The ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’ Remake Was Almost Good: Why It Never Happened

A Nightmare on Elm Street is considered one of the best horror films of the 1980s, and was certainly one of the most influential.

Naturally, this made it prime remake fodder, and in 2009, Platinum Dunes was the studio that got the shot.

Unfortunately, the studio failed to make a Nightmare on Elm Street that connected with audiences in the same way as the original.

Of course, they had some big shoes to fill with their Freddy Krueger replacement (Jackie Earle Haley for Robert Englund). This, they managed to pull off okay, but it was the script and acting that ultimately caused the reboot to fail, and to date, there has not been a sequel.

That will soon be remedied, but you can’t help wondering what might have been had Platinum Dunes gotten their Nightmare on Elm Street remake right — and as it turns out, they almost did.

That’s because the company was in talks to hire the highly talented directing duo of Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, who are famous for their French slasher, Inside — a truly underrated gem.

On top of their previous film, though, the pair had a great concept for a Nightmare on Elm Street movie, and they recently shared that information in a written response to Bloody Disgusting, stating the following.

“Our idea of a good remake is to have a new vision on the same thematics. Here it was to really use the fact that Krueger is a child molester. So the idea was to have a twisted version of the ‘Goonies’ with a bunch of kids being stalked. We thought it would have been great for a remake to switch the teenagers of the original with real kids. Beside childhood is the moment in life when you are truly and deeply frightened by nightmares, when you’re not able to see the difference between reality and dreams…”

The 2009 remake does incorporate the idea that Freddy Krueger is a child molester, and for those of you purists crying foul, director Wes Craven had originally wanted that element involved as well, but he was disallowed from including it.

With the teen angle, however, the threat no longer makes sense. Krueger, as a child molester, would not have followed the same kids. He would have sought out different kids of the same age as the ones he stalked before because that was his compulsion.

The Inside directors got this, but ultimately the studio wanted to play it safe, and what you end up with is a remake that leaves the audience asking, “What was the point of that?”

[Sort of like the 1998 shot-for-shot Psycho remake.]

A film in which children are the main protagonists would have added a new element of fright to Freddy and given him some real bite in the way that he stalked and claimed his victims.

But that could also have been why Platinum Dunes balked at the idea of a Goonies-like Nightmare on Elm Street.

If Freddy’s crop of victims would have been in the pre-puberty stages, he would have had to have nabbed a few of them in order to maintain the element of danger, and killing kids on screen would have made the film a shoe-in for the dreaded NC-17 rating.

NC-17 films cannot advertise on television, which would have placed a major hitch in the marketing plan. As things turned out, Platinum Dunes didn’t have a lot to complain about for going the route they did. The film was made for $35 million and grossed $115 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

But what do you think, readers? Would the Nightmare on Elm Street remake have been better if they’d gone the Goonies route? Sound off in the comments section.

[Image via Nightmare on Elm Street 2009 screengrab]