Here's PART 3 of my interview with actress Heather Langenkamp, here we discuss women in horror, re-makes, and her thoughts on the actual 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' re-make.
Why do you think that these days in the horror genre, the final girl doesnít always survive and kill the monster? That sometimes everyone will die in horror a movie?
I think thatís part of what I said earlier and the crisis of the modern hero. Weíre in an age thatís so...I think weíre all actually depressed, I think, and we donít have a lot of faith that someoneís going to come along and save the day. Weíre all too cynical for that idea and it makes me sad because itís a case of the tail wagging the dog in a way. I think if we could bring heroes back and if we could really believe that there are people who can lead us through these tough times. If we could believe that, I think more of those people would emerge, I really do. But because weíve just discounted heroes over and over again, their victories are either kind of half assed or they donít really win in the end. Weíve really diluted why in literature we have heroes Ė itís really a big existential problem. In modern literature, itís really hard to write anything that has this really obvious hero. They either have to be incredibly flawed and somehow still manage to save the day anyway, or they try as hard as they can to win and they still canít. I think Ripley in Aliens has always been my role model.
I actually find your character of Nancy a stronger female role model than that of Ripleyís, because youíre able to remain feminine through the three Nightmare movies, where as Ripley Ė I feel, is androgynous.
Well, thatís certainly true to the extent of how they dressed her. She was dressed like all of the other boys and, in fact, in the film Ė I just watched it the other day. In the locker room scene, sheís just kind of walking around in her underwear and thereís no attention made to her at all. Sheís just a person and this is just a person battle. I think the reason I like her is that she has moved beyond that gender identification. Sheís beyond only men can be heroes, and there we have this very powerful woman, and Nancyís very similar to her in that I donít want people to identify with her as just a girl. Iíd rather people identify with her as a teenager or as a young person that has to battle all of the adult upheaval that theyíve (the Elm St parents) created and her sexuality is important to her, and itís important to Glen (Johnny Depp) obviously (laughs.) But itís not important to her relationship with Freddy, and Iíve never felt that her gender is important. I think Wes wanted to have a girl as the hero, but it didnít depend upon it, it didnít depend upon her being female. And thatís why Ďfinal girlí to me Ė if she had somehow used her sexuality to get the better of Freddy, then I would not say these things, but she used her brain and her stamina and intelligence, which is unisex as far as Iím concerned. So instead of ĎFinal Girlí I kinda like to think of her as Ďfinal teenager.í Sheís the one that succeeds where all others donít.
(Heather as Nancy gets ready for her final battle with Freddy by creating booby-traps.)
What do you think of females in horror?
Well they have important roles, you know, I think that mostly men watched horror Ė especially in the early days, but now I think thatís changed. Thereís a lot more girls watching then ever before. My daughter certainly goes to every horror movie. Girls all go together in sort of big packs as far as I can see. I think the demographic has changed a lot and itíll be interesting to see what kind of heroes are written in the next ten years. Will there be maybe more boy heroes to satisfy the girls who want to watch boys in peril? Boys like to watch girls in peril, so maybe girls like to watch boys in peril, who knows, I think it has yet to be written there.
We discuss the gay aimed horror movie ĎHellbentí
Well a lot of people interpret ĎNightmare 2: Freddyís Revengeí to have a lot of gay undertones, which I never noticed until someone told me. You know Iím super naive, I just watch movies, I donít often look for the deeper messages (laughing.) Itís certainly a great way to reflect society and to study society through the way the films are made. At that time in the mid-eighties, certainly gay men in Hollywood were making huge strides and it doesnít surprise me at all that a movie like ĎNightmare 2í would have benefited from their artistic insight (gay men) and how they interpreted the movie. They made something really unique and when we look back on it now it seems very clear that there were very strong gay undertones, but I really never noticed it ( laughs at herself.)
So what do you think of the current trend of horror re-makes?
(Sighs) Well, you know I havenít really seen any of them. Iím a bad person to ask that question really. I wish they were making them for other reasons than just for making an extra buck on the fans. I kinda feel that itís shallow. If it were a film maker that truly cared and was going to change something, or admired Wes Cravens work, where he believed he was doing him a service, thatís one thing, but...
I was really upset with the nightmare re-make (I then go into detail about it as Heather hasnít seen it.)
But you shouldnít have gone to see it! (I then explain that I didnít see it the conventional way) (Laughs) Well thatís okay then...Well I didnít see it, that was my attitude towards it. Itís depressing...letís change the subject.
NEXT WEEK PART 4:
The Interview will continue next week with Heather, where she'll be discussing feelings on the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' movies and her fans and future. You can purchase 'I AM NANCY' from the official Heather Langenkamp website, as well as lots of other fun stuff for fans of Nancy, Heather and the Nightmare movies. Here's the website I AM NANCY OFFICIAL SITE or just type in 'I AM NANCY' into your search engine.