Letdown sequel and Freddy’s strange obsession to get inside teenage boys
And we’re back with the second entry to the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' saga. And with no other than, according to most, the lowest point in the series, Nightmare on Elm street 2: Freddy’s revenge.
Produced only one year after the original nightmare came out, this is the movie that has fans and critics slamming down their fists in union. But is it as bad as most say? Well, let’s take a look at the plot.
Confused teenager Jesse and his family move to a new house, and it would only be logical that the house would be the same house where Nancy ‘banished’ the dream demon, Freddy Kreuger, and she sure did a lousy job of it, because guess who comes knocking down the walls of Jesse’s dreams? And he wants nothing more than his body for him to play with while they together perform a rendition of the shower scene from 'American History X' with Jesse’s gym teacher and some whips…wait did we just stumbled into a different kind of movie?
Yeah…it’s gonna get weird, but the gist of it is that dear ol’ Fred wants to take over this whiny little bratty kid’s body to…murder around I guess? Ok, fist question here, why does Freddy want to be mortal again? He does know that the last time he was mortal he got burned harder than Taylor Swift at the VMA’s a few years back, there’s the obvious fact that he’ll walk around like a guy that has stuck pancakes to his face, and this time, people will actually be able to waste his scorched ass. I mean, it’s never explained why he was able to haunt kid’s dreams and become practically a god within his own realm, but it sounds like a hell of an upgrade from kiddyfidler groundskeeper to all powerful dream demon that murders all who sleep.
Just seems like a cheap trick have a possession story, but well, beside that gaping plothole, what else can there be said about this movie? Well, ok, disregarding the fact that Fred’s got a death wish, why does he want Jesse in particular? He even says at the beginning that he’s special or something, how is he special? Was he born under the star of plot convenience when all the BS planets were aligned? It’s never explained, Jesse’s got a younger sister, why didn’t Fred go after her? Guessing with his past he’d probably think ’the younger the better’, and kids are much more easily fooled, why didn’t he just show up in her dream as a giant fluffy bunny or goddamn Justin Bieber or whatever.
But no, he wants Jesse, not any other kid in the neighborhood, just him and his awkward teenage romance with the girl next door.
Ah yes, the girlfriend Lisa, played by Kim Myers. She practically carries the movie in the third act, and why isn’t she the main character of the movie? She has a much more interesting personality and she is probably the best girlfriend any one could ever wish for. You start telling about how you have dreams in which you brutally murder left and right? She accepts it and actually tries to help. You think you might have a spiritual connection with a child murderer that has been dead for the better part of the past decade? She believes you and search for a way to sever the connection. I mean really, faithful, helpful, cheery, nice and cute as a button? Do girls like that even exists?
So yeah, the story and the protagonist aren’t exactly the strong points of this movie, so what is?
Well, the effects are nice. Sure, they ain’t as good as the first one, shocker there, but at times they were creative, well, except for when the movie decide to pull a Hitchcock and redo a scene from “Birds” with an extra kamikaze ending. Seriously, exploding birds, what the hell where they thinking?
But for the rest, I guess credit is due where it is, and some of the effects where interesting. One of my favorite being at the very beginning where a school bus is being driven of the road as the landscape changes into a hellish abyss. Pretty neat scenery, but the whole movie does feel a little cheap. But all that good is being ruined by the fact that the first movie did everything a tenfold better, and the things they try to do just seems strange. For example, the entire movie, Freddy doesn’t have his glove, weird right? The knives just come out of the fingertips. I first thought it might be because the glove actually plays in the movie as an object of both rejection and temptation for Jesse, and is actually a physical object in the real world. But then the vodka started to slowly dissolve from my brain and I remembered that the glove was also a physical object in the first movie, where Freddy did have a glove at all times. It might be a small mistake here and there, but piled up, they do tend to piss off viewers.
But did this movie do anything right? In my opinion it did, I really liked the Freddy in this movie, it seemed like he had more of a personality, and even though he wasn’t in the spotlight much, he does get his times worth in the third act, which gives us a nice rest from our other obnoxious main character
But now we come to the big question, the one that had everyone’s jimmies rusted when they saw this flick:
Are the homo-erotic undertones of Nightmare on Elm street 2 there by accident or was this really meant to tackle the subject of homosexual feeling during the coming of age of adolescence?
Well, there’s no question that some of those undertones were blatant, if I can say so. Sure I joked about it earlier with my summary of the plot. But to be fair, this movie deals a lot with sexuality, a lot more than in the first movie, ironic seeing as that no one actually had sexual intercourse in this movie, while in the first movie, the act was very much there early on in the movie to set the stamps on the characters of “the whore” and “the jock”, an almost ritualistic scene in every slasher movie, and above all, Wes Craven movie, who would never pass on the chance to have a cliché to then shine an ironic light on it.
But the fact that this movie deals more openly on the theme of adolescence and sexuality is all well and good, but why are the homo-erotic undertones so blatant? But a better question is, are they really there?
I believe that the homophobia of the modern age might have clouded our mind a bit on that subject, we have been crying wolf for so long that we tend to see them everywhere. I’ll admit that there are some scenes that are very much ‘gay’, there is no disputing about that. Like when half awake, Jesse stumbles into a leather bar and runs into his Gym teacher, who obviously has a ‘Dom’ complex, who makes Jesse exercise in the middle of the night only to lure him to the showers, where he gets his own misfortunate encounter with Freddy. There is no question that this scene was very much ‘gay’, yes. But maybe, and I’m just speculating here, this scene was meant more as a way for Jesse to overcome his father issues and fear of school. The strong, masculine, dominating Gym teacher could almost be a textbook description of how most teenagers saw their own father figures. And the fact that Freddy , through Jesse, actually serves what he deems a ‘just reward’ only proves Jesse’s own obsession with his revolting nature against his own father who is actually a very strict masculine figure.
There are many more questionable scenes, such as Jesse’s disgust toward the prospect of a sexual act with Lisa, but what most seem to miss is why he is revolted. In the scene Jesse and Lisa are getting it on in a private room at a party, when suddenly Jesse’s tongue turns into a misshaped mess of flesh as he was about to use it on her bosoms, which forces our wimpy protagonist to run away in fear to seek comfort at his bro’s house. This was seen by many as very proving of the undertones of the movie. But lost in translation is actually a much deeper scene than that. The fact that Jesse is disgusted in himself, and not Lisa, seems to actually show us that Jesse suffers from a ‘Hedgehog dilemma complex’ rather than homosexual urges. He is not disgusted by the female body, but is actually afraid of hurting Lisa if he ever get this close to her.
So is this movie as Avant-guard in homosexual movement for the slasher genre as everyone is saying?
No, I’m not saying that the gay undertones aren't there, because they are. But I think it comes more from the lack of direction from the director’s part rather than actual intent.
So with all this said and done, is this movie any good? Well, it makes for an interesting tale about coming to terms with adolescence by having a demon literally taking over your body, but it makes for an horrible sequel to Nightmare on Elm Street. But I still don’t think it’s deserving of all the hate it’s getting.
Things I’ve learned from ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Freddy’s Revenge’
- The ‘Revenge’ part is pretty played down, although the kill count is pretty damn high.
- When a dude breaks into your room in the middle of the night, jumps on you while you’re in bed and put his hand over your mouth while saying that there is something trying to get inside his body so he want to sleep next to you, your reaction shouldn't be calmly giving him relationship advise, no matter the bro-mance
Personal rating: 5/10
Critical rating: 4/10
Best Kill in this movie:
Best kill so far: