Original Horror Shirts

MoreHorror Exclusive: 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' Leading Lady, Heather Langenkamp Interview

Interviewed by Michael Juvinall, MoreHorror.com

Heather Langenkamp is a remarkable woman. She is best known for playing Nancy Thompson, the lead in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Her portrayal of a teenager being attacked in her dreams, then for real by a dead, severely burned, child murderer was nothing short of groundbreaking for that era. At a time when the vast majority of scream queens in horror films of that time period were either playing the helpless victim or the eye candy, Heather’s “Nancy” was a strong, no-nonsense fighter who wouldn’t roll over and die. She took on the plight of teenagers in America, helping to portray them as strong and self-reliant, and showing they need to be heard and understood.

Heather played the role of Nancy Thompson in three of the Nightmare films, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), and playing herself as Nancy Thompson in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994). She was an executive producer and narrator on the documentary, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010) and producer on her autobiographical film I Am Nancy (2011) about her unique experiences playing the teenage heroine Nancy Thompson.

She also starred in the popular TV sitcom Just the Ten of Us (1988-90) playing the super smart Marie Lubbock, who had seven other siblings and their misadventures. These days along with acting, Heather works alongside her husband, special makeup effects wizard David Anderson in their own effects shop, creating special makeup effects for such films as Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Cabin in the Woods (2011), and the upcoming Star Trek sequel Into Darkness (2013).
Read on as I sit down and chat with Heather about A Nightmare on Elm Street, Nancy Thompson, and more!

Michael Juvinall: We're here at the Days of the Dead horror convention in Chicago. Do you enjoy going to the conventions and meeting your fans?

Heather Langenkamp: Some weekends you're not really looking forward to getting out of town or there's a really fun event you're going to be missing, and I say "Gosh, I wish I wasn't going", but by the time Saturday or even Friday night rolls around, you're so glad you came. Folks have a way of really making you feel great about what you've done and the parts you play.

MJ: What do you get asked the most at the conventions?

HL: “What was it like to kiss Johnny Depp?” definitely the most popular question. The second most popular is probably, “Have you ever had any nightmares from making these movies?”, so those are the two biggest questions I get.

MJ: Do you stay in touch with any of the members of the cast?

HL: I see Amanda (Wyss) a lot, and then Robert (Englund) and I see each other quite frequently at the conventions. We stay in touch on the phone and by email. Those two are my closest friends that have remained. A lot of the kids from Nightmare 3, we love seeing each other. I worked with Brooke Theiss on Just the Ten of Us and she's often at Nightmare conventions too. There are just a lot of people I get to see because I come to these.

MJ: How did playing the role of Nancy Thompson change your life?

HL: When I first played her, I thought it was just another role. It didn't have much of an impact on me in the beginning but I'd say now, 25 years later, it's become the role for which I'm known. It's very important; I don't think I'd be invited to these events without her that's for sure. I think the movie itself has become a classic. I had little to do with that, it's all about the fans and their love of Freddy Kreuger and making that happen.

MJ: Are you surprised that even today how popular the Nightmare on Elm Street films are, especially the original?

HL: It's way more popular now than it was 25 years ago, believe me. It was a very small movie back then and very few people saw it. I had a hard time getting even my agent or anybody to go see it because it really wasn't up anybody's alley back then. Horror has really become a staple of American filmmaking; the fans are probably the most loyal fans you can have. That combination has made this kind of role an unusual miracle in the film world.

MJ: What is one of your fondest memories from working on the Nightmare on Elm Street films?

HL: Working with Robert, we always had such a good time in our scenes together when we were fighting. Choreographing scenes around my bedroom, those I've always loved the most. I'm a person who really loves athletics and am a physical person and doing those scenes with him was always the high point of the movies for me.

MJ: Can you tell me a little about your film 'I Am Nancy'?

HL: Well, because of going to these conventions, I started asking my fans some questions about why they cared so much about A Nightmare on Elm Street and why they love Freddy so much. I approached it from the point of view of Freddy's so popular, why isn't Nancy equally as popular? It's pretty clear when you go around the vendor hall that Freddy is the important character. I asked a question about what does it mean to be a hero and is it clichéd even to have a hero anymore?
What I discovered is that people really love Nancy because she's so strong and she faced her fears against Freddy and was able to win a lot of the battles against him by just being willing to attack him and fight with him. I use that as my theme of the movie, it's a love letter to my fans for teaching me more about Nancy than I ever really knew myself.

MJ: Your role as Nancy helped to create new roles for women as strong female characters, rather than just being the victim, how does that make you feel?

HL: I'm not sure if she started it. I really looked at her not so much as a woman but as a teenager because I think society has done a disservice to teenagers, we put them in front of TV's and give them little things to play with because nobody really wants to engage them or take their input. I think Nancy was one of the first teenagers who had to fight for herself because none of the grownups would. I look at that as her message more than her being a girl or being a feminine character.

MJ: You also work with your husband (David Anderson) doing makeup effects on films. Do you like doing that as much as acting?

HL: Acting is always my first love but the bad side of acting has to deal with all the rejection, the self-doubt and the problems with a woman growing older in this business when they don't really appreciate what happens naturally to a woman's face and body. You're constantly battling someone’s conception of beauty that I don't think is very realistic. As a counterpoint, I really like working with my husband because I can be me and I don't have to be worried about how I look that day.

MJ: He's a great makeup effects artist.

HL: Yes he really is. I've learned so much about filmmaking from being in the makeup and effects world and the more I learn, the more I really like being behind the camera.

MJ: You have a small role in the upcoming Star Trek film, what else do you have coming up that you can talk about?

HL: I can't really say I have a role but I did participate, my husband designed all the makeup effects for that film. I did a small film called The Butterfly Room a couple of years back that's getting released next year with Barbara Steele playing my mother. I love the story but I haven't seen it so I can't really say what kind of movie it's going to be but I know it's been getting some good reviews in Europe at some festivals these last few months. I get to play a mother in another film called Home, but I don't know when that's going to be released. I am trying to do more acting, I do love it.

MJ: I hope to see you in more films coming up. I want to thank you so much for taking time away from meeting your fans to talk with me. I wish you so much luck for the future; you've been so gracious with me.

HL: Thank you, thank you very much.

For more information on Heather Langenkamp’s film I Am Nancy, check out the official website

Visit MoreHorror.com's profile on Pinterest.

Send your horror news scoop to Seth_Metoyer@MoreHorror.com.

Click the "Like" button below and connect with us on Facebook!

Like us on Facebook:

Horror T-Shirts

Recent Horror Movie Reviews

Detention (2011) Review
We Are The Night Review
Hate Crime (2012) Review
Dead of Night Review
The Violent Kind Review
Piranha 3DD Review
Funeral Home Review
DeadHeads Review
Playback Review
House Of Flesh Mannequins Review
More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead Review
The Mutilator Review
The Psycho Legacy Review
4:44 LAST DAY ON EARTH Review
Halloween II: 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Review
Full Tilt Boogie Review
Nightmare City Review
The Divide Review
Penumbra Review
Hellraiser Revelations Review
EYES WITHOUT A FACE Review
Entrance Review
Asylum Blackout Review
Mother's Day Review
Dead Pit Review
Them Review
Anguish Review
Snow White: A Deadly Summer Review
Snow White: A Deadly Summer Review
Theatre of the Deranged Review
Grimm Season One Review
Kids Go to the Woods…Kids Get Dead Review
Trilogy of Blood Review
Kill Devil Hill Review
Intruder Review
Malevolence Review
A Horrible Way to Die Review
Halloween II (Rob Zombie) Review
Final Destination 5 Review
The Killing of Jacob Marr Review
Stake Land Review
The Reef Review
Cowboys and Zombies Review
Necromentia Review
The Ward Review
The Caller Review
Bereavement Review
Kidnapped Review
The Hills Run Red Review
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) Review
Home Sweet Home Review
Super Hybrid Review
Dead Hooker in A Trunk Review
30 Days of Night: Dark Days Review
Paranormal Activity 2 Review
Cannibal Holocaust Review
The Woman Review
Dylan Dog Review
Medium Raw Review
One Dark Night (1983) Review
Groupie Review
The Tingler Review
Dolls Review
Detention Review
Bitter Feast Review
Camp Hell Review
Scream of The Banshee Review
FEARnet's Twisted Comedy Review
Just Before Dawn Review
Carriers Review
RUBBER Review
Mangrove Slasher 2 Review
LEWIS Review
The Task Review
cathARTic Review
Matrimony Review
Fright Night II Review
Yakuza Weapon Review
Hobo With a Shotgun Review
Plague Town Review
The Defiled Review
Goblin Review
Primal Review
Heartless Review
Pieces Review
True Blood: Season 3 Review
Murder Party Review
Hell Night Review
Skin Eating Jungle Vampires Review
I Saw The Devil Review
Red Riding Hood Review
Drive Angry Review
Blood Night Review
Dismal Review
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Review
The Faceless Review
Fertile Ground Review
Slaughterhouse Review
Amityville 4 Review
Aftermath Review
Savage Review
Ninjas vs Vampires Review
Swamp Shark Review
The Loved Ones Review
Black and Orange Review - Novel
Terror Vision Review
Vanishing on 7th Street: Movie Review
JAWS Review
Future Kill Review
Bad Elements: Crystal Dragon Review - Novel
Daughter of Horror Review
Death of The Dead Review
The Possession of David O Reilly Review
SCREAM 4 Review
Track of The Moon Beast (1976) Review
Hyenas Review
Mongolian Death Worm Review
Black Death Review
World War Z (audio book) Review
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Review
The Absent Review
Alien vs Ninja Review
Missing Linx (Comic) Review
Thankskilling Review
Death Spa (1988) Review
Insidious Review
Basket Case (1982) Review
The Walking Dead: Season 1 Review
PROWL Review
April Fools Day (1986) Review
In The Mouth of Madness Review
MANDRAKE Review
Machete Review
White Dog (1982) Review
SAW: 3D (The Final Chapter) Review
A Serbian Film Review
[REC] Review
The Devil's Rejects Review
SAW Review
Burial Ground (1981) Review
Hollowed Ground Review
DORORO Review
Roid Rage Review
Psych:9 Review
Let Me In Review
My Soul To Take Review
The New York Ripper Review
MIZUCHI (DEATH WATER) Review
Burnt Offerings (1976) Review
I Spit On Your Grave (1978) Review
I Spit On Your Grave (2010) Review
Wicked, Wicked (1973) Review
Maniac (1980) Review
Deadline (1981) Review
Death Bell Review
The Rite Review
HUSK Review
Cemetery Man Review
Seconds Apart Review
Buried Review
The Uninvited (1944) Review
Direct Your Own Damn Movie Review
City of the Living Dead (1980)Review
The Forest (1982) Review
JIGOKU (1960) Review
Let The Right One In Review
Lost Boys: The Thirst Review
Near Dark (1987) Review
The Human Centipede Review
Thirst (2009) Review
Night School (1981) Review
Night of The Demons (Remake) Review
DEADGIRL Review
The Splat Pack Review
The Maid Review
Hatchet II Review
The Last Exorcism Review
CADAVER Review
Victim Review
Shadowland Review
Bloody New Year Review
Black Christmas (1974) Review
MIRROR Review
Splice Review
The Art of Hammer Review (Book)
Doghouse Review
The Blair Witch Project Review
Horror Movie Freak Review (Book)
Lake Placid 3 Review
Paranormal Activity Review
SHELLTER Review
Sella Turcica Review
The House of The Devil Review
UNDEAD Review (Novel)
The Woman In Black Review
Ghost Story Review
Eraserhead Review
Day of The Dead Review
The Woman Review
Night Of The Living Dead Review
Terror at Red Wolf Inn Review
The Theatre Bizarre Review
The Mortician Movie Review
Happy Birthday To Me Review
Mountaintop Motel Massacre Film Review
Frankenhooker Blu-Ray Review
The Necro Files Review
Donner Pass Review
Shark Night Review
Night Feeders Review
New Year's Evil Review
Never Sleep Again Review
Creature Review
Haunting at The Beacon Review
Zombie Review
Chromeskull Laid to Rest 2 Review
Devil's Rock Review
Fright Night (Remake) Review
Area 51 Review
Five Senses (comic) Review
Antropophagus Review
Lightning Bug Review
Never Feed the Troll Review
Alone in The Dark Review
Dead Alive Review
Zeke Review
Laid to Rest Review
The Beyond Review
Monsterwolf Review
Splinter Review
Mirrors 2 Review
Mail Order Review
Review
Snowtown Review
The Dead Review
The Shrine Review
Run Bitch Run Review
Mutilation Mile Review
The Howling Reborn Review
The Human Centipede 2 Review
The Walking Dead Review
The Echo Review
Dream House Review
Yellow Brick Road Review
Baby Blood Review
Halloween 3 Review
Feast Review
The Child's Eye Review
Scourge Review
Martyrs Review
Mothman Review
Wrong Turn 4 Review
The Keep Review
Red State Review
Paranormal Activity 3 Review
Deviling Review
Slugs Review
Nightmare on Elm Street 2 Review
Night of The Hunter Review
Pick Me Up Review
Hillside Cannibals Review
Friday the 13th (1980) Review
The Green Monster Review
The Thing (2011) Review
Night of The Vampire Review
Killer Review
Alyce Review
The Fog Review
Of Unknown Origin Review
The Revenant Review
Exit 33 Review
Rage of the Yeti Review
Let's Scare Jessica to Death Review
Territories Review
Blood Freak Review
Solstice Review
Blood Roses Review
The Haunting Review
Silent Night Deadly Night Review
Silent Night Deadly Night Review Review
Rare Exports Review
Ashes Review
Perfect Witness Review
Santa's Slay Review
Little Deaths Review
Lips of Blood Review
Bill Oberst Jr.
ASSASSINS
Silent Night Deadly Night 5 Review
Don't Let Him Review
Hell Driver Review