A Nightmare on Elm Street may have started off as the vision of renowned filmmaker Wes Craven, but by the time the series had progressed to A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, New Line Cinema had very much taken the reins, to the point that the studio didn’t even need a director to start production.
When the Midnight’s Edge podcast spoke to Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives helmsman Tom McLoughlin recently, the director recalled how he was in talks to work on the 1988 Freddy Krueger flick, but turned the project down after realizing that he wouldn’t be given the creative control that he wanted.
“When I finished Friday, I was offered Nightmare 4 and went to New Line, met with them, and I said, ‘I love Freddy, I would love to do one of these, but I really want to do what I just did, where I had creative control.’ And they go, ‘Well, we’re already shooting.’ ‘What?’ ‘Yeah, we’re already shooting, we’re shooting like two different units for the visual effects’ and something else, puppets or something. And I said, ‘Without a director?’ ‘Yeah, we kind of know how we’re going to make these things.’ And I went, ‘That’s not the way I work.’ So I turned it down, which of course made (Nightmare 4 director) Renny Harlin‘s career.”
Despite this rushed approach, Elm Street 4 proved to be the highest grossing entry in the series up to that point, while the film’s eventual director, Renny Harlin, went on to have a pretty successful career working on genre fare like Deep Blue Sea and Die Hard 2. And whatever issues fans may have with the movie’s silly tone – not to mention the recasting of Elm Street 3’s breakout star, Patricia Arquette – most would still rank the film ahead of the majority of sequels that would follow.
Of course, these days, studios aren’t in nearly the hurry that they once were to crank out A Nightmare on Elm Street films, but there’s always the possibility that the planned reboot we keep hearing so much about may get off the ground some day. Fingers crossed, eh?