Terror Tuesday Report: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors

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The Film

A cadre of suicidal teens are remanded to the care of a mental health facility. Trouble is, while inside, horrific nightmares become a shared problem. When the kids begin offing themselves in the most bizarre ways, it becomes apparent–to the kids at least–that something far more sinister is taking place than unstable psyches. When the newest resident of the facility begins discuss a recurring, charred-faced figure haunting her dreams the others realize they too are being visited by this sweater-clad madman. With a little help from the facility’s newest intern Nancy, the truth is finally revealed, but will be in time to save their lives?

Dream Warriors is often haled as the best of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels and, while I agree, I don’t find it particularly well-done. There are elements that work exponentially better in this film than any other sequel and the concept is laden with potential. But it gets squandered in favor of cheap visual gags masquerading as scares; a problem all too familiar to this franchise. I do like that Freddy is used very sparing for the first chunk of the film, solidifying his legendary status. I also appreciate the return of palpably cool John Saxon to the series as it is my firm assertion that he should have played every police chief character in ever horror film of the 70s and 80s.

Terror Tuesday Forecast: ANoES 3: The Dream Warriors

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Third week in and already I’m throwing you a curve, but for good reason. My friend Eric Vespe, whom you probably know as Quint from Ain’t It Cool News is celebrating his birthday with a special screening of one of his favorite films at the Alamo Drafthouse. The screening happens to take place on the same day and at the same time as Terror Tuesday. Ordinarily, I would have to wish Vespe a  happy birthday and offer a heartfelt apology that I wouldn’t be able to attend his soiree…but then he revealed the movie he would be showing. So yes, though it technically won’t be an official Terror Tuesday, I will be attending the 35mm screening of a horror film on Tuesday at the Alamo Drafthouse, I still think that counts.

Now as for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors, I have mixed feelings. Part of me really falls in line with the argument that it is the best of the Freddy sequels and is giddy at the idea of seeing it on the big screen. But there is a lingering malaise in my memory of this film because I saw it in conjunction with every other Nightmare on Elm Street sequel in a sort of marathon. If you are a fan of horror, which you are because you are reading this, you are well aware of the spectacularly sharp decline in quality from sequel to sequel of this franchise. Having subjected myself to all of them in one sitting, it has become difficult for me to differentiate between them. Hopefully, this screening will decisively sever this film from the residual incompetence of the films around it.

But as always, we shall see. Enjoy the trailer in the meantime and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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