AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: The Nightmares on Elm Street movie novelizations
Welcome to Week 3 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2012. Week 1 was Psycho Week in which I looked at Norman Bates. Week 2 was Friday the 13th Week in which I looked at Jason Voorhees. This week is Nightmare on Elm Street Week. So be prepared for some Freddy Krueger goodness all week.
In the late 80s St Martins published two collected volumes of novelizations to the first 5 Nightmare on Elm Street films. Both volumes were under The Nightmares on Elm Street banner.
The first volume was published in 1987 and called The Nightmares on Elm Street Parts 1, 2, 3: The Continuing Story. It was written by Jeffery Cooper.
Here is a review of the separate stories.
A Nightmare on Elm Street – This is very similar to the movie. You get a few more insights into Nancy’s thinking. However, honestly, I think this version is a bit abridged. It’s just over 70 pages. It seems like it should be longer. I feel like there were a few dream sequences that were cut from this novel. I could be wrong because it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie. I know some of the Freddy-Nancy dream chases were a bit different in this book. But it felt short. But it was good nonetheless.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge – This particular movie gets so much crap from Nightmare fans. I know I hardly ever think about it. It’s not bad, it’s just not good either. The book is similar to the movie. Interesting at best. It continues the idea that Freddy feeds on fear, which is really dropped by the movie version of Part 3. I also feel like this is an abridged version. Again, it’s about 70 pages. I’m not sure what, if anything, was cut because I haven’t watched this movie in years, but nothing really jumped out at me as being different.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors – This one was the most fascinating. The book is apparently based on an early version of the script so the characters are mostly the same, but the story is wildly different. Especially the aspects of the Dream Warriors’ powers. Kirsten is mainly unchanged with her powers and character. Kincaid is a large, streetwise black man, but his dream power is flight instead of super strength like in the movie. Joey, who was mute for the majority of the movie but only part of this book, was the one that was super strong. Taryn, instead of being a punked out rocker chick with no powers actually breathed fire in the book (so much more awesome). Jennifer could turn invisible or phase out and the kid in the wheelchair, Will, that loved fantasy role playing and had wizard like powers was actually stupidly named Laredo in the book and not in a wheelchair at all. But he had the same wizard powers. Also, gone is the subplot involving Nancy’s dad and the burying of Freddy’s bones. Kirsten still tries to kill herself in the opening and gets sent to the hospital. There she meets the other Dream Warriors. Nancy shows up similar to in the movie. Nancy and Neil Guiness (Gordon in the movie) have a romantic attachment/affair. We find out about Freddy’s origin not from Amanda Krueger’s ghost but from plain and simple detective work by Nancy (which I like better). Joey isn’t seduced by the nurse but an old high school crush. The big dream fight where Freddy kills some of the Warriors is a lot bigger and more grandiose. Laredo (Will) actually has a pretty awesome shape-shifting fight with Freddy where he turns into a fire breathing dragon. If filmed, it would have been pretty epic as opposed to the lame fight that’s in the movie. Pretty much everyone dies. Kincaid, Taryn, Jennifer, Joey and Laredo (Will). Oh and Nancy dies killing Freddy. Kirsten and Neil are the only ones left. Somehow, Kirsten keeps Nancy alive in the Dream World and Neil visits her every night when he sleeps. It’s weird, honestly. The book ends similar to the movie in that Kirsten’s model Elm Street house has a light turn on. As if Freddy’s not dead. In many ways, I liked this story better. Especially the end battle between the Dream Warriors and Freddy. Plus, the themes from the first movie about Freddy feeding on fear and to defeat him you must take away that fear are more prevalent. However, with the novel, you don’t get the Dokken theme song, but I guess you can play that while you read the book.
At the end of the book there’s a short story that supposedly tells the “origin” of Freddy Krueger. It’s not really considered canon by anyone involved with the movies. And that’s fine because it’s not very good.
Volume 2 of the Nightmares book series was published in 1989 and is fully titled The Nightmares on Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master and Part 5: The Dream Child. It was written by Joseph Locke.
This was another very quick read with each movie adaptation being very short (sub-200 pages). Honestly, I was a little disappointed in both of the “novelizations” in this volume. These two were very similar to the Nightmare 2 novelization from yesterday. They stuck very close to the movie and offered little more insight than what you see onscreen. Nightmare 5 has a slightly different ending, but it’s nothing along the lines of the Nightmare 3 novelization. It’s also hard to tell if this “different” ending was culled from a previous script draft or if it was an invention of the author. I can’t really find any information about it online.
I could have just watched the movies, which honestly, these two installments aren’t my favorites in the series anyway. I can’t really recommend this as a read as I’m really disappointed in the output. I used to read stuff like this all the time, but now, when I have so much else I want to read, I hate when novelizations refuse to offer any more insights into the movie’s story or the thoughts of the characters. It just feels lazy.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.