When they made the sequel to the original Nightmare on Elm Street their first attempt took the story a different direction with Freddy’s Revenge, a film that had a much more sexual overtone. It is certainly one of the of the lowest rated of the films though there really isn’t much in it. When they went for another sequel they ignored their first attempt and went to a film that stuck much closer to that of the original’s character with Nightmare on Elm Street 3 – Dream Warriors. Robert Englund is not only back in role of Freddy Kreuger this time with wicked sense of humour, Heather Langenkamp is back as Nancy Thompson and John Saxon returns as her father.
All the surviving kids on Elm street have ended up in a psychiatric hospital, the others have all died in a series of “suicides” The sheer lack of interst by anyone outside of the hospital is astonishing and the poor standard of interest by the psychiatrists is criminally incompetent.
Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) gets admitted to the hospital after she dreams of Freddy Kreuger and he cuts her wrists. Kirsten does not quietly and puts up a bit of a struggle especially when Dr Gordon (Craig Wasson) tries to give her a sedative. She calms down when new intern Nancy Thompson completes the Freddy rhyme chanted by the ghostly children in her dreams. Nancy learns that Kirsten has the ability to bring people into her dreams when Kirsten pulls her into her nightmare to help rescue her from Freddy that night.
At a group therapy session we quickly see they way things work here, were the patients suffering from fear of their own dreams and are all afraid of going to sleep and the psychiatrist in charge Dr Sim tells them their fears are just some sort of fear of sex sub-Freudian gobbledygook and are just rubbish and unimportant. Remember that bit where I mentioned the spate of suicides? She about as useful as an ignorant relative. Compared to her Gordon is Dr Nice and Nancy is the only rational voice in the room but we only know that because we know Freddy is real and dangerous so while Dr Gordon’s scepticism is rational Dr Sim is just a brick wall of stupid
The first kid to die is Philip (Bradley Gregg), whose hobby is making marionettes, and his death is very effectively done with Freddy slicing out the boy’s veins in his arms and legs and using them take the boy to a high tower and then cuts his strings/veins and lets him fall to his death. All this is watched by all the other kids who are screaming at him to try to wake him up. Of course the doctors don’t listen to them and simply claims it just accident while sleepwalking, which since that’s why he was admitted to the hospital in the first place amounts an admission of negligence.
All the patients are to be locked in their room at night because f’ck healthy and safety or fire regulations and shit like that. Max (Laurence Fishburne) the nice nurse lets himself be talked into letting Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow) stay up and watch TV because she wants to be an actress and needs to watch TV for research. Part of this research must involve watching late night talk shows for some reason. She nods off and sees Zsa Zsa Gabor getting slashed by Freddy. The TV breaks down and Jennifer gets up to hit it and Freddy grabs her and smashes her head into the TV set killing her. It is a pretty lame death scene and is over very quickly
At the funeral for Jennifer Dr Gordon sees a strange nun he doesn’t know hanging around and he’d seen her earlier after Philips’s death but his time he talks to her and she warns him that the undead spirit must be laid to rest. Nancy sees him talking but doesn’t see the nun who disappeared when Gordon turned to talk to Nancy. Nancy then tells Gordon about her past with the same nightmare character as the kids
Dr Gordon and Nancy hold a group session with the kids and most significantly without Dr Sims. Nancy tells them that she knows about their dreams and especially Freddy and tells them that their dreams are as dangerous as they believe they are. She wants to use Kirsten’s ability to pull them into the same dream so that together they have chance of defeating Freddy. Dr Gordon then hypnotises them. At first they think it hasn’t worked and Joey (Rodney Eastman) wanders after getting the come-on from an attractive nurse. Then they discover they are in the dream world and Nancy asks them about what special skills they have in their dreams that can be real here. Nerdy wheelchair-bound Will (Ira Heiden) can walk and thinks he’s dweeby wizard, Kirsten thinks she’s an acrobat, touchy hard-nut Kincaid ( Ken Sagoes) thinks he’s super strong and recovering junkie Taryn (Jennifer Rubin) thinks she’s a badass punk rocker with knives. They all have fun playing let’s pretend.
Meanwhile Joey, who is mute, is with the nurse who is of course Freddy. She kisses him and bites out his tongue and turns into Freddy and ties him spread eagle to the bed with tongues. The bed then falls away and Joey finds himself above a fiery pit. Back with the others the room changes and fire starts engulfing the room. They all panic and they are all found screaming hysterically and Joey is left in a coma still trapped in the dream with Freddy.
Dr Sim may be an idiot but from her perspective her next actions are understandable, she sacks Dr Gordon and Nancy. This gets Kristen so upset she ends up locked in a padded cell and given a sedative. Dr Gordon meets the nun again and she tells him more about Freddy. She tells Gordon that Freddy’s mother was just a young girl when she was trapped in a ward of dangerous patients where she was raped over and over. This leads to great description of Freddy as “the bastard son of a hundred maniacs,” The nun also tells Gordon that his spirit is not at rest because his remains are not interred on holy ground.
Nancy realises that the kids are all in a lot of danger that night, especially Kristen. Dr Gordon agrees to go to look for Nancy’s father, the only person still alive who knows where Freddy’s remains are hidden. Thompson is no longer a police officer but is a drunk working as a security guard. He shows no interest in helping Gordon but Gordon is persistent an eventually persuades Thompson to show him where the bones are. On the way he gets some holy water and steals a cross from a church.
At the hospital there is no way Max is letting Nancy see Kristen but he lets her see the others. She gathers them in the room where they had the first session and hypnotises them. It works and they all join Kristen dreaming in her cell. Just as they congratulating themselves Freddy strikes, tearing up the padding in the cel causing a confusing thick snow feathers and giving him the chance to split them up.
Taryn the junkie girl goes to an alley next to a bar and finds Freddy there but now his knives are hypodermic syringes and Freddy has a drug fix for her. Holes open up in her arm to accept Freddy’s needles.
Will finds himself facing an evil wheelchair. He turn into Dweebo the mighty wizard and blasts the evil wheelchair. Then Freddy appears and gets blasted by Will’s magic for about a second before he’s had enough and he slaughters the boy.
Nancy and Kristen have found each other and they also find Kincaid when he bursts through a wall. They come to a floating metal door that leads them into Freddy’s boiler room. There they find Joey and Nancy saves him before he falls. Freddy attacks them but he has to leave to take care of his bones
Dr Gordon and Thompson have recovered Freddy’s bones and have dug a hole to bury them. That’s when Freddy’s spirit possess the bones and attacks the two men fatally injuring Thompson and knocking Gordon out in the grave.
Back in the dream the ghost of Thompson visits them to apologise for being a dick ans Nancy and Thompson hug it turns out to be Freddy in disguise who stabs Nancy. When Freddy goes to kill Kirsten Nancy stabs him. Meanwhile Gordon has come round and manages to bless Freddy’s bones with holy water causing Freddy to burst apart.
This sequel was a moderate success and so it led to the series being continued with increasingly silly stories until the project finally went back to Wes Craven with New Nightmare, a film that returned to being scary and had much less of the cheesy puns and one-liners. I know it sounds like I was a bit harsh on the Dr SIm character but it really is very noticeable that she really it just a cardboard cut-out sceptical and obstructive authority figure and was holding an enormous idiot ball throughout the film. Despite that the film is a fun watch and has one really great death scene and some fantastic lines.
- Rotten Tomatoes
- Welcome to Primetime, Bitch! ( Nightmare on Elm St 3 – Dream Warriors) (moviesinpurgatory.com)
- Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors [retro review] (mutantreviewers.wordpress.com)