A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Dream Warriors

Well the Elm Street films are 0 for 3 in my book. This installment in the slasher series has a couple of decent elements, but is mostly terrible.

My history with this series is one of deep disappointment. Having heard so much about what a great series this is, I couldn’t believe how silly the first movie was. The second film is legendary for its subtext, but I just found it to be a camp nightmare akin to Batman and Robin. This third film was almost good, but got derailed by maybe the worst acting I’ve seen in a horror film.

To start with Freddy Krueger isn’t scary. He’s ugly, but he’s not scary. He just a goofball cracking wise and throwing bad puns at the audience. He gets beaten up by teenaged girls in every movie. What is scary about that? At one point in this movie he transforms into a television and it so stupid that I laughed out loud. Maybe I’m looking at this wrong, and these movies are supposed to be comedies.

Although that does jive with the first truly scary moment I’ve seen in one of these films. It involves a teen boy who likes making puppets. Freddy tears the veins out of his arms and legs and uses them to puppet this kid to the roof. He then throws him off the roof to his death. It’s disturbing and horrific. It’s also the only time Freddy shuts up and just kills a kid without all the puns.

I should back up and set up the story. Freddy Krueger was a child murderer. The parents who lived on Elm Street took it upon themselves to kill him. They burned him alive in his lair. Now the kids are teenagers, and Freddy has come back to murder them in their sleep. He uses their dreams to torture and kill them.

The last of the Elm Street kids are now teenagers. They are in a psych ward due to their issues resulting from their horrifying Freddy dreams.

Two things almost made this movie work, or rather they almost saved this movie from itself. Those are the incredible production design and the practical effects. There is a nightmare house that is incredible to look at. Every inch is covered with something interesting to look at. It’s so off kilter and creepy looking.

The other aspect is the practical special effects. The veins being ripped from the boys arms was great and gruesome. There’s a giant snake with Freddy’s head that tries to eat one if the girls. These are incredible and effect effects.

Unfortunately everything else in this movie is crap. These actors are giving such bad performances that i wouldn’t be surprised if there was an onset bet to see who could be the worst one in the movie. Every word out of their mouths feels forced and unnatural. It was physically painful to hear them talk sometimes.

Their performances are not helped by a truly awful script. It’s hard to sound natural when you have such crappy lines to deliver. I mean good grief, I’ve heard scripts written by robots with more natural dialogue.

Now I could see all this adding up to a campy midnight movie style trashy good time. I mean a week or so ago I gave a cup of tea to Friday the 13th part 3 a movie so inept I laughed throughout. But this one was just tough to watch. I didn’t laugh enough for it to be fun. I was thrilled enough to enjoy it seriously. It was a dumb hodgepodge.

It’s not quite my cup of tea. C

There have been a lot of slashers this Halloween Season. I think I’m done for the year. They’ve ranged from pretty good to so bad they’re good, but at the end of the day they are rarely truly good. They are mostly mediocre blood, guts, and nudity.

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