#226 -- A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Director: Chuck Russell
I looked into a few reviews and comments about this movie, and it seems that some people think it is stupid. A new idea was introduced in this one, as well as a new trait in Freddy's personality. It's also the movie in which Freddy's nemesis was finally destroyed. Some people don't like that. It would be different if it had been done way later in the series; but at this point, the franchise was still young, so I think it was okay for them to switch things up a bit and make it more interesting. Personally, I think if they hadn't, Freddy wouldn't have become as much of an icon as he is. But that's just me.
Anyways, this one steers away from the direction the second movie took; meaning it's actually really good. I didn't understand the second one, really. In the first, Freddy was taking revenge on those who killed him by murdering their children. I guess he figured, kill their kids so they live the rest of their lives knowing it was their fault. That's more than enough to make someone's life miserable. But in the second, Freddy wanted to possess the main character, for whatever reason. But in this one, he returns to wanting all the kids dead. The story centers on Kristen, one of the many Elm Street children. She is sent to Westin Hills psychiatric hospital after what her mother believed was a suicide attempt (but which was actually an attack by Freddy, of course). She's joined by a group of other teenagers having the same problems: the dreams about the horribly burned man in the Christmas sweater. Heather Langenkamp returns as Nancy; she's all grown up, and she works at Westin Hills. She's been taking a drug called Hypnocil, which suppresses her dreams and keeps the boogeyman away. She wants to give it to the kids, but certain problems prevent that from happening.
Nancy soon discovers that Kristen has the ability to pull other people into her dreams, meaning that they can form a sort of army against Freddy. They also discover that they can do whatever they want in their dreams. Why no one figured this out before now, I have no clue. Kristen is a gymnast in her dreams; Taryn is a badass chick; Will, wheelchair-bound after a suicide attempt, can walk in his dreams. And he's also the Wizard Master. Kincaid, the tough guy, is super strong when he dreams; Joey, the cute mute guy, has a very powerful voice in dreamland. And Nancy is just Nancy, I guess. So, once they realize that they can have all these powers in their dreams, they decide to go in after Freddy, in hopes that, together, they can take him.
What I love about this one is just that: the dream powers. If Freddy can do all these crazy things, why shouldn't the kids be able to have powers? And they are dreams, after all; anything is possible. This one also has one of my favorite death scenes ever. A guy named Phillip has the tendons in his arms ripped out, and they're used as marionette strings, with Freddy as the puppeteer. He ends up making Phillip jump out of a window. It just looks so amazing. So, I love that they introduced the dream powers in this one, and I'm not actually sure if they ever used it again. I know everyone always brought Freddy into the real world, but I can't quite remember if they ever had special powers in their dreams. But, anyways, I loved that. This is also the movie where Freddy's sense of humor really started. He got silly. Some people might not like that, but honestly...Freddy wouldn't be the same otherwise. Just think about if you were in the kids' shoes. There's this scary dude trying to kill them. They're going to be mad at him to begin with, right? Well, on top of that, he's making fun of them too. They've got to be pissed. But we, as audience members, just find it hilarious. That's what makes everyone love Freddy. He's scary, but he's also funny. You don't know whether to laugh or run away and hide.
So I loved how they switched it up in this movie, but I have a few questions. We know why Freddy exists. He was killed by the parents of Elm Street, and his revenge was to kill all of their children. In this one, Nancy says that the kids in Westin Hills are the last of the Elm Street children. Since Nancy was killed in this one, and remaining kids were killed in the next movie, why did Freddy continue killing? This question wasn't answered until, I believe, Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Freddy said that, when he died, he was offered a "job" by some demons. So, it was his job to kill children then. I guess he just decided that, if he had to kill some, he might as well get some revenge while he was at it. And once he was finished with his revenge, he still had a job to do, so he just kept on going. That was until no one was scared of him anymore, and he had to bring in my husband to put some fear back into the hearts of the kids on Elm Street.
Another thing I liked about this movie was that it went a little deeper into Freddy's past. We learned how he was born, and how he got the nicknamed "bastard son of a hundred maniacs." We got to meet Freddy's mother, and it kind of gave us a clue of why he was so messed up in his life. We got to understand him better.
This has always been my favorite of the Nightmare movies, and I know it always will be. Dream powers, a nun being raped by 100 crazy men, and Dokken. Can't forget them. I actually knew nothing about them until I saw the movie, but the theme song to Dream Warriors is fantastic. You should definitely have a listen.
I don't have a problem with the new direction they took with Freddy. I'm glad they decided to make him a comical character. It's just another reason why A Nightmare on Elm Street is different from any other horror movie ever made.