Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sequel in Name Only: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Hey folks! Welcome back for the week. I was just going over more than a handful of sequels and I have always been fascinating when the series retcons one of the sequels just completely ignores its predecessor. For the viewer, this detracts all you know up to this point, throws continuity in the trash, convolutions to the series and can turn people away. An example of this would be Halloween III: Season of the Witch. No direct correlation with the previous two but telling a new tale and for some reason, audiences thought that taboo and demanded more of the same masked man over and over. Horror gets slapped down a lot for new approaches.

Today's film is no exception to the retcon land as we move on from Jessie's story with the exceptional work of director Jack Sholder (Alone in the Dark, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, The Hidden and Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies) and actors Mark Patton (Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Kelsey's Son, Anna to the Infinite Power, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, CBS Schoolbreak Special, Hotel and Family Possessions) Kim Myers (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, Studio 5-B, Key West, Hellraiser: Bloodline, The Pretender, The Dust Factory, The Last Sin Eater and 10,000 Days) and Robert Rusler (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, Weird Science, Vamp, Sometimes They Come Back, Amityville: A New Generation, Babylon 5, and Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom) and jump ahead as Freddy does a 180 and back specifically gacking the kids of the parents that burned him alive. This is A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

Clearly want to get a flat screen.

Now helming the franchise is director Chuck Russell (The Blob, The Mask, Eraser, Bless the Child, The Scorpion King and I Am Wrath) moving us back a stone throw from Springwood off to Westin Hospital, a juvenile asylum run by Dr. Gordon (Craig Wasson of The Outsider, Skag, Body Double, Bum Rap, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Malcolm X and Ghost Rock), a no nonsense doc that just distributes downers to keep the loonies in line. With all the remaining kids of the parents that torched Freddy oh so many moons ago, the kiddies suffer such night terrors.

None of that share hopes, dreams and other such bunk. That's why he has his intern therapist Nancy (Heather Langenkamp of Passions, A Nightmare on Elm Street, CBS Schoolbreak Special, ABC Afterschool Special, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Shocker, Just the Ten of Us, Growing Pains, New Nightmare and The Demolitionist) to handle the touchy feely crap. Also I am confused how Nancy is back, didn't she die with her friends at the end of one, a diary (WE NEVER SAW HER WRITE IN) was discovered in two claiming she went bat shit crazy and no one believed her about Krueger so...what happened?

Well that is vastly more impressive than Uber Jason of Jason X.

We meet the kids starting with artistic pre-Goth Kristen (Patricia Arquette of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Pretty Smart, Far North, Prayer of the Rollerboys, True Romance, Bringing Out the Dead, Little Nicky, The Badge and Medium), our young orderly Max (Laurence Fishburne of The Cotton Club, The Color Purple, Quicksilver, Cherry 2000, King of New York, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Bad Company, The Matrix, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Predators and CSI: Crime Scene Investigations), introvert Kincaid (Ken Sagoes of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Project X, What's Happening Now, Death by Dialogue, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Rosewood and The Backlot Murders) junkie Taryn ( Jennifer Rubin of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Bad Dreams, The Doors, The Crush, Full Eclipse, Saints and Sinners, Screamers, Last Lives, Fatal Conflict and Amazons and Gladiators) and it is up to Nancy to decide whether or not to bring the kids into the knowing of a crispy child killer is roaming through the dreamscape (NO not the one with Dennis Quaid, although that cage match would be cool) and slowly removing them one by one if he so chooses.

Oh sorry Mr. Carradine. Didn't know you were in here.

Kristen seems to have the ability to drag others she forms a bond with into the dreamscape, a talent that was always there ever since she had nightmares as a little girl. The doctors have pow-wow sessions with the kids and COMPLETELY IGNORE the murderous man in their collective dreams telling them it is psychological scars and confusion of sexual identity. Yup, my genitals always straight up try to murder me if I am not getting enough action. Nancy pleads to Dr. Gordon to prescribe the kids a preventative drug to block their dreams but that is just too zany and would end the film far, far too quickly. After another "suicide", Nancy and Gordon hold a private session as Nancy spills the beans about a one Freddy Krueger, a scarred and burnt man wearing a Bing Crosby sweater, fedora hat and a glove with blades attached to the fingers. Gasp! How does she know?

The kids undergo some hypnotherapy to find they have dream powers such as flight, superhuman strength and just all around badassery. Will this be enough to do battle with Krueger? Can they survive the dreamscape?
And yes Freddy Krueger is played Robert England (Eaten Alive, Big Wednesday, Dead & Buried, V, V: The Final Battle, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Downtown, Freddy's Nightmares, The Mangler, Urban Legend, Python, Justice League and Wish You Were Dead) so hope you all now know that. You can't see that I am flipping off the nitpickers.

This is the third highest grossing of the Nightmare pictures after A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master and Freddy vs. Jason. The mirror sequence was actually Mylar draped and maneuvered in front of the camera. Suck it CGI! Practical will always come off better. This is also the first of the Nightmares to have nudity in it and while it is lukewarm topless girl in a thong, it felt odd with the creepy tone being established.

Remember kids, the second Nightmare is really gay and dumb... in spite of separating itself from the original, establishing Krueger's abilities to being able to manifest back into flesh from an innocent and in general scaring the hell out of folks not unlike the original but... there was that unanswered Grady/Jesse love. Aw screw it. I am still trying to figure out the 100 maniacs bad touch the nun and the death/resurrection/death of Nancy. Does this film stand up well against the original? Well its overall theme is close to it, reflecting parents and teens not being able to decipher one another worth a damn, society giving parents the out to drop off the problem child to the local wacko basket so doctors can "fix" them and gave a narrow minded view of psychological practices but a thorough view into the lore. Not bad but I still found two to be better.

Oh Lawrence Fishburne, glad you have gotten much better roles since.