Release Year: 1985
It was inevitable after the success of the first Nightmare On Elm Street that the world wasn’t done with Freddy Krueger. And knowing that it would make money obviously kept Hollywood interested. The question simply remained if it could live up to the hype set by Wes Craven‘s original.
The film begins with a school bus dropping kids off, but we are focused on Jesse (Patton) who looks awkward as all hell. After a few stops we are left with only Jesse and a pair of girls when the bus skips over the last few stops and drives recklessly into the desert. Freddy ends up being the driver, and after leaving the bus on two lone pillars, makes his attack. Just as he comes slashing down Jesse wakes up in his bed.
Turns out Jesse is new in town, as his family has just bought the infamous 1428 Elm Street, the house where Nancy lived in the original film. The film tries to play Jesse as an outcast, but he still seems to be friends with most of the kids in the popular circle, his high school tormentor Grady included. It is almost like they couldn’t decide what exactly they wanted to do with his character so they try to have it both ways. And sadly this is not the only source of confusion in the film.
The rules for Freddy had only been briefly laid in the previous film, and they were not entirely set in stone until later in the series, making Freddy’s Revenge the odd duckling of the series. Not long into the film Freddy starts appearing to Jesse and hinting at using Jesse as a real world vessel for him to continue his work. The best scene involves Freddy informing Jesse that he has the body, but Freddy has the brains.
No review of Freddy’s Revenge would be complete without speaking about the homoerotic elements of the film. It has to be without a doubt one of the most homoerotic mainstream horror films ever made. From the S&M obsessed gym teacher, to Jesse’s relationship with the aforementioned Grady, everything is just openly weird about it. Does it affect the film? Not overly, if anything it adds an interesting subtext to the film, but it is certainly worth noting.
Many fans of the film (of which there are admittedly few, as this entry and The Dream Child seem to be the black sheep of the series) always point to the poolside massacre as the film’s saving grace, and it is hard to argue with that point. While the film was destined to make money simply due to being a sequel to one of the biggest and most original horror flicks of the ’80s, the poolside scene can be argued as to ensuring that the series got another grasp at getting it right, which would come with the Dream Warriors.
One of the other highlights of the film is the casting of the main characters. Everyone just generally seems to be real, which in a slasher film is one of the greatest compliments that can be paid. And of course Clu Gulager as Jesse’s dad is the highlight of the film other than Freddy. Seriously, Gulager is just fantastic in everything, and always makes watching a film with him much more enjoyable.
Overall, it is clear that the filmmakers were not sure what to really do with Freddy at this point. They knew that they had a moneymaking hit on their hands, but as mentioned previously the ground rules of the series hadn’t been fully laid down yet. Thankfully Wes Craven would come back for the next entry in the series which would set the series back on track, and help it overcome the rival Friday The 13th series.
Body Count: 13, a significant jump from the first film. Without the pool massacre though, the count would only be 2.
Best Kill: The entire poolside massacre qualifies here, as it is one of the only highlights of the film.
Up next is many peoples favorite entry in the series, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.