Okay, from here on out, spoilers fly with no regards as to whether you have seen the movies or not. These will mostly be…well, not so much reviews, as observations. And probably more than a bit snarky.
So, Nightmare On Elm Street was a huge hit. Not all that surprisingly, New Line rushed out a sequel. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2:Freddy’s Revenge. Revenge on who? Don’t really know. It is not Nancy, because she is not in this one. Luckily for the story, her diary is though. When young Jesse’s (Mark Patton) family moves into Nancy’s old house, he starts getting tormented by horrific dreams involving Freddy.
Turns out Freddy has a plan, and that plan includes using Mark to maybe kill people. Like his creepy leather loving gym teacher. But Mark, see, he is a good kid. Oh, a little wimpy. And his parakeet is prone to bursting into flames. But Mark doesn’t want to help Freddy. Instead he just wants to hang out with his friends and meet girls. He starts to hang out with Lisa (Kim Myers), and spends much of the film struggling with his teachers and parents (Clu Gulager and Hope Lang), because frankly, Parents (and teachers) just do not get what it is like to be a teenager haunted by the death of a child killer. By the way, in life Freddy killed little kids, why did he switch to teens after death? Anyways, Freddy is using Jesse to try and get back into the real world. His friend Grady laughs it all off, but thankfully; new girlfriend Lisa takes him seriously.
When you get right down to it, this film is a real mess that makes almost no sense at all in the context of the other sequels. For example, the film establishes Freddy’s boiler room is in the factory he used to work at. This factory never comes up in later sequels. This is the only film where Freddy is trying to break out and live in the real world, a motive he lacks in other all other incarnations, which makes sense; he is more powerful in the dream world. It also does not help the film that, as a lead, Jesse is pretty unsympathetic. At best he is whiny and annoying, which is not good for your protagonist. I am not sure if the main problem lies with the actor or the script. Though, one wonders how different the film would have been if Jesse were played by Christian Slater or Brad Pitt (both auditioned). Craven avoided the sequel partly because he did not, actually, intend to create a Franchise with Elm Street and also because he felt they were going to far astray of his original concept, especially with having Freddy make Jesse kill people. And it shows. This film just feels entirely out of place in the series.
It is interesting that the least loved* of the films has a central lead that is male. The strongest films of the series feature female protagonists. As I noted, Jesse is not a sympathetic character, and honestly comes across as very weak and easy to manipulate.
But in the end, what makes it really stand out? Basically, this is the most homo-erotic horror film ever. In fact, comically so. I don’t mean this in a denigrating way towards the gay community, or even homo-eroticism in films. But in the Elm Street series, it just feels…well, out of play, mainly because the film plays everything straight. It is not like it is a wink and a nudge. I am not even sure that they realized at the time (Jack Sholder, the director states they did not, however, he sees it now). And it is this unintentional aspect just makes it oddly humorous. I mean you have lines like, “Something is trying to get inside of me” and “He’s inside me… and he wants to take me again!” You just cannot miss the subtext. And we all know unintended subtext is comedic gold, people.
When it comes down to it, this is a terrible film, not worth watching on your own. However, it is a hysterical comedy when watched with a group of friends.
*Oddly, for as much as it is derided, it is one of the highest grossing of the series.