A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors

This past year, we lost a legendary horror writer, producer and director in Wes Craven. Craven created several horror franchises that are still well known today. He created The Hills Have Eyes (a movie I almost reviewed in this spot) about mutated killers that has been slightly ripped off over the years. He created the Scream franchise which isn’t really my cup of tea but it helped to revitalize horror in the nineties. He also created a list of creepy but interesting horror films, most of which are being remade these days. The greatest thing he accomplished, at least in my opinion, is the Nightmare on Elm Street series of films.

Freddy Krueger is an interesting character. Sure, none of the movies have an intricate character study of the guy but he’s always there and he’s always a very clear character. He was a school janitor who preyed on children in life. The parents of Elm Street rose up against him and ended up burning him to death. Of course, there’s more backstory than that but the end result turned him into a dream demon. He seeks to punish the descendants of the people who killed him and then after that it seems he seeks to conquer the world. Robert Englund always performed the roll with a sarcastic, punny wit wrapped around a bitter, angry core. He really likes killing teenagers but it’s also now part of what he is. They keep expanding on the mythology while keeping it fairly loose for the next writer.

I honestly thought I had seen Dream Warriors, afterall I had heard the Dokken song enough times. When Wes Craven died I knew that I had to review one of his films for Halloween and I started to look through his filmography. I thought of doing something recent like Red Eye and I thought of doing something more obscure like Shocker. The longer I looked at the poster for Nightmare on Elm Street 3, the more I was sure that there were gaps in my knowledge of the series. This was great news. I quickly tracked down the movie and decided to watch it for me and for this Halloween review series.

The movie is pretty great. After the first Nightmare, Wes Craven took a hike from the franchise because he didn’t really believe it was strong enough to be a franchise. He was right. The first film was fun and interesting but it was pretty basic. It created the concept we all know and love but they didn’t go far enough with it. Dreams are weird, scary, sad and silly and sometimes they are a huge vat filled with emotions. It feels like this is the movie where they finally decided to make things surreal as hell. A lot of the effects are filmed in reverse or with stop motion blended surprisingly well with live action. Where possible they used ridiculous practical effects that are straight out of somebody’s dream journal.

It feels like Freddy really ramps it up in this one. He seems to take a lot of his kills and tortures from the things his victims loves or yearns for. He tries to turn whatever is in their heart into their biggest fear or often their doom. It actually ends up being way more creepy than the usual route of turning someone’s fears against them. He could fill the movie with spiders, clowns, rats and all sorts of horrors but he creates horrors out of a lot of innocent things. He attacks children while Nancy (Heather Lankenkamp), the heroine from the original film, sits by helplessly for most of the film. The real, creepy concepts of lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis play heavily into why this movie is so creepy but also why it’s so creative and innovative especially at the time.

I definitely recommend this movie and most of the Freddy movies. It’s got all the great familiar elements and they even threw in a young Lawrence Fishburne who does a great job.  I haven’t seen a couple of the sequels and I definitely haven’t seen the recent remake. I’m glad Wes Craven returned to this series when he did and he will definitely be remembered fondly.

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One Response to “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors”

  1. Media Update 10/13/2016 | Wolf of Words Says:

    […] Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Sequel to Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors […]


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