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31 Nightmares

31 Nightmares

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I'm into Survival


Honestly, Freddy probably couldn’t have made a worse choice for a target. Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) is the first “survivor girl” he faces, and she’s more than a match for him. This is a young woman who can fill her house with booby-traps, tuck her mother in after a heart-to-heart conversation, and still manage to fall asleep and enact her plans, all in the space of about twenty minutes. Heather even plainly states that she’s “into survival” to her sort of boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp). She is a formidable foe.

I think it’s easy to pass her off as a goody-two-shoes character. She doesn’t drink, or have illicit sex, and never seems to really engage in any vices. At the same time, she doesn’t condemn her friends for doing those things, just wants to be there to support them if she can. When Nancy starts feeling the pressure though she has no problem confronting authority figures. These personality traits don’t just emerge out of nowhere. Saddled with an alcoholic mother that she needs to take care of, and an overprotective father who is a cop, Nancy learned both compassion and the need to stand up for herself.

Nancy’s anti-authoritarian streak is alive and well the second time she faces down Freddy Krueger, but that fierceness has been tempered by loss. Her friends, mother, the patients she’s trying to help and her estranged father all are collateral damage in her fight with Krueger.

I’m sure the prospect of having to once again deal with a killer who did so much damage to her life was a heavier burden than she was ready to take. At the end of Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors (1987), Freddy, disguised as her father, tricks Nancy and delivers a fatal wound before she dispatches him. I wonder if in her ultimate test of survival she just let Freddy into her embrace on purpose rather ever have to deal with him again, only to find that core of her character one last time.

1 comment:

  1. I love Nancy. Heather Langenkamp reminds me a lot of Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth, but definitely more self-reliant and less whiny.

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