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Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street

October Horror Month

Where would Halloween be without a film from the Nightmare on Elm Street series and it may as well be the one that started the whole thing going. This film has a story that was genuinely original at the time and still stands up today

Tina (Amanda Wyss) is having a nightmare about being lost in a boiler room and being menaced by a man with deformed face that really freaks her out. She mentions it to her friends Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) and Glen (Johnny Depp). She asks Nancy to stay with that night since her mother is staying in Las Vegas with her boyfriend and she doesn’t want to be alone.

At Tina’s Nancy mentions she has nightmares too just to make Tina feel better but they find out they are dreaming about the same guy with the burnt face and knives on his fingers. The hear some noise from outside like claws on metal but it turns out to be Tina’s boyfriend Rod messing around trying to scare them. Rod and Tina go upstairs but Tina asks Greg and Nancy to stay too.

That night Tina dreams that she goes outside she sees the nightmare man with the metal fingers. He chases her and she finds herself back in the boiler room. She tries to get away but the man, who we all know is Freddie Kruger (Robert Englund), catches her. Back in the waking world Rod hears Tina screaming and writhing around. Four parallel slashes appear on her stomach but her assailant is invisible. Tina is forced right up against the wall and across the ceiling before being dropped with a splash into the puddle of blood on the bed and she’s dead. Greg and Nancy manage to break the door in and find Tina’s body but Rod has run away in a panic.

Nancy’s parents want to know why she was there at Tina’s house she tells them about Tina wanting company because she’s been having nightmares about someone trying to kill her. He father Lt Thompson (John Saxon) is a policeman and he thinks Rod killed Tina

Next day Nancy is going to school despite her mother’s concerns and Rod grabs her into the bushes and pleads for her help because he didn’t kill Tina but Nancy’s father appears and the other police swoop in and arrest him.

In school at English class Nancy nods off and in a dream follows Tina’s body in a body bag out into the corridor and down into a boiler room. Freddie is there and he comes chasing after her and has her cornered but Nancy deliberately scalds her arm on a steam pipe and wakes up in class screaming. Her teacher sends her home for the day and once outside she sees the burn she got in the dream is still on her arm in real life meaning these dreams can hurt you. Nancy goes to the police station cells and talks to Rod find out about what he saw in Tina’s room. Rod just saw Tina being attacked and saw the razor marks appearing but he couldn’t see the attacker. Rod had thought he was having a nightmare and it turns out Rod has been dreaming of Freddie too.

Nancy goes home and has a bath and when she nods off we see the razor hand come out the water between her legs but her mother knocks on the door and wakes her up and the hand vanishes. She nods off again and gets dragged down into deep dark pool of water almost drowning her but she wakes up and gets out of the bath and apologises to her mother for frightening her.

Nancy takes caffeine pills and tries to stay awake. Glen comes to her window and he’s sceptical about what she thinks about Freddie harming them in their dreams. She asks him to stay awake and watch for Nancy having a nightmare, she wants to go looking for Freddie in her dream. Once in the dream she checks to see if Glen is still watching which really doesn’t make sense but go with it. She ends up at the police station and looks into the cells and sees Freddie go into Rod’s cell. Then Freddie comes out to get her and she runs back home up the porridgey stairs into her bedroom where Freddie jumps her and they struggle. Then her alarm clock goes off and wakes her up to find Glen is asleep (probably dreaming of being a pirate)

They go to the police station and insist on seeing Rod. Nancy’s father not happy to see her there but Nancy insists Rod is danger so they go to the cells and find Rod is getting strangled by his sheet and is dead by the time they cut him down

After the funeral for Rod she tells her parents about Freddie and they recognise the description but don’t say anything. Nancy is taken to a sleep clinic by her mother. She gets hooked up to electrodes to detect her brainwaves and monitor her when she’s entering REM sleep and her nightmare is beginning. She has a violent screaming fit and the readings go crazy and she wakes with Freddie’s hat in her hand and a cut on her arm.

At home Nancy drinks strong coffee and talks to her mother about the hat. It is proof that man in her dream is called Fred Kruger and he’s real. Her mother tells her Kruger is dead and it is just a dream tells her to go for a sleep. Nancy leaves and goes to talk to Glen who tells her about the dream practices of the Balinese people who turn their backs on monsters in their dreams to destroy them. Glen is worried when he finds out Nancy has got a book about making booby traps.

When Nancy returns home she is furious to discover her mother has put bars on the windows. She takes Nancy down to basement and tells her about Fred Kruger, a child killer who was freed on a technicality so a group of parents burned him alive in the boiler room he hung around in and she has his knife-glove in the boiler.

Nancy calls Glen and warns him to not fall asleep and wants to meet him at midnight so of course Glen falls asleep until his mother wakes him and tells him to go to bed. Glen’s parents see Nancy at her barred window and his father thinks she’s insane and doesn’t want her near Glen any more. Nancy discovers her mother has locked her in and tries ring Glen but his mother answers and his father hangs up on her and leaves the phone off the hook. Nancy’s phone rings and there the squeal of metal claws on metal and in a blind panic she pulls the phone out of the wall. The disconnected phone rings and it’s Freddie and an obscene tongue comes out of the receiver

Glen is fast asleep and just as the TV station is signing off he gets dragged down into his bed with his TV and hi-fi then there’s a huge fountain of blood that comes pouring out of the hole and pooling on the ceiling. Soon police are all over Glen’s house and have no answers for what they find. Nancy calls and tells her father that she’s going to get Fred in her dream and she wants father to come and help her but her father just humours her to get her to go to sleep. Nancy sets up booby traps and sets her alarm.

Nancy goes to sleep and in her dream she goes down to cellar and discovers Freddie’s claws are gone. She goes through a door that takes her down stairs into Freddie’s boiler room and she hunts around for him. Freddie jumps out at her and after a chase she falls into her front garden. She’s nearly out of time when Freddie jumps out of the rose bushes and her alarm goes off and wakes her up

At first she’s alone and thinks she might really be crazy but it worked and Freddie is there and as he chases Nancy he sets off the booby traps and gets a hammer to the gut and explosives blows right next to him. She tries to get her father to come and help her. Then Freddie is up and after her again and they end up in the cellar and Nancy throws a flammable liquid over him and sets him on fire then she escapes the cellar, and shuts him in

Nancy calls for her father and because of the smoke and fire police break in to deal with it. Nancy finds a trail of fiery foot prints going up to her mother’s room. Fred is in flames on top of her mother. Her father rushes in and covers the burning bodies but when he takes the sheet away again only her mother is there and she’s is dead and gets absorbed into the mattress.

Nancy tells her father to go downstairs and wait for her. Once she’s alone Freddie comes up out of the bed. Nancy tells him she wants her friends and mother back and then she turns her back on Freddie. He jumps at her but fades away with a pathetic cry before he reaches her.

Suddenly it’s a bright sunny misty day and Nancy‘s friends are waiting in a car for her. Nancy says goodbye to her mother and she gets in the car. The sun roof comes over and it has the same green red stripe from Freddie’s jumper. Then the windows and doors lock and the car speeds off out of control. Then Freddie’s hand comes out of the window and drags Nancy’s mother through it.

This is a deserved classic and I loved it from the first time I saw it. I always wondered  why it gets called a slasher film and gets lumped in with those because there is definitely a supernatural element to these films that is often absent from slasher films. I know that Freddie Kruger became a pop culture phenomenon and camp humour became more evident in the sequels but this first film had only touches of humour and is a much better film for it

Rating 9.0/10

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Posted by on October 14, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Nightmare on Elm Street 3 – Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Rating 7/10

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Halloween Weekend Horror Marathon

Halloween

This started on Friday evening and I have watched quite a few films since then but I’ve getting the films watched more than getting them reviewed so there will be a bit of a backlog of reviews

Friday I watched  Halloween 5; Lord of Illusions; Prince of Darkness

On Saturday I watched Tales of Terror;The Sentinel; The Resurrected; In The Mouth of Madness: Hellbound –Hellraiser 2; The Howling: Nightmare on Elm Street 3:

I’ve still got a bit to go but I’ll try to get the reviews up as fast as I can but I still have a backlog from the rest of October to work through too:- Grave Misdemeanors; Cirque Du Freak – The Vampires’s Assistant;  The Monster Club; Vampire in Vegas; The Fly (1986); Nightmare on Elm Street (1984); The Fog (1980); Alien; The Caller; I Madman; Episode 50; Army of Darkness; Scanners; Lawnmower Man; Dracula(1931); The Wolf Man (1941) 

I’ve had great time watching these films old and new and I hope you are having a great spooky season to

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Film

 

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