“This is it, Jennifer: your big break in TV. Welcome to prime time, bitch!” Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) literally breaks Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow) through the fourth wall. Signaling Kruger’s break away hit into pop culture icon status. What better way to celebrate its 30th anniversary than with a whole Decades of Horror 1980s episode dedicated to it?
Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 102 — A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
After his much celebrated introduction and decried detour of a second chapter, Freddy Krueger returned to terrify teens and adults alike with a bit more comedic flair in Dream Warriors. After young Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has a near suicidal panic during a nightmarish visit from Freddy, her mother sends her off to an institution to work out her waking torment. Under the care of Dr. Neil Gordon (Craig Wasson), Kristen meets several other teens with similar sleeping disorders. Among them, the drug addled Taryn White (Jennifer Rubin); the aggressive shit talker Roland Kincaid (Ken Sagoes); and paralyzed nerd Will Stanton (Ira Heiden). They all share visions of Freddy Krueger and need help getting him out of their dreams. But Dr. Gordon doesn’t seem to believe their shared boogeyman… until a mysterious new intern Nancy Thompson (Heather Lagenkamp) reveals her own past with a sweater wearing demon of her nightmares.
While 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street gave us our introduction to Freddy, Dream Warriors gave us the Freddy we all ended up loving for so many years. The jokes, the elaborate dream sequences and the formula for each teen’s descent into the nightmare world all came to light with this third entry. Doc Rotten, Thomas and Christopher G. Moore talk all about it here. The murders, the dream sequences and the… character investment? That’s right, our trio dives deep into what separates this from the repetitive sequels that followed and tried very hard to recapture the same energy Dream Warriors pulls off so effortlessly. It helps that people like Wes Craven, Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont were all there to flesh out the Freddy universe without dragging out the details. Or putting too much emphasis on the jokes and cameos, as later entries would do. It’s a mutual admiration society meeting for this underrated “meat in the Nightmare on Elm Street sandwich.” What the hell does that mean? Listen to find out!
We want to hear from you — the coolest, most gruesome fans: leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1980s podcast hosts at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We also want to be sure to thank Neon Devils for their killer track “Bone Chillin'” which we use for the intro and outro of this show.
1 Reply to “[Podcast] A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) — Episode 102 — Decades of Horror 1980s”
What a great episode, and Dream Warriors was easily the best pick for a discussion on a slasher franchise that must be *the* most creative. Easily my favourite horror series for its inventiveness and charm, it was interesting to hear everyone’s opinions pretty much fall into line, and I was particularly pleased to hear that Part 2, Freddy’s Revenge, didn’t get the kicking it usually gets in some quarters. The film has a lot of flaws, admittedly, and this was universally acknowledged but Thomas’s observation that it “holds up better than you’d think” was refreshing to hear. It was the first Elm Street film I saw as a kid and loved the make-up, special effects and dark aesthetic, so it holds a special place in my heart. Even now, I think the film has a lot more in common visually and in tone to the first film, retaining the grungyness and horror, with a lot of scenes shot in shadow. I still appreciate the visual effects, a creepy vibe and atmosphere that shifted to a more fantasy directions for the 3rd film, which is quite rightly regarded as the better film, more rounded and true to the character and lore. I find it struggle to watch the whole franchise these days, but I regularly cheat by watching Never Sleep Again, the four hour documentary that takes you through all the best moments, kills and behind the scenes gossip, without the bloated nonsense that dragged the latter films down. I am about to watch it a 4th time thanks to this episode. Thanks again for such a brilliant collection of shows, I look forward to each and every one of them!
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