Saturday, October 29, 2016

My Review of A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

Written by David Chaskin
Directed by Jack Sholder

Freddy (to Jesse): "You've got the body, I've got the brain."

For a horror movie franchise that has often generated the most divisive of sequels, I'm surprised that this one has been slightly more divided than others. Forget Hellbent (actually don't, I liked it), this quickly released sequel is the original gay slasher movie and probably the Halloween 3 of the Freddy Krueger franchise.

Set five years after the original movie, A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge sees the Walsh family move into the Thompson's place with son, Jesse (Mark Patton) getting Nancy's old bedroom. Of course it's not the only thing he gets off Nancy too as everyone's favourite nightmare menace Freddy (Robert Englund) is also back and sets his sights onto making Jesse his protege, whether the young lad likes it or not.

At the time of this movie's release, the writer and director insist on the fact that any of the overt gay text from this movie was completely coincidental but it's obvious to anyone that it really isn't. Sure, Jesse has a likeable girlfriend of sorts with Lisa (Kim Myers) but most of the time in this movie he seems far more interested in spending time with his hunky jock friend, Ron Grady (Robert Rusler), even going as far as to evade having sex with his love interest to sleep over with his friend. In fact, it seems kind of obvious that Jesse had the hots for Grady at times during this movie.

Truth be told, the whole movie in itself feels like something of a metaphor for a closeted teenage boy coming to terms with his sexuality. You have Freddy trying to bring out his secret desire by using Jesse as a host to murder characters left, right and centre and a lot of the dialogue isn't particularly subtle about Jesse's own internal struggles with himself either. If this movie was being remade for today's audience, then the character would be openly gay from the off, wouldn't he?

Then there's also the fact that Jesse at some point in the movie ends up visiting a gay S&M bar where he spots his coach, Schneider (Marshall Bell). The coach in question is something of a bully boy and his death however sparks one of the most risque but memorable deaths as does the unfortunate demise of Grady as Jesse loses control and Freddy is able to take over the poor boy's body and cause some havoc before he's eventually defeated.

While Jesse is technically the protagonist and final boy of the movie, it's actually Lisa who saves the day and somewhat defeats Freddy. Her defeat of him isn't quite as great as Nancy's was in the first movie but it does the job. As for Jesse, he's sympathetic enough as a character but a little too whiny in some parts and his screaming are unintentionally comical in some places.

Freddy is pretty strong as a threat second time around but it did seem like this movie ditched some of the first one's original rules in order to have Freddy attack people in the real world instead of their dreams. Of course it would be later movies before the character would truly descend into a parody but here he's used well enough and still packs a punch as the main antagonist of the piece.

- Apparently Brad Pitt, Christian Slater and John Stamos all auditoned for the role of Jesse in this movie. Patton was probably still the better choice. He came out as gay after this movie was released.
- Jesse was considered to be the first male scream queen and he's the only male protagonist in the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. He's also never referenced in follow up movies.
- Freddy's body count is one of the highest as well. All the victims are male too,
- Standout music: Jesse dancing badly to All Night Long by Wish & Fonda Rae.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge is one hell of an interesting sequel. One of the most striking as it tries to do something a little different to the original but at the same time, it doesn't go quite off the rails as later ones will eventually do. Jesse isn't as compelling as Nancy was in the first movie but he's engaging enough and the homoerotic subtext is more literal text than the producers were willing to admit to at the time.

Rating: 7 out of 10

No comments: