Sunday, August 10, 2008

Don't Give Writers THAT Much Power!

So I finally watched Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Why do I say it like that? Well, I've always been a little leery of it. Seems every review I'd get would contradict the last one. Some like it, some hate it. As for my thoughts regarding the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, I like the first one, the third one and the concept of the fourth, though not the movie itself. After that, it became tiresome. Didn't stop me from seeing more, I admit. But by the time New Nightmare rolled around, I had expired my desire for it. Although the premise intrigued me. Just never enough to venture back into its messed up world.

What intrigued me is the Pirandellian aspect. I've explained Pirandellian here.

From what I knew of it, Wes Craven is in the movie script itself, trying to muster up the original stars Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) and Heather Langenkamp (Nancy Thompson) to do another Nightmare movie. However, it turns out Freddy is real. He's not happy about his portrayal and starts attacking them.

Okay, it turns out that what I had pieced together as the plot is not entirely right. It's not far off base, though. It's a little more complicated than I thought. But not complicated in the sense of logistically intricate. It's a silly flick, one of those "meh" movies. But the Pirandellian premise did add some fun.

Halfway through movie, Robert Englund is talking with Heather Langenkamp on the phone. She inquires if Wes Craven has told him anything about the script, how far along? He replies that he hasn't seen any of it, but Wes said he'd just written the part where....Robert then describes what had just happened to Heather in real life. Later, toward the climax, Heather (playing Nancy in a dream to save her son from Freddy) finds a script! She reads it. She reads just what she'd been doing. Before she can read what she will do, she's prompted to save the kid. Cut to the end, when they're safe from Freddy...she also finds the script which came "out of" the dream. It has a handwritten note from Wes Craven, thanking her for playing Nancy one last time. She skips to the end, reads what she just did and then reads her reading a handwritten note from Wes, the note typed into the script. The boy makes her read it from the beginning...she does and it describes how the movie began. Now that's a wild ride. Too bad the rest of the movie didn't quite make it worth it.

However, the title of this post refers to the phenomenon described by Wes Craven in the movie. Apparently sometimes writers will tap into a prime source. In this case, a source of Evil that can take many forms. Sometimes a writer catches a glimpse, is sparked by it and therefore creates it into words/film. Once the Evil is "pinned down" to that form, it remains. Like a genie in a bottle, Heather suggests. The Evil can only escape when the public loses interest in the material. Or the material becomes so watered down by the media that the hold weakens. Thus, it happened with Freddy Krueger. By the way, it seems the Evil has grown fond of "being" Freddy Krueger, so thus, it attacked as such. Ridiculous, I agree.

But just think of that for a moment, will you? Just imagine if that were true! I'll be the first to acknowledge that writers tap into something in order to be able to write. But the notion that we are somehow "jailers" and "gatekeepers" to ancient Evil? Good Grief! I don't want that much power...sheesh! Well, like they said at the end of Wes Craven's New Nightmare - "It's just a story, right?"


Danielle Mari said...

Oh MY. I think Wes Craven needs a hug and some really good ice cream.

I believe lucky writers get to tap into an energy source, but like you, I have a hard time buying that it's evil. Such an arbitrary word anyway. How would he explain Winne the Pooh? Or the Peanuts?

Sounds like a funny movie, though... Good for a rental perhaps.

C.J. Redwine said...

If that's the case, then whoever wrote Clone Wars missed the Supreme Evil mind-tap by a few hundred miles...

And while the Freddy Krueger's of the Pantheon of Evil Doers have their place, I really think when Evil has a choice, it inhabits characters who seduce and mesermize with their sublety so that when Evil wins, we never see it coming.