Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Roman Polanski's The Tenant (1976)

Title: The Tenant (1976)

Director/Writer: Roman Polanski

Cast: Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani


After watching Polanski's Repulsion (1965), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and now The Tenant, I can see why they call these three films Polanski’s "Apartment Trilogy". They are three psychological horror films that all take place inside the claustrophobic confines of a small apartment. These three movies have a heck of a lot in common between them, and their similarities go way beyond the simple fact that they take place inside of an apartment. I’ll get to the similarities in a moment, but for now I want to say that these three films are three very solid Polanski’s films, anyone out there who hasnt seen either of these should make it a top priority!

The Tenant is about a young man named Trelkovsky, who is on the look out for a new apartment. When he finally finds one that he likes, it turns out that the previous owner jumped out the window in an attempted suicide. In spite of this, he still rents the apartment. He then decides to do a little detective work. So he decides to visit the apartment’s previous owner in the hospital to see how she is doing. Turns out she is catatonic, covered in bandages from head to tow! What could have driven her to suicide that way? Meanwhile, Trelkovsky new neighbors are driving him insane. He throws a party, they complain, he listens to the radio, they complain, if he does anything, they complain! What’s Trelkovsky to do living in a place where he apparently can’t even have a decent party in?

So this movie was amazing in my book, let’s get that out of the way! I had seen some of Polanski movies, but man, I was missing out on Repulsion and The Tenant in a big way! Had I known these two films were so good, I would have seen them a long time ago. As it is, I am an instant fan of these two awesome movies. What makes The Tenant so great you might ask? Well, let’s start by the setting. As part of Polanski’s “Apartment Trilogy” this one takes place almost entirely inside of Trelkovsky’s new apartment building. We are introduced to his new home via this long tracking shot of the building were we can appreciate its architecture, its windows, the nooks and crannies that make up the entire building. Italian horror director Dario Argento did a similar shot in Tenebrae, only here, in Polanski’s The Tenant this long shot of the building has a purpose. It serves as a way to introduce us to where the main character will be spending most of his time, and sets the atmosphere and tone for the entire picture. Argento’s ridiculously pointless tracking shot of a home in Tenebrae (that goes on forever and ever) goes absolutely nowhere. On The Tenant Polanski focuses on the shadows, the windows and the mysterious silhouettes that hide behind them. Awesome way to open a film, Polanski won me over right from the beginning of this film.

Yup, thats a decapitated head flying through the air!

Then we are slowly presented with the characters. And this was something I absolutely loved about this movie. How we slowly, but surely, get to know the characters of the piece. Its something that movies don’t take the time to do often these days. Trelkovsky, the films main character is played by none other than Roman Polanski himself. I have to hand it to Polanski, he is not a bad actor at all! The character is a mild mannered, intelligent, educated individual. He seems to be the kind of guy who would do anything to avoid problems with anyone. And he has just moved into a building in which apparently everyone is very conservative, very quiet, you know, people who like to do everything by the book. So apparently, everything is fine and dandy with this new apartment, except for the fact that the previous tenant tried to commit suicide which apparently is something that Trelkovsky is willing to live with.

As I mentioned before, The Tenant is a film that has many similarities with Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby. With these three films, Polanski is criticizing the way people live in apartment buildings, inside of a box, inside of a limited space, and he comments on how this can contribute to drive a person insane after a while. In all three films, there is this feeling of paranoia that takes over the character, the walls, the lamps, the windows, all the little things that make up an apartment take a dark tone to them. Suddenly, that window over there looks evil somehow. Suddenly that chipped paint on the wall, makes everything look grimier, crazier. This is something that Polanski did a lot in Repulsion as well, and he does it yet again on The Tenant. The difference with The Tenant is that the emphasis is placed on the neighbors. In this way, The Tenant has more similarities with Rosemary’s Baby. You get the vibe that there is something not quite right with these neighbors. In fact, The Tenant feels a heck of a lot like The Wickerman (1973), where it feels like everybody is in on something, and the main character is the only one who doesn’t know it.

The film is very ambiguous with certain elements. Suddenly, you can get a supernatural vibe from the film, but you are never quite sure. This is really one of the best ways that a film can display supernatural elements, by doing so in an extremely subtle fashion. The Tenant might have supernatural elements to it…or does it? The answer to this question is never really given. Polanski seems more concerned with leaving you with a feeling of uncertainty. I have to applaud Polanski for creating such a feeling of dread and suspense with this movie. Best part? A lot of it is on your mind! Polanski leads you to believe certain things, and doesn’t exactly spell things out for you, but he grabs your attention that’s for sure! Much like Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby, this is a film about a character’s decent into madness. It’s the kind of film where a character goes from completely normal to completely bonkers. By the time you reach the ending, the character isn’t the same one you met at the beginning of the film. He is the complete opposite! The different elements that drive Trelkovsky insane is what I found most interesting on this film.

If Repulsion was a film about a young woman who's antisocial behaviour drives her insane, and Rosemary’s Baby is about a character going insane because of a bunch of religious folks drive her to it, then The Tenant is a film about a person going insane because of society. As you can see,  insanity is another theme that ties these films together. Trelkovsky is a normal guy, who suddenly finds himself surrounded by a bunch of uptight, self righteous individuals with all these rules and regulations. They don’t let Trelkovsky live in peace. It gets to a point where he can’t do anything without someone complaining! To me this is Polanski criticizing society, and the idea that there is always somebody watching you, there is always somebody telling you what is right and what is wrong according to their point of view, and if you don’t subscribe to it, then you are wrong, and you must pay for it.

Theres something you dont see every day: Mr. Polanski in Drag!

It has been said that Polanski is a director who understands women and how they think and feel. And this much is true. Many of his films have a female protagonist. In films like Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby for example, we see the film through a females eyes. In The Tenant Polanski’s character tries to understand what drove a woman insane, and ends up almost turning into her. Through this film, Polanski also explores what homosexuals go through, and the rejection they get from society, and how this rejection, can drive people mad.

Essentially, what we got here is a film that’s speaks of how we sometimes try to be accommodating to others, we try to make everyone happy, but are they thinking of making you happy as well? Can society drive you nuts with all its rules and regulations? With their uptight self righteous way of thinking? Should we live like that? Always criticizing the next person, trying to make them be like us? Or should we all just let each other be the way we want to be? Interesting subject matter for sure, and one that is made all the more interesting because Polanski makes everything mysterious and ominous through his flawless direction. A perfect psychological thriller in my book, highly recommend it.

Rating: 5 out of 5
The TenantRepulsion- Criterion CollectionRosemary's Baby

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Red Sonja (1985)

Title: Red Sonja (1985)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Cast: Arnold Schwarznegger, Brigitte Nielsen, Sandahl Bergman, Ernie Reyes Jr.


Robert E. Howard the famous fantasy writer best known for creating the Conan Universe,  wrote many adventures featuring Conan the Barbarian for years and years. The character even got his own comic book series, thanks to the guys at Marvel Comics. Those series of comics spawned a character which many incorrectly associate as one of Robert E. Howard’s creations, when in reality the character has its roots in the comic book universe. I speak of Red Sonja. You see folks, what many don’t seem to know is that Red Sonja comes to us thanks comic book writer Roy Thomas and comic book illustrator Barry Windsor Smith. Red Sonja is a character with its roots firmly planted in the comic book world. Her first appearance was in Marvel Comics Conan the Barbarian #23. As a character and a franchise, Red Sonja has never really died, the red headed 'she-devil with a sword' has always existed in one form or another. There are currently a couple of comic book series being made with Red Sonja as the main character. One of them is Queen Sonja from Dynamite Comics. Robert Rodriguez, the director behind films like Sin City and From Dusk Till Dawn is looking to produce a new Red Sonja movie in the near future. But during the 80s it was the popularity of the Conan movies that got Red Sonja her own feature film in 1985. How was it?

Red Sonja's origins are firmly rooted on comic books

Story goes something like this: Evil Queen Gedren is out to get control of a device called The Talisman. This Talisman is said to have been used by “the creator” (are we talking about God here?) to make the universe. It is said that this Talisman can either create or destroy a world via earthquakes and storms. So logically, Queen Gedren being the power hungry tyrant that she is wants it all to herself. Problem is, she doesn’t know that The Talisman’s powers can get out of control! Good thing that one of the priestesses that protects The Talisman sent a message to Red Sonja so that she would make sure that The Talisman is properly destroyed, so it wont fall into the wrong hands. Will Sonja be able to find and destroy the Talisman?

 The cult that protects The Talisman

There are a couple of problems with this movie for me. First, the story is a disaster. It’s so silly, so simplistic that it would insult the intelligence of a monkey. We don’t even get to know who Red Sonja is before she goes galloping on to her adventure. Her origin story is told in a fast forward sequence that seems to have been compiled of a bunch of discarded or deleted scenes that they didn’t have time to include in the film. So what we end up seeing is a quickie version of Sonja’s origin story. On this flashback sequence, we see glimpses of Sonja’s hometown being destroyed, of Sonja being raped, and of Sonja receiving magic powers from some sort of benevolent spirit all in the course of less than five minutes. That’s one thing I enjoyed about the first Conan movie. It took its time to show us Conan’s past in an awesome extended opening sequence. Not so with Red Sonja which seems more interested in getting to “the good stuff” than showing us any character development. So Sonja is given sword wielding powers by some forest spirit we never even get a good look at. And just who is this spirit, and why does she choose Sonja to give her these supernatural sword wielding abilities? Who the heck knows, neither the director nor the writers cared enough to let us in on it. I guess it’s up to us to bestow this forest spirit with a name and a reason.

Even though she received supernatural sword prowess, Sonja still needs to train.

So is this a film that exists within the Conan Universe or not? It feels to me like it was actually trying to distance itself from the Conan Universe. Arnold Schwarznegger is on this film, but he doesn’t play Conan, he plays a character called Kalidor. Who the hell is Kalidor? And why does he look and act like Conan? When I was watching this movie as a kid, I didn’t care, to me he was Conan having an adventure with Red Sonja. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was confused by this. Anyhow, Kalidor is a wanderer, simply going around the world looking for his next adventure when suddenly, Sonja and the whole Talisman deal falls on his lap and, Kalidor being the good guy that he is decides to tread along with this motley crew of adventurers. I mean, literally, a lady falls on his lap asking for his help to find Sonja so they could destroy The Talisman. It has been reported that Schwarznegger agreed to be on this movie only out of respect for its producers, he really didnt want to be on this one, and it shows. His "acting" is some of the worst of his career and he knows it. On the films premiere his own wife told him "if this movie doesnt kill your career, nothing will". Arnold agreed to be on this film, but only as a secondary character, yet he ended up getting top billing for this, this was something he resented when he saw his name on the films credits and promotional material. In a way, he plays Sonja's sidekick, following her, making sure she survives her journey. 

After that, it’s a journey through a strange and mysterious land filled with giant skeletons that form bridges, Kingdoms that are ruled by children, and a cave that harbors a giant mechanical snake. By the way, this giant mechanical snake that Red Sonja and Kalidor fight off is the high point of the film. Unfortunately, after that it’s all downhill for this movie. It doesn’t get any better than the giant mechanical snake. Then it turns into one of those movies where the good guys have to enter the bad guys castle and ends with the good guys exiting the castle and the castle turning into rubble. I cannot tell you just how many fantasy movies end with the bad guys castle either burning to a crisp or crumbling apart. Krull (1983) being the first one to come to mind. Red Sonja is a movie that is so cliché filled that we even finish the movie with Kalidor and Red Sonja kissing and horse back riding into the sunset! And just how many movies do you know where we see the villain falling to their death in a fiery pit below? Way too many that’s how many! So be ready for a cliché filled movie.

How do we know this is a cheesy b-movie? Well, for starters, Red Sonja wears make up, Queen Gedren wears a nightgown through out the whole movie, she looks like she is getting ready to go for a night out with the girls to the local night club or something. She even wears leather pants and high heels for crying out loud. She walks around her castle clicking her high heels like there’s no tomorrow. Queen Gedren is played by Sandahl Bergman, if you guys remember correctly, Sandahl Bergman was the actress who played Valeria, Conan’s romantic interest in Conan The Barbarian. She was actually offered the role of Red Sonja but turned it down because she didn’t want to be typecast as the goody little two shoes all the time. So, she got the role of Queen Gedren, the tyrant. How will the audience not recognize that the villain in this film was actually the same actress who played Valeria in Conan? Well, the filmmakers got Red Sonja to give Queen Gedren a scar on her face, so through out the whole film Queen Gedren wears a mask. The real reason for the mask is so we wont recognize Sandahl Bergman.

On to the movies themes. Red Sonja is commonly looked upon as a silly sword and sorcery movie, and you would be correct if you saw Red Sonja under that light. But it does have a hint of “meaning” to it if you look past its idiotic dialog. Number one is The Talisman device. This device, which is a green glowing sphere, has the power to create or destroy a world. Red Sonja was made during the mid 80s, a time when most Americans feared a nuclear holocaust. Everyone was afraid that the Americans and the Russians would collectively blow each other out existence with weapons of mass destruction. Hence, we get the Talisman device on Red Sonja which is actually referred to as a weapon in the film. So the film plays with that fear of complete annihilation. One of Queen Gedren’s own lackeys is constantly reminding her how The Talisman will soon be too powerful for her to control. How if they continue to use it “There will be no world!” But Gedren, being the power hungry tyrant that she is doesn’t give a damn. So there’s a hint of a theme in this movie after all. But it aint much. There is the whole them of rape. Sonja hates men because she was raped, but through her adventures, side by side with Kalidor, she learns that not all men are evil. She soon learns to leave the past behind, and let some love come into her life.

Last words about Red Sonja. I don’t think this movie is all that bad. Yeah, it has some bad dialog. Yeah Arnold considers it to be the lowest point in his career. Yeah it has two main actors who can’t speak English very well (Arnold is from Austria while Nielsen is from Denmark) and yeah the story is silly as hell, but it’s still a fun movie in my book. The dialog is laugh inducing, and the acting? Well, let’s just say that I agree with Arnold. Both actors were delivering their lines in the most robotic way possible! The ending in which Conan (I mean Kalidor!) finally conquers Red Sonja and manages to give her a kiss, it is the coldest most unnatural kiss you are apt to see on any movie! I mean, you could tell these two didn’t want to kiss at all. But whatever, its still in a way part of the whole Conan Universe, and it does have cool looking sets. Speaking of expensive looking sets, it boggles the mind how producers spent so much money on Red Sonja when it had such a horrible script. Millions spent on this? Damn. But, I guess Hollywood has never had a problem  spending millions. They are currently spending more of those millions right now making a new Conan film. Hopefully it will be good (I’m crossing my fingers here) and hopefully it will reignite interest in the Conan Universe. We just might see that proposed Red Sonja feature with Rose McGowan as Red Sonja and Robert Rodriguez directing/producing. Maybe then we will get a Red Sonja movie that doesn’t have to be looked upon as a guilty pleasure.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Posters for the upcoming Conan remake and the proposed Red Sonja remake

Red SonjaConan - The Complete Quest 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Francis Ford Coppola's TETRO (2010)

Title: TETRO (2010)

Director/Writer: Francis Ford Coppola

Cast: Vincent Gallo, Maribel Verdu, Alden Ehrenreich


TETRO is the story of a tortured artist, a man who’s been beaten by life, who has decided that he doesn’t want to be a part of this world. So he lives like a recluse, with his girlfriend in a little apartment in Argentina. Family rivalry has taken its toll on TETRO, so he has decided to as he puts it: “divorce my family”. Problem is, family just wont stay away. One day, his long estranged little brother suddenly appears in his home, disrupting his “writing sabbatical”. Will TETRO open the doors to his family once again? Will he ever finish working on his masterpiece? Will his play ever hit the stage?

This is a movie that’s very close to my heart, its one of those movies that I immediately made a connection with as soon as I watched it. I made such a strong bond with TETRO because I am an artist myself, and I understand the suffering, the frustrations and the mental anguish involved with the creative process. Often times artists are troubled souls, they feel more than the usual person, they see things from a completely different angle. So I understood this dichotomy of the artist, trying to be true to himself as an artist, of wanting to express himself through his art, and having to deal with the crap that life can throw your way from time to time. I also understood how TETRO unites his own personal life with his art. Because it’s what I have always believed in, that no matter how out there your movie, your play or your book is, it should always have something of your own life experiences laced within it. I never went to filmschool (and I doubt Ill ever have the money to) so I picked up my own camera, wrote my own scripts, and filmed my own movies. And I still do it. But it isn’t easy when you aren’t a millionaire, often times, making a film can be a struggle, but one continues, because it’s a fulfilling experience, its what makes me feel truly alive. Much like TETRO’s struggle with writing his play.

On this movie, TETRO, the tortured artist, the angst ridden soul, is writing a play based on his life experiences. It’s a tragic tale filled with love, treachery and tragedy. It’s a story of rivals. TETRO hates his father, who is a famous musical conductor. He is so famous that people refer to him as “the maestro”. His fathers ego is so huge that when TETRO expresses his desires to become a writer his father replies “there is only room for one genius in this family”. So this familial rivalry is what fuels the films main story. Old hatred, secrets, and tragedy. TETRO hates his family so much, that he wants absolutely no contact with them. The thing is that you might not want to see your family, but family doesn’t just go away. As they say, ‘blood is thicker than water’. This is probably why Benny, TETRO’s long lost brother, is so determined to “save” TETRO from his great depression.

Benny is on a quest to "save" TETRO

The theme of family and family rivalry has been a favorite of Coppola’s for a long time now. The whole Godfather series of films was centered on this theme, and now TETRO readdresses it. Coppola says that this is a very personal film, that nothing that happens in the film happened, “but it’s all true”. By that I guess he means the films themes were inspired by real life, but things didn’t happen exactly the way we see them on the film. The Coppola family is one filled with lots of Hollywood talent. Coppola’s own father (Carmine Coppola) was a famous arranger/composer, so it’s easy to see why TETRO’s father is a music conductor. Talia Shire, the actress better known for playing Adrianne, Rocky’s wife in the Rocky films is Coppola’s sister. Director Sofia Coppola is his daughter, heck, even his nephews are famous, you might have heard of them: Nicolas Cage (born Nicolas Kim Coppola) and Jason Schwartzman. So it’s easy to see why the theme of family is so important in Coppola’s films. There is a lot of talent, a lot of art in Coppola’s family, and that struggle to be successful and famous was apparently a great pressure on Coppola’s family. “We were so promising, what happened to us?” asks one of the characters in the film. The answer: “rivalry”. It’s also easy to see why films made by Coppola’s family also deal with sibling rivalry. Films like for example The Darjeeling Limited (2007) also deal with this subject manner, probably because Francis Ford Coppola’s son Roman Coppola had a stab at writing it. So this is a family of talented individuals, who’s art creates a tension between them, and Coppola has reflected this tension on TETRO.

TETRO is a film that I enjoyed for various reasons. Number one is that this is a film made by a director who is fully in command of his directorial powers. With TETRO Coppola didn’t have to worry about making a commercially viable film, this is Coppola doing a film in which he is completely in control of everything we see and hear on the screen. The music is superb, and the visuals! Wow. The film was shot in black and white, I’m sure this was purposely done to augment TETRO’s sadness and despair. The play that goes on screen with the blacks and the whites, the shadows and the light makes for an interesting visual feast. Whenever the films goes to a flashback or a memory, the film momentarily switches to color. Like I said, a director fully in command.

What would a review of this film be without mentioning Vincent Gallo’s masterful performance as Angelo Tetrocinni? This is one of the best performances in his career, Gallo completely engulfed himself with this character, and its one of those rare instances when a character fits the performer perfectly. Gallo himself is a director who likes to make artful films that are not at all aimed at the mainstream. Gallo’s films focus on the art side of things, rather than on the money making side of the filmmaking business. Truth be told, his films are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I give him credit for being so truthful with his art. In real life, Gallo exudes this “fuck the world” aura to him, which is perfectly aligned with the character he plays on this film. TETRO is a character that hates the world for what it is, he hates ignorance, coldness, fakeness and stupidity. He is an intelligent individual that would rather live the life of a recluse than go outside and face the world. He hates his destiny in life and the only way he can communicate that is through his writing.

But as one of the character’s in the film says about TETRO: “He is an artist without many accomplishments” This line of dialog comes from Miranda, the love in TETRO’s life. I found it so beautiful that she was a lady who understood him, stood by him, didn’t give up on him. She recognized what TETRO needed in his life when she tells him: “You need success TETRO” and she is willing to stand by him, even if it means she is the only one. That was beautiful to me, such devotion to another person is a rare thing. The character was played by Maribel Verdu, the excellent Spanish actress whom some of you might remember from Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth.

This film takes place mostly in Argentina, and that fact gives the film a surreal kind of feel. Even though the film takes place during modern times, it still feels as if it took place during the 50’s, like something out of a film noir. Speaking of film, Coppola also takes the opportunity to comment on filmmaking. In TETRO one of the characters is a critic, and TETRO has been hurt by her comments on more than one occasion because she feels he hasn’t lived up to his promise. Will he ever live up to his promise under the watchful eye of the critic? Does TETRO even care what critics say about his work? TETRO's answers to these questions more than likely reveal how Coppola himself feels about the criticism his films have received. He understands this quite well. A lot of Coppola’s films though considered classics now, received harsh criticisms under their initial release. A lot of his films have even failed at the box office. Yet with time, they’ve come to be appreciated for the great films they are. I’m sure TETRO will be remembered as one of his good ones. Coppola himself thinks this is his most beautiful looking film. And so do I. If you are in the mood for and old school film, filled with operatics, bursts of emotion and tragic, tortured characters, I suggest you give TETRO a chance.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Part of the Cast and Crew of TETRO alongside director Francis Ford Coppola

TetroTetro [Blu-ray]Youth Without Youth

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

Title: Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

Director: Jack Sholder

Cast: Robert Englund, Mark Patton


In every horror franchise that exists, there’s usually a film that turns out so bad, and deviates so clearly from the rest of the series mythology that it garners the hatred of fans. In the Friday the 13th franchise, that film is Friday the 13th part 5: A new beginning (1985). On that one, Jason doesn’t even appear! On the Halloween franchise, there are a lot of bad entries, but the one everyone hates the most is Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), which is an incredible mess. On the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, the most despised of all the entries was the film Ill be reviewing today: Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. A lot of that hatred has to do with the themes the film plays with, and the way the film changed the series original premise. I recently had a chance to re-watch this flick and decided to review it, cause hell, it’s a movie that begs to be reviewed.

Story follows a teenager who goes by the name of Jesse Walsh. Jesse and his family have just moved into their new home and are getting adjusted with life in the town of Springwood. There is just one small problem, the Walsh’s have just moved into the Elm Street home in which Nancy Thompson used to live in. It was the house in which Freddy Krueger tormented Nancy through her dreams! Problems start to arise when Jesse begins having horrible nightmares himself; nightmares on which Freddy Krueger appears! Soon, Freddy confronts Jesse in the dream world and lets him know that he wants to use his body so that he can crossover into the real world and exact revenge upon those that killed him. Will Jesse conquer his inner demons? Or will Freddy get what he wants?

This movie gets a lot of heat for one reason and one reason alone: it is about a boy battling with his latent homosexuality. There is no beating around the bush about that. This movie is about a psychologically tortured young man, struggling with inner demons. The symbolisms that let us know what this movie is about are quite obvious in one spectacular scene in which Freddy Kruger is trying to push himself out of Jesse’s body.  The symbolisms are quite clear: Freddy is Jesse's homosexuality trying to 'come out' so to speak, and it is a painful process! Jesse doesn’t want this to happen, but it happens, and there is nothing he can do to stop it!

This is a film about a young man afraid to face his sexuality. Freddy represents Jesse’s sexual urges, and Jesse’s sexual urges are represented in the form of a monster. As if sexual desires (either heterosexual or homosexual) were something evil. In a way, the film demonizes sex. This is not something new in horror films. Ive seen quite a few films that demonize sex, for example films like: Bad Biology (2008) or Teeth (2006) . On these films, sex is an evil and traumatic experience. Freddys Revenge fits quite well amongst these kinds of films. But this all makes sense when we think of the context and the time on which the film was made. Robert Englund himself mentioned this in an interview where he stated that “the second Nightmare on Elm Street is obviously intended as a bisexual themed film. It was early 80s, pre-AIDS paranoia. Jesse's wrestling with whether to come out or not and his own sexual desires was manifested by Freddy. His friend is the object of his affection. That's all there in that film. We did it subtly but the casting of Mark Patton was intentional too, because Mark was out and had done Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean". I dont know if I agree with what Englund says on this comment about the film being sublte, cause I actually found the imagery, situations and symbolisms to be quite obvious.

Certain key sequences are visually gayer than Richard Simmons, I mean, literally they pale in comparison. One scene has Jesse and his girlfriend trying to make out, but that doesn’t work out so what does Jesse do? He goes over to his best dudes house and asks him if he could stay over. Another scene has Jesse walking into an S&M bar. Another scene has Jesse’s gym teacher sending him to the shower, so he could whip him? Hell, Freddy himself ends up whipping some dudes ass with a wet towel! By the way, that last remarK? Totally true! Every other dude in the movie is shirtless, or showing their ass for whatever reason. I mean, the homosexual undertones are all over the place with this one. I mean, what’s gayer in a film than a parakeet that suddenly turns evil and starts attacking people, only to explode in a million pieces a couple of minutes later? By the way, that scene has to be seen to be believed. We have a scene where one boy rips off the pants of another (exposing his butt cheeks!) and then, in this condition, they begin to wrestle! One scene has Jesse wake up to suddenly discover that he is wearing Freddy’s glove on his hand, when he realizes this he gives the girliest scream I’ve ever heard any dude give! I wonder how Brad Pitt would have done that scene. By the way, Brad Pitt actually auditioned for the role of Jesse!

Place girly scream right here

But aside from the films themes, the question remains: was this a good Nightmare on Elm Street film? The answer for me is a resounding yes! Why? Freddy looks as evil as ever! On this film Freddy has these incredibly evil looking blood shot eyes. The make up effects on Freddy Krueger was excellent; it was with this film that Freddy’s look was really coming together. We get a better look at Krueger on this movie, though most of the time, same as in the first film; Freddy hides in shadows most of the time. It wasn’t until Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors that we got a real clear look at Freddy. There are moments in this film that are some of the best in the whole series. For example, the aforementioned Freddy emerging from Jesse’s chest scene, the scene where Freddy rips the flesh on his head to reveal his brain and then gives one the most memorable lines of dialog in the whole series. I’m talking of course of “You got the body and I got the brain!” There’s that pool party scene where suddenly the pool starts to boil, hotdogs start exploding like firecrackers and Freddy appears in the real world to kill off some real teenagers! On this scene he delivers yet another memorable line: “You are all my children now!” The nightmare sequences are pretty nifty as well, the best one involving Freddy driving a high school bus that ends up dangling from a mountain. So the film is actually an entertaining horror film, and it has its memorable moments.

"Hey, where's the exploding hot dogs on this party?"

Not everything is perfect though. Freddy’s Revenge presents us with the idea that Freddy can crossover into the real world. This is nothing new for the weathered Nightmare on Elm Street watcher. We know that in all films, people have been able to carry things in and out of the dream world. Sometimes they bring Freddy’s hat, sometimes his glove, on this one, its Freddy himself who comes out of the dream world to visit us. Some people don’t like that element in the film, and all subsequent sequels practically ignored the rules set by this film, but I found it to be a decent Nightmare on Elm Street flick. Yeah it has a lot of gay stuff in it, but this is the films theme. According to the director, this was intentional. They purposely set out to make a horror film that spoke about these themes, and why not, films are made about any given subject, why not a young mans struggles with his latent homosexuality? I don’t think the film warrants hatred because of that. Plus Freddy’s Revenge has its awesome moments, like those scenes where Jesse’s girlfriend goes searching for him in Freddy’s boiler room, and suddenly she is faced with these two dogs that have a human face on them….freaky in deed! My last words on Freddy’s Revenge is that it’s a good entry into the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and that it can be enjoyed if you are not a complete homophobe. Remember, in a world as complicated and diversified as our own, the key is co-existence. Plus, what’s to stop you from watching a murderous exploding parakeet?

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 - Freddy's RevengeBad BiologyTeeth (Ws Sub)


Related Posts with Thumbnails