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Empire's 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | The follow-ups that achieve greatness in their own right

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Wes Craven's New Nightmare
DIRECTED BY WES CRAVEN
RELEASED: 1994

Why's it so good? After Freddy's Dead, otherwise known as Nightmare 6, had steered the Freddy franchise headfirst into a wall at 90mph, it was left to Krueger creator Wes Craven to once again pick up the pieces - which he did by achieving the impossible and making Freddy scary again, via a post-modern treatment in which Krueger was revealed to be the latest manifestation of an ancient reality-piercing demon haunting the dreams of original Nightmare star Heather Langenkamp.

Wes Craven's New Nightmare Wes Craven's New Nightmare
How does it stack up to the original? Very well indeed, for Craven circa '94 is a much better director than the '84 vintage. The effects hold up better, the acting is more polished, the death sequences (which hark back to the original) are gruesome and inventive without being gimmicky, and the psychological subtext about creators being haunted by their creations is rich enough to launch a thousand theses. Gruesome and unsettling, it's a crime that it failed at the box office.

Glaring error: Given that most Nightmare staples appear as themselves, it was perhaps a no-brainer to have New Line head Bob Shaye also appear. But it's clear in his brief screentime that, as an actor, he makes a great studio head.


GAP BETWEEN SEQUEL AND ORIGINAL: 119 MONTHS


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