31 Days of Terror: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
31 Days of Terror will cover a wide array of horror films leading up to Halloween. We'll be posting our thoughts and feelings on some of our favorites every day for the next 31 days. If your favorite doesn't make it, it doesn't mean we don't like it, so speak up in the comments below!
"Welcome to primetime, bitch!"
A Nightmare on Elm Street demonized him.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 made him homoerotic.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 made him an icon.
While I still hold A Nightmare on Elm Street and even Wes Craven's New Nightmare on a higher pedestal than Nightmare 3, I still have a special place in my heart for this film. I love it for its characters, its mythology, and its imaginative kills.
Franchise hero Nancy Thompson returns as young teens are being terrorized by Freddy Kreuger, causing them to be hospitalized in a Springwood asylum. While all of the doctors and orderlies believe the teens to be mentally ill, Nancy knows better. In order to combat Kreuger, Nancy teaches the teenagers to turn their greatest dreams into Freddy's greatest nightmares.
There's so much I could say about this film that I don't think I'd be able to contain in written words. First off, the cast is excellent: Heather Langenkamp returns as Nancy Thompson, stronger than ever. Patricia Arquette, in her earliest role, knocks it out of the park as Kristen. And even Laurence Fishburne has a small role in the film. Robert Englund embodies Freddy like no one else and it's incredible how he can be terrifying yet also hilarious at the same time, and only Heath Ledger's Joker has been able to pull off that kind of duplicity since.
The dream sequences in this sequel are imaginative and crazy right from the get go with a killer bathroom sink that slits Kristen's wrists. HAHAHA WHAT?! If that wasn't enough, they follow it up with another character, Phillip, who has his arms and legs cut open for Freddy to use his veins as marionette strings, controlling him to fall out of the hospital's tower. There's a giant Freddy worm that tries to eat Kristen, Freddy turns into a TV and shoves a girl's face into the screen, and Freddy turns his fingers into syringes filled with heroin; it just gets better and better. And don't worry, there are puns to go along with each of these moments.
I also really liked the developed origin they gave Freddy and the amount of lore they add to the series is a welcome change. There's a lot of world building here with the introduction of Hypnocil, a drug which suppresses dreams, and Westin Hills asylum, both of which return in Freddy vs. Jason. And the unique abilities that the teenagers acquire in their dreams play a large part in the film and the sequels following.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 deserves another go around. It may have started the series' downward spiral into more comical horror, but the amount of creativity behind each dream sequence and the chemistry between the cast are worth checking out.