Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Something Rank (#14-13)

4 Psychos, 36 Films, Endless Exploitation!

Previous entries:
(#36-33) (#32-29) (#28-25)
(#24-21) (#20-17) (#16-15)

(#14) A Nightmare on Elm Street 3:
The Dream Warriors

Of these franchise favorites, Freddy is the most foul-mouthed and fantastical, also the most grandiose in conceit. His bloodletting is equaled only by his ability to manifest the innermost fears of troubled teens - for the purpose of grand setpieces and, oh yeah, thematic purpose. The first film dabbles in divorce, alcoholism and insinuations of pedophilia. The second conquers a uniquely bent state of sexual confusion and self-loathing. This third entry continues the trend by slicing and dicing through topics of teen suicide, drug addiction and mental illness. The series, perhaps unexpectedly, empowers its adolescent characters to fight their shared inner demons. Likewise some will fail, while a few find the strength to wage war within and ultimately survive (at least until early on in Part 4). Resonance and depth are easily glossed over with ghostly visions of Freddy's mother, maybe even the pun-laden special effects sequences (which are at their innovative peak), but conceptually the series is a deviously clever approach to adolescent turmoil. As a philosopher once said, "Welcome to primetime, bitch!"

Part 3 expands Krueger's legacy while hyper-expanding its budget and scope. In doing so Freddy is now an unholy supervillain, clawed from the loins of his holy mother. Springwood teens are still his choice playmates, and who better than the mental cases already set on self-mutilation. Freddy's always been a cutter. Their desires and dread provide plenty of fodder for Freddy to play puppet master with a boy's veins and inject those of a one-time addict. Oh, and Zsa Zsa Gabor's in there somewhere. In fact the entire cast is a veritable who's who of people who were once nobodies. Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne and Priscilla Pointer appear alongside John Saxon, reprising his role as disconcerting Dad to Nancy. Heather Langenkamp returns as well to the iconic Final Girl, still streaked of grey and swapping her sweet wisdoms about how to stop that pesky dream demon. United they stand, warriors in a madman's realm that also happens to be their minds.

The Face of Fear:

Killer Looks:

1) Puppet Master

2) Naughty Nurse to Needle Junkie

3) Freddy from Above and Below

4) High-Tech to Bare Bones

My Thoughts Exactly...

(#13) A Nightmare on Elm Street 4:
The Dream Master

In one of the film's most surreal and sensational moments, Alice takes in a screening of Reefer Madness. Lulled into a stoned sleep at the cineplex, Alice's inner monologue of, "This sucks," literally sucks her into the screen. From behind the celluloid projection, Alice watches herself doze off to friends' eerie applause. It's a monstrously clever meta moment that's totally aware of its audience. Some viewers are admittedly experiencing reefer madness, while the film's critics are given some ironic relief. No, this isn't high art, but it's made artful for those who are high.

Film fans in general can rejoice at the knowing wit and playfulness that makes this otherwise inessential entry so innovative. For every admittedly stupid joke or grotesquerie, there's a willingness here to toy with extremes and delight in excess. We descend through Freddy's bowels, watch the film loop back on itself (another smart "high" point), and have the winking use of Heather Langenkamp's Just the Ten of Us co-star check in to a roach motel. The practical effects are ghastly and lame in equal measure, and the same could be said for Freddy. Robert Englund dons drag and sucks face with a student -- he's an even more malicious prankster now, as crude as he is cruel. It's fitting that this entry has him reanimated by a dog pissing fire in a junkyard. It's surrounded by trash but no less impressive for it.

The Face of Fear:

Killer Looks:

1) Robert(a) Englund
2) Jaws to Claws

3) A shady character

My Thoughts Exactly...

Up Next: #12-11
Freddy's so gay. So very, very gay...


Rob K. said...

Welcome back, it's been too long! Loving this brilliant countdown.

Jaime Grijalba said...

NoES3 is one of the best slashers of all time.