A Nightmare A Day: Day 3 (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)

Director: Chuck Russell. (Other credits include The Mask and The Scorpion King)

Budget: $4.5million

US Box Office: $44.7million

  • Ooooo, new New Line logo. This one looks less like the intro to a Commodore 64 game. Huge improvement.
  • Edgar Allen Poe quote “Sleep. Those little slices of death. How I loathe them”. This film gets points for reminding me that Eternal Darkness exists. Oh, and it’s a clever use of Poe.
  • Hey, Heather’s back.
  • This film’s so old they spell it Larry Fishburne.
  • The opening of this film seems to be a woman making pancakes. Yet through the use of music and clever angles it’s still creepier than Annabelle.
  • Oh wait, not pancakes, gluing newspaper pieces onto walls and doing other arts and crafts. Point still stands, f*ck Annabelle.
  • Mouthful of coffee grounds and swig of coke. Disgusting.
  • Wooo, heavy metal music. (Into the fire: dokken)
  • Has Patricia Arquette aged at all?
  • Dead bodies hung from the ceiling in an abandoned house. Well this film is just going to start off creepy isn’t it?
  • Wait, are they doing the first death this early?
  • Nope, she wakes up, just with slit wrists.
  • Hey kids, it’s Larry Fishburne, before he looked like a black Charlie Brooker, talking to someone who’s not entirely unlike Judge Reinhold.
  • Who’s the girl in the flannel? Looks like Kristen Stewart but 80’s.
  • Oh, guess she was just an extra.
  • Yay, Nancy/Heather’s back. I love recurring characters. Especially when they make sense. In the time between her last experience she’s actually done research into dreams etc, that makes a lot of sense and is good characterisation.
  • “kid last week sliced off his own eyelids so he could stay awake”. Holy hell that’s disturbing, I have to use that.
  • In a film, I should clarify.
  • A bike comes in, trailing three bits of blood along the floor then it kind of collapses into the floor. The real nightmare is shoddy workmanship at bike factories.
  • First death: 31 minutes. Seriously? I thought it was about 15. I suppose they’ve had to introduce a lot of new characters here so it doesn’t feel as long as it’s actually been. As big a fan as I am of the second film (especially since the rewatch yesterday), the opening act does drag a bit, although it’s worth it once it reaches it, like a two-legged dog playing fetch. This death always makes me wince and is definitely my favourite so far. Philip, who we’ve seen as being a puppet maker is being used by Freddy as some sort of marionette puppet, with his veins/arteries etc for strings. He’s then led up to the top of a tower and the strings are cut. Everyone who see’s him thinks he’s sleepwalking, which begs the question: if someone is sleepwalking through to an open window of a tall building, why would you not keep an eye on them? The security here is ridiculously bad. Yet another horror-movie death which could have been stopped by health and safety regulations.
  • Hey, flannel girl is more than an extra. Is odd as she was speaking in a previous scene and I didn’t recognise her not dressed like a lumberjack.
  • “then it was suicide, Philip quit, he gave up” Dude, not cool!
  • “he killed himself. Now, that’s a cowardly thing. That’s an empty thing” Dude, stop right there. I feel if you say anything else I’m going to wish harm upon you as a character.
  • “He let himself down. He let all of us down” I hope you get your penis caught in a combine harvester.
  • Time of second death: 38 minutes. Jennifer. Shame, I liked her, she seemed like a mix between Jennifer Tilly and Patricia Arquette. Probably the most famous death in this film due to Sassy Freddy. It’s the “welcome to prime time, bitch!” death.
  • “what faith do you follow?” “science”. How did I not remember that line is in this film? That’s brilliant.
  • Now we have the scene where everyone shows off their special dream powers, hence the “Dream Warriors” of the title. These films have been weird but every one has been unique and had it’s own purpose, they haven’t repeated themselves much. One can walk (and is a wizard), one is strong, and Taryn (the flannel girl) has knives and punk rock hotness.
  • And we have tits. Which is horror movie shorthand for “we don’t have much confidence in this, so we’re using nudity so that horny teenage boys will want to watch it”. I’m not against nudity in film, but in a lot of cases (sadly, it does have to be said, particularly in horror), it’s ridiculously exhibitionist and serves no purpose. I’m going to say this just the once: if you’ve ever watched a horror film just to see nudity, you’re an idiot. You know there are some films available online (and in certain shops) which contain nothing but nudity, right? And some even racier stuff, like kissing and hugging. If you want tits, buy tits, admit it, don’t watch a hour and a half film just for the 2 seconds of nudity, that’s idiotic, uneconomical, and just a little bit sad.
  • So Freddy pretended to be a woman, kissed this guy and then put him in a coma. There’s a myriad of different ways he could have put him in a coma. But for some reason he chose to use the method which required him kissing a teenage boy and tying him to a bed (with his tongue).
  • And here we have the origin story. Freddy’s mother was locked in an asylum and raped hundred of times, hence the nickname for Freddy “the bastard son of a hundred maniacs”. A few issues I have with this, 1) the age old myth of “all mental patients are dangerous maniacs” which was remarkably prevalent in horror before the 2000’s (seriously, count how many scary stories involve “an escaped mental patient”, not just films or books, but urban legends too). 2) “the bastard son of a hundred maniacs”. I guess we’re just ignoring the theory of mendelian genetics then? At most he’s the son of a singular maniac who’s sperm was strong enough to kill the sperm of the others.
  • Now we have another character from the first film return. It seems like they should have swapped this and the second one around.
  • So the bones must be buried in hallowed ground? Christian mythology is rife in horror films, so the next time someone says hollywood is scared of promoting Christianity, kick them in the temple.
  • Time of third death: 71 minutes. Lovely Taryn is injected with drugs as Freddy channels his inner Road Warrior. Why does everyone I love die? Oddly enough this scene is responsible for the film being banned in Australia as it was seen to promote drug use. Because obviously the first thing impressionable children think when they see someone die of a drug overdose is “drugs are awesome!”
  • Time of fourth death: 73 minutes. The guy in a wheelchair dies, because of course he does.
  • Harryhausen-esque skeleton now. Odd.
  • “I killed you once before you son of a bitch”, famous last words.
  • Time of fifth death: 82 minutes. The guy said the line in the previous note. Kind of a dull death for a returning character.
  • Time of sixth death: 86 minutes. And there goes Nancy. Normally when people return for horror film sequels they either survive or die in the opening scene. Here she’s the last death. Sad times. She had a semi-heroic death I guess but shame such an iconic character almost went out with a whimper.
  • The nun from earlier was Freddy’s mum? No, just no.
  • And the film ends with……a light turning on.

This film seems like it should have been swapped with the second. It’s a more direct sequel to the first film, seems to completely ignore the second film entirely. The series has to be commended for doing something different at least. All three films have been completely different stories. The second one was about possession, this one’s more about groups fighting back. This was the first Nightmare On Elm Street film I ever watched as my family had it on VHS back in the day. I don’t know where my family got it from, or why this was the only one they had. I guess some questions are just not meant to be answered, questions like “why are there so many songs about rainbows?”

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