A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

HoopTober Ocho 3/31
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Categories be damned, we’ve managed to squeeze a Freddy Krueger movie into each of the four HoopTobers the library has participated in. All of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies are fun, but this might be the best one. #2 admirably did its own thing, shifting the perspective and stakes, making it one of the most interesting sequels in horror. But that did make it feel like an outlier within the series. Dream Warriors, the third installment, is a reset. Multiple teens have seen Freddy in their dreams, and naturally, all of their parents would prefer to institutionalize their children rather than listen to them and interrupt their own social lives, so the kids must fend for themselves. From the parental perspective, the solution is always out-of-sight, out-of-mind – or you know, maybe just get some more sleep. It would be another three decades before they could point to the transformative powers of sleep and wash their hands of it all. Freddy would be unimpressed either way. The knots into which adults will twist themselves to explain away the truth is an ongoing phenomenon. I won’t soon forget the image of a teen, head smashed through the screen and hanging from a wall-mounted television. Surely, they were just a little distraught from watching too much TV.

The original film’s protagonist, Nancy, is back as a budding psychologist, who is eager to explore experimental medications and weaponize the young Patricia Arquette’s unique ability to pull others into her own dream.

Dream Warriors has some of the best dream sequences in the series and boasts the best supporting cast. Despite its short running time, the movie spends just enough time with these kids to establish them as actual people, rather than simply future dead teens. Freddy is slightly more scary than silly in this installment, and the metal soundtrack rules. Movies like this are what staying up later than usual is for. It’s fun and inventive in a way that most modern horror movies seem to sneer at. I can’t believe it’s been over a decade since they made one of these. Dream Warriors is a delight, but I suspect the best Nightmare on Elm Street movie hasn’t even been made yet.

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