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The Real Reason Wes Craven's New Nightmare Doesn't Have Opening Titles

As one of the all-time best horror directors, Wes Craven's missing title card in 1994's "New Nightmare" is no mistake. As the film opens over a hellish murder sequence, the dramatic but slightly kitschy red slashes through the screen that formed most "Nightmare" titles are nowhere to be found. What's going on here?

"New Nightmare" arrived 10 years after Craven's original iconic horror flick "A Nightmare on Elm Street" made audiences terrified of going to sleep with its creepy tale inspired by a real mysterious death. Five increasingly cheesy sequels stretched the original concept of bad guy Freddy Krueger into something teetering toward comical. Craven was largely uninvolved in most of the sequels and wanted the seventh film to bring serial killer Krueger back to his original vision of the character.

So, Krueger, who kills people in their dreams, received an updated look for "New Nightmare," but that was far from the most interesting thing the film did. Why did Craven deviate from the norm and skip out on the traditional opening ? Well, the reason is baked into the "New Nightmare" premise.

"New Nightmare" is a new concept

"New Nightmare" turns the horror genre on its head with a heavy dip into meta storytelling that influenced Craven's next famous movie, "Scream." The original "Elm Street" star, Heather Langenkamp, returns as herself, thinking about reprising her role as Nancy for a new "Nightmare on Elm Street" installment. However, her family becomes haunted by Freddy Krueger as she tries to help her traumatized young son (Miko Hughes), who refuses to go to sleep. She meets several members of the movie industry playing themselves, including director Wes Craven, while discovering that Krueger is an ancient entity trapped in stories that's now trying to invade the real world.

The lack of a title card was meant to reinforce the idea that this story was happening outside of a movie, as a non-fiction look at the cast and crew of "A Nightmare on Elm Street." While "New Nightmare" may not actually bleed into the "real" world like Craven's horror parody did — the police actually called the "Scream" set — it takes care to build the illusion by not stamping the words "New Nightmare" over the first scene. In the credits, according to ScreenRant, Freddy Krueger is credited as himself, as opposed to the actor that plays him, Robert Englund.

Part of the meta story in "New Nightmare" is criticism of the horror movie industry's tendency to cheapen stories with excessive sequels. In completely unrelated news, Scream 5 will be releasing soon.