Directed by Chuck Russell Written by Wes Craven, Bruce Wagner
Starring Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Craig Wasson
1h 36min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller - Release date: 27 February 1987
The plot pretty predictably ends up with the teens fighting Freddy in the dream world. But what makes it so great are the particulars of the fight. The kids get special powers. One girl has two switchblades and a mohawk (not really a power, but when the character is a former drug addict, it’s better than the powers to shoot heroin into your own arms), one becomes a wizard, and another, a former mute, becomes Banshee. Though most of these powers prove useless against Freddy, it does provide a good break from the “We can stop him because he’s only a dream!” scenarios of the other films.
I mentioned earlier that two teens, Phillip and Jennifer, are notable characters. They aren’t notable in the fact that they’re particularly interesting. Both seem to be fighting for the award of “Most Annoying Person In The Movie” and Phillip definitely wins the prize for “I Hate This Kid. I Hope He Dies Slowly. And Look, He Does.” Their notable for the way they meet their end. Phillip, who makes puppets, gets turned into a literal marionette, with Freddy ripping out his veins and walking him out of a window. Jennifer, who dreams of being an actress, gets her head shoved into a television.
“Welcome to prime time, bitch!” yells Freddy.
“Aaaaaahhhh” screams Jennifer.
“So sweet,” says I, into an empty apartment.
By this film, Freddy has begun his transformation into the cackling, murderous sorcerer-type that he’d be for the rest of the series, and he’s at his most perfect balance between frightening and humorous here. He’s menacing enough to be scary, but talky enough to be funny. If this balance in personality could have been kept for the rest of the sequels, maybe Part 4, 5, and 6 wouldn’t be so bad that some STDs refuse to germinate near them. Krueger, played again by Robert Englund, does a fine job. He’s such a fun villain, and the amount of screen time he gets in this one is perfect. He also turns into a giant serpent, which is a sign that a movie is going very well. For further proof of this theory, watch Conan The Barbarian. James Earl Jones turns into a big snake in that too, and that film rules.
I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it does include Freddy revealing that his torso is covered in screaming face souls, which is such a great image that I’d willingly never date anyone again if I could get an action figure of it. However, I will spoil the credits for you. The credits feature a song called “Dream Warriors” by the metal band Dokken. Words can’t describe how cool this song is.
Usually songs that tie into films suck so bad that hearing aids stop working and deaf children will inexplicably start crying when in a 50-foot radius around them. Not “Dream Warriors,” though. I would, and have, listened to this song when I’m not watching the movie. Dokken has another song featured in this film “Into The Fire,” but whenever that song is played, Kristen’s mother turns it off. This, in sign language, means “Hate Me, Not As A Character In A Movie, But As A Person.”
Overall, this movie is awesome. Chuck Russell, the, who also did the fun remake of The Blob, does a good job here too. The script is funny and well put-together and the special effects, even though they’re usually cartoonish, are cool to look at. It has all the violence and wit that you’d expect of a great Nightmare film, and the balance of that makes it my second favorite in the franchise. It also has John “I Am The Party” Saxon and a sweet metal song in the credits, and those two factors definitely don’t hurt it either.