A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Director: Chuck Russell
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Robert Englund, John Saxson
During the height of the slasher genre the sequels were spewing out left and right. After the disappointment of the sequel Freddy’s Revenge (1985) many people were pleased with Dream Warriors. They brought in a few writers like the series creator Wes Craven and Frank Darabont. (The Shawshank Redemption, the Green Mile, the Walking Dead) The film acts like a direct sequel to the first film bringing back two of the original actors, Heather and John. The film opens with Patricia’s character Kristen is having nightmares of Freddy. He slits her wrists but her mother thinks it’s a suicide attempt and has her put into a mental hospital. It was there she meets a group of kids all with different personalities but all are bound by their nightmares of Freddy. Kristen dreams of Freddy again and pulls Nancy into the dream. Freddy recognizes her when she rescues Kristen. They escape and Nancy is able to convince the Neil to proscribe a drug called Hypnocil but he can’t go far with it. That night the boy who plays with puppets has a dream where Freddy slices his legs and arms and uses him as a puppet.
He takes him to the edge of the building and makes it look like suicide as he falls to his death. The next night another patient stays up to watch television and falls asleep. Freddy appears coming out of the television and smashes the girls face into it. Nancy reveals that all these kids are the last of the remaining Elm street children. They perform a hypnosis experiment to help the kids learn how to control their dreams by giving them abilities to help fight Freddy. One of the patients, Joey is lured by Freddy with an attractive nurse. He holds Joey captive over a pit from hell. When everyone awakes from the dream they realize that Joey is in a coma. Around this time Sister Mary Helena reveals to the doctor Freddy’s past and how he was conceived by a nun being raped by over 100 maniacs. She tells him that putting Freddy’s bones to rest are the only way of killing him. Neil tries to convince Nancy’s father to help him find the bones while the rest of the patients are sedated. One girl is killed by Freddy with syringe fingers, another who pretends to be the Wizard Master fights but is killed by Freddy. When Nancy’s father takes Neil to the junkyard where his bones are a skeleton Freddy fights them. Nancy’s father is killed in the fight. Meanwhile Kristen, Nancy and another patient are in the dream fighting Freddy and saving Joey. Nancy stabs Freddy and starts talking to her father who she realizes has passed on. It is revealed to be Freddy in disguise and he mortally stabs Nancy. Neil is able to put Freddy’s skeleton to rest with holy water and a cross, thus finally killing Freddy. The last scene reveals that Sister Many Helena was Freddy’s dead mother. At the end the model of Freddy’s house has a light come on indicating that he is still alive.
The special effects are fantastic. The use of stop motion Freddy bones and Claymation Freddy puppet were really creative. The puppet death was one of the best of the series and Freddy’s attitude being dark and funny was very appealing. I love the return of Nancy and her father and the plot is full and thick and seems to work with the flow of the movie. I really like the way they kill Freddy. It seems original and almost like a vampire which I thought was a better way to kill him compared to the first film.
The acting is bad on many levels. I never understood why Freddy’s voice changed since the first movie. It goes from creepy to deep and rough. The movie had plot holes all around. Like How Neil preforms hypnosis on all the patients but somehow happens to be in the dream with them even though he never fell asleep. I felt that Nancy should have died in a smarter way. I just fell she should have been smarter about the situation and should have known she wasn’t safe. I always liked how Freddy was in the first movie and he has become iconic because of sense of humor but I have always felt that his most iconic trait was also his worse trait. The humor makes people take Freddy as a joke rather than an icon of horror.
If they would have kept him serious and maybe went with Wes Craven’s original script the movie may have even been better. I feel more of the side characters at the asylum could have been killed off in more grotesque ways. The movie seemed to go in a dark direction with the first death scene but seems to go soft as it goes on.
One of the best of the series, but not close to being the best. 3/5.
The hair metal band Dokken wrote a theme song called Dream Warriors. Check it out….it’s fun …
Silent House (2011)…..starring the better Olsen actress