Wednesday, October 13, 2010

DON'T: Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors


Let's quickly discuss the genius that is Chuck Russell. He is a BadMovieArt hall of famer not only for his outstanding work as a producer of BMA classics like Hell Night, Body Rock, Girls Just Want to Have Fun and Eraser, but he has also written and directed two of the best horror films to emerge from the late 80's. One being the remake of The Blob, starring Shawnee Smith, which is just as much fun as the original, but slimier. But the crowning achievement in his body of work is Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

The third sequel in the legacy of Nightmare on Elm Street set out to change everything. Pretending that the second part didn't even happen, Russell did something that had NOES fans cheering. He brought back the character of Nancy, played by the wonderful and stunningly beautiful Heather Langenkamp. A brilliant move. Now who doesn't love Nancy? She had to forgo any help from her parents and could not even count on Johnny Depp to make sure she didn't fall asleep. She had to battle Freddy all on her own and use all her know how to kill him. And when a rash of teen suicide attempts erupt on Elm Street, she is the only one who can help.

A handful of normal-ish teens have all ended up in the same psych ward under close observation by Priscilla Pointer AKA "mean mommy" from DALLAS. The kids all complain of seeing a nightmarish figure in their dreams and are all fighting not to fall asleep. And it seems that all the kids are bound together by the fact that they are the last kids on Elm Street. Now, why anyone would not see a weird connection to this is beyond me, but that is where Nancy steps in and she is a grown ass woman now! I guess she quickly dealt with the death of all of her close friends, went to college and got a degree in dream psychology and landed a sweet state job. I like to think that she made it all up and dresses like a Golden Girl to make herself look a little older to infiltrate the hospital because she knows that she is the only one who understands the kids. Armed with a patent pending drug to suppress dreams, she launches a full scale attack on Freddy, Mean Mommy and the health board.

The true successor to Nancy Thompson is Kristen Parker, played by Patricia Arquette, who gives good scream! We are first introduced to Kristen when she is trapped in a nightmare and finds herself at Nancy's old house. The front yard is full of little creepy kids jump roping to" 1,2....Freddy's coming for you..." and what could possibly be the scariest little girl in the world. The little girl in the yellow dress on a tricycle. If you ever see her pinch yourself and wake your ass up, cuz you won't be coming back if she is around! Kristen finds herself face to face with Freddy Krueger and awakens to find she has blotched a suicide attempt. Of course, her parents don't understand and it is off to the teen nut house for her.

Once there, a resident doctor starts seeing a nun dressed all in white roaming around. Every time he tries to catch up with her, she is gone, but he knows that something is up. And a young and super hunky Larry Fishburne plays an orderly. He and Nancy's chemistry is bubbling over with sexual tension. All their scenes together is so electric you keep waiting for them to make out. They don't. Nancy has no time for romance, even when the nun seeing doctor tries to get some. NO TIME!!! NO one seems to truly understand just how much danger the kids are in.

Then, in what is the first in a series of super gross outs, one of the kids has their veins pulled from both wrist and feet and is led by Freddy to jump from a building as all the kids have to watch in terror. Still writing them off as trouble teens, the doctors put all the kids on lock down, but the a girl with dream of Hollywood goes head first into the wall mounted TV ( FUCK PRIME TIME!), the kids have had it.

With the help of Nancy, the kids join forces to enter their dreams and make sure that Freddy doesn't get his razor sharp claws on any more of them. The teens go under group hypnosis and once in a dream state, unleash their inner powers. The wheelchair bound boy can walk and is a master wizard, the druggie girl is an S&M tough talking punk chick and the black dude is mash up of pro wrestler/rocky knock off. Together, they seem like they would be an unstoppable force, but it doesn't take long for Freddy to slash the group in half and leaves Nancy and Kristen alone to battle it out with Freddy.

On the outside world, the resident doctor finally gets to talk to the nun in white. She tells him that Freddy's dad was not just one man, but 100 crazy dudes! WOW! He tracks down Nancy's dad, played by the still smoking hot John Saxon!

Now a washed up drunk ex-cop, he reluctantly takes the doctor to Penny Bros Auto Salvage where the parents of elm street buried Freddy's body. The goal now is bury the body in hallowed ground (the first time the religious aspect for cheap scares is used in the series) and do it in time before another kid gets killed. Battling honking cars and dancing skeletons, the two have as much to deal with as the girls do in dreamland.

Nightmare 3 ushered in a new type of Freddy. It amped up the gore and one liners, he had yet to go into the annoying yuks factor that would haunt the rest of the series. He was still horrifying and a menace. Audiences were still on the victims side, but that would all change with Part 4 and audiences would start cheering for Freddy as the kids got more annoying and the death scenes got more and more elaborate. Roach Motel anyone?

The joy of seeing Nancy and Freddy together again is so fun and they really do seem to have a bad romance. Nancy resurfaces years later in New Nightmare and once again her character is brought back to reboot the series. Robert Englund is a true master at his craft. He has always been a fantastic genre actor and Freddy is his role of a lifetime. He will forever be known as the child killing monster, but he brings a depth to the character that is not really necessary, but is welcomed. Dream Warriors re-introduced Freddy to a new generation of kids that couldn't see it in the theatres, but could easily get it on home video. Causing most kids to either want to be Freddy or end up traumatized by Freddy! Robert you ROCK!

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