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Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

       As I've said before, I've never been a huge fan of Freddy Krueger. Yes, he was very scary in the original A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and it's a genuine 80's classic of horror. Absolutely. ELM STREET was a true breath of fresh air, as we had been subjected to countless knife-wielding madmen wearing masks, which we love of course- but ELM STREET was truly different and creative. But somewhere around the third installment, I really started to lose interest in the old guy. Once he started cracking wicked one-liners, he just stopped being scary and started being annoying. To me, at least. Now I'm not dogging on the guy here- Anyway, I just recently re-visited the first sequel, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE. And wow! This is seriously the most homoerotic and campy horror movie of the 80's!

     A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was extremely successful when it hit theaters in 1984, so a sequel was inevitable. Two years later, we got one, titled A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2 FREDDY'S REVENGE. And what a curious sequel it was. The film is full of blatantly obvious homosexual undertones- lots of male nudity, the school coach who just happens to be a leather daddy- even Jesse, the main character, at one point ends up in a gay bar. Jesse also keeps saying throughout the film that there's something inside him that wants to "come out", and he's obviously more interested in his buddy than his girlfriend. (His buddy, Grady, was played by Robert Rusler- do you blame Jesse? haha) It's actually quite amazing that they not only had the balls to pull this off in 1986, but even more amazing is the fact that nobody seemed to notice any of the gay stuff at the time.  At least I didn't.

     FREDDY'S REVENGE is set five years after the original film. A new man and his family have bought Nancy's house, who went mad from her ordeal and is now institutionalized. Mark Patton deliciously plays Jesse, the oldest son who now occupies Nancy's bedroom.  He seems to be a sexually confused teenager who starts having terrible nightmares. Yes, Freddy is back, haunting Jesse's dreams now, and is intent on taking over Jesse's body and using it for his dirty work. FREDDYS' REVENGE tends to be the least favorite of the series, and on some levels, it's easy to see why.

     There are definitely some silly moments to be found, but also some pretty good moments too. The opening bus scene is actually done quite well, and the "transformation" scene is also a standout moment. Freddy is still pretty much kept in the dark for most of the film, which is much more effective, and is played very sinister. It's the last time Robert Englund plays Freddy seriously, as further performances up the camp factor. The movie has a good premise- I like the idea of Freddy trying to take over somebody's body, and I like that Jessie is living in the original house. And the idea that  that this kid is or could be sexually confused was actually a pretty bold move for 1986. I was fourteen at the time I first saw this, and seeing it as an adult now, it's obvious a lot of stuff went right over my head.

     FREDDY'S REVENGE is a camp lover's delight as there are many hilarious moments to be found. Clu Gulager and Hope Lange certainly camp it up as Jesse's parents, although Kim Myers delivers an honest and earnest performance as Lisa, Jesse's girlfriend. She also very much resembles a young Meryl Streep. Throw in sexy 80's icon Robert Rusler as Jesse's wise-cracking best friend Grady, and you've got yourself a rather memorable sequel, to be honest. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE is certainly one of the most curious and strange horror movies to come out of the 80's. There are moments of high horror mixed with high camp- which in my eyes certainly makes for interesting viewing.

     This is the most underrated of the series, even though some fans complain about the implied bisexuality of the main character.  I find it to personally give the film an unusual twist- and in all the following sequels, nothing this original or bold can be found anywhere. This film offers plenty of flaws, but I would give it a solid B just for creativity and uniqueness.

     As I said before, this is the last film where Freddy is played for terror, instead of for laughs. Freddy thankfully does not fire off embarrassing and silly one-liners in this film- if that's what you're looking for, skip to Parts 3 and on. This sequel for the most part seems to be more concerned with racking up tension instead of the body count, and that's perfectly fine with me. It's not a great film, but it's not a terrible film either. I find it quite fascinating, actually.And it definitely has some great and memorable moments. It does seem that the film has gained a definite cult following in the past few years, and Mark Patton is proud of his participation in the film and of being one of the first male 'final girls'. And rightly so. Ah, the 80's.

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