Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

"Sleep those little slices of death. How I loathe them." -Edgar Allen Poe

My personal favorite of the series and one of my favorite horror flicks of the 80's because of its visual inventiveness. Freddy's world is fully realized with a bigger budget. It does everything a great sequel should do. Iconic imagery. Memorable characters. Throwbacks to the first film. It straddles the line between dark horror and mainstream lightness. A lightness that would be full blown in future installments. As good as Chuck Russell's direction was, the heart of the film lays in Frank (Shawshank Redemption) Darabont's script.

The film revolves around the last of the Elm Street children who are locked up in an institution. Our protagonist is played by Patricia Arquette who after, having a nightmare of Freddy coming after her, ends up slitting her wrists. She joins the rest of the Elm Street kids. Heather Langenkamp from the 1st film shows up to explain to the kids who has been haunting their dreams.

The visual that has I would take out as the most haunting not just from this film but the whole franchise would have to be what happens to Philip. It's such a brilliant kill and is one of the best in the series. The second death of Jennifer getting smashed through a TV involves the only line ad libbed by Robert Englund in the entire series: "Welcome to prime time, bitch!" This line would come back to haunt him for the rest of the series. From that scene onward, we are now dealing with a jokester Freddy. A Freddy who loves throwing out one liners.

Just as Goldfinger became the film that crystallized the James Bond formula and laid down the path for rest of that franchise, it wasn't until Dream Warriors that they figured out how to make a series out of Nightmare On Elm Street. Dream Warriors did have the perfect amount of camp and serious horror. A balancing act that would shift drastically towards camp in future entries of the series.

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