Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Nightmare On Elm Street Week Day Four : Dream Warriors

If you've been following the theme of this week, you'll know that I have set myself the goal of watching every A Nightmare on Elm Street movie for the first time in over twenty years.  You should also know that the third instalment - Dream Warriors - is my favourite of the bunch.

The next question I should answer is 'why is it my favourite?'

And it's simple.

I was first introduced to Freddy Krueger and the series of Nightmare movies in the summer of 1987 whilst staying with my American relatives on a US Air Force base in Germany.

My cousins got me watching the videotapes of the first two movies in the days before they were to see the third film in the cinema.

I don't know what the score is nowadays, but back then children could go to adult films in the US if they were accompanied by a parent or guardian. After seeing the first two movies, I wanted in on the planned cinema visit.

I begged and begged and finally got my way. So, I was eight-years old and managed to get into a movie where - in my own country - I didn't have a chance of passing the ticket booth.

The experience is something I remember fondly hence the idea to watch it again as the topic for this Halloween-themed blog post.

Over the past two days, I've written about the movies before and after I have re-watched them. In today's post, I'm going to do it differently.

This time, I'm going to put in the Blu-ray disc, sit back and write things as I watch.

This is the one I have been looking forward to the most ever since this idea came to me.

The film is about to start...

- When I first watched this film in 1987, I had to stand for the US national anthem before the film played. I don't know whether they do that before every film in US cinemas or whether it is only done on military bases. No anthem today.

- The music and opening credits to this film are way better than they were for the first two. The Nightmare on Elm Street logo is on screen here. It was in normal font previously. It doesn't mean much nowadays but I'd guess back in 1987 this was a big deal.

- 'Larry Fishburne' named in the credits. I remember he was the orderly in the mental hospital in this. I never made the connection that he was 'that guy from Nightmare on Elm Street 3' when I was first watched Boyz N The Hood.

- This opening sequence with Kristen making a model Elm Street house out of papier mache leads to the part where she dreams of being in the house.

- Kristen's mother has interrupted her. The man in the background shouting to the mother 'where's the bourbon?' confused me when I was young. I didn't know bourbon was alcohol so I wanted to know why the guy was desperate for biscuits. No kidding!

- Ah, here's the part where Kristen is dreaming of being inside the Elm Street house. I remember her saving the little girl only for the girl to end up being a skeleton. I sort of remember Freddy being a snake in this part.

- No snake Freddy. What gives?

- Kristen has woken up now and is in her bathroom. This part did make me squirm when I was young because Freddy shows up inside her mirror and his hands come out of the taps. The tap-hands end up cutting Kristen's wrists making it look like she had slashed them herself. This leads to her being sectioned.

- The mental hospital is featured now. Larry, I mean Max is here and so is Jennifer - a patient who back when I first watched it reminded me of Michelle Fowler in Eastenders.

- Kristen is having a meltdown in one of the hospital rooms. Cue Nancy from Nightmare 1.

- Neil the psychologist sees the nun walking in the hospital grounds. Spoiler alert - that's Freddy's mother.

- And she's a ghost.

- We're not supposed to know that 'til the end.

- Nancy is introduced to Phillip (a sleepwalker) and Kincaid (my favourite character - other than Freddy - in this movie).

- Here's Joey, the guy who doesn't speak. He sees the nurse that he fancies. Stick with me for this one, I have a funny story about a later scene.

- Kristen is in her hospital room and a trike with a trail of blood enters. The tricycle folds up and Kristen is back in the house. Oh yeah, this is the part when Freddy is the snake. Kristen manages to call Nancy into her dream and they both fight off Freddy.

- Nancy is scared of Freddy? Doesn't this make the ending to Elm Street 1 redundant?

- Well, to be honest, the ending to Elm Street 1 was redundant almost immediately.

- The mental patients are now in group therapy and we are introduced to the rest of who will become the 'Dream Warriors'. There's a kid named Will. He looks like a young Bruce Mitchell, senior columnist of the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter

- Earlier in the film, we are told that Phillip the Sleepwalker makes puppets. They've just had one of the puppets turn into Freddy. The animation has dated a lot. Back in the day, however, this did look amazing to me. Freddy slashes up Phillip's wrists and arms and has pulled his veins out and a giant Freddy is now using Phillip as a puppet. Some might say this is where the Nightmare movies jumped the shark. Others may say that this was an inventive way of killing off a character.

- The rest of the characters can only see Phillip walking and can't see Freddy leading him to his fall from the top of the hospital.

- Very inventive.

- After all this, the Michelle Fowler from Eastenders lookalike is in the TV room. The audience has been made aware that this girl wants to be an actress and hopes to move to Hollywood. She ends up falling asleep, Freddy appears on the TV screen after killing Zsa Zsa Gabor on-screen and his head pops up from atop the box. He grabs Jennifer and plants her head in the screen after exclaiming that this is her 'big break on TV'.

- Some might say this is where the series jumped the shark...

- The wisecrack was good, though.

- And as for Jennifer looking like Michelle Fowler? I don't know what I was thinking back in '87.

- The nun is back and she's telling Neil he has to bury Freddy's bones.

- Here is the part where Joey finally manages to pull the nurse. Only, the nurse turns out to be Freddy and he kidnaps Joey in his dream whilst being in a coma in reality. I always remember this scene when I saw it in the cinema. Firstly, it was the first time I saw boobs in a cinema. But, that's not the only reason why I am reminded of this scene. When it was playing out, I looked around the cinema to see what the reaction was. I was sitting on the seat next to the aisle and there were two children in the seats opposite me. They were both older than me but they must have both been conditioned to look upwards when nudity was on the screen. There they were both looking up at the ceiling. They were eyes up, I was eyes right.

- Neil bumps into the nurse again. She tells him about Amanda Krueger having been raped at the hospital by thousands of mental patients. This resulted in the birth of Freddy Krueger. She once again tells him to bury Freddy's bones.

- John Saxon is back as Nancy's father. This time he is an alcoholic after not being able to deal with what happened in the first movie. He and Neil must find Freddy's bones in order to bury them.

- The Dream Warriors unite to save Joey from Freddy's clutches. Each character brings a different gift in their dream.

- I remember this part. All of the Dream Warriors are in their own dreams as they try and meet up with one another. Kristen's dream begins like the start of the movie where her mother is back from a night out and her guest is looking for the bourbon. Only, Freddy turns out to be the guest this time. He asks where the 'f***ing bourbon' is and beheads Kristen's mother.

- She should have told him where the f***ing biscuit tin was.

- Taryn the ex-druggie is now in her dream. She is a punk when she is a dream warrior. Freddy does her in by injecting her with needles that he has instead of fingers.

- Cute.

- It's Phillip's turn to be killed by Freddy. In his dream he can walk (he's disabled in reality) and is a wizard. Phillip manages to use his magical powers to get rid of a wheelchair that Freddy tries harming him with. He is no match for the murderer, though. Freddy's final words to him did make me laugh.

- '..I don't believe in fairy tales'.

- Nancy's father shows Neil where Freddy's bones are kept inside a junkyard. We're almost near the end.

- Freddy catches up with Nancy, Kincaid and Kristen. He fights them for a bit before he vanishes. This coincides with his bones being thrown into the ditch.

- All the scrapped cars are turning on and the skeleton has come to life. The animation is like Clash of the Titans or Jason & the Argonauts here. It probably looked good in '87 but is very dated in 2013.

- Nancy's father is dead and Neil is injured and in the grave he had set for Freddy's bones. I remember that this plays out later on.

- Freddy has returned to the dream and is now pulling the remaining Dream Warriors into mirrors within the house. The mute Joey has enough and screams forcing the mirrors to shatter and free his friends from Freddy.

- Nancy's dad appears in the dream and tells Nancy that he has passed over and wanted to say goodbye. They embrace.

- Fooled. It was Freddy. He kills Nancy.

- Not so fast, my friend! Nancy's last act is to save Kristen by grabbing Freddy's gloved hand and turning the blades onto the murderer.

- Meanwhile,. in the real world - Neil manages to wake up and pour holy water on the bones and adds dirt to them.

- Freddy dies. Work with me on this one, I know there are more movies in the series.

- We now see the nun walking around at Nancy's funeral. Neil follows her to talk with her but, after turning a corner, she vanishes. Neil then sees a gravestone with Nancy Krueger and her name as a nun on it. To hit the point home, Neil exclaims 'you were his mother!'

- You don't say.

- The final scene has Neil asleep with a Malaysian dream doll and Kristen's Elm Street house beside his bed. The light of the house turns on.

I enjoyed watching this one again even though it hasn't held up over time. It will always be my favourite movie in the series due to my personal experience watching it in a cinema at such a young age. Nothing will take that memory away from me. Not even A Nightmare on Elm Street 4.

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