I'm pretty vocal in my disinterest when it comes to sequels. People are always aghast when I tell them that I've never seen a sequel in either the Friday the 13th series or ANOES series. I usually claim it's because I'm juuuust not that into them. Lately however, I've done some thinking and realized that I do secretly like sequels. I can't pretend that I didn't enjoy Halloween 2 for example or that Hellraiser 2 used to be one of my guilty pleasures. Who am I really to deny myself the great pleasure that only a really bad (but good) sequel can bring? Before I came to this realization however, people were pretty mad. Through their anger however, they were always able to make one thing very clear to me. If I was to resign myself to any sequel in the horror world, that sequel should always be A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, aptly named Dream Warriors. I was dubious, but finally decided last night that the time had come to face the sequel.
As it turns out, ANOES 3 is pretty amazing. Of course a film directed by the same man who did The Blob remake is typically destined for greatness. Then again he's the same person responsible for The Mask so that complicates things. One thing is certain however--the man knows how to create some lasting images. Out of all the box covers in the series this one has always haunted me. It's thanks to that box cover that I continue to never desire to be swallowed by a giant Freddy head.
And who knew that little blonde girl was Patricia Arquette? And wait what? Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon return to reprise their roles? Why am I so oblivious to these things? Oh right I ignored sequels until now.
Dream Warriors follows a group of teenagers at a psychiatric hospital who have been incorrectly diagnosed due to their lack of sleep and apparent suicide attempts. As it turns out, all the kids are hunted by our good friend Freddy Krueger! But look out kids, a new doctor is in town. Yes, maybe a year out of college and Nancy Thompson is a psychologist and ready to help these last surviving children of Freddy's revenge. Unfortunately she has walked right back into where her nightmares began...mwahahahasupercheesyplotsummarymwahahaha.
So basically, ANOES 3 is pretty amazing. I know I said that already but for the love of Pete it's true. While I will always hold the original near and dear to my heart, I must say that the nightmare sequences in this are absolutely fantastic. A few weeks ago I wrote an article for the wonderful Blood Sprayer about nightmares in horror films. Long story short, I love dreams and nightmares in horror films. It's often hard to find a film that can translate a dream as an actual nightmare and not a "dream sequence" na' mean? It's tough stuff, but ANOES 3 is one of the finest examples I've ever seen. From the "Oh no I'm suddenly walking in a tar river" feeling to the "Oh shit I think I'm actually carrying a big doll and not that little girl I was trying to rescue" feeling, Dream Warriors traps the viewer in the same nightmarish world that we find our characters trying to escape.
I was completely creeped out by the appearance of this tricycle tracking blood on the floor,
this Freddy marionette puppet,
and the possibility of swallowing a spoonful of ground coffee just to stay awake.
The thing that sticks out the most however is that insane scene where Phillip's arteries become giant marionette strings. Seeing him eerily walk about tethered by an invisible string was almost as grotesque looking as when we actually see the arteries.
People wonder sometimes why I always remain loyal to ANOES and not Friday the 13th and this is a perfect reason. The death scenes in ANOES have the ability to be completely surreal, terrifying and absurdly creative all at the same time. The film offers up a sort of freedom in that way that keeps things much more interesting than Jason and his machete do. Scenes like this are one of a kind and are what make me EXCITED about stuff like sequels and you know....stuff! People being trapped in mirrors? YES! Getting killed by being pulled into a TV set? YES! YES Laurence (Larry) Fishburne as an orderly?
YES YES YES! See? I'm really excited. Oh and heroine needles for knife fingers? I'm speechless.
Aside from all the amazing nightmare sequences, the film isn't perfect. It gets a little silly and weird I might add when a ghost nun pops up and offers critical advice to head psychiatrist Dr. Neil Gordon.
And I must admit I was terribly embarrassed when skeleton Freddy appeared and started doing mean things.
Skeleton Freddy may in fact be the most horrible thing I've ever seen. I pray to God that he does not make an appearance ever again in my life. I must also admit that I wasn't too impressed with the believability factor involving Nancy's new psychologist self. Heather Langenkamp plays one of my favorite final girls, yet her portrayal of herself 6 years after the events of the first film leave little to be desired. How old is she suppose to be again? She just feels too young. I also had some confusion involving plot points with the remains of Freddy's body and what not. As several of you pointed out to me on Twitter however, you aren't suppose to question the logic of sequels. But..... oh fine. Never mind.
Despite how it seems to lose its footing a towards the end half of the film, I still came away enjoying myself quite a bit. Dream Warriors offers up a really unique perspective on a plot that could have easily died as soon as the 2nd film ended. It keeps the foundation of the story while finding a new element that keeps things interesting and allows for the audience to get further invested. Having the kids actually become warriors in their dreams is a great concept and one that serves as a nice way to counter act Freddy's devious behavior. I can only hope that when Freddy visits me, I too can develop the dream power of being a super ninja gymnast or if I'm really lucky---the Wizard Master.
And if I'm really really lucky, I can be this.
But I'm not holding my breath or anything.
So in conclusion--thank you everyone for demanding that I see Dream Warriors. It has opened my eyes to the extensive region of sequels and an astounding realm of imagery that practically makes me pee with excitement. It did have me question however just why Unk and Christine chose to leave off the Popsicle stick edition of Nancy Thompson's house when making their lists of deadly homes to live in.
Speaking of which. Why is Patricia Arquette so good at crafts? Is that included in her magical powers of pulling people into her dreams? Probably.
Wait a minute...
Shhhhhh.... do you hear that?
I think it's the sound of a mystical golden imprint being left by John Saxon.
Oh it is, it is!
Bless you John Saxon, bless you.