31 Days of Halloween 12 – Nightmare on Elm Street 3
Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (1987) has everything you could ever want from a Freddy movie. Wes Craven returns, Heather Langenkamp is back, and the movie focuses on dreams, which is Freddy’s specialty. It is also somewhat topical, focusing on teen suicide, parenting, and the American family unit, which were all hot topics for discussion around that time. Patricia Arquette joins the cast and does a good job, but this is old-school Freddy in this movie: he hunts teens and haunts their dreams. Everything else is a bonus.
Freddy apparently has plans for Kristin, because he slashes her wrists and she joins the inmates at Westin Hills, a psyche ward. He continues to torment her and we learn that she is a repressed scream queen. Dang, she’s loud. The commentary about psychological treatment by the filmmakers is obvious, and Kristin does not find any help in the psyche ward, until she meets Nancy.
The claymation, miniatures, and the environments are all excellent. Phillip’s death at the beginning is simple and well-done. It sets up the rest of the movie and escalates the conflict between the doctors. Too bad they’re all idiots. Have you ever seen a smart doctor in a horror movie? I know I haven’t. Then again, there’s The Reanimator, who tortures everybody and reinanimates them, but I think he was a scientist, not a doctor. Anyway, I got off track.
Parts of this movie are pretty creepy and hilarious. Freddy threatens Cza Cza Gabor and comments on show-business all at the same time. Compared to the Friday series, the kills are more original and amusing. One of the teens is killed by taking a TV to the face and that’s probably the highlight. That kill is part of dozens of horror clips all over the internet. I like it.
The highlight of this movie is the clever skeleton animation, but the ending needs help. The skeleton coming to life is straight out of Jason and the Argonauts and looks great. It whips ass and takes names. At the end, Freddy slices into Nancy, but is killed a few moments later when his bones are buried. There’s no dramatic last words and no final confrontation. Freddy just bursts into orange and disappears. It works fine, but it’s just so simple that you’d think they would do something bigger if they really wanted this movie to be the last.
In criticism of the movie, Roger Ebert said the characters lacked any humanity and he didn’t identify with any one of them. I would say that most of them are likable, but there’s not enough time to really get to know them, but I think the characters are better than those in most horror movies. Ebert liked the additional backstory for Freddy, but felt there weren’t any scares. I would add that the dark humor is the best part and I felt entertained, so I didn’t miss the scares. I mean, you can go serious or humorous, but this one tries to do both and it works, for the most part. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it if they went all serious, because they did that already.
All in all, this movie is a fun time. I like the dark humor the most and the kills are imaginative. The strange thing about this and any Freddy movie, is that we really don’t spend all that much time with him. He pops in, kills a teen, says a one-liner, and pops out, which is too bad, because he’s underdeveloped like the teens. Overall, this movie could have used ten more minutes to explore characters, or to include that grand finale the movie was lacking. You can see where the slasher or horror genre might develop, given the themes in this movie, so Wes Craven should be praised for that. However, it’s the most classic version of Freddy ever put to film and is still remembered today.
31 Days of Halloween Movie Marathon
1 – Frankenstein and the Monster from HELL (1974)
2 – Dracula has risen from the grave (1968)
3 – The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)
4 – Evil Dead II (1987)
5 – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
6 – Les Diaboliques (1955)
7 – The Howling (1981)
8 – Friday the 13th (1980)
9 – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
10 – Hellraiser (1987)
11 – Let the Right One in (2008)
12 – Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1984)
13 – House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
14 – The Strangers (2008)
15 – The House of the Devil (2009)
16 – Psycho (1960)
17 – The Orphanage (2007)
18 – The Amityville Horror (1979)
19 – The Raven (1963)
20 – Blue Velvet (1986)
21 – Repulsion (1965)
22 – Dementia 13 (1963)
23 – The Vanishing (2008)
24 – Halloween (1978)
25 – Shaun of the Dead (2004)
26 – The Silence of the Lambs (1988)
27 – An American Werewolf in London (1981)
28 – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
29 – The Exorcist (1973)
30 – The Ring (2002)
31 – Night of the Living Dead (1968)