap-happy. -1

TAMI! TAYLOR! She’s the mom every teenage girl wants. Of course, Connie Britton isn’t PLAYING Tami Taylor here, but she still gets the points. +1

Round Five goes to…Remake!

Round Six: the villain.

Robert Englund’s portrayal of Freddy Krueger is iconic. He’s menacing in his mirth, spinning every line with the hollow exuberance of a used car salesman. He kills for the joy of killing and for no other reason. +2

I really thought I was going to love Jackie Earle Haley in this role. Alas, no. His delivery is slow and monotonous in this very specific Rorschach way, which I found rather disappointing. Plus, when he’s pre-burn Freddy in flashbacks,  he reminds me of Martin Short in Innerspace, which sorta harshed my scarybuzz.

Uhm, also he’s a pedophile. So was Original Freddy, to be sure, but they lay it on THICK here. -1

Round Six goes to…Original!

Round Seven: the battle.

The kids from the original Nightmare aren’t so good at staying awake. Original Nancy claims that she’s stayed awake for 7 straight days, but considering that she attempts that with nothing more than caffeine pills and hot baths, I find her claim unlikely. And aww, Old Boyfriend is just so sweeeepy all the time! A growing (sexy) boy needs his rest! -1

Now NEW Boyfriend knows how to stay awake! He downs medicated speed with Red Bull, and when that fails? Adrenaline shot to the chest! HELL yes! +3

Original Nancy steps it up with her plan for ensnaring Freddy. She purposefully falls asleep and then draws him into her waking life where she has Home Alone‘d the shit out of her house! She bought a book on booby traps, saying, “I’m into survival.” The survival plan may be wacky, but it works. +2

New Nancy…doesn’t really have a plan. -2

Round Seven is…square!

Round Eight: the effects.

The original Nightmare has some amaaaaazing manual effects. The kills and dream sequences are still shocking and breathtaking today. +2

Eh. Everything looks okay in the new Nightmare, but simply not as visceral as the original. They replicated some of the scenes precisely, but thanks to the vanilla virtue of CGI, the effects came off as weak. In particular, a scene where a man comes out of the wallpaper above Nancy’s bed looks TERRIFYING in the original, and looks like some Hollow Man bullshit in the new. -2

Round Eight goes to…Original!

Points to Consider:

The pacing and tone is actually square for both movies. The new Nightmare did a decent job of building suspense and there were a few definite scares. The sound effects were great for both. The “screeeeeeeeeee” of Freddy’s fingerknives in the original was replaced by a more Wolverine “snikt snikt” in the new one, and I dug it. Furthermore, both movies were equally successful in making me super tired! That always happens to me with these movies! All the yawning and nodding off and DON’T FALL ASLEEP FOR GOD’S SAKE! is sleepy-making.

In Conclusion! The battle of

Remake vs. Original: Nightmare on Elm Street

goes to…Original!

*cheers applause crowd goes wild*

Poor little Remake didn’t stand a chance! The original Nightmare on Elm Street is the VERY FIRST horror movie I ever saw, the movie that BEGAN my love affair with horror movies! I may have been in kindergarten, and I may have been scared shitless, but dammit, I was in love. What remake could ever compete with FIRST LOVE?! So although I truly believe that the makers of the Nightmare on Elm Street remake TRIED, and they actually gave a shit, there’s simply no comparison between the two. 

And that is annoying, because I just spent a very long time writing a comparison between the two.

22 Responses to “Remake Vs. Original! A Nightmare on Elm Street”

  1. Christopher Borders Says:

    If you’re bored there’s always a book you could read cuz’ ;)

  2. Reverend Jon Says:

    I have never seen the original, but I really should! And I like this new category, I’d like to try to find one where the remake wins…

  3. Thanks for this amazing point by point comparison, lady! Although I love the cast in this new one, it’s good to hear it still doesn’t measure up, so maybe I won’t waste my time! I too would like to see the remake win in this contest someday. But with all the crap they’re remaking, I don’t think it’s too likely.

  4. I am actually feeling reassured that it sounds like they really did try with the remake. The Friday the 13th remake – where the original actually kinda sucked and could have been easily improved – felt like there was no effort AT ALL made, beyond improved cinematography. Now that was a waste. NOES, if it had to be remade at all, deserved a serious effort, and it sounds like the filmmakers did their best.

  5. Beardy Says:

    Nice comparison! I will say this, when I rewatched the original Nightmare, I respected the remake a little more. They did try. The original is just a high mark to measure up to.

    Haley was a bit of a disappointment. I really wanted to like him. You’re so right about him looking like Jack Putter. I knew there was something familiar about him. I bet JEH doesn’t dance as well though.

  6. Dude. I love Clancy Brown.

    I also have a vague memory of having seen John Saxon in many many things but I don’t remember any of them now.

    Great comparison. I’m actually surprised the new one holds up quite so well, but predictably bummed out by CGI being lame! I want horror movies that say to hell with CGI and go back to inventive people frantically finding cool special effects solutions!

  7. Clearly the only way we will ever have a remake win is if WE MAKE THE REMAKE! Come on, you guys! Marla can write it, Jerry can direct it, and I can cater it. Beardy will do special effects, clearly.

    I have to say, I honestly thought that the remake wasn’t that bad. I mean . . . it wasn’t that good, either, but like others have said, the filmmakers clearly tried, and had a lot of respect for the original. But that was sort of disappointing, cause I was really hoping it was going to be So Bad It’s Awesome, and that didn’t happen.

  8. I second Erin’s idea! Another idea is to pick an old horror movie that sucked, then we can’t fail! I will commute to be a PA and then volunteer to edit!

  9. xymarla Says:


  10. […] pretty-in-a-normal-way, and lord knows she has practice being emo and glum, so I think she’s a good choice to play Nikki Howard.  Cause you guys?  […]


    also, tami taylor should’ve garnered the remake at LEAST 10 points. besides that, this was an excellent review!! marla, you have such a good eye for the cinematic details that really matter, and bonus: none of the pictures scared me!

  12. Someday my daughter won’t be three years old and I’ll be able to see movies like this again. I say part three of the original series was the best.

  13. Jack Torrence Says:

    I just had the misfortune of watching the remake and it was truly terrible! I grew up watching the Nightmare series and still consider myself a huge fan yet I was bored to tears during the remake. It was REALLY bad!

  14. Great comparisom.i was also disapointed by the remake especially by freddys make-up.that wasn’t the freddy face i wasn’t scary and all the time i was thinking ‘what the fuck is that in his face?’ maybe they should make a remake from the remake.but please only with robert englund in the freddy role.he is the only real freddy for me funny,dark,sadistic and realy scary. And i realy tried to like jackie haley as freddy but he isn’t as scary as robert englund. Maybe with at better make-up(more like the original and not a rubber face) and som handmade special effects it could have worked. And i was so curious how the bloodbath scene would look when nancys boyfriend gets killed. I was disapointed that he survived.and i agree with you on clancy brown.when i saw his name in the titles i was thrilled because i am a fan of him since highlander and especially shawshank redemption but this was a waste for an brillant actor like him.that role could have been played by any john least he got paid.

  15. Too obviously biased for me to take seriously.

  16. I have to agree with some of the things you have said, but in my opinion, i think the remake is far much better than the original. I thought the original lacked the goryness and I found Freddy to be rather boring, all he done was laugh, at least with the new Freddy he actually talks more and interacts with his victims and I found the new Kruger more convincing as a burn victim rather than looking like a man in makeup. I also favoured the new cast over the original cast and I found the new movie plot alot better as the original I found borderline boring. Also I found the use of CGI amazing and the similar scenes like the bathtub, freddy coming out the wall to get Nancy alot more better in the remake. They are just my opinions, to each their own. I can’t wait for the sequels of the remake to appear on the big screen, I am the biggest horror movie fan lol :)

  17. freddy looks like a alien in the remake

  18. Remake was complete BULLSHIT!!!!

  19. You are curious to discover why?

  20. And, we are talking about real life play here. Anyone
    can set up a computer simulation to allow a method to win.

    Nothing is simulated.

  21. Michelle Says:

    I thought remake sucked! Y mess with success? What a waste of film. Freddy looked ridiculous. Nancy ugh! What a dissapointment

  22. Great info. Lucky me I ran across your site by accident (stumbleupon). I’ve book-marked it for later!|

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