A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Nightmare on Elm Street 3 starts off on the right foot and virtually ignores everything that happened in number 2. Then, you throw in that Wes Craven, the creator of the series, co-wrote the first draft... Well, that just makes me giddy.
It's funny to think that back when I started Classic Horror, I was dead set against ever allowing Freddy or Jason in. Well, they're both here, and I've found that I've grown attached to Freddy Krueger, in a sick sort of horror fanboy way. Here he stalks the last of the Elm Street kids, who are all in a mental institution for their "mass hysteria" problem. Each one of them is having nightmares involving a hideously burned man in a dirty brown hat, wearing a green and red sweater.
Nightmare on Elm Street 3 is not the best Nightmare film. It is, however, the best of the non-Craven ones. Director Chuck Russell (whose work ranges from the excellent Eraser to the middling The Mask to the awful Bless the Child) does a decent job here. There's nothing surprising about his work. It's not terrible, but it's not wonderful either.
At the end of my tape is an interview with the two writers who "polished" Craven's first draft, Russell and Frank Darabont (who went on to make The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile). They talked about adding a ray of hope to the despair that pervaded throughout the script. Unfortunately, the more obvious examples of this tinkering are grating to watch, with cast members patting each other on the back and finding their hokey "dream talents" during what should be tense moments.
It never ceases to amaze me how much credit people give Robert Englund. Not that he doesn't deserve it; His portrayal of Freddy Krueger is memorable and entirely his own. Makeup artist Kevin Yagher cites a sequence where they made up an actress to look like Freddy in order to make a dream sequence more vividly bizarre. However, the footage taken was unusable - nobody could play Freddy like Robert Englund.
The rest of the actors range from bad to pretty good. Heather Langenkamp returns as Nancy again, and shows that she's not a great actress. Almost famous actors Patricia Arquette and Lawrence (Larry) Fishburne are good, though Arquette can be annoying slightly. The rest of the actors do what they have to do in order to finish the movie (or their cinematic life).
All in all, not a bad movie to watch. It's fun, the nightmare sequences show brilliance in art direction, and you could do much, much worse. Worth a rental.