A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors

I have a shocking confession to make. I like A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors more than the original movie. I know, what’s wrong with me? It’s just a really good sequel and I honestly like the characters in this better than the ones in the original.
I love that the movie is a return to canon with Freddy striking in the dream world. Plus, the movie has a list of names that made me ridiculously excited. Patricia Arquette! In her first movie role! The return of Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon! Lawrence Fishburne as Larry Fishburne! Zsa Zsa Gabor and Dick Cavett! With Angelo Badalamenti, of Twin Peaks fame, making music with Dokken! Wes Craven working on the screenplay with Frank Darabont! This is a lot of exclamation points but I’m very excited!
The movie opens up with a quote from Edgar Allan Poe.
Then we meet our Final Girl, Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette.)
She’s been having really bad nightmares with creepy little kids but her mom is a typical, checked-out Elm Street parent. I sometimes wonder, who’s more dangerous on Elm Street? Freddy Krueger or these shitty parents? Freddy attacks Kristen, leaving her wrist bleeding, so she’s checked into a mental hospital for what’s perceived as a suicide attempt. A lot of teens in town have been trying to commit suicide. Kristen meets a rag-tag bunch of teen mental patients, all with sleep problems, who will try to fight Freddy. There’s Philip (Bradley Gregg), a puppet-maker, Taryn (Jennifer Rubin), a former junkie, Kincaid (Ken Sagoes), a bad-ass with an attitude problem, Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow), an aspiring actress, Will (Ira Stanton), a boy confined to a wheel-chair due to his suicide attempt, and Joey (Rodney Eastman), a boy who doesn’t speak. Plus, “Larry” Fishburne is Max, an orderly.
They’re all dreaming of Freddy Krueger and are all terrified to sleep. Dr. Gordon (Craig Wasson) and Dr. Simms (Priscilla Pointer) think the kids are dealing with regular psychiatric issues until Nancy (Heather Langenkamp!) arrives as a dream specialist. It’s six years after the events in the first movie and I guess she’s gotten over the crazies the second movie said she had.
Nancy believes the teens are really dealing with Freddy Krueger when she recognizes the rhyme that Kristen says she dreamed. Now it becomes a race against time to fight back in the dream world as Freddy picks off the teens, and she also has to fight the recalcitrant administration who thinks the kids are “just” crazy. Gradually, Dr. Gordon comes to believe in Nancy, especially after meeting a mysterious nun that tells the origin of Freddy Kreuger.
Yes, this movie gives Freddy some back-story but it isn’t necessarily the kind that will humanize him or make you sympathetic to the monster. Freddy’s mother was raped by violently psychotic inmates when she was accidentally locked in with them over the Christmas holiday, she conceived “the bastard son of a hundred maniacs.” Ouch. Furthermore, Freddy won’t stop, apparently, until the monster’s bones are laid to rest. Nancy takes Dr. Gordon to meet her father, the only person who can lead them to where Freddy’s buried. Nancy then joins the teens to fight Freddy in their dreams.
I like this movie because I didn’t find the second one to be very creepy but this one takes the creepy factor past the original. I especially love Philip’s death scene, when Freddy plays him like a puppet by his tendons. This freaked me out so much when I was young. I also had an awesome friend in high school that remembered this scene and we’d discuss it over and over again.
I’m glad Freddy returned to the dream world because there’s just something so creepy about this pervert being able to assault you in your dreams. I like the idea that the teens can fight back, though. Kincaid is super strong, Will can walk and is a wizard master, Kristen can do gymnastics (Literally, the only movie where I approve of tumbling), and Taryn is “beautiful and bad.”
The effects are kind of cheesy but I can overlook that just because I like the characters so much. There’s so much stop-motion! But the sets are atmospheric and creepy and there’s a return to the knives on metal sounds that is so creepy. Plus, the ending is sad, with Nancy and her dad dying, but also ambiguous about whether Freddy has truly been laid to rest. I do like the themes this series deals with, like the corrupting influence of vengeance. These parents think their kids are safe since they killed Freddy and are now pretty negligent.
You just really have to love a movie where Freddy Kreuger interrupts an interview between Zsa Zsa Gabor and Dick Cavett. See, Freddy can be funny and also super creepy.
It even has John Saxon descending from B-movie heaven.

"I must go..."

“I must go…”

"My planet needs me."

“My planet needs me.”

This is one of the few instances where I also really love a tie-in movie song and music video. Yes, it’s Dokken with “Dream Warriors.” Anyone else notice that Taryn’s wearing a Dokken shirt when we first meet her?


About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 1980's, famous movie monsters, serial killers, slasher, supernatural and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors

  1. Crypticpsych says:

    There are so many people who love Nightmare 3 more than the original or as much as it (myself included). Robert Englund himself usually alternates his answer of which is his favorite between 1 3 and 7. It just does absolutely everything right. Of course, it also features the most phallic imagery in the series in the Freddy snake. I’ve always wondered why more people don’t try to break down the imagery and underlying meanings of horror movies like this one. There’s always so much to work with (the negligent parents, the sexual undertones (forget the Freddy snake, look at the nurse kill), this one’s themes regarding therapy and psychology and psychiatric medicine, and on and on…).

    • scarina says:

      What really makes it for me is that I really love the cast. I love Freddy being the eensiest funny, like when he attacks Zsa Zsa Gabor, but still menacing & creepy & tongue wiggling. Seriously gross. You know, I was going to get into the Freddy snake but I felt like that was overdone. What’s always stuck out for me were the negligent parents. These parents are seriously shitty. So what if you killed Freddy if you’re going to ignore what your daughter says and spend your time in a bottle?

    • scarina says:

      I could probably just edit my last comment but it’s easier to add one. I also like the idea of how vengeance can backfire. I guess killing Freddy was vengeance/justice, since justice was never really served. He was let go. I like seeing the way the secret killing of Freddy seems to corrode those involved.

  2. I agree, I’ve always like Dream Warriors better than the orginal. I watched a different NOES film almost every night before I went to bed when I was a kid, love Krueger. Any, I really wanted introduce myself as a fellow blogger and lover of horror flicks. http://JarvisCity.com

  3. Pingback: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 The Dream Masters | Scarina's Scary Vault of Scariness

  4. Pingback: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 The Dream Master | Scarina's Scary Vault of Scariness

  5. Epimethius says:

    This was the movie that helped me end my own nightmares. Even though most of the warriors died, the idea was that we are in control of our dreams.

    • scarina says:

      That’s a really cool message to take from the movie. Maybe that’s why it’s my favorite one in the series. I’ve had problems with night terrors since I was young and I tend to sleepwalk. When I was in high school, my therapist taught me about active dreaming, how you could be consciously aware of your dreams as they happened. Maybe that’s why I like this movie so much out of all the series.
      Thanks for the comment!

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