AFTERWORD

And now a few Where Are They Nows:

WES CRAVEN

Since we worked together on New Nightmare, Wes’s career has gone to the next level. He’s written, produced, or executive-produced almost thirty films and has practically become a brand name. In terms of creativity, popularity, and critical reception, Scream 1, Scream 2, and Scream 3 have to be regarded as his greatest successes, but I think he’ll always have a special place in his heart for Mr. Krueger.

BOB SHAYE

Bob has done nothing since Freddy hung up his claw—that is, if you consider executive-producing all three Lord of the Rings movies nothing. The first movie he executive-produced was John Waters’s Polyester, which had a budget of $300,000. For The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, we’re talking ninety-four mil. Something tells me that the next time I work with Bob Shaye, there won’t be any peanut-butter sandwiches on the set.

KEVIN YAGHER

This guy takes on so many makeup and FX gigs that I have no idea how he fits in time for food, sleep, or sex. We’re talking TV series such as Bones, sci-fi flicks such as Matrix II and III, dramas such as Adaptation, and comedies such as Anger Management—not to mention that he owns his own company, Kevin Yagher Productions. Unfortunately, what with all this movie work, he hasn’t had a chance to hone his stand-up act and hit the comedy clubs.

TOBE HOOPER

Tobe is selective about his projects and only takes on gigs he feels are worthy of his time and energy. (Not exactly working-stiff behavior, wouldn’t you say?) The Texas Chain Saw Massacre remains the defining moment of his wonderful career, and I’m certain that he was pleased with the 2003 remake starring the hot Jessica Biel. As of this writing, he’s announced plans to pen an original horror novel with the expert assistance of one Alan Goldsher, and is getting ready to direct an adaptation of another Stephen King work, From a Buick 8. Considering his excellent work on The Mangler, I have high hopes.

HEATHER LANGENKAMP

Aside from being an exemplary mother, Heather has taken baby steps behind-the-scenes, most notably when she worked on the Steve Carell comedy Evan Almighty as a special effects makeup coordinator. I find the thought of her imprisoning some poor sap in a makeup chair hugely ironic and completely hilarious.

JOHNNY DEPP

The artist once known as Oprah Noodlemantra is one of the busiest men on the planet. He’s either off doing another Pirates of the Caribbean flick or appearing in a trippy movie such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Sweeney Todd, or starring in and executive-producing a personal project such as Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary, or he’s flying to France to be with his girlfriend, Vanessa Paradis, and their two children. Hopefully he’s learned to chuck his Christmas trees when they go bad.

GARY BUSEY

Gary has become his own man, an individualist who does what he wants, says what he wants, and ingests what he wants. His reputation has taken a beating—sometimes justifiably so—so folks tend to forget that back in the day, Gary had the potential to become one of the leading acting lights of his generation. He has a ton of talent, and I hope that he can rise from the ashes and show us the kind of chops he demonstrated back in 1978, when he landed an Oscar nomination for The Buddy Holly Story. (That said, if he ever invites me out for lunch, I’m bringing backup.)

AS FOR ME, I’M still a working stiff and will likely be one until the day I die. Most of my work will probably be in the world of horror, and I have no problem with that.

After a young adulthood defined by English classical theater and insular snobbery, I’ve come to love horror movies and realize how important they are to the Hollywood machine, creatively, economically, and historically. But scary cinema resonates beyond the United States; the horror movie travels internationally—it’s almost an ambassador, something all cultures can understand—and the genre has given me an opportunity to work around the world as a professional actor. It’s opened an untold number of doors for me, and for that I’ll always be thankful. If you wish to typecast me as a genre actor, so be it. Stumbling into this world was a happy accident that gave me a wonderful career.

My career has been so fulfilling and joyous that I’m not concerned about whether critics and pundits agree with me regarding horror’s place in the showbiz cosmos. The chance of the Academy recognizing an out-and-out scary film is slim to none, but that’s okay; I won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, and that’s good enough for me.

One of my favorite Rolling Stones songs is “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and that’s a sentiment you can apply to my world— it’s only film, but I like it, like it, yes, I do. Cinema can be taken too seriously; sometimes part of the fun of going to a movie is that it’s completely disposable. Most of the movies I’ve been a part of since A Nightmare on Elm Street are like celluloid comic books, enjoyable because of the immediacy of satisfaction. If there’s a K-Y-jelly-covered guy in your movie wearing a claw glove and a ratty red-and-green sweater, chances are you’re not going to see a piece of high art. But there’s a fair to middlin’ chance that you’ll have a blast.

If only one of my movies survives the test of time, that’s wonderful, but if I can make you forget your problems for a minute or three, I’ve done my job. My goal as an actor, writer, or director is that you have a great time, then you go back to your life, hopefully in a better mood, ready for a night of peaceful sleep and sweet dreams.

Or, better yet, a night of horrible sleep and brutal nightmares.

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