Monday, October 13, 2014

Horrors of October - A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (#13)

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

Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton) suffers greatly from a series of nightmares, each featuring a certain bladed glove-wearing serial killer. Unable to keep a hold on him, Freddy Krueger is reborn into the real world and strictly seeks to kill the male population. When I first saw FREDDY'S REVENGE during my initial trip through the entire ELM STREET franchise, I flat-out hated it. I knew what was going on in the background (which I'll get to in a bit) but I was more concerned about the dilution of the character brand and it being such a mighty step-down from the classic first film. Like many, I was screaming to the heavens, "Where's Freddy and what's his revenge?!" Nowadays, however, I see FREDDY'S REVENGE as the most daringly original of the sequels, excluding NEW NIGHTMARE of course. What makes the film stand out on its own from the pack is its immensely gay subtext. For you see, Freddy Krueger here is the living embodiment of Jesse's own repression of his homosexuality. Need proof? Other than the fact that Jesse is being played by an openly gay actor, there is his shrilly girl screams, his trip to a S&M bar, and the glorious moment where he dances to the original version of the dance classic "Touch Me (All Night Long)" while cleaning up his room, including the sight of a man closing his drawer by twerking. But the biggest piece of evidence is how Jesse is clearly more attracted to his friend Grady than final girl Lisa, asking him questions about wet dreams and running to his bedroom when a make-out session goes wrong. Apparently, all of this flew right over director's Jack Sholder, despite him contributing a world of high camp, where Jesse's household looks like it was transplanted from "Leave It to Beaver". Though all of this makes the movie utterly fascinating to behold, not everything works out in the end. The film never explains how the real-life version of Krueger has supernatural powers, including pyromancy and teleporation. Then, there is the mess that is the finale, where at one point Freddy is being guarded by dogs with human faces. Yeah, it's as stupid as it sounds. Despite these setbacks, the movie rights itself with a bookending epilogue, that explicitly states that it's unhealthy to try and "correct" one's true self.


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