I Liked That? – A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
We all have movies that we watched as kids that we remembering loving back then. A lot of those movies we haven’t seen in decades, even though we still talk about how great they were. On “I Liked That?,” we revisit these movies to see how well they hold up.
I was kind of a weenie as a kid. When I was seven, I insisted on leaving Gremlins because I was too terrified. An actual horror movie was out of the question. While my friends were debating Freddy or Jason, I lied and said my parents wouldn’t let me watch either. I’m sure they wouldn’t have allowed me, but I sure wasn’t asking. When I was eleven, a friend insisted we watch this A Nightmare On Elm Street special on MTV when the fourth film came out. I agreed, and a weird thing happened: I was more intrigued than scared. I decided to at least try to watch one of these movies, and the very first one I watched was A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, mainly because of the Dokken connection. To this day, the Elm Street movies are my favorite horror franchise, even though I haven’t watched any of them besides the first in years.
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 is a huge improvement on 2, which is by far the worst film of the franchise. Why would Freddy Krueger want to leave the dream world and come into our world? Freddy attacks us in dreams, and everyone has to sleep, which is exactly what makes him so cool. With 3, we’re back to the dream world, so that’s a good start. It also marks the return of Nancy, the main protagonist of the first movie. Now she’s older and working at an asylum populated by the last of the Elm Street kids. This group of kids are all in an asylum because they’re having horrific dreams that are leading to suicides.
Here’s my biggest issue with this movie: You have a group of kids who are all under the risk of suicide due to terrible nightmares. Nancy’s idea is to prescribe the patients a drug that inhibits dreams. Even if there wasn’t an undead murderer trying to kill them in the dream world, this drug seems to be a dream (no pun intended) solution. It would take the dreams away, let these poor kids get rest, and then they can work on the root cause of their psychosis. That’s the entire point of medications: To balance their brain chemistry. The higher ups of the hospital say no, preferring to stick to group therapy and regular sedation.
The other odd choice this makes is Patricia Arquette’s character. She has this magical ability to pull people into her dreams. Nancy and the kids decide to all go into a dream together to fight Freddy, hence the subtitle: Dream Warriors. What’s truly bizarre is that all the kids have very specific abilities in their dreams… because every dream we’ve all had involves us having specific super powers? These also aren’t great powers the kids have. The kid in the wheelchair can walk, but he’s also a wizard. One girl is beautiful and dangerous. The only way she seems to be dangerous is that she has knives, I guess? One kid is strong, and the mute kid can yell really loud. Not exactly the Avengers, or even the Defenders.
The one doctor at the hospital that tries to help Nancy starts seeing a nun everywhere. The nun knows a lot about Freddy and how to defeat him. Apparently in this one Freddy is trying to kill the kids because she hasn’t been buried yet. Instead of being defeated by the super kids in the dream world, he’s killed by the doctor, who battles his skeleton with the help of Nancy’s cop dad, and then throws holy water on the bones before burying them. Poof! Goodbye, Freddy!… For now. Of course, we also discover that the hospital the kids are in is the old asylum Freddy was conceived in, and the helpful nun is the ghost of Freddy’s mom. The big legend of Freddy is that he was conceived when the inmates of the asylum repeatedly raped his mother over the course of multiple days, making him “the bastard son of 100 maniacs,” which was written by someone who has no idea how conception actually works.
The weirdest part of the movie is when after Nancy’s cop dad dies fighting Freddy’s skeleton in the real world, his ghost comes to say goodbye to Nancy in the dream world. SPOILER ALERT: It’s really Freddy. But before that, she seems genuinely happy to see him. As in not a single tear, just smiles and hugs, which seems like an inappropriate reaction to the death of your father.
The highlight of the third installment is that Freddy starts killing his victims in very specific ways. The kid who likes making marionettes is turned into a marionette using his veins as strings before being thrown off the hospital. The girl who wants to be a television actress is driven headfirst into a tv. The girl who has been a drug addict in the past is injected with an overdose by Freddy. It’s the start of the deaths being completely over the top and ridiculous, a hallmark of the series.
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is really only good for a nostalgic look back. The effects are enough to turn anyone away that has never seen it before. But, for those of us that grew up with these movies in the 80’s, it can still be a fun look back if we can suspend any shred of disbelief we have.