Wes Craven's beloved franchise A Nightmare on Elm Street has seen its fair share of fun, wicked horror, and some bizarre, campy choices over the span of 37 years. The first film completely livened up people's adoration for horror, almost immediately making a sequel (and eventually a franchise) a sure bet. However, after the bizarre choices in the mostly unrelated sequel and the improvement with the third film, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, there was an absence of a crucial scream queen – so it took another stab at shifting the direction.
The fourth film, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, ended up being the third most successful film in the franchise commercially, with a fairly split rating on Rotten Tomatoes (not bad for the fourth chapter of a horror title). The film is easily one of the most underrated of the franchise, up to par with the first and third Nightmare films, and years later, The Dream Master's creative mind is now speaking up about the ideas behind his installment.
In an interview with Slash Film, director Renny Harlin spoke out about a James Bond parallel, explaining, "Let's make Freddy the James Bond of horror! He had to be bigger than life, kind of like a hero even though he's the bad guy. We have to introduce humor and wink at the audience, like, 'We know you know, so let's go and have fun.' That was the biggest thing [Newline Cinema founder] Bob Shaye was worried about. Now, you look at the film and think, 'Why didn't everyone realize it was going to work?' They didn't. I wasn't so sure, either."
After the success of the fourth installment for A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, it was attempted to carry over to the fifth film, and later on, the franchise essentially changed the narrative with each release. Luckily for Harlin, he was able to experience a more positive reaction from pre-existing fans upon release, noting, "At that test screening, when the audience started applauding, screaming, and laughing, Bob Shaye looked at me, like, 'Oh my God. I think you were right.' We got a standing ovation. It was the biggest relief."
Now, it's said that another iteration of Freddy Kruger is being shopped around, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens for the future of A Nightmare on Elm Street.