VERY MINOR SPOILERS TO FOLLOW, JUST SO YOU KNOW.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve become a complete holiday hypocrite in recent years. While I loath the fact that with each passing year, Christmas feels the need to stick its frosty little nose in sooner than it should, I love the fact that Halloween has grown from just a fun thing that people do the last week of October to an entire season that goes for at least two months. Well, we’re halfway into Month 1 and I’m in full on spook mode, even more than usual.
To celebrate that, I’m trying to watch something horror related almost every night from now till the big day. That may seem like overkill, but trust me, it will be here sooner than you know it, and I’m trying to ride this pumpkin scented high as long as I can.
Tonight’s selection was a REAL treat. I’m a big fan of expanded universe material. When it’s done well, I absolutely love it. There is nothing like being able to revisit your favorite film through someone else’s eyes, whether through a novel, a cartoon, a comic, or anything else. It kind of gives me the same thrill as watching a special feature on a DVD that I’ve never seen or discovering some long-lost stills or deleted footage. I love the idea that my favorite worlds and visions just don’t ever have to end.
Unfortunately, while sci-fi has done an excellent job in that area (Star Wars and Star Trek especially), the horror genre has fallen a bit short. In recent years, I’ve really gotten into buying novelizations of my favorite films, and you’ll find a few gems in terms of comics, but expanded universe horror novels in general are a little harder to find. They’re there and the hunt does make it fun, but it’s not like you just pop down to your local book store and find shelves of A Nightmare on Elm Street novels.
While I’m on the subject, I can’t stress how fantastic Epic Comics’s 20-issue Hellraiser run from the ’90’s was. Seriously, it’s the best expanded Hellraiser stuff out there and opens up the mythology like nothing else, completely blowing away the later films in that franchise. Boom! Studios is doing some great stuff with the property too at the moment, but that Epic run is where it’s at.
But, back to task. Search for expanded universe content long enough and you’ll eventually find yourself walking down the path of THE FAN FILM. Oh, lord. There certainly is no lack of content there, but it is a serious quantity over quality situation. Look, I’m a horror hound through and through, and I feel that with all the crap that the genre and its fans get, we need to support each other. I fully support the passion and enthusiasm that goes into some of these projects. But oh man, are there some stinkers out there.
So, it was a major relief tonight when I found out about The Confession of Fred Krueger. Written and directed by Nathan Thomas Milliner, an artist responsible for a lot of Scream Factory’s DVD and Blu-ray covers, and clocking in at just over 30 minutes, the short peeks in on what went down after The Springwood Slasher got caught and is taken into custody for interrogation.
It’s an extremely clever little talking head piece that was clearly dreamed up by a real fan. Milliner just gets it, and does something that I love to see, which is fills in a lot of gaps and answers questions the fans have been asking for years. We’ve gotten glimpses of Krueger’s past throughout the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, most notably in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and the pilot episode of Freddy’s Nightmares, but even so, there have been gaps in the origin that I’ve always wanted to see tackled.
Some of these are addressed to fine satisfaction in The Confession of Fred Krueger. During the span of a 30 minute conversation, we get filled in on his childhood, his motivations, his first kill, and even the origin of the glove. The film is a passion project of MIlliner’s and is based on a short story by Jeffrey Cooper, who has penned the novelizations of the films (I have a feeling I’ll need to find some more room on my bookshelves soon).
But of course, none of this would matter of the production quality wasn’t up to snuff, and of course if the performance didn’t hold up. Luckily, that’s not a problem. Kevin Roach, while not exactly the spitting image of Robert Englund, channels him well, working in hints of his voice and mannerisms. I could honestly see and hear Englund saying those lines. I also like the subtlety of the makeup, both on his face and on the knuckles of the cop bringing him in, hinting that he’d already been “interrogated” before making it to the station.
I also picked up on a little something else. Listeners of my show know that I’m a student of Charles Manson and everything related to his case. He even makes a “cameo” on my show every week in the “Words of Wisdom from Uncle Charlie” segment. So, I was pleasantly surprised when Millisner did a little something. Starting at about the 21:57 mark in the film, Krueger answers the question, “Who are you?” with the following statement, taken directly from Manson himself, as seen in this clip:
So yeah, as soon as I heard that, it was kind of thrill. I SAW WHAT YOU DID THERE, MILLISNER.
Final verdict: Check out The Confession of Fred Krueger. If you’re looking for a solid little origin piece that fills in some nice gaps and has Krueger straight up quoting Charlie Manson word-for-word (thus hitting me right in a few sweet spots), you can do a whole lot worse. With Wes Craven now no longer with is, I’m finding myself wanting to revisit his work. This is a fitting tribute. WELL DONE, FELLAS. Oh, and stick around for after the credits. There’s a nice little surprise there too.
P.S. In related news, Mondo has just announced a new line of horror themed sweaters that have got me 13 kinds of excited. FINALLY, I can own Freddy’s iconic red and green striped one without having to take an extra job to pay for it, not to mention the risk of some dodgy E-Bay purchase. They’ve also got some incredibly rad ones based on Friday the 13th and Halloween, plus a scarf!