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)


Anonymous said...

Great review TFC. Have you seen Never Sleep Again? I watched it last week for the first time and the segment on NOES 2 was by far the most intriguing. Most people that were involved with the making of the film had no idea about the homosexual undertones until after the fact. And there is a funny interplay between cast mates who are interviewed talking about giving blowjobs (after now realizing the undertones/themes).

Franco Macabro said...

Is that the documentary that comes with the box set? Because I have that boxed set, if not, im intrigued by it. I was thinking the same thing, a commentary with the cast members must be so interesting to watch now, so many years later!

Ill look for that documentary cortez, thanks for the recommendation!

Bryce Wilson said...

Just wanted to let you know I gave you the Versatile Blogger Award

That and two dollars will get you a cup of coffee but the sentiment is genuine.

Franco Macabro said...

Woo-hoo thanks Bryce! Ill check out the link, good to know someone out there cares!

HorrO said...

You got it right when you said most people don't like this one. I did a poll about which NOES was people's least favorite, and this was number 1. I also have to say this was my least favorite. I was told I should watch it again like you did, but haven't had time to. I will one day, and to see if my opinion has changed. Did you finally see the remake?

Franco Macabro said...

I enjoyed it a lot, as a Freddy movie, its quite good, I loved those scenes with Freddy melting in the fire. I was surprised to enjoy it so much.

It looks like Ill be watching the remake on DVD. I'll post a review for it as soon as I see it. Thanks for stopping by Horro.

I Like Horror Movies said...

The homosexual undertones should really be the last of anyone's complaints with this one, I was always proud to see a mainstream genre film tackle the subject so blatantly like in FEAR NO EVIL. My bigger complaints definitely have to do with mangling the mythos, but I have to agree, while it isnt my favorite sequel in the series, I think it has much more going for it than some of the later films.

If I was able to use subscript, this is where I would sneak in my HALLOWEEN 6 RULEZ!!

Franco Macabro said...

HEy, your right about FEAR NO EVIL, I remember that one being the same way. FEAR NO EVIL has a really cool scene where they are filming a JESUS movie in the dessert and demons make the guy playing JESUS really die on the cross, cool scene.

I know there are some lovers of Halloween 6 out there, but theres a couple of different versions of it out there, Ive only seen the theatrical one.

Anonymous said...

great review, and the 4 hour docum on NOES is awesome, a real making of marathon, worth every second.

Franco Macabro said...

hellford: I will try and get my hands on that one, I love the stories behind these films. The boxed set I have contains a lot of extras about how Craven came up with the idea of Freddy, I believe it was an old bum he saw on the street which he found frightening...mixed with some news articles.

Thanks for commenting!


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