Saturday, October 6, 2018

We Got Special Work to Do Here, You and Me.

A Nightmare on Elm St. 1, and 3-6 all form a cohesive narrative. No small feat for a horror film series in an era before cinematic universes and rigid continuity. These films are all stylistically and narratively very similar. The real oddity of the series is A Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985). Rushed into production to capitalize the phenomenon of the first film, this one was not received well, although it made plenty of cash and guaranteed more Freddy.

Being the first sequel and quickly made, there were no rules to follow. There was even a point where Robert Englund wasn’t going to be asked back to the role he originated. Part 2’s reputation has improved considerably over the years, thanks in a large part to a subversive queer reading of the main character, Jesse (Mark Patton) struggling with his sexuality. Queerness is often represented by monstrousness in film; characters who don’t fit in with normal (straight) society and whose aims are seen as villainous. In this case, it is Freddy, in his bid to possess Jesse, leads him to a leather bar and a steamy shower whipping of his bullying coach. There are homoerotic and S&M overtones that you aren’t going to find much elsewhere in the series. There is also plenty of humor that doesn’t come directly from Freddy himself, which is another unusual note for the film, including an impromptu dance number by Jesse to an exploding lovebird. A Nightmare on Elm St. Part 2 is a strange entry but it has become all the more loved because of it.

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