A Nightmare On Elm Street part 3: Dream Warriors

Dir: Chuck Russell, 1987

7/10

You can’t keep a dead man down, and Freddy’s back, wreaking murderous mayhem on the teenagers of Elm Street.

Westin hospital is a secure unit, housing teenage patients with mental and behavioural problems.

All suffering the same fear of dreaming, Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) arrives at the unit to help the patients as she had been through it herself.

It’s up to Nancy, Dr. Neil Gordon (Craig Wasson) and the kids to send Freddy (Robert Englund) back to where he came.

After the disappointing results of Freddy’s Revenge, director Russell took the series in a new direction; one of fun and humour, with an emphasis on the comical side of Freddy’s nature.

The horrific murders committed by the scarred bogeyman, are substituted for over the top and surrealist deaths.

Krueger always had a sinister edge to his one liners, but that gives way to pure comedy.

This became the norm for the rest of the series, changing the category from one of horror to comedy horror.

Despite its title of A Nightmare On Elm Street, no nightmares occur, there, as nobody lives there. It becomes a symbol of Freddy’s impending return.

For a secure unit of the size it is, with several doctors, nurses and orderlies, why is there only six patients? Did the production run out of money for extras?

Nevermind, it’s the film that we’re on about, here.

Although, the deaths are of a fantastical nature, they are pretty clever and fun. A particular highlight is Phillip’s death, when the burnt invader of dreams, pills Phillip’s veins out and uses him as a marionette puppet.

The razor-fingered glove, that is synonymous with Freddy, has less focus and is, more or less, redundant. It serves purely as the trademark.

Co-written by original writer Wes Craven, the nightmares shift from graphic evisceration to a personal approach. They become tailored to the desires and fantasies of the victim.

A Nightmare On Elm Street part 3: Dream Warriors is responsible for bringing Krueger’s back story to the fore, allowing for further films in the franchise.

The background of Freddy Krueger is really interesting and offers an even more horrific nature to the character. Born the son of “a thousand maniacs”, his mother, Amanda, was a nun, who brutally raped by the inmates of a mental asylum.

This entry into the series, is rather weak, with too much cheese and a cast that, maybe, should’ve spent a bit more time in acting school.

Not being an actress of notable accomplishment, Langenkamp emits a rather wooden performance and the character of Nancy isn’t right for this film. However, the ever brilliant John Saxon is on top form, slurring the corny script as the alcoholic dad of Nancy, Lt. Donald Thompson.

Russell directs this with his tongue in his cheek. He has the cast play it like a pantomime. Taryn’s (Jennifer Rubin) dreams about being bad and beautiful is something else. A foot high Mohican and twin flick knives doesn’t elicit a picture of beauty. Even Zsa Zsa Gabor makes an appearance, being murdered by Freddy.

One of the most startling factors is the casting of Laurence Fishburne, here billed as Larry. It makes you wonder how many times he changed his name. In Death Wish II, he’s listed as Laurence Fishburne III.

In her debut, is a young Patricia Arquette. Looking at her performance in this, it’s baffling how she was able to secure another audition, let alone an actual part.

It’s unfair to rate this as a better or worse film than its predecessor, as the whole tone of the movie is different. Freddy’s Revenge, continued the horror set by the original, despite the gay undertones running through it. This is, deliberately, campy, as if the director was trying to make a B-movie.

All in All, an entertaining hour and a half that will provide you with an enjoyable evening.

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