Well, it’s that time of year again. Halloween. And as part of the October tradition, millions all over the world dust off the old horror film collection in preparation for the festivities. There are a lot of horror films out there, and a number of classics were followed by an obscene amount of sequels.
Although it’s likely you’ve seen “A Nightmare On Elm Street,” the chances you’ve seen the 8 other movies in the canon is unlikely. I actually tried to make it through each “Nightmare On Elm Street” movie and couldn’t make it past number 5. Mainly this was from the seemingly recycled script and predictability of the gags. Nevertheless, some of the sequels are actually pretty good and worth a watch. While they may not be as good as the original, this is to be expected. Instances in which a movie sequel rivals the original are few and far between.
Possibly my favorite entry in the series, besides the first film, is “A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.” Nightmare part 2 is a decent follow-up and pretty entertaining, but it doesn’t feature any of the same characters besides Freddy, and he doesn’t even get much screen time. “Dream Warriors” on the other hand features the return of Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson, the protagonist from Nightmare part 1. By this time she is a psychiatrist attempting to help a new group of teenagers now being haunted in their dreams by Freddy.
The kids are locked in a psychiatric hospital, because their parents don’t believe their nightmares are real. Naturally. So Nancy shows up to save the day. The unique personalities of the teenage patients really make the film shine. Kristen, the new girl, has the ability to pull people into her dream, and as such empowers the rest of the gang to take control while in the dream world and fight back. Taryn, a former drug addict dons a leather suit and gloves and battles Freddy with switch blades. Will, confined to a wheelchair morphs into a Dungeons and Dragons character because of his obsession with the game. Roland becomes a strong badass…I think you get the picture. Basically, the kids have the ability to manifest their personalities in dream form and use their skills to battle Freddy.
Not surprisingly, while the kids can fight back there are still several death scenes, which in true “Nightmare On Elm Street” fashion are usually rather comical. Going into the Nightmare series, it’s pretty evident that the movies are meant to be campy and tongue in cheek. If you’re looking for another “The Shining,” this isn’t it. One kid gets thrown off a balcony by Freddy, controlling him from above as a puppet on strings. The aspiring actress, Jennifer, is thrust head first into a television and electrocuted as Freddy exclaims “Welcome to primetime bitch!” In true Krueger form, he spouts one-liners off whenever he has the chance. The one-liner count actually rivals the body count here.
Another enjoyable aspect of the film is learning about Freddy’s backstory. The ghost or spirit of his mother, Amanda Krueger, shows up regularly and we find out that she was actually a nun and nurse in the hospital many years before. Amanda interestingly enough becomes a main character resurfacing in several later films, notably “A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.” Parts 4 and 5 follow part 3 so if you get a chance you might want to check them out even though they aren’t quite as good as “Dream Warriors.”
If you’re jonesing for some laughs and need to get your Freddy fix, consider “A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.” At just under an hour and a half, “Dream Warriors” is relatively short. While it may not be the most original or revolutionary film ever made, it’s pretty entertaining and a great way to get into the Halloween spirit.