7 Days of Freddy, Day 3: Dream Warriors 7 Days of Freddy, Day 3: Dream Warriors
According to Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund, Dream Warriors is the fan favorite of all the sequels and it’s easy to see why.  With... 7 Days of Freddy, Day 3: Dream Warriors

According to Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund, Dream Warriors is the fan favorite of all the sequels and it’s easy to see why.  With a budget as big as the first two put together (admittedly though that’s still not much), and Wes Craven back as executive producer as well as co-writer (with an assist from Bruce Wagner, Chuck Russell, and Frank Darabont), Dream Warriors took Freddy and his mythos in yet another direction.

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Patricia Arquette, making her screen debut, stars as Kristen, and as the movie begins, we see her making a papier-mâché house that looks all too familiar. After being told to go to bed by her horny, inebriated mother, Kristen is chased by Freddy in the house she was making, which is, of course, the former residence of Nancy and Jesse. She wakes up, goes to splash water on her face and sees him in the mirror. He slices at her, and when her mother barges in, we see Kristen has slit her wrist.

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This leads us to where the bulk of the movie takes place,   a psychiatric hospital. Kristen freaks out when they try to give her a sedative, and by sheer luck the newest doctor happens to pop in and calm her down.  Just when you thought it was safe, Nancy Thompson is back! How she manages to come back after the ending of the first NOES is as mysterious as how Freddy seems to keep coming back, yet we learn to roll with the punches and set aside logic.

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We then have the obligatory scene where Nancy is introduced to everyone and we then see perhaps every clichéd character you could ever hope to see. The only one missing is the dumb jock, and he’s saved for movies 4 and 5. Her colleague, Neil is very involved with the kids, and the two of them work together to do what they can for the patients.

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The next night, Phillip, one of the kids and a pretty good marionette maker is sleep walking. Though in his dream Freddy has ripped tendons from his hands and feet and using them as strings to guide Phillip to the edge of a bell tower, where he jumps to his death.

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The next night Jennifer (the “I’m going to be a star” cliché), sees Freddy coming out of a TV and he smashes her head into it, giving us the immortal line, “Welcome to prime time bitch!” Probably the least annoying of his one-liners that would pollute future sequels.  With two deaths in two days, Nancy realizes what’s happening, and we have the setup for the final confrontation. For those who have seen the movie, which would be most reading this, I would assume, here is the original plot for the first draft Wes Craven had written, and as much as I like what they went with, I think this has some intriguing ideas.

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The following is taken from the Dream Warriors page from Wikipedia: “In the original script by Wes Craven and Bruce Wagner the characters were somewhat different from what was eventually filmed. Nancy was not a dream expert nor any kind of mental health professional, Kristen stayed in the institution for only a while and had a father, Neil’s last name was Guinness and he was much younger, Dr. Simm’s last name was Maddalena, Taryn was African-American, Joey was the one who built the model of a house and had trouble getting around (although he did not use a wheelchair), and Philip was a thirteen-year-old. Will’s name was originally Laredo, he had long hair, did not use a wheelchair, and was the one who made the clay puppets. This script also showed the ranch house where Krueger was born, and is the house that shows up in their dreams rather than the Elm Street house. Contrary to the film, Lt. Donald Thompson knows from the start that Krueger is real and still alive. He had been missing and Nancy was intent on finding him, she finds him and learns that he was obsessed with finding the Krueger house and burning it down. In the original script, there is a romance between Nancy and Neil and they eventually have sex. There are scenes and lines that are very reminiscent of the first film. There is no talk of Krueger’s mother having been a nun or Freddy being “the bastard son of a hundred maniacs”, and both Joey and Kincaid are killed. The deaths in this script were much more grotesque, with Krueger not as talkative and more vulgar. Freddy is killed by Nancy by using his own glove, not by holy water. In Jeffrey Cooper’s novelization The Nightmares on Elm Street Parts 1, 2, 3: The Continuing Story (1987), the original Craven/Wagner version of the Nightmare 3 script is adapted, rather than the Russell/Darabont rewrite. Thus, the book version of the story is fairly different from the finished film.

 

As you can see it veers away from the final version quite a bit. Yet in spite of that, it still works. Well, mostly. Patricia Arquette is fantastic as the besieged Kristen, and it’s obvious that her acting abilities are several notches above everyone else’s. I think it’s safe to say, she elevates the movie to the highs it does achieve. Anyone else in her role and the movie would have been average at best. Not only is she sympathetic, but she’s a bit of a bad ass too, and carries herself well.

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I was rather harsh about Heather Langenkamp in my assessment of the first movie, and all I can say about her in Dream Warriors is my opinion hasn’t changed much. She’s not nearly as annoying as I found her in the first, but neither did I buy her as a doctor either. I know I;m pretty much in a minority when it comes to my opinion of her, and I can’t really pin point why, but when I see her on screen, I have the urge to punch myself in the balls.

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The others in the hospital are all fine and do well in their respective roles, even though none of them are what I would call well-developed characters. Hey it’s a Freddy movie, they’ll all be dead soon enough anyway, I suppose, so characterization may not be a big deal.

 

Craig Wasson as Neil pretty much owns his scenes. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time and was really glad to see him here. He brings a certain believability to the movie and acts as the audience’s bullshit detector. As he begins to believe Nancy, it allows the audience to as well. His scenes with the always reliable John Saxon are some of my favorites from the movie.

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Chuck Russell, making his directing debut does a surprisingly good job for a rookie, and knows how to ratchet up the tension and scares without relying on cheap jumps. He keeps the pace at a nice clip and there are no slow spots, at least for me.  Music is by David Lynch’s longtime collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti, and it’s one of my favorite scores from the series.

 

The makeup effects are top rate, and while I like the use of stop motion, it still takes you out of the movie a bit, as the motion is still too off to be realistic or even believable. Even some of the effects that could have looked silly, like the Freddy snake that tries to swallow Kristen, manage to be frightening.

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Is Dream Warriors perfect? No. If there’s anything to blame for the cartoon that Freddy becomes in later movies, it is the fault of Dream Warriors. Chuck Russell said he wanted to have a bit of humor in the film to not make everything so dark. He certainly could have done that without making a great villain like Krueger into a Henny Youngman, king of the one-liners. The hypodermics for fingers scene is absolutely godawful,  Freddy’s Revenge took a lot of heat for “breaking the rules”, but somehow Dream Warriors gets a pass for doing the exact same thing. Since when was Freddy able to manipulate physical objects like puppets and TV’s? How does he have a psychic connection to his remains? And how did he come back after the end of Freddy’s Revenge.

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Like most of the series, there are plotholes large enough to drive a truck through, but in a way, that’s what makes them so enjoyable. Dream Warriors is the last of the great sequels. What follows range from awful to rage inducing bad. Tomorrow’s installment is of the rage inducing bad variety, and it’s the one movie that made me not want to finish this series of essays. Renny Harlin, you have some ‘splainin’ to do!

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8.5/10 Gloves

 

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Scott Colbert

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  • Uh-oh. I might wanna skip tomorrows column, based on that last paragraph, lol

  • The scene with the skeleton is like right out of a 60s movie. I was never a fan of Freddy’s back story with his mom. I thought the pre-death Freddy should be perfectly mundane, a symbol of the banality of evil till he becomes that monster post mortem. Otherwise I love that movie. Including all the stereotypes. The puppet scene is a highlight for me. When I was a teen, I had more the hots for the dark haired girl than Patricia.

  • Yes, the snark is strong in that one lol

  • Well, I’ve kinda grown accustomed to Renny Harlin-bashing on this site already. And from ’99 onward, I think I’ve even done my share of it

  • Arquette rules.

  • Tarmac492.1

    heather langenkamp and patricia arquette should have made out with each other.

  • Asi, is that you?

  • Tarmac492.1

    This is a good flick. Not a huge Chuck Russell fan besides this.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Good Article – This movie is definitely one of the best of the series.

    Time to dork out!

    Regarding Freddy’s power. I argue that what happened with the TV scene & the clay dummy are not outside the rules.

    Freddy is able to use dreams as bit of a ‘conduit’ if you will to the real world.

    As demonstrated in the original Nightmare on Elm Street with the killing of Tina ( she defies gravity as she is dragged up to the ceiling ) this power is quite substantial.

    In the original film (I use this to show precedence) we see that Freddy can also manipulate physical objects that are near the dreaming victim/host. Glenn’s death demonstrates this:

    Freddy is able to pull objects like the TV into his world and in return spray physical blood all around the room which is clearly seen by poor Glenn’s mother.

    More physical manipulation is shown when Rod dies as the sheet is manipulated by Freddy so that he can hang the poor guy with it.

  • Toruk_Makto

    I rewind the scene where Laurence Fishburne and co. drag her to the padded cell over and over and over and over again because she looks so good while she jiggles and struggles.

  • I have a soft spot for Scorpion King. You don’t like his version of The Blob?

  • Tarmac492.1

    Not especially. Although it was an improvement over the original. He directed lesser Carrey and Ahnuld films.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    LOL. Why would it be him? Does he have a predilection for those two actresses?

  • He loves his lipstick lesbians.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I wouldn’t exactly call The Mask “lesser Carrey”. It was one of the movies that made his name. I remember enjoying it at the time, but it’s one of those films that’s probably horrible when re-watched today.

    Eraser was shitty, though, apart from the absurd airplane sequence. I saw the (pretty cool) trailer back in ’96 and misguidedly expected an action epic of John Woo proportions. Boy, was I disappointed. Possibly the last time I had that level of anticipation for an Arnold movie as well.

    Russell isn’t really to blame, though; he had constant onset clashes with the producer (Arnold Kopelson), and the script was also re-written on the fly dozens of times over. I believe even John Millius did an uncredited rewrite.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Mostly because he has no chance of getting them!

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    His Blob remake was good fun. Definitely one of the best remakes and one not often cited.

  • Well, Tina is being thrown around in the real world as well when she dies in the first movie. I’d also say the puppet and the TV transformations happen inside the dreams.

  • I saw it recently again and it holds up much better than I ever expected.

  • Arnold suddenly felt the urge to play it sooo safe. The way it was filmed was totally outdated.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    That’s why I was initially looking forward to it (based on the trailer). It looked like an epic love letter – maybe a farewell – to his eighties flicks, at a time when he’d moved onto more sophisticated action material like True Lies, T2 and Total Recall. But the finished result was horrible and very cheap looking, and I wish he’d hired McTiernan or Woo to direct, instead.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Dream Warriors is basically a superhero movie in a horror context, which was an inventive turn for the franchise to take. And, although I like this movie a lot, the filmmakers could possibly have done even more with that concept.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Oh yeah it definitely made his name. Apart from a smoking fucking hot Cameron Diaz and the use of Peter Greene, I just didnt like it. It also didnt help Russell/Eraser that Ahnuld made this right after True Lies, a flick that was a great mix of action and (even)broad comedy. Russell aint no Cameron. Not a crime in that, though.

  • And I completely missed that. Yet have every frame of Freddy’s revenge memorized lol

  • I agree, it has a comic flair and lighting to match.

  • Then given all that, what he did in 2 isn’t it of line either. He could be said to have possessed Phillip as well.

  • Agreed. This and the blob are his best.

  • This is the start of a good nerd debate.

  • Toruk_Makto

    There lies some of the wonderful ambiguities proposed by the series regarding dreams. I tend to think the TV part is primarily a dream sequence. I think the only real part of it is her being propelled head first into the TV set (which we know he has the power to do).

    The puppet is a little trickier.. Usually in a dream sequence we seeing events from the dreamers perspective. However the way it’s directed Phillip is fast asleep and we really aren’t sure what he is dreaming about or seeing. He could be dreaming via 3rd person perspective about drifting over his sleeping body and watching the puppet come to life…become Freddy…then he hurriedly re-enters his body so that he see’s Freddy from 1st person perspective…it becomes kinda weird narrative wise.

    The easier explanation would be that we are the 3rd person party…but are supposed to be dreaming…or does the dream only start when Phillip “wakes up”. Trippy stuff.

  • Tarmac492.1

    who doesnt?

  • One could argue a dream where you see yourself from a 3rd person perspective without the possibility to act is not out of order- I had some of those.

  • Stalkeye

    Great writeup and easily my favorite of the NoES Films. X-Men meets Dreamscape, dammit!
    Its not complete without a lil Dokken thrown in!! m/

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    After Last Action Hero flopped, I think, as Dee pointed out, Arnold got scared and did try to play it too safe. True Lies was an exception because Cameron was in charge and that project had been in development before LAH.

    I recall a very telling anecdote that might explain things: Cameron mentioned that, during scripting/filming of True Lies, Arnold kept trying to push the movie more towards hard action and less towards the broad comedy, while Cameron himself was more interested in pursuing the comedic/parody/romance elements as these were genres he’d never attempted before. Cameron won out, but Arnold was clearly already in an entrenched mindset. He believed a consistent retreat to past glories would please the fans who’d abandoned him on LAH and win them back.

    When Arnold returned to having full control over a B director on his next action project, Eraser, he obviously insisted on pursuing his reductive ideas, an approach which ultimately backfired. Perhaps this is what lead to the mediocre, dated film we got and explains why most of his subsequent movie choices were very bland and out-of-step with the times.

  • Dr. Geiszler, Kaijuologist

    Yeah, I guess I’m not the only one who think Langenkamp is a bit wooden. But that doesn’t stop me fro digging this entry of the franchise! Didn’t know about the novelization!

  • Toruk_Makto

    I’ve probably seen part two maybe twice. Definitely not my favorite, but I don’t think it was because of any broken rules. I remember the possession angle not doing anything for me. Not liking the main character (girlfriend was hot though).
    But in terms of what Freddy could or couldn’t do I don’t remember being bothered by it much. Maybe I’ll watch it for a third time and see if anything jumps out.

  • Toruk_Makto

    That’s true. It really could go several ways and each one fall within the guidelines.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Lol, was Asimov the chief perpetrator again? Harlin is Asimov’s bete noir – well, he’s third in line after JJ and Michael Bay, anyway. No point arguing with the man; he’s beyond reason when it comes to those subjects.

    Personally, I also find most of Harlin’s eighties and nineties movies to be quite enjoyable. And I’m including Dream Master among them.

  • Then our job as Supernaughts is complete lol

  • Tarmac492.1

    His DH sequel is really pretty good. Love Cliffhanger as well. The Long Kiss Goodnight is amazing. Yeah, I said it. Black’s best script since LW. Only week point is Craig Bierko’s bland villain.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Oh no. When the Arquette sisters are on screen my eyeballs become glued to it.

    http://thelip.tv/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Patricia-and-Rosanna-Arquette.jpg

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    One’s Hot, one is not!

  • Toruk_Makto

    Leave Rosanna alone! She’s like fine wine.

  • CoolHandJuke

    I enjoy that Freddy’s ghost mom was later on the Drew Carey show. I also enjoy the scene where the nurse strips down…

  • Dr. Geiszler, Kaijuologist

    Long Kiss Goodnight is a stone cold classic.

  • Toruk_Makto

    “Chefs do that.
    Damn good action movie.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Word

  • KilliK

    Prison isnt bad either. Aragorn is in that.

  • Very solid. Actually pretty good considering the budget.

  • KilliK

    Diaz had her 22th birthday when shooting the Mask. The producer whose cock sucked to get her role, was one lucky SOB.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Come on, I think her natural acting talent got her the role…ahem, yeah.

  • So fine Toto wrote a song about her. Or was it Asia? I forget.

  • CoolHandJuke

    I like butchy dykes who make me tuck my sack back…

  • S_D_M_F

    George Lynch FTMFW!!!!

  • I don’t have an Asi sized hatred for Renny in general, just this specific movie.

  • Stalkeye

    My favorite Kill from DW. XD

  • Stalkeye

    Good one, meng.

  • Stalkeye

    That explains why he highly recommended Vampyres.
    I’ll give a review of that soon. (;’

  • Stalkeye

    <—–
    I prefer to do all the phucking! As opposed to watching two chicks get it on while choking chicken. *Scoffs* Hah!

  • Stalkeye

    Ouch! I felt that sting 3000 yards away!!

  • Stalkeye

    Long Kiss Goodnight was very underrated and Bierko had potential to be an interesting villain. (I did like the hint of remorse when trying to kill his own Daughter and they could’ve went somewhere with that.) I also felt that revelation of Gena Davis having a Daughter felt a bit shoehorned just like Kill Bill 2.
    Such a trope indeed.

  • Stalkeye

    LAH had so much potential as a riff on macho action Films, but I couldn’t stomach the nonsense. And personally, I rather have JC helm LAH than True Lies which felt a bit too generic.

    *Ducks under desk in fear of volleys*

  • Tarmac492.1

    The stuff between her and Sam Jackson was great. Down and dirty-real seventies shit. Ian Holm was fantastic in a smaller role 😉

  • Stalkeye

    Do you know that the villain plot of the Movie, further adds speculation to the September 11 attacks?

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    How dare you! True Lies was a sharper parody of action movies than the intended parody, LAH.

    (rakes Stalkeye with Uzi fire)

    Just kidding. 😉 The concept of LAH did have a lot of potential, in truth. In the right hands, it could have done for the action/adventure genre what Scream did for horror several years later. I actually think Spielberg could have worked well with the material, and I wish Arnie and he had collaborated in their respective primes.

    McTiernan was an action god during that period, but he wasn’t right for that particular kind of action movie (mixing in fantasy/satire/ family elements) and the script was a mess in any case.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I wonder if Asi’s still holding onto his Amber Heard fantasies. He must be crying into his bowl of eel stew about that state of affairs.

  • Stalkeye

    Exactly! If within the right hands, LAH would have been something. I wonder what Verhooven would’ve done with this instead of McTiernan. Oh, he would have killed especially due to his track record of in-jokes like Robocop, Starship Troopers and to a lesser extent, Total Recall. all three were far more executed than LAH. (And the Humor was only a fraction of their greatness.)

  • KilliK

    wasnt this chick in Hellraiser 2?

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    True, but I think Arnold was trying to branch out to the PG-13 family audience at that time. He wanted some of that Home Alone money.

  • No that was an actress called Imogen Boorman. There is some resemblance.

  • Stalkeye

    Then Fuck that Sell-out. Whatever happened to creativity and risk taking? Especially nowadays. Hmmph!

  • Stalkeye

    I think that’s Patricia Arquette who-ballooned up in Broadwalk Empire.
    But got a huge applause from her Oscar win speech about equal pay and such.

  • Stalkeye

    That’s not Imogen Boorman but if you’re wondering about her not so current whereabouts…http://www.highland-news.co.uk/News/Drunken-TV-actress-in-child-neglect-shame-6097.htm

  • McTiernan’s direction was not the problem.

  • Stalkeye

    Well, it’s not all McTiernan. I also place blame on Zak Penn and Shane Black. 😛

  • Tarmac492.1

    I did not? Was Brian Cox the mastermind?

  • Stalkeye

    Yup the same Brian Cox that starred in Alien. (;’

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Love that movie. Got in on my Creature Feature shelf along with Daughters of Darkness. They make a great double feature

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Watched this one yesterday. Ok, time to nerd out. I recognized two of the actors from Star Trek The Next Generation. The horny mom was Engineer McDougal from “The Naked Now” and the Nun/Freddy’s Mom was the mother of the guy Counselor Troi was going to marry in “Haven”. Both were first season episodes that aired the same year this was released.