First published back in April of 2020, Matt Shaw’s written short story of ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street: Up All Night’ was a pre-production adaptation of his fan film (of the same name).  The printed book was limited to just twenty-five copies, each signed and hand-numbered, as one of the perks of the crowd funding project used to fund the creation of the fan film.

DLS Synopsis:
Tony had gone to the club simply to get out of his house.  To get away from the boredom of just sitting around doing nothing.  He’d not gone there with anyone.  To be honest, it wasn’t like he had any friends to take along with him.  So, he couldn’t believe his luck when the girl actually started talking with him.

Her name was Tracy.  She was pretty, with long blonde hair and sparkling green eyes.  Tony guessed she was a couple of years younger than him, although with the layers of make-up she was wearing, it was hard to tell for sure.

Tony had been buying her drinks all night.  The amount of Red Bull and Coke she was knocking back was enough to keep her up all night.  Which, she said with a cheeky smile, was exactly what she planned.  Tony couldn’t believe it.  This cute girl was actually flirting with in.  What’s more, he was pretty sure he was in there.

Although when he got back from the bar with their final round of drinks, her mood seemed to have changed.  They were going back to hers, but Tony could sense she wasn’t as into the prospect as he was.  All she seemed to care about was knocking back high-energy drinks and doing lines coke.

One thing was for sure, for whatever reason, this girl was determined to stay up all night…

DLS Review:
Shaw is undoubtedly a massive fan of Wes Craven’s ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ franchise.  The whole ‘Up All Night’ project was born out of his love of the films.  Shaw already had the feature-length film adaptation of ‘Monster’ (2015) under his belt, as well as a handful of short films.  Every inch of his fan film ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street: Up All Night’ (2020) was a project created by fans for the fans.  As is the story within the film, which this pre-production short story replicates.

If you’ve already watch Shaw & Co’s excellent short film, then you’ll know the premise for this story.  It’s very much the same for the most part.  Although there are a number of key differences between the two, most notably the setting of Tony and Tracy’s meeting (a bar in the film and a club in the short story).  The film also continues further from where the short story comes to an end, with a whole host of incredibly well executed horror villain homages that are sure to get every fan of the genre drooling (honestly, if you’ve not seen Shaw’s film yet then you really should rectify that now).

This short story is one that draws heavily upon the suspense of the horror we know is undoubtedly awaiting us.  It’s all geared up for laying down the foundations of Freddy’s arrival.  The idea of a girl who’s being haunted, stalked even, by Freddy.  What’s the best way to try to escape his knife-gloved clutches?  By not going to sleep obviously.  By staying up all night, through whatever methods it takes.

Of course, Tony’s none the wiser to this young lass’s reasons.  His only thoughts are about the sex he’s hoping he’s about to get.  Matt uses his character’s desperation to full effect.  In fact, Shaw purposefully throws in a litany of red lights, cautioning his character to the awaiting danger.  But it’s to no avail.  The man’s sexual drive is enough to give him a blinkered view.  To throw caution to the wind and just count himself lucky that this lass wants sex with him.  This particular aspect of the tale is delivered with exceptional skill.  It’s 100% believable.  Exactly how someone who’s thinking they’re on for a one-night-stand with someone hot can and will ignore any such warning signs.

Back at the girl’s flat is where the story really comes into its own.  Shaw ramps up the warning signs, a barrage of indicators of girl’s obvious problems.  It’s enough to get you squirming in your seat as much as it is damn compelling shit.  Akin to watching a car crash in slow motion.

But what of the unveiling of our favourite antagonist?  Oh yes, here Shaw does us proud…and then some.  If you’ve seen the fan film already, then you’ll already know where this is going.  However, the delivery on paper, the visceral splatter that accompanies the scene, is nothing short of textbook ‘Black Cover’ Shaw.

Yes, this written version of Shaw’s ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street: Up All Night’ is short.  There’s only sixteen lines on each page, with the text pretty much ‘early learning’ sized.  But that doesn’t prevent Shaw from delivering a damn impressive piece of suspenseful and ultimately gruesome horror.  The story is everything you’ll want to see and read for an addition to the franchise.  Wonderfully conceived and executed by a veritable master of his trade.  If you’re lucky enough to have a copy of the book (only twenty-five were printed), then you really won’t be disappointed with the contents.

The book runs for a total of 52 pages (although the text on each page is very large, with just sixteen lines per page).

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