A Nightmare from Friday to Halloween - A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
The three most prominent American horror franchises (Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street) have influenced American cinema even beyond the horror genre. As of 2021, there are exactly 31 movies across all three franchises, and I am going to attempt to watch all of them, for this Halloween, one per day.
I was looking forward to this particular sequel because I knew about the victims of Freddy teaming up and using their special dream powers to fight him. My favorite shows when I was a kid were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, so the idea of teaming up with your friends to fight some grotesque bad guy naturally held some appeal for me. I appreciate the work that they put in actually making each of the teenagers distinct individuals. Their specific traumas sounded realistic and the way that their fears manifested in real life (violence, aphasia, physical incapacitation, etc.) seem to be typical symptoms. It was also interesting to see that Freddy is a creature born from trauma, especially because of how his mother was violated in the hospital where she was imprisoned. I would rather have liked to see John Saxon’s script that showed the origins of Freddy and how he became a monster against his own will. However, I also think Freddy works best as a somewhat mysterious bogeyman rather than a complex, recognizably human character. Unlike Friday the 13th, the Nightmare franchise seems to be somewhat victim-centric and actually getting us to care a little about them. It was also nice seeing Heather Langenkamp back as Nancy, though I did not buy her as being old enough to be an intern at a hospital. Her connection to the kids through their shared trauma actually resonated and made her participation more meaningful. Ultimately, I was a little disappointed with Dream Warriors though because the team up aspect felt a bit underplayed. I guess I had to remember that Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t an action film and that it’s much more about confronting your own fears rather than kicking ass. Still, this is a very solid sequel that managed to do something different to keep things interesting.