Saturday, May 3, 2014

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

A Nightmare on Elm Street was a classic 1980s horror film about a burnt child killer who came back to haunt people in their dreams. Filmmakers decided that premise wasn’t insane enough, so they gave us a sequel filled with horrible gay innuendos and leather bondage sex, complete with a scene of Freddy whipping a man’s naked flabby ass. Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, those things are the most disturbing parts of this film.

Director: Jack Sholder
Starring: Robert Englund, Mark Patton

Freddy’s Revenge isn’t an accurate title – try Freddy’s Twisted Sex Fantasies.

We start off with a bus ride to high school in the 80s – which frankly is already terrifying; I mean there are only so many hairsprayed mullets and loose pastel-colored tops I can take. Apparently the extras from Society here are not used to their bus driver driving them into the middle of Mordor:


It turns out that was just a dream. Then we get a Stepford Wives-esque 80s family having breakfast when they hear their teenaged son Jesse screaming like a pussy from his room upstairs. Apparently this is a normal affair for the family – he has horrible nightmares and wakes up screaming all the time, and the family just kind of shrugs it off. What a bunch of assholes.

At football practice later, we see Jesse wrestling with a teammate on the ground after the guy pantses him. You know, kid; if you really wanted to see the guy’s ass so badly, you could have just waited until the gym teacher sent you all to the showers and taken a peek then. I love the focus on the wrestling between these two; what the hell is the point? Just to show us how, uh, “close” Jesse is to his buddies on the team?

It's the only way they can get out their "urges"...how tragic that we live in a society that teaches men to repress such things.

Oh well. Later on we get a dream sequence where Freddy appears and tells Jesse they have important work to do. Hmmmm…


Nah.

Jesse screams like a girl again – seriously, what the hell is up with that? – and then he wakes up. This time his parents do check on him, though – give em some points for that.

Later, he’s about to go visit his girlfriend when his dad insists he unpack his room beforehand. Instead of doing that, he does … well, just look:


I don’t even know. Have I just been doing this for too long? Have I lost my touch? Or is this scene simply too fucked up to address properly? Either way, I’m sure lots of perfectly normal, non-sexual-deviant, mentally sound young men in the 80s put on girly pop music and danced around their bedroom in stupid looking clothes. It was just the “thing” back then! That’s what I’m going to tell myself anyway, for fear of my increasingly fragile sanity.

His girlfriend comes over while he’s doing that and doesn’t immediately break up with him and run screaming out the door. Well, I thought the movie was unrealistic for focusing on a burn victim killing teens in their dreams, but NOW the film has lost all credibility! They talk about stupid things like his dreams, and then the girlfriend finds Nancy’s diary from the first movie. They figure out Freddy is behind the whole thing and then we cut to Jesse sleeping later.


Wait, what? How the fuck did that go? What happened in between those cuts?

“Oh, wow, I can’t believe we figured out Freddy is behind this weird stuff happening!”

“…”

“Okay, well, I’m going home to paint my toenails. See ya!”

YOU ARE A FAILURE AT LIFE.

We then get a bizarre sequence in which Jesse goes to an S&M bar and orders a beer – I guess Freddy subconsciously just really wanted to go to this place and had to possess some loser kid to get there. Questionable, but eh, there are weirder things to come. Jesse meets his gym teacher there, clad in tight black leather and everything. They go back to the school’s gym, where the gym teacher makes him run laps. Why? I can kind of understand why Jesse is doing it – he’s possessed by Freddy. But why is the gym teacher doing this? Does he really cruise S&M bars just hoping to run into students of his so he can make them run laps?

"Ohh yeah! Doing my day job in the middle of the night with black leather just TURNS ME ON!"

What a freak! Fortunately, Freddy ties him up with a jump rope, strips him naked and then whips his ass with a towel before finally killing him with his claws.


Uhh – I think there are some unanswered questions here, mostly about Freddy Krueger and how confused he is about, well, certain things. But that would take too long, and he has a private therapist for that. What weirds me out is that the gym teacher for some reason hates what Freddy is doing to him! Dude, you’re cruising S&M bars! And you can’t stand being tied up naked and whipped? What, did you think people at those bars were going to ask you to cuddle and watch a fucking re-run of Dear John on TV? Ice cream and blankets? Get your head in the game, man!

Either that or the script was just written by someone who was half asleep. I can’t really tell. Either way, it’s pretty tough to watch. It’s up there with the most ridiculous scenes from Society or The Stuff for 80s cheese so stale it’s actually difficult to sit through. You sit there and you think, oh, how silly, but then you also feel the tingle of shame in your gut, like food poisoning starting to take effect after a three-course buffet at Chipotle. Then you know you’ve crawled too far into the anus of the 80s.

After this scene is over, Jesse ends up naked sleepwalking on the highway. The cops return him home and make stupid cracks about keeping him on a short leash – yes, why bother recommending psychological help for a kid with obvious problems when you can just be insensitive douchenozzles? Truly you guys are the best cops ever. His parents think he’s on drugs. Why? Didn’t they ever have a “supernatural serial killer tried to take over their body” phase as teens? Pfft. Old fogies.


I guess that IS what’s happening, by the way. Somehow, it’s never really explained, Freddy is trying to come back into the real world by killing people through Jesse. Since this never happened in the first film and never happens in subsequent films, I’m gonna guess this is happening because Jesse’s brain is a weak flabby pile of Silly Putty that can be manipulated into doing anything, incredibly easily. Tune in next week when he joins an alternative religion!

We get a party scene later on celebrating something or other – the fact that these idiots haven’t managed to kill themselves blow-drying their overly egregious 80s poofter hairstyles every morning, I’m gonna guess. Jesse goes into a private room with his girlfriend and they start to have sex. In the middle of that, Jesse's tongue turns into a grey slug, so he fears he’ll kill his girlfriend in the middle of sex – which would be an original method of foreplay, I’ll give him that.


He runs away from her and goes to his guy friend’s house – you know, the guy who pantsed him in front of everyone and wrestled with him on the ground earlier. He says he needs to stay in that guy’s room for the night to make sure he doesn’t kill anybody.


… Now wait a second. We have a story here about a young man who has disturbing dreams he doesn’t understand. Everything is confusing to him and he feels as if there’s another being inside him, waiting to come out. He has a girlfriend but in the middle of sex with her, has an uncontrollable urge to leave and go to the house of another man, whose room he wants to stay in all night.

Well gee. If I were to be a bit insightful here in this review, I’d suggest this was actually just a big ole metaphor for Jesse coming out of the closet! Though I don’t think most coming out of the closet stories end up with the main character covered in blood after Freddy Krueger rips out of his body like a demented butterfly botching up hatching from a cocoon:

I guess people in the 80s were made out of papier mache! That affirms my incredibly specific, weird-ass suspicions better than I ever thought!

Newsflash, girls – if your boyfriend ever comes home covered in blood muttering insanely about how he killed someone … run. Run far away. Run to your nearest cab and go somewhere else, preferably a romantic comedy movie with no serial killers.

You'd think she would have more questions about him being covered in blood, especially after just randomly leaving in the middle of sex earlier, but I guess those are dumb questions.

So Jesse pretty much completely turns into Freddy, letting him loose at the party and sending everyone running for the hills. The girlfriend confronts Freddy in the old boiler room and tries to stab him a few times, though really her “stabs” are more like trying to get a pen to squeeze out ink on a high school math question – really not very violent. Try harder than that; come on!

Fortunately she doesn’t really need knife-wielding skills to beat Freddy at all. Instead she beats him and turns him back into Jesse by saying she loves him. Kinda like a really gory episode of Captain Planet.

Even mass-murdering psychopaths with questionable sexual fantasies deserve a little lovin ... when they're actually your 80s-mullet boyfriend underneath, anyway. Relationships are complicated.

So what’s the message? The struggle to come out of the closet is null and void when a hot chick says she loves you? Being gay is cool until you have a serial killer inside you, in which case you need to be turned back straight again? WHAT?!

This whole thing is just so goofy. Yes, the homoerotic subtext was completely intentional – the writer slipped it past the director, who didn’t even have a clue and just filmed the movie anyway. Oh the blissful ignorance. I make jokes about the whole thing because, frankly, the movie treats it as a joke. It would actually be really cool if this were seriously attempting to portray coming out as gay through an over the top horror film, but no, we get silly BDSM nonsense and girly screaming and of course, he ends up with his girlfriend at the end. So it’s mostly just stupid.

Not that I didn’t have fun watching this. It’s complete 80s silliness, and there are so many things to make fun of, I really didn’t cover even half of it. If you love Freddy or just 80s horror in general, this is a safe bet. It’s not very good, but then again, how much 80s horror really was, anyway?

Images copyright of their original owners. I own none of them.