A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

a nightmare on elm street part 2

“You are all my children now.”

The Scoop: 1985 R, directed by Jack Sholder and starring Robert Englund, Mark Patton, and Kim Myers

Tagline: The Man Of Your Dreams Is Back

Summary Capsule: Freddy comes back to possess the body of an ambiguously gay teen.

Justin’s rating: Die, foul bird! Eh, he probably deserved it.

Justin’s review: It’s either a good or a bad thing — take your pick — when a horror movie is so bad or boring that you begin hoping, fervently, that the main characters will be slaughtered before they can utter another stilted line. Sure, this is fairly common in most genres, but other than your random Meryl Streep-getting-offed-with-cancer, your best chances of this happening are in horror flicks.

Unfortunately, someone has to survive, so it’s very un-often (is that a word? my mind is blanking) that the Big Bad Wolf will slice through the entire cast until only the Baddie himself remains and we can all go home or switch on the Playstation or something. Wouldn’t that be kinda cool, to have some sort of reverse body count in the lower right corner that counts down to zero as the characters start to resemble textbook illustrations of Gray’s Anatomy? When the numbers are gone, the movie’s over!

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge is not so much bad as it is apathetic. It’s leftovers reheated in the microwave of scriptwriting, basically answering the question: “What would Nightmare be like if Wes Craven didn’t direct or write it?” Our hero is now moody nerd boy Jesse, who is both unattractive and uninspired compared to Nancy. His main problem after moving into 1428 Elm Street is that Freddy keeps popping up in his dreams wanting to take over Jesse’s body to kill more or something. So instead of running for his life, Jesse’s big dilemma is saying “No” to Freddy’s increasing influence on his life. A subtle commentary on drugs, I’m sure. The body invasion theme just doesn’t rack up, in fear content, as does plain old bodily dismemberment (ah, for the good ol’ days of The Evil Dead).

Everything is rehashed from the first movie. Lines (“Don’t fall asleep”), that weird girl doing jump rope, parents not believing their offspring, botched love interests. About the only thing that changes is the dream sequences; we see a definite shift from freaky and unnerving to just plain bizarro techniques. Honestly, does anyone find the opening bus sequence anything BUT stupid?

I did enjoy quite a few laughs watching the interactions between loony Jesse and his way-too-supportive girlfriend Lisa. I’m sorry, but if your significant other shows up with hands full of blood (or red paint), it’s time to change your address and get an unlisted phone number. She is inexplicably sympathetic, which is understandable between teens in these sorts of films, except that only Jesse is having the dreams. You don’t want to be involved with people channeling dead child molesters, that’s for sure.

About the only thing of much value that Part 2 can offer is a pseudo-documentary into eighties fashion. So bored with the flick was I that I spent a lot of time noting the hairdos and outfits (hey, they liked Hawaiian shirts, too!). Part 2 also offers one of the highest body counts of any Nightmare, mostly concentrated in the final pool party scene. But, in the end, Jesse just can’t scream as well as a girl can, and Freddy is (if anything) less interesting as a villain. Gee, will Freddy or Jesse prevail in this whole demonic possession struggle? Stay tuned, for a much less interesting version of The Exorcist.

Kyle’s rating: There’s an undertone here… I can’t quite put my finger on it…

Kyle’s review: Yes, yes, this is the “gay” Nightmare on Elm Street. Practically any review you’ll find will mention the homosexual slant of this sequel, but for good reason: there is a lot of wacky stuff going on that definitely plays along a certain wavelength. If these details weren’t intentionally put there, wow. That’s fate, I guess.

However, I found this film to be pretty good and worth seeing at least once to get into the world of Freddy Kruger. For all the blatantly-1980’s madness and strange, almost satirical elements (those parents, especially the dad, are fairly whack!), Part 2 is fun! Our lead, Jesse, is almost the total opposite of a typical horror hero: he screams like a girl A LOT, instead of beating up his high school nemesis he befriends him, and he pushes away the local hot rich chick even though she is (inexplicably) into him. That’s kind of cool, though, because it raises the stakes when this Jesse dude seems wholly incapable of doing anything to stop Freddy from possessing him at will and tearing into his friends like soft, ripe fruit. Someone else will have to step up! Who could that be…

Yes, if you can overlook the seething undercurrent of homosexuality (hey, not that there’s anything wrong with that, just be prepared!) then there is a pretty effective horror/slasher/demonic possession story here. And if you can take and appreciate those gay touches, then this is very rare tale that deals with teenagers dealing not only with burgeoning sexualities and all the issues and problems that entails, but also with a otherworldly entity that tells them they are “all (his) children” before he shows his love by slicing and burning and boiling them. Be sure to snuggle up with your significant other while you’re watching this one!

“I have a BURNING, itching sensation on my head! Might be lice. Or ticks. Ow.”

Intermission!

  • He just happens to wander into a gay bar? Can SOMEONE explain that to me?
  • The song “Touch Me”, which is being played in Jesse’s room is an early, and slightly different version, of Kathy Dennis’ top 40 hit from the late 1990’s.
  • In the opening sequence, the bus driver is Robert Englund without the heavy “Fred Krueger” make-up and his signature clothing.
  • The name of the town is given: Springwood
  • Freddy’s facial burns were redesigned from the first film
  • Apparently the doltish director kept cracking up during the filming of the tongue scene that he had to direct from another room. The ideeeot.
  • Special-effects man Rick Lazzarini created a “demonic parakeet” puppet for the scene in wich the Walsh’s pet parakeet flies around and explodes. His puppet was not used because they wanted a regular-looking bird.
  • The original Nightmare 2 poster doesn’t feature Freddy at all, but instead a mirror shot of Jessie with a half-skull and claws on one of his hands.

Groovy Quotes

Lisa: [Reading Nancy’s old diary] Sometimes when I’m lying here in bed, I see Glen in his window across the way getting ready for bed. His body is slim and smooth, and I know I shouldn’t watch him, but that part of me that wants him forces me to. That’s when I weaken, that’s when I want to go to him.

Freddy Krueger: You’ve got the body, and I’ve got the brains.

Freddy Krueger: Kill for me.

Freddy Krueger: You are all my children now.

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