Thursday, October 9, 2014

The MONTH of HORROR - Day 9: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

"1...2... Freddy's coming for you..."

The 3rd instalment in this series ended up being the last really good one until Wes Craven would return for the meta before it was meta 'New Nightmare' nearly a decade later. Freddy Krueger was still scary, and hadn't become a caricature of himself yet. The filmmakers were still clearly passionate about the franchise and spent the effort on high production values, and effects. And the acting was overall quite good, attracting some pretty half decent names--Laurence Fishburne, Patricia Arquette, and the returning Heather Langencamp from the first. It's not as great as the original but for me this is the next best one of the whole series.

The story is pretty good as it follows the final group of teenagers whose parents were directly involved in the burning death of Freddy all those years ago, as they are all locked away in a mental health facility for troubled youth. They're all in there because Krueger keeps attacking them in their dreams, and their sanity is beginning to slip. Attention was very clearly paid to the script which is rare in an ongoing horror franchise, you really do begin to care about each of the characters, and they're surprisingly three dimensional. Sure, they're your typical archetypes that you'd normally see in a movie like this (the nerd, the tough jock, the punk chick etc.) but the writing is strong enough where when one of them dies, you genuinely feel sad to see them go. Patricia Arquette's character has a unique ability where she can actually bring other people into her dreams, and with strength in numbers, finally an assault can be mounted on Freddy Krueger.

I really was blown away a couple times by some seriously fantastic practical effects, it's clear there was a budget here, and not a single dollar was wasted from the looks of things. Freddy becomes a long snake-like creature like something out of Beetlejuice at one point, or he makes a television set come alive (complete with Dick Cavett, and Zsa Zsa Gabor cameos!), and even attacks a kid with the stretched out tongue of a sexy, half-naked naughty nurse. Oh yeah, there's some fine gratuitous nudity here, something sorely missing from the horror movies of today. Why must the kills get more gruesome, and gory these days but we're not allowed to see boobs anymore? Someone should write a letter.

Freddy Krueger is one of the great, iconic movie monsters, and before he became a comedian in his own films, he was a pretty terrifying dude. Yeah, he jokes a little bit in this one but each one-liner is complete with sinister, and disturbing undertones which would eventually disappear throughout the series. I enjoy all of the films but 'Dream Warriors' is the last effort where it actually feels like anyone is even really trying--outside of Robert Englund, of course. This is an awesome flick, and one I'll continue to re-visit in the future.

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