Slasher Summer Camp: ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge’

By Anthony Crabtree, Guest Blogger

As a child there were three things that scared me greatly:
1.Chucky
2.People trying on Halloween masks at LaVerdiere’s
3.Freddy Krueger.

Chucky was a pretty straightforward terror — he was a doll that murdered people. And, people wearing masks was an inexplicable fear that I always had growing up, so naturally seeing people trying on masks in a department store would certainly be a terror to me. Freddy was third on this list because I avoided everything to do with Freddy because he was that scary. I would cry every time I saw his face on a videocassette box at Hometown Video Hut.

Yes, Chucky or Halloween masks may have occupied spots one and two on my list, but that was only because I was too young and frightened to give Freddy a chance. This fact might also explain why I have seen few films from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. In helping me get over this childhood fear, I watched “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge,” for this edition of Slasher Summer Camp.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge,” written by David Chaskin, directed by Jack Sholder, 87 minutes.

For those unfamiliar with the character of Freddy Krueger (played by Robert Englund), he first appeared in Wes Craven’s brilliant film “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” The character is a janitor who was a child murderer and pedophile. The parents of the children, overcome with anger, eventually get their revenge by burning him alive in a boiler room. Freddy, in a somewhat went on to haunt and murder teens in their dreams. And, in “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge,” he is back, trying to take over the body of a boy named Jesse (Mark Patton) to continue his murdering spree.

The plot in this film is not as engaging as the original. Freddy plays a less terrifying role, as he does not invade people’s dreams, but rather just hangs out in Jesse’s mind/body. This creates fewer frightening moments for audiences because it doesn’t seem like Freddy is nearly as powerful or scary as he used to be. Freddy becomes a humorous villain in “Freddy’s Revenge,” and was only scary to 5-year-olds like myself. Wes Craven’s original was unique, but this sequel veers into territory that makes it almost nothing more than a possession film. Almost.

There are some bizarre scenes in this film and they certainly add some … thing to it. One is the relationship between Jesse and his friend, Grady (Robert Rusler). The two initially seem to dislike each other, fighting on the baseball field after Grady pantsed Jesse for not catching a fly ball. Why does he pants him? Because that’s apparently what you did in 1985 if somebody didn’t catch a fly ball. Scenes continue throughout the film that demonstrate what the kids would now define as a “frenemy.” Jesse yells at Grady in the lunchroom. People stare at the two of them in silence. Jesse and Grady talk about Coach Schneider behind his back, but he hears. They get in trouble and have to do pushups. Yes, there is a lot of drama between these two.

Then, in my favorite scene, Jesse cleans his room while listening to an ’80s R&B song. The epic dancing that is done while cleaning this room actually rivals that found in “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.” Jesse uses his bottom to push in his dresser drawers to the beat of the music, and then puts on sunglasses akin to those that Hermes wore in the Disney version of “Hercules.” Jesse then continues to embarrass himself further as his Mom and (hopeful) girlfriend walk in on him.

Other humorous scenes involve the gym teacher finding Jesse at a leather bar attempting to order a beer and a killer parrot. The point of this review is that there are plenty of moments in this film that guarantee laughter, but they do not necessarily make “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” worth the viewing. If you’re a fan of the franchise and want to see Freddy end up at a pool party, then this one’s for you. However, if you want a serious horror film or even a slasher film that is not completely ridiculous, then I say look elsewhere.

Grade: C

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2 Responses to Slasher Summer Camp: ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge’

  1. Ray Crowe says:

    Part 2 is the first Freddy film I ever saw. While the writing stinks, the Freddy make-up by Chuck Yagher is astonishing and the best in the series; Freddy is still scary as in the first film; and the acting, particularly by Mark Patton and Lisa Myers, is among the best in the series.

  2. Tony says:

    Ray,
    My review doesn’t necessarily reflect how much I enjoyed the film and the fact that I appreciate a lot of what this film does. Yes, the writing is poor, but I do agree that the actors (as well as director Jack Sholder) make an excellent attempt and, for the most part, succeed.

    The make-up effects in this film are quite good (best in the series? Maybe, I’d have to go back and re-evaluate) and the fact that this film is so odd and completely different from the first definitely make it noteworthy.

    I’m also putting together a list of top ten horror Blu-Ray releases for this Halloween. There will most definitely be one on there that you like.

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