A Nightmare A Day: Day 2 (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge)

Director: Jack Sholder (Other films include Generation X, a made for TV film based on an X-Men spinoff series and By Dawn’s Early Light)

Writer: David Chaskin

Budget: $3million

US Box Office: $29.9million

  • Opens on daylight. I like that for two reasons: 1) I think more horror should take place during the day. Daylight makes the audience feel comfortable, and horror should be about breaking people’s comforts. It’s easy to get a scare from darkness, because it’s not really you or any techniques you’re using that’s doing so, half the job is already done for you. If you make people scared in broad daylight, you’ve done a good job. Also people feel at home in daylight, so it becomes easier for them to empathise. 2) It connects to the end of the first film quite well.
  • “Special appearance by Clu Gulager”. I have literally no idea who that is, I don’t know whether it’s because of my Britishness or my age.
  • Fat kid at the back of the bus playing music loudly, thereby predicting my daily commute to work.
  • “He’s right behind us”. No he’s not, he’s in the aisle over from you and behind you. You suck at directions random bitchy high school girls.
  • Runaway bus gone for so long the natural light changes and then it stops perched on a rock tower as it collapses. Actually a really well thought out set-piece.
  • “jesse are you okay?” he wakes up screaming every morning, so I’m guessing not.
  • I don’t know who the girl is who’s playing Lisa but she looks adorable. Like a pre nosejob Jennifer Grey
  • He slapped his cheeks with a little too much affection there.
  • A guy pulls down another guys shorts, showing his ass off, then a really bad fight starts. Ended by their coach pulling them apart and saying “Assume the position” Nothing strange there.
  • Eleven minutes in we find the connection between the two films. The same house. Not the least tenuous connection I’ve seen between horror films but It kind of takes me out of the moment as it firmly establishes the house as somewhat “special”. Which it is to us, as it was the house of the main character in the first film. But it messes with the reality as there were 4 deaths in the first film, a lot of them took place in different places. So that house wouldn’t have more attention to it than the locations of the other deaths. So it kind of reminds me that this is definitely a film. It’s possible I overthink things.
  • Freddy goes into Jesse’s dream, holds him close and strokes his eyebrows whilst saying “I need you Jesse”
  • Completely pointless scene of Lisa swimming in her back garden.
  • So he just found Freddy’s glove in the basement. I suppose that now makes sense for why Freddy seems to be anchored to the house, but it raises more questions. Primarily: why the fuck did the woman in the first film keep it? I touched upon this in the previous blog but I need to go into more detail: if you were part of a vigilante group that burnt someone alive, would you go into the house of the deceased and then take something? No, because you’re not a psychopath, unlike the mother in the first film. Seriously, she’s crazy.
  • This film has yet more shirtless men. So at least the fan service is equal for both genders.
  • This film turns into The Birds as the family parrots goes crazy and claw people.
  • This film turns into Birdemic as the family parrot explodes.
  • “it’s that cheap seed you’ve been buying”. I love that that is somehow a logical conclusion to a bird exploding into flames. Imagine that with any other animal. Your family kitten explodes “Damnit Veronica, I said DON’T buy Tesco’s own brand cat food”
  • Wait, so his teacher sees him at an S&M bar and makes makes him run laps around the school gym to punish him (I’m guessing for underage drinking). Let’s look at this from a bystanders point of view: they just saw a teacher take a student home from a bar. Because that’s not dodgy.
  • This film is actually REALLY gay. Not in a “this is lame” way, more in a “there is so much homoerotic subtext.
  • It just got gayer. The gym teacher has been tied up in the showers, stripped, whipped then been hit by multiple balls. Which leads us to this:
  • Time of first death: 35 Minutes. That actually shows remarkable restraint (I would be ashamed of using that pun after the death of someone who was tie up, but the police officer in the next scene brought a naked Jesse home to his parents and told them to “put a short leash on him” so I’m not as ashamed as they should be). But yeah, the restraint: that’s over half an hour before the first death. Almost twenty minutes later than the first death in the first film. Usually horror sequels start killing people as soon as possible as that’s why the audience are there, I commend this film for waiting so long to do it.
  • Okay the mum from the first film did die. Considering she showcased the hallmarks of a serial killer, I’m glad.
  • Jesse can’t quite manage sex with Lisa and goes straight into Ron’s bedroom as he sleeps. I refuse to accept the undertones aren’t intentional.
  • Time Of second death: 57 Minutes. Ron killed, not shown explicitly really but we see Freddy’s claws come through the other side of the door so fairly obvious.
  • And now the sausages spontaneously combust just after someone complains about the heat in the pool. This film is really doing a lot with heat and temperature, kind of odd, I like it. Temperature is such a simple thing to manipulate for the purposes of death scenes and yet it’s rarely utilised in films.
  • Freddy just bit Lisa. Considering what he is supposed to have done to underage children whilst alive this is slightly weird.
  • The Lisa Vs. Jesse/Freddy scene is really creepy. Might be my favourite scene from the two films so far. Well scripted, well shot and well performed. Really effective at showcasing characters too.
  • After a quite dramatic scene we get almost complete silence in a scene where people are just standing around. It’s a shame more horror films don’t utilise calmness and silence in useful ways and can be effective.
  • Time of third death: 65 minutes. I don’t even know if this guy has a name. Just slashed across face once. Quite notable in that this is the first death that’s taken place in public (at a pool party, oh so THAT’S why they had the scene with Lisa in the pool earlier, I thought it was just to show the actress in swimwear) with everyone able to see Freddy. If this scene was done in a modern film you’d have to imagine people would film it on their phones, which would actually be a pretty interesting way to set up a sequel. Freddy lives on the fear of people, so that kind of multiple exposure across the internet could do wonders. It would be like The Ring mixed with Unfriended (only a lot lot better than Unfriended. Seriously, f*ck that film)
  • Time of (presumed) fourth and fifth deaths: 66 minutes. Not much detail is put on these and it can hard to miss the two deaths here: two unnamed characters fall into the swimming pool as it boils and are burned to death. Both of them occur within a second of each other and aren’t the focal point of the scene. Missed opportunity for some truly disturbing scenes there. Although it could be argued that the quickness of the deaths helps us feel part of the film as the characters aren’t paying much attention to what’s happening so why should we be able to? The shared panic of two. Folie A Arghhhhh.
  • Time of Sixth death: again, 66 minutes. This time it’s just someone falling into fire. Not likely to be on Freddy’s showreel.
  • Seventh death: 66 minutes 32 Seconds. Wow, after no deaths for a long time this film is really making up for it. My fondness for this death is far more than it deserves. It’s just someone being trampled by the other party guests in their panic to escape. I like when horror films do this, have the characters killed accidentally by the actions of others. It helps us feel the panic that’s taking place. Also there’s a lot of bravado in discussion of horror films, “yeah, I would easily escape”, but what if in doing so you cause the death of someone else? Then you’re not a hero, you’re a douchnozzle.
  • Eighth death: 66 minutes 36 seconds. Again, unnamed person, this time just stabbed in the gut. Good for showcasing the chaos, not much else.
  • Ninth death: 67 minutes (yay, we escaped the 66th). A Kerry Von Erich lookalike tries to calm Freddy down, this goes as well as you expect it to and he gets thrown into a BBQ grill. The first sign of Sassy Freddy as his response to “I’m here to help you” is to say “Help yourself, fucker” then kill them. Sassy!
  • Freddy dies from spontaneous combustion. They’re really pushing the fire/temperature element of this film. It’s working. Also should be pointed out that both time’s Freddy has been defeated it hasn’t involved someone directly fighting him. As such he’s the only villain who could be defeated by a pacifist time lord with a sonic screwdriver and a police box.
  • Tenth death: 79 minutes. Lisa’s friend who’s name I can’t recall right now has Freddy’s hand pop out from her chest, Alien style in a scene reminiscent of the opening.
  • Bing Crosby’s “Did You Ever See A Dream Walking? plays over the end credits. Strange but oddly works.

Post film notes: done some research and the homosexual undertones were intentional. The theme of repressed homosexuality runs throughout the film. This has been confirmed by Robert Englund and the writer of the film, David Chaskin (which, considering this was his first film should be highly commended for the work he did here). Some people have argued this even effects the casting, with the lead of Jesse played by openly gay actor Mark Patton (described by some as the first male scream queen). In summary I actually really like this film. The scares are unique and there’s some fantastic scenes. Not sure if it works as a Freddy Krueger film, but if have this as a standalone film and it’s superb.

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