Throwback Thursday Review: “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” (1987)





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Posted August 18, 2016 by

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My interest in horror films did not come about, until I was out of high school. My LOVE of horror films didn’t show up until a few years after that. That was true partially because my parents were not okay with me “Having that crap in the house”, and partially because my idea of the horror genre was a simple/misinformed one. I believed all horror films to be one of two things: 1) A monster movie featuring either a werewolf, a vampire, or a zombie or 2) a tongue in cheek slasher like Wes Craven’s “Scream” (which I liked… I just didn’t love). Sure… those things have their place in the genre, but there is oh so much more to horror! I would begin to learn that, when a high school pal of mine popped “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”, into his VCR, while I was sleeping over. “A Freddy Krueger movie?” I asked in mock disgust (being as I had never seen any of the “Nightmare” movies before). “Can’t we watch something good?” I whined. “Trust me”, said my good-hearted, honest friend “This is good.”.

Over the next 96 minutes, my mind was blown, and my eyes were opened to just how bad ass a horror film (even one in the middle of a franchise that I had no knowledge of) could be! Freddy was one of the creepiest, vilest, most unstoppable baddies I had ever seen. But, it wasn’t just his gruesome appearance and limitless killing techniques that thrilled me. The kids in the movie were not simple victims, running away and making the stupidest possible decisions. They were “Dream warriors”!

nightmare 3 2When Freddy comes back, to kill the last remaining children of Elm Street, who’s parents burnt him to a crisp years earlier, he has a few surprises waiting for him. One is in the person of Kristen (Patricia Arquette) who has the ability to pull others into her dreams. The other is that the psychiatric hospital, were all of the kids have been committed because of their suicidal behavior, has a new intern. None other than Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), who has already faced Freddy in the past. After a couple of members of their group are murdered, by Freddy, and none of the hospital staff will listen, Kristen and company decide to take the fight to ol’ burn face, using the individual powers they have in the dream world.

Watching this movie, today, I was honestly surprised at how much I still loved it. Having now seen countless other horror films (including all of the Nightmares), I am still impressed with not only how original “Dream Warriors” is, but how good the practical effects are. I mean look at that pic to the left! How often do you see a villain, in a horror film, swallow a chick whole?!? That is just one of the many crazy forms Freddy takes, to accomplish the awesome kills, in this movie! I also love the fact that Freddy grows a sense of humor (albeit a demented one) in this installment. Some horror buffs will decry “Dream Warriors” as a poor entry in the franchise, because it marked the arrival of a more silly Freddy. I think that “Dream Warriors” has him showing a perfect balance of fun and fu$%ed up.

True, the character development is not great, and no “Dream Warriors” doesn’t have the truly terrifying feel of the original. Those things, coupled with the fact that the male protagonist Neil (Craig Wasson) is about the least heroic guy ever to be in a horror film, hurt the movies awesome level a bit, but not so much that it isn’t a really fun watch. It is still super enjoyable, and one of the better horror sequels out there.




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