It would be fair to suggest that A Nightmare on Elm Street (ANOES) is one of the most important and much-loved horror franchises of all time, but despite of its impact, director Wes Craven (Craven) held some reservations/regrets regarding the ending of the movie. According to Screen Rant’s Daniel Kurland, here’s why Craven regrets the ending of the iconic horror movie.
One of the best things about A Nightmare on Elm Street that’s distinctive to the ANOES movies is how they make the audience uncertain if what they’re seeing on the silver screen is a dream or reality. The tension is played throughout the entirety of the movie, nevertheless, this tension is present especially during the ending of the movie. Watch below:
What you saw in the video above is a powerful ending to say the least, however Craven wanted to play it much more toned down. Nancy and her friends would have gotten away safely and the audience watching would be left to wonder if Nancy escaped the threat of Freddy Krueger (Freddy) or if it was all just a big nightmare to start with.
Bob Shaye (Shaye), the founder of New Line Cinema and the movie’s producer was unhappy with this old fashioned ending and insisted that there should be some kind of twist that follows. Shaye’s suggestion was that he wanted Freddy to be the one who’s driving the car at the end and presumably taking Nancy and her friends into deeper horrors.
Craven hated the idea of Freddy in the driver’s seat and so he and Shaye went back and forth on a handful of different ideas. What you see in the theatrical version is the compromise that Craven and Shaye reached that still retains much of Craven’s vision without pushing things “too far into the absurd”.
In an “oral history” (e.g. interviews) of the movie, Craven stated that he still prefers the philosophical symbolism of his original ending and while the finished version isn’t perfect in his option, it’s still considerably better than Shaye’s initial suggestion. It’s an ending that still has an impact and manipulate the audience’s expectations. It’s also an ending which would go on to become a staple of endings in the franchise’s movies.
Source: Screen Rant