I’m a big fan of the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. I’m also a huge fan of documentaries. The single greatest film documentary I’ve ever seen is Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy which was narrated by Nancy Thompson herself Heather Langenkamp. When I realized that Langenkamp was working on a documentary of her own I knew I’d watch it and I’ve finally gotten around to writing a review for the site.
I Am Nancy is a 2011 direct-to-DVD autobiography / documentary from Heather Langenkamp. In it, she goes into great detail about her role as Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street and the fandom that surrounds the films. She attempts to answer what is, in my opinion a rather silly question: Why folks gravitate toward Freddy rather than Nancy. That said, she puts together a very entertaining and well made documentary.
I Am Nancy – Special Features
As this is a documentary, I wasn’t really worried about being “spoiled” so I jumped right in with the special features.
I Am Nancy Theme Song Music Video (3 m 51s)
This is essentially convention footage spliced together with folks saying, “I am Nancy” about 1,000 times. It’s generally a catchy tune but there’s no real reason to watch this more than once. Definite “throw in” material here, but that’s what special features are for!
Robert Englund Extended Interview (11 m)
This is a nice little conversation between Heather and Mr. Krueger himself Robert Englund. You may recall that I crossed meeting Robert off my bucket list last year so I’m always excited to see more “behind he scenes” footage of the man. Heather talks about how she’s NEVER collected any memorabilia from the films and asks Robert to sign the first piece in her collection. They go into a brief discussion about the 2010 remake, their place (and Nightmare’s place) in history, how it will be remembered, etc. Robert talks about some bootleg art that he’s seen througout the years. I’m not sure how much of this will make it into the final film, but it’s well worth the watch.
Wes Craved Extended Interview (34 m)
If you’ve ever seen an interview with Wes Craven you know he’s sort of a weird dude. He’s very deliberate and clearly very intelligent but there’s something “off” about him. I spose this is to be expected from someone who gave us the incredbile films that he has. He and Heather launch into a discussion about the word “nightmare”, why he chose the name “Nancy” for his heroine, a discussion about potential Nancy action figures, etc. Heather talks about why there’s “Freddy mania” as oppsed to “Nancy mania” and how she feels like the middle child. She goes on to describe how Nancy always gets the short end of the stick. Um… huh? You DO know that Freddy was in ALL the flicks… Nancy was in 2 and a half. But I digress.
I know Heather is tied to Nancy and I can’t even imagine what that’s like, but this is just weird. The fact that she thinks Nancy could be or should be as popular as Freddy Krueger is ludicrous and just makes her look sort of silly. One very interesting tidbit that Wes Craven talks about is how he’d like to see a film release of just the first and last episodes (A Nightmare On Elm Street and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare). Now THAT would be a 2 disc set I’d buy as I absolutely LOVE both of those films.
I Am Nancy – Feature
We start out here with nice little montage of Freddy / Nightmare appearances through history in pop culture. The whole documentary is Heather Langenkamp talking to fans, Wes Craven, Robert Englund, etc. about the movies, Nancy’s role in the films, etc. I have to say that Heather seems very “bitter” here. It’s as if she’ really stretching to find, or rather create, her place in movie history. She asks a tattoo artist how Nancy tattoos he’s done vs. how many Freddy tattoos. Is this really a question? She’s complaining about how Nancy wasn’t “sexy enough”, and thinking that she may have had a better career if she’d been more sexy, etc.
I have to ask… What are the chances of you getting a Nancy tattoo? Zippy.
I’m not going to go throughy the whole documentary but here are a couple of things from my notes that will give you a pretty good understanding of what you’ve got here.
- Heather going through a Nightmare board game looking for the Nancy figure.
- Heather asking fans,“Are you a fan of Nancy?”
- Heather trying to compare herself (and her fame) to Robert. At one point in their discussion he throws her a sideways glance that she doesn’t see. It’s priceless.
- At one point during her discussion with Wes she says, “I can’t think of a single scene where Nancy shows any fear.” Wes simply responds, “I think that’s a bit overblown.“
With those negatives out of the way I don’t want you to get the feeling that I didn’t enjoy this – I absolutely did. It’s a very well made documentary and is a must see for any fan of the Nightmare series. It doesn’t have near the depth that Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy does, but it’s not supposed to. What this really tells is the story of Heather Langenkamp and how closely associated she is with her iconic character of Nancy Thompson. And while you may never convice Heather that Nancy isn’t on par with Freddy as far as star power, there’s no denying that the character of Nancy is one of those characters that stands the test of time and can be put on a pedestal when it comes to movie heroines.
You can find more about I Am Nancy at the official site www.IAmNancy.net – though I’d give you a word of WARNING. The music auto-plays and it’ll blast your eardrums if you’re not careful. You an also follow the film on Twitter @iamnancydoc or on Facebook. Follow, like and tell em ScareTissue sent you!
Finally, if you want to get your hands on this documentary it’s available on Amazon I Am Nancy and if you’re a fan of NOES and for some reason HAVEN’T seen it, please for the love of God get Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy [Blu-ray].