There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun. Today we discuss The Dream Warriors.
Today’s Key Movie:
After being committed to the psych ward for what appears to be a suicide attempt, Kristen Parker (played by Patricia Arquette) meets with Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) who teaches the young Kristen that she has the power to fight and possibly defeat the Knife Fingered Nemesis who attacked her in her dreams.
Also starring Laurence ‘Larry’ Fishburne and Robert Englund returning, this is It’s Freddy Versus the Psych ward in the ultimate battle against Freddy Krueger.
Why this movie?
This film marks the first Nightmare movie I saw in theaters and man was it a blast. By this time Freddy Mania had already started and somehow, despite my parents vehemently against the idea of any of us seeing another Freddy film, I manages to go see it somehow. Maybe it was on one of my nights acting as a chaperone for one of our family friends, or maybe we had gone to the theater under the guise of seeing something else, but nevertheless, I was there and it was a blast.
The idea that teens could find a way to bring weapons into their dreams to fight against Freddy Krueger was one thing but to have the return of the original protagonist assisting them in their journey was quite another. Unlike NOES 2, this film felt like a true continuation of the original although this time around Freddy was a little more playful in nature while still managing to remain a nightmare through and through.
This one remains one of my favorites of the franchise but is it any good? Well, lets talk about that shall we?
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
To me, this is one of the best sequels in the franchise, not THE best as that is reserved for a later film, but one of the top for sure. The thing that makes it work is that it takes the franchise to the next logical step, while we saw Nancy and her friends attacked in the original, what about the other ‘Elm Street Kids’ who’s parents participated in the murder of Freddy Krueger? Why would Freddy only target Nancy? The short answer, he doesn’t…in fact, his work is far from done. However, instead of just outright killing these kids, he has turned to tormenting them in a manner that attracts the one that got away, one Nancy Tompson. Acting as a new staff member at the same hospital as the tormented kids, while also having found a way to avoid encountering Freddy through use of experimental drugs, its awesome seeing that Nancy has never given up on her hunt to destroy Freddy and has manages to survive his numerous attacks on her life.
This film also establishes a deeper and darker background to Freddy Krueger providing an origin story as to where the evil originated. I won’t go into details as it is quite the revelation, but it adds an interesting and sinister element beyond just a revenge story. Additionally, this revelation gives a possible solution to the murderous rampage of the Demonic Dream Destroyer making this a film that could have ended the franchise…but of course…that was never going to be the case.
Outside of the fantastic story, the special effects are bar none. Using only practical effects, every single moment that Freddy manifests in the dreams is nothing short of stunning. From simple tricks, detailed puppetry, to incredible stop motion photography, the effects remain solid to this day. One of my favorite moments, even though it is really short is the infamous TV murder segment where Freddy kills one of the patients with a living television. While brief, it is a moment that burns itself into your mind and is quite amazing.
The cast is possibly one of the best and seeing Heather Langencamp reprise her role as Nancy Thompson is fantastic. I also love Patricia Arquette’s portrayal of Kristen Parker, the young woman who is able to use her abilities to fight back for once. She totally nails her part and it was a shame she never returned in future installments.
One pleasant surprise, that I had entirely forgotten about, was the inclusion of a young Lawrence Fishburne as an orderly by the name of Max. While he is more of a supporting character in the film, he is tremendous in the role of the caring orderly who really wants the best for the patients being tormented in the Psych ward.
With the great story, excellent cast and incredible effects, this film also brings back elements of the tremendous score from the first film but with a twist that only Angelo Badalamenti can pull off. This is the guy who gave Twin Peaks it’s nightmarish themes and he brings it full force in the dream universe.
Overall, This film holds up perfectly in every way providing the perfect sequel to the original Nightmare on Elmstreet taking the story to a logical next step. Where the original set up a nightmare you will never forget, Dream Warriors expands on that in ways that you could never expect.
OK, where do I get this movie?
This one is included in the great boxed set that you really should just go ahead and pick up. Or you can get it as a solo release, but if you are buying a sequel then why not go for the set right?
Late To The Game 12/10/2020
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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