A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors ★★★★

I keep having this recurring nightmare where I am sitting on the couch watching Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and it is so bad I want to stab myself in the guts with garden shears and turn my intestines into sausages. Then my alarm goes off and I wake up in a cold sweat. I sigh with relief as I realise I am in bed and there is no TV and there is no infernal boiler room of boredom. But it's true, there really is no rest for the wicked! The face of my alarm clock suddenly morphs into the burned horror of Freddy Kreuger's visage. His menacing grin turns my stomach in knots as he snarls, "You snooze, you lose, asshole!"...

Thankfully, with the third movie in the installment I can put that particular nightmare to bed. Dream Warriors is pretty good.

Part of the reason for this has to do with the film being set in the adolescent wing of a mental hospital. We tag along with a cool bunch of kids that band together, trapped in a shared dilemma of being misunderstood by doctors and experts that fail to see or know what to do about the nocturnal phenomena fueling their fears. This is like The Breakfast Club for kids who adults have no idea what to do with.

Normally I dont edit my reviews after reading others. But after having read Claire Diane's and Nathaxnne Walker's I was deeply moved. I never imagined just how important a film like this could be for those that were institutionalised as young people. It has certainly increased my respect for the film as by their accounts it sounds like this film captured something of the essence of their experiences.

It was sort of lost on me at the time. It was certainly far different from my experiences as an in-patient of a psychiatric clinic in my early 30s where everyone just sat around drooling, doped up to the eyeballs on massive doses of Seroquel. Not to say that the Claire Diane's and Nathaxnne's experience didn't have its horrors, too. Its just I saw very little of anything resembling what was in NOES3 so I figured it was sort of idealised and artificial and didnt realise just how well it might have captured a part of someone's actual experience. Too be honest, partly Im feeling guilty that I could have written an entire review of this film without once acknowledging the mental health aspects of it.

They certainly werent happy timea when I stayed in that hospital, though. So much pain and suffering. I still remember the young girl who had recently been diagnosed with bi-polar, slowly coming out of the fugue of her last ECT session, crying and crying and crying because it had dawned on her that her diagnosis had irrevocably changed her life forever. That was a realisation I was still struggling to deal with myself and it fucking sucks ao bad and she was young amd beautiful and talented and smart and should have owned the world but her wings were being clipped before she could fly. I wanted to take that pain from that girl and shove it up an indifferent universe's arse.

Fuck, this wasn't meant to be an opportunity to talk about my own shit but I talk about this to NO ONE. So, you guys kind of cop it. Anyhoo...

The beauty of the Nightmare on Elm Street concept is that the filmmakers are given a licence to work whatever illogical, absurd and crazy shit they can into their stories. Nothing can be too outrageous or insane. Dreams have their own twisted set of non-rules that only limits the possibilities of sleeping hell to that of the imagination.

So, if you want inanimate objects to morph into Freddy, skeletons jumping around in a fist-fight like a Harryhausen movie, or a hot blonde chick with big boobs suddenly change into Freddy, why the fuck not? You need no further motivation than it is all just dream.

Just a side note: I really wish that the hot blonde chick's face had slowly morphed into Freddy's face, while initially leaving her body intact. It would have been hilarious to have seen Mr. Kreuger with big boobies. Oh, well.

The other side of the Freddy concept is about the permeable boundaries between the waking world and dream world. Unfortunately, this is where Dream Warriors falls down a little. There are plenty of walls, doors and mirrors crumbling, exploding and materialising out of nowhere. However, the first movie was extremely good at blurring the boundaries between both worlds so that you were constantly on your toes, whereas here it feels like we are never leaving the land of nod. All of these untrustworthy boundaries in this film seem to remain firmly outside of our waking reality.

All said and one, this a workable entry in the franchise and it is nowhere near as horrible as the second, but the intensity of this nightmare is like a candle to a raging boiler compared to the first nightmare.

It has still left me a little afraid to sleep just in case my wife suddenly morphs into Freddy Kreuger and vacuum cleaner nozzles start sprouting from her finger tips and she makes me do housework instead of watching another dumb-ass horror movie.

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