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Believe it or not, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street was almost a Disney movie with a very different version of Freddy Krueger as the villain.
While Disney considered making A Nightmare On Elm Street, director Wes Craven didn’t like the studio’s proposed rating for the project. It might be hard to imagine a studio turning down A Nightmare On Elm Street these days, but the slasher flick wasn’t always guaranteed to be a hugely popular hit from its inception. Creator Wes Craven had trouble getting studios interested in A Nightmare On Elm Street, a problem that arose in part because the film’s ambitious mix of fantasy and slasher horror had never been done before.
While the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises both wreaked havoc on the multiplex in the early ’80s, they were simple slashers with few supernatural elements. Although Jason and Michael Myers were supposed to be immortal, it was never explicitly addressed until the later, dumber sequels. In contrast, the central conceit of A Nightmare On Elm Street rested on the paranormal premise of a killer invading people’s dreams. This led Disney, of all studios, to consider taking on the project, once Craven toned down the R-rated horror flick into a PG-13 family version of A Nightmare On Elm Street.
Disney’s PG-13 Nightmare On Elm Street Explained
It’s hard to imagine a bloodless PG-13 take on A Nightmare On Elm Street. However, to be fair to Disney, the original Craven A Nightmare On Elm Street had a happier ending, and its ambitious dream sequences felt more like a fantasy movie than most slasher horrors of the era. As a result, it’s perhaps not too surprising that the studio thought the director might be interested in toning down his take on the material. However, Craven had no interest in a PG-13 version of A Nightmare On Elm Street, and the gore present in the finished film proves that would have been difficult to pull off.
In particular, Glen’s infamous death is a tour de force as the unfortunate teenager is reduced to a geyser of blood. However, Tina’s death (which later inspired the first kill of villain Vecna from Stranger Things) is also far too intense for a PG-13 movie. Although a series of high-profile reports on pedophilia caused Craven not to explicitly confirm that Freddy was a paedophile, the sadistic joy he takes in torturing his victims makes the villain too intense for any film marketed to children. even older and young teenagers. . As such, A Nightmare On Elm Street was always intended to be an R-rated project.
Why Craven rejected this version of Freddy
Another problem with Disney’s vision for A Nightmare On Elm Street was that it would have changed the character of Freddy himself. Craven designed the character, justifying everything from Freddy Krueger’s lack of a mask to his razor glove in his production notes. However, most of the Freddy characters would have been dropped in favor of a more harmless conventional monster in Disney’s PG-13 movie. The MPAA already set a precedent for how a character design could be scary even if it didn’t include any explicit gore in 1984 when an early version of the ghost from the Ghostbusters library was rejected for being too scary (the prop ended up being used as Fright Night’s vampire Amy.)
Would Disney’s Nightmare on Elm Street have worked?
While that might have been fascinating, it’s unlikely Disney’s take on A Nightmare On Elm Street would have been good. Like the lost script of A Nightmare On Elm Street 6, this unrealized project is a fascinating prospect with too many logistical loopholes to make its execution possible. Without Freddy’s gory modus operandi, it’s not even clear if Disney’s version of the villain would have killed children or just scared them. Similarly, without Freddy’s iconic and terrifying appearance, there’s no way of knowing if Robert Englund would have even been cast in the role.
Without Englund as Freddy, Freddy’s instantly recognizable good looks, or the gore that made the film so effective, Disney’s A Nightmare On Elm Street would hardly have resembled Craven’s vision. This take on the material might have been an interesting oddity, but there are few PG-13 horror films with the cultural impact and staying power of A Nightmare On Elm Street. Freddy, unlike Michael Myers and Jason, may be in creative limbo at the moment, but his introduction of fantasy elements into slasher effectively revived the subgenre in the mid-80s. no doubt A Nightmare On Elm Street wouldn’t have been as good – and the horror story would have suffered for it – if Disney had made the movie.
Nightmare On Elm Street Was Almost A Disney Movie (And Very Different) | Pretty Reel