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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors 1987

Survivors of undead serial killer Freddy Krueger - who stalks his victims in their dreams - learn to take control of their own dreams in order to fight back...

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Imdb rating: 6.5

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Horror films -- especially in the slasher genre -- operate off the audience's need to believe their fears and anxieties exist in a real, knowable form outside themselves, and as such are somehow manageable. You can't always run from complex, adult problems, at least not easily. But a slow moving man with a machete? Oh hell yes.

Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street took this basic concept and added to it the primal power of dreams. Everyone has experienced a dream or two that possessed the weight and instensity of waking life, usually nightmares that one awakes from with a large sense of relief. So it's doubly terrifying to put the idea of a manageable fear, the slasher stalker, into an unmanageable space, that of dreams.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors - Freddy continues to stalk those Elm Street kids, and now further removed from the pivotal events in the first film, no one believes their nightmares. As a result, they're locked together in a mental hospital, where Freddy creatively makes his assaults appear as nothing more than teen-suicide. Nancy from the first installment turns up as a grad student specializing in sleep disorders and attempts to help out, becoming drawn into their world and detached from that of her adult colleages. As it turns out, the kids all have their own style of super-powers in the dream world, but discovering and utilizing them before Freddy can get to them remains something of a problem.

Here we get a much deeper view of Freddy's nightmare dreamscape, and the film is awash in terrific visual concepts and solid special effects. There's a good deal of play between the reality of the nightmares and the disbelieving hospital staff, a good fictional mirror of the teenage belief that adults downplay and ignore their everyday anxieties and fears.

The character of Nancy is updated and given some depth, what with her sleep-disorder studies and fringe beliefs increasing her sense of alienation not only with her colleagues but also with her drunken father (a returning John Saxon). The presence of future veterans Patricia Arquette and Lawrence Fishburne add some weight and naturalness to the usual bad horror movie acting.

With the different levels of conflict keeping the story moving at a strong pace, and the inventiveness of the visuals throughout, Dream Warriors is a distinct cut above in the Nightmare series and one of the best horror movies of its period.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master - This time, instead of a team of dream warriors, there's a dream master, who gains the skills and abilities of her fallen comrades. Naturally, Freddy keeps her alive as he wants to use her abilities to pull more kids into his nightmare world. No doubt an intriguing concept -- as your friends fail you become stronger, all the time taunted by their killer. There's a world of dramatic possibilties in the concept, one which could touch on teen competiveness, jealousy, and guilt. In a horror film, this could also be turned into a sort of delicious schadenfreude writ large.

But the most terrifying thing about the film is the placard at the opening which reads: Directed by Renny Harlin. He runs past any tempation for depth and turns out a dull rehash of the first few films with some interesting visual concepts marred by standard slasher-fare, which includes inept direction and abrupt editing. Of mild interest is the licensing fees they must have paid for the then-current pop-music sound track, the clothes, and oh my, the big scary 1980s hair. Oh, the hair. *Shudder*

New Nightmare - A sort of proto-Scream meta-horror, what with an evil force -- personfied as Freddy from the Nightmare films -- terrorizing cast members, directors, producers and special effects folk from the movies. Craven and crew seem to be completely unaware of the elements that made the francise so popular -- namely Freddy, who doesn't make an appearance here until forty minutes into the running time. The film is chock full of dialogue scenes between Langenkamp and her on-screen son, a poor, witless child actor of no ability whatsoever.

Instead of playing to the film fanatic's desire to see their favorite personalities terrorized by their favorite on-screen villain, Langenkamp is forced to carry the film by herself, as every scene is told solely from her point of view -- the film feels like it's on her and a series of one-off cameos, and she isn't a good enough actress to pull it through.

Worse, Craven isn't skilled enough to keep the story from veering closely to The Exorcist, with the son becoming possessed by the demon-spirit and Candyman, as Longenkamp becomes more and more unglued at being stalked by unseen forces in which no one but her can believe.

He also doesn't take the opportunity to delve deeper into the material, avoiding the chance to turn any of the elements on their head with wry commentary as seen in Scream. (It's no wonder he jumped at Williamson's script a few years later, as Scream is the film New Nightmare wants to be, although at the same time its presence makes Scream III all the more redundant and ridiculous). The film takes itself far too seriously, and at this point in the series, it may have been better to do something halfway between out and out parody and homage --
One of the best of the nightMare On Elm Streets series,good dreams sequels and acting is fair. Hopefully there make a new Nightmare.
I had a clear opinion on this when I was clueless about Ash and his demon-zombie friends. That opinion was, "Oh, dear god, no!" Now that I've become fully immersed in all that is Evil Dead, my opinion is...well, it hasn't budged.

So says Sam Raimi: "I think they're in two different worlds, the Evil Dead and Jason/Freddy." That's what I've been saying since I first heard of the idea. I just prefer to think of them as being completely separate from each other, and I'm glad Raimi sees it that way, too. More people ought to. Freddy and Jason in the same movie makes some semblance of sense but could have been a total disaster; throwing Ash in would be really pushing it. The Evil Dead series are zombie (okay, demon-zombie) flicks, not slashers. Freddy + Jason + Ash doesn't add up right in my head. The very notion seems strained at best; I just see it as being incredibly ill-conceived.

Now...much as I've come to love all that is Evil Dead, my strongest loyalty still, of course, lies with the Nightmare series. I wasn't too up on the idea of Freddy vs. Jason in the first place, namely because a Jason fan I ain't. It turned out to be lots of fun, but lightning doesn't strike the same spot twice. Anyhow...point is, I don't care what happens to the ol' goalie but don't fuck with my Freddy. It's bad enough that four of the six Nightmare sequels weren't what you'd call...oh, what's the word...good. (But yes, I love those four stupid movies anyway.) But...just, I can't even comprehend Ash in the Nightmare world. It simply doesn't work. It doesn't. I don't care what any drooling fanboy says about it, the answer is a resounding no. Does not compute. Out of order. I'm sorry, your call did not go through.

As long as Sam Raimi still sees it as being a road he doesn't want to take, I'm happy. He's the only original creator who still holds the rights to his characters, so he's really the only hope we have to put the brakes on it. Please, Sam, I beg of you, please don't let them do it! I know it's a bad idea (and I'm far from being the only fan who does), you know it's a bad idea, and I'm next to certain that Bruce Campbell knows it's a bad idea. Oy.

Well, there's my rant. Feel free to comment, but don't argue with me - it won't get you anywhere. Besides, deep down, we all know I'm right.
Wow, this one surprised me. It was very good. I rank it at number 3 in the series behind The origional and New Nightmare.

I've seen four of the seven in the series, but will soon see #6. I expect it to be bad though.

Of the four that I've seen, three of them I liked. #5 absolutely sucked. Even after I've seen all of them, I still expect to think #5 was the worst.

Great movie with creative deaths.

:fresh: 7.5/10
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

This poorly conceived sequel is the follow up to one of the best films the genre has seen, 'Freddy's Revenge' rebounds as, arguably, the worst installment of the series.

'Revenge' brings the audience several years after the original 'Nightmare' unfolded, when a teenage boy moves into the same house which once housed Nancy Thompson. And when Jesse soon finds himself being victimized by the infamous Freddy Krueger, who posesses Jesse in hopes of taking over his body, the murderous rampage of Freddy is able to continue.

Little is brought to this typical sequel that makes it redeemable. A mostly inept script, non-existant acting, and few chills makes this 'Nightmare' one ghoulish experience. Most of all, little is made in terms of advancing the story or plot, which is why sequels are typically made. But in the end, 'Freddy's Revenge' falls victim to itself, unfortunately, and casts a shadow on the chilling original.


A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Despite the God-awful title, 'Dream Warriors' is a considerable improvement over the previous 'Nightmare' episode, but still fails to capture the magic that was seen in its first outing.

'Nightmare on Elm Street 3' joins a group of teens, all living with their own problems inside a mental health institution. Yet when they all begin dreaming the same horrendous dreams, they will all share one deadly connection. Their only chance of defeating child-murderer Freddy Krueger is to join together and discover their own hidden talents, before they too fall victim to Freddy's deadly power.

While it's no masterpiece, and not always pretty, 'Warriors' has its moments. It has its shocks. It has its laughs. It's evident that the 'Nightmare' series moves closer to comedy with each saga, perhaps to make up for its own lack of horror. It has no lasting impact, but it does its job in getting Freddy back on track, slightly. Its pure uniqueness and creative death scenes are the epitome of this 80's horror show.


A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Just as 'Nightmare on Elm Street 3' began to steer the series back in the right direction, 'Dream Master' once again derails the series into a pit of murkiness filled with non-existant plots and too many plot holes to count.

'Nightmare' picks up soon after the third left off. And after the remaining survivors left over are picked off, it's up to Alice Johnson to stop Freddy once and for all. Seemingly able to capture the abilities of those killed by the dream demon, she uses these powers to her advantage before all her friends have been claimed.

'Dream Master' isn't the worst in the series, but it's far from the best. While the film has its moments, this episode is little more than a slew of murders strung together without much in the way of a story or plot line. And after three prior films - complete with their ups and downs - this Krueger is transformed into a joke with a simple, awful rhyme. How sad.
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