One … two… Freddy’s coming for you, three… four… better lock the door, five… six… grab your crucifix, seven… eight discs is what you’ll get in this colossal horror collection. Freddy is one of the more memorable monsters from the slasher era that also brought us the Halloween and Jason films. Freddy might have been born in the mind of Wes Craven, but he grew and developed in the knife-wielding hands of Robert Englund. Granted, not all of these films are equal in quality… The first and third are the best story-wise, while the last might be the most unpredictable and original. The fourth and fifth films are a hoot if you don’t look too carefully for a plot. Look to see how many actors you can find that later went on to bigger and better things. There were quite a few, most notably Johnny Depp.
Freddy was a child molester and killer before the parents of Elm Street decided to burn him to the ground in a boiler room. Good home-style justice goes wrong when Freddy reappears in the nightmares of the children of Elm Street. He has become a demon of sleep where he is able to manipulate the world into the most terrifying images possible for his victims trapped by their own slumber. Each time Freddy’s taken out a new chapter begins.
All 7 films are presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 format. Some of the films also contain the original mono tracks but the 5.1 is far superior. It’s obvious that much more effort was expended on the original film. All of these films were made for ambient sounds. The dream worlds constantly assault your ears with a cacophony of sounds both subtle and explosive. Particularly eerie are the water drips and fire crackles that create a spine tingling atmosphere to support the bizarre visual effects.
There is a pleasant commentary track on the first film that features Wes Craven, Heather Langencam, and John Saxon. They appear to be having a blast talking together. The track covers technical aspects and story development. The stories are hilarious.
Each film is presented in its theatrical widescreen aspect ratio. Once again, the first film received far more attention than the subsequent films. All of these films are visually stunning and the transfers do an admirable job of reproducing the spectacular sets and effects. Blacks are very strong and add terrific dimension to the experience. Colors are sharp and shine even when the lighting is minimal. There are more artifacts present on the 5th film and the color is also not near as stunning. The last film (Wes Craven’s New Nightmare) appears much softer in color than the others.
The extras are a mixed bag. There is a generous helping of interview clips, behind the scenes footage, and special effects features, but they are mostly hidden in a self-styled labyrinth on the 8th disc. Instructions are vague and you are required to navigate a maze and perform certain functions, much like a video game, to be rewarded by bits and pieces of extras. It is much easier to get through it as a DVD-ROM than in most DVD players.There is also a feature called the Nightmare Encyclopedia which is exactly what it sounds like. Just about every reference or item you might wish to uncover about the entire series and television show you’ll find in this mostly text-based feature.
2 pairs of 3-D glasses are supplied for the optional 3-D climax in “Freddy’s Dead”. Truth be told, it doesn’t translate well at all. There is also a colorful booklet that includes stills and production notes from the various press kits of each of the movies.
Lastly, “Welcome To Primetime” is a feature that allows you to view some of the extra stuff in one feature. There is a trivia game and some web links on the DVD-ROM options.
Here’s the thing: Either you love Freddy or you hate him. Entering Freddy’s world is like one giant haunted house at your local amusement park. There’s enough going on that you can usually see new things on repeated viewings. Maybe what makes this series more effective than some of the others is the material itself. We can all try and avoid the creepy places and people in life, but we’re all prisoners of our dreams. It’s the one place where we are a captive audience. Invite Freddy and you never know what’s going to happen. “nine… ten… never sleep again.”