The Horror of ’87 #1: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

This year is quickly proving to be a noteworthy one for genre movies. It’s only March and we have already had great releases like John Wick Chapter 2, Logan, Get Out, and Split. With this amazing resurgence of great genre and horror films, I want to take a look back and celebrate some of my favorite genre (mostly horror) that will be celebrating their 30th anniversaries this year with a series of reviews of films released in 1987, and boy are there a bunch of great ones.

I am kicking off this series with one of the greatest sequels ever made. In 1984, the world was introduced to what would become Wes Craven’s signature creation: Freddy Krueger. A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced audiences to a new kind of inescapable fear: a maniacal killer who would haunt the dreams of innocent children. The film was so successful that it would ultimately spawn six sequels and a remake, and make Freddy Krueger a household name. The direct follow-up to the first film, 1985’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, pits the murderer against a new pack of victims. This sequel wasn’t nearly as well received by fans (although it grossed nearly twice that of its predecessor) as what would come two years later, and ultimately become one of the best in the series.


A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is highly regarded as the best of the Nightmare sequels, and for good reason. Creator Wes Craven was back at New Line Cinema (which had been dubbed “the house that Freddy built”) and was asked to return to the successful series that he had launched. He came back as a writer for the film, which was directed by Chuck Russell. Dream Warriors brings back the original victim, Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy Thompson, as she helps a group of kids who are being sought out by Freddy, and are labeled by society as mentally unstable enough to be locked away in an institution. The group bands together with Nancy, as she is the only one who understands what the group is going through. Together they fight Freddy by controlling their dreams as the titular Dream Warriors.


I absolutely love everything about this movie. The practical effects are top notch. There is a scene where a somnambulist victim has his tendons ripped out of his arms and legs and is walked around like a marionette and thrown from a window of the institution. Also noteworthy is the giant phallic Freddy snake/worm that almost swallows Patricia Arquette (in her film debut) whole. Dream Warriors brings back the comedic side of Freddy Krueger, something that was a little overlooked in Freddy’s Revenge. One of the biggest successes of Dream Warriors is how it really drove home the signature demented comedy, fantastical abilities, and helpless inescapability that the Freddy Krueger ethos has remained eternally known for. While the title and story are highly focused on the empowering of those who have been shunned by teaming together with someone who believes in them, ultimately the treatment of Freddy is really what shines in Dream Warriors. The treatment of original characters in a new but familiar way is one of the many reasons the film stands as one of the best sequels ever made.



Check out the trailer for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors here.


-By Kirk Yoshonis


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