I'll start this one off outright by admitting that it's probably my least favorite of the Freddy franchise. Having said that, one should further know that my dislike of it does not come from any of its gay subtext. In my last review, I mentioned that "Freddy, himself, could represent any number of troublesome things invading someone’s mind". In this case (at least the way I see it) Freddy is representing the fear that comes with being trapped in the closet, and afraid to come out. One could say Freddy represents "unacceptance" from society - especially in a 1980s, very AIDS-aware America.
Another more unfortunate way to look at it is that Freddy represents something much worse. Again, considering the time this was released, Freddy could represent gayness, itself, trying to take Jesse over while his female friend helps him fight it off. To be clear, I don't see this as the film is saying "being gay is wrong". In this case, I see it more as the idea that Jesse is uncertain and afraid of his newfound feelings - potentially towards the high school athlete, Ron (which, let's face it, isn't a whole lot better). Having covered all of that, I'll never totally understand what this movie means from a gay perspective. However, I will plug actor Mark Patton's film; a documentary called 'Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street' where he talks about how the film affected his life as a now out gay man. This will give a much better and more direct perspective from perhaps the most appropriate person to talk about it.
Now, to get around to the reasons I don't really enjoy it as much as any of the others, it has a lot to do with the breaking of established rules. First, let's go back to the previous film which director, Wes Craven, figured would be a one-off deal. He signed no sort of paperwork that said 'Nightmare on Elm Street' and its respective characters belonged to him. So, with the first one being a box office success, and having very clear sequel potential, writer David Chaskin got to work on his screenplay that involved Freddy trying to come through to the real world and terrorize the neighborhood. Although Craven was approached to direct, he turned it down based on the idea that it went against the rules he had established for that world.
While it could be argued that the world Wes Craven established could just as well develop into the possession story it became, I still feel this ruins the flow of everything. If every horror franchise has a black sheep ('Halloween 3', 'Friday the 13th 5') this is most certainly it for 'Elm Street'. The whole concept of the original film spoke to a broad audience, as basically everyone dreams, everyone has to fall asleep, and our nightmares reveal our deepest, darkest terrors which Freddy uses against his victims. Let's also not forget that the original was actually based on real events; not the child murderer being based on a real person like Leatherface is loosely based on Ed Gein, but the whole death-by-nightmare concept.
A quick plot synopsis of the film shows Jesse (Mark Patton) and his family moving into Nancy Thompson's house, several years after the events of the first film. As Jesse starts having terrible nightmares (none of them very special at all, except maybe the opener), he soon finds himself up against Freddy, who wants to use Jesse's body as his vessel for coming back to life and wreaking havoc on the town of Springwood once more. He seeks the help of his Lisa (Kim Myers), who likes him and wants to help him with whatever is bothering him. But most, including his family, and school jock Ron Grady (Robert Rusler) think he's off his nut. Insert a bunch of subtext, and that's 'Freddy's Revenge' in a nutshell.
The whole possession thing is where the film loses me altogether, and it frankly sucks that the nightmares take a total back seat to everything here. The thing about Freddy getting us in our nightmares is that it's an invasion of privacy on Freddy's part. It was a happy accident in the first film how they decided to ditch the notion of Freddy being not only a child killer, but... well, more. The idea of the invasion of dreams is so personal that it could be seen as a total perversion on a similar level. Imagine knowing that someone out there had the ability to walk right into the middle of a wonderful but very personal dream you're having and just do whatever they wanted. Imagine further knowing that said person could physically harm you as well. I mean, it's a terrifying concept when you really think about it. But to bring Freddy out of that and into the real world - well, now he's just another serial killer with a bad burn.
While I do think this is the weakest entry into the series, I would be lying if I said it didn't consist of a few moments I can truly appreciate as "bests". For one, there's a pretty gruesome but well-done practical effect scene that involves Freddy ripping his way out of Jesse. It's not for the weak-stomached, but I've always given kudos to the scene for its effectiveness. I can also admit that it's the last time we really see Freddy's serious side. He's not really a wise-cracker here so much as a man on a mission, and that does add an extra level of scariness to the character. However, none of that is quite enough to save it for me, and at best, it stands out as a sort of "good-bad" movie for yours truly. I mean, the family has "Fu Man Chew" cereal, Mark Patton does his dance scene (hilariously awkward), and it's just so against the grain. One thing is for certain; there's no Freddy film quite like it.
Body Count: 10
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