Last Saturday night, I, along with several hundred Freddy Krueger fans, celebrated the 30th anniversary of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors at Underground Arts in Philadelphia. A special screening of the film was shown and Heather Lagenkamp, the star of the movie, and Chuck Russell, the director, provided live commentary as everyone watched the third entry in the Elm Street franchise.I saw Heather earlier that day at Wizard World and had the opportunity to do a mini-interview with her. Here’s what she had to say:
You starred in the first, third and seventh entry in the Elm Street series. Looking back on it all, what’s a special moment that stands out for you and makes you smile?
The thing I remember the most is going to see the final version of the first film. It was Amanda, Johnny Depp and I and they didn’t have any seats for us to sit in. There was such a buzz at Warner Bros. that this was going to be a really great movie, so we had to sit in the aisles. We all showed up and they didn’t have any seats, so the fire marshal came and told us that we couldn’t see the movie, so we left. We didn’t see the movie, but we figured we’d just see it another day.
It was supposed to be a tiny little horror movie – really nothing major at all. But it was obvious that people in the industry already thought it was really good. So, from then on I made sure to see any movie I was in in a variety of different venues. One time I saw it in Oakland with an all-black audience. I remember seeing the first cut of Nightmare 7 at Wes Craven’s house. Each time I see the final cut of a Freddy movie, I’m always amazed at what we made. They’re always good and really entertaining.
Is there anything in your career that you haven’t done that you’d still like to pursue?
Oh, there’s so much I haven’t done yet. I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of things I’d like to do in my career. I’ve had a variety of things in my life that took precedence over being an actor, like my marriage, my kids, and my family. I always put acting second, and I’m really glad I did. But, as a result, I haven’t done as much as I’ve wanted to do. I haven’t branched out into as many kinds of work. I’d really like to do theater. I’d really like to be on a TV show that’s a serious drama. I’d really like to play the part of an important historical figure. There’s a lot of roles that I’d like to have. Now that I’m in a place where I can pursue my acting career again, I look out for those opportunities.
You’ve done some directing too, with documentaries.
That’s a part of my career, too, that I’m really proud of. I always tell myself that life is long and that I have time to do what I want to do. I try not to be impatient, and I try not to be critical of the things that didn’t go right. I just try to look to the future and have a positive attitude.At Wizard World I also spoke with Chuck for a period of time, and he was as nice as could be. My friend and I chatted with him about the first Elm Street movie and he said that, in his opinion, it didn’t hold up as well as the third entry. I’m sure many fans would argue that’s not true, but I enjoyed hearing a different point of view. He also told us how “The Rock” was a natural when he directed him in The Scorpion King. Chuck told us that it was obvious to him that Dwayne Johnson was going places. He said that Johnson had a great work ethic and was easy to get along with. We both agreed that he was the first professional wrestler to successfully transcend wrestling and make it into the mainstream.The screening was awesome. Chuck and Heather’s commentary was enlightening and humorous. They were both relaxed and having a good time. And when classic scenes or one-liners happened, the crowd roared with approval. It was like watching a pro wrestling event with a room full of several hundred people. Everyone had a fantastic time. Afterward, I said “Hi” to Heather and Chuck and got ready for Don Dokken to take the stage and perform his acoustic set.
Don Dokken sounded amazing! Much better than I expected. Prior to his performance, I was a casual fan, at best. And I had heard that he lost his voice, so my expectations weren’t high. However, what I heard and saw blew me away. Sure, he couldn’t hit the high notes anymore, but his voice was still powerful and he still has a great tone. Don also performed way more songs than I expected – approximately 10 or so, including “Dream Warriors” from the film we had just watched.
All in all, this was a wonderful event and a great way to celebrate one of the best horror movies of all time. I’m glad I had the opportunity to be part of it.