In this post-modern take on the enervated Elm Street series, the director of the original uses a complex film-within-a-film structure to reassess and revitalise the moribund Freddy Krueger mythology. Craven's conceptual coup is to cast himself; the man behind the Freddy mask (Englund), the heroine of the original (Lagenkamp), and even the supremo of New World Pictures (Bob Shaye) as both themselves and their fictional counterparts. Thus, he explicitly confronts the previous sequels' cynical softening of Freddy's once horrifying persona. During preparations for yet another sequel, Freddy is born again, spilling over from the pages of Craven's script-in-progress to threaten those involved with its making. Skilfully blending fairy-tale clarity with the skewed logic of nightmares, Craven also blurs the boundary between reality and fiction. There is creepy subversive stuff going on here, not to mention sly sideswipes at the censors. The climactic punch-up fails to match the power of the first film's true ending, but in deconstructing his own bastardised creation, Craven redeems both the series and his own tarnished reputation.