Hollywood and Elm Part 2 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

The fears and traumas of our past can affect us in many ways: scars carry over, and they can shape us, and inspire us to do better. In some sequels, this can be more than literal, as familiar characters return with the knowledge of their past stories now readily available. In 1987, one Elm Street resident got to impart their learned wisdom as they went up against Freddy Krueger for the final time, in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors. 

Nancy is back for the ultimate showdown, is she prepared?

After dealing with a terrible nightmare involving, you guessed it, Freddy Krueger, Kristen Parker is checked into the Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital for potential suicidal tendencies. Her support group, a select cohort of Reagan-era rebels, all have had similar encounters with Krueger, yet the adults in their lives refuse to entertain this notion. All except one, a new hotshot grad student, by the name of Nancy Thompson. Having come face-to-face with the murderer, first-hand, is more than willing to help. Can Nancy finally convince Dr Gordon and the adults of the supernatural threat of Freddy? As she desperately readies that patients into Dream Warriors.

Dream Warriors really ups the ante on the effects!

After a brief encounter with Jesse, in the second film, Heather Langenkamp returns, thankfully! With a distinctive streak in her hair and a late 80s power suit, both do a lot to help signify that Nancy is back for business. Yet, she will have to convince Dr Gordon to take her judgements seriously, all while dealing with her issues. John Saxon is back too, as is the return of the ever-comic, ever-quippy, and ever-creepy Freddy Krueger, portrayed once again by Robert Englund. You might also notice certain newcomers like Patricia Arquette, whose character, Kristen, might have a few tricks up her sleeve to help combat Krueger. Body Double’s Craig Wasson portrays Dr Gordon, who does have his patient’s interests at heart, even if he doesn’t have all the facts of the supernatural matters at play. Laurence Fishburne as an orderly is also a fun inclusion, as is the brief cameo from Zsa Zsa Gabor, too.

Dream Warriors introduces some familiar faces!

Angelo Badalamenti’s score is the highlight here, wonderfully incorporating phrases (I might be using the terminology wrong here) from Charles Bernstein’s score into a melody that’s both creepy and catchy. Combined with the incredibly unsettling vistas of Freddy’s dreamworld, inventive kills that tie into the dreams remain a pleasure to behold, as Krueger continues his quotable craftsman quips. From forays into stop-motion to pseudo-forth-wall-breaking T.V. escapades (a move that foreshadows the meta-marvel of Craven’s other works like Scream). Each demonstrates a film that is more than capable of upping the ante on every instalment.

Freddy is being more inventive and is having a lot more fun with his antics.

Dream Warriors is more ambitious than ever, capitalising on the ideas of previous films, with newer ones to spare. We see the sparks fly, both thematically and creatively, as the conceit remains a mine of ingenuity. Going through the franchise, and seeing how the previous will be topped, is fascinating. All While offering a satisfying showdown between Thompson and Krueger, and a chance for familiar faces to make their debuts, the film’s subtitle feels ever so apt here.

Dreams continue to be Freddy’s neon, but creepy playground!

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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