The Importance of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

Scream gets a ton of credit for resurecting the slasher genre, and horror movies as a whole, but often overlooked in this equation is Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Released two years before Scream, New Nightmare is essentially the same story, people in a horror movie who acknowledge they are in a horror movie and know the rules of slasher movies. Both are self-referential, laced with satire, and were directed by Craven.

New Nightmare was nowhere near the financial success that Scream was. That’s likely due to the advantages Scream had in the two year gap. Scream gave Craven a second chance to complete what he had attempted with New Nightmare, they were able to step out of the Nightmare on Elm Street world and were instead allowed to reference the entire slasher film genre, the meta was dialed down a bit as the kids still talk about being in a horror movie but they aren’t actually on set filming a horror movie, and they were allowed to cast a group of young, up-and-coming stars instead of being tied to Freddy and Heather Langenkamp (who most teens in 1994 really couldn’t have cared less about since the first Nightmare was a decade old at that point).

Despite the fact that Scream was actually the movie to kick open the door on the slasher revival, New Nightmare was the genesis of the revival. Much in the same way that the success of Halloween kicked started the golden age of the slasher films in the early 80s, while Black Christmas was actually the genesis of that golden age 4 years earlier.

The lesson, if you are a fan of horror movies, specifically slasher movies, and haven’t seen New Nightmare or the original Black Christmas, you really should. They are way more important than people generally give them credit for.

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One response to “The Importance of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

  1. Pingback: Top 100 Slasher Horror Movies

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