A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
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nightmare_on_elm_street_3As a person who has taken part in lucid dreams, it’s refreshing to see a sequel strive to turn the premise of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” completely on its head. With states of dreaming and forms of the sub-conscious there is so much one can do with the premise that it’s a dream come true to see folks like Frank Darabont and Wes Craven re-visit the material and figure out a new way to deliver it to fans. Considered arguably the best of the “Nightmare” films, “Dream Warriors” takes a look at what would happen if the kids in Freddy’s dream world decided to finally start fighting back once and for all.

This lends credence to the notion that Freddy is not invulnerable and could actually be killed and or consciously snuffed out from existence. Thankfully most of the sequels explored the very same concept leading in to “Freddy vs. Jason” but “Dream Warriors” does it first and did it the best. Dreams are not only just Freddy’s domain, but they can be our domains. They can be landscapes upon which we’re able to achieve power and master our fears, and the combined efforts of the screenwriters examine that very concept with colorful characters, all of whom become masters of their own domains in the face of pure evil himself.

After “Freddy’s Revenge” failed to impress, “Dream Warriors” is a return to form where the plot is extended from Nancy’s own experiences and thrust in to a mental home where survivors of Elm Street are collectively dreaming about the same fedora wearing monster. If they can conquer their own psychoses perhaps they can acquire the ability to fight back against this horrific specter of death. One of the better aspects of this screenplay is that the writers are able to stick to the rules set by Wes Craven, thus Krueger is a monster confined to dreams who uses this world to bring about death to every young person in his path in some of the most creative ways possible. From a live marionette to sucking track marks, this is Freddy Krueger before he became a demonic Scud Farkis.

Once the kids decide it’s time to fight back, “Dream Warriors” is taken to new heights that improve upon the original film rather than stifle the vision Craven originally brought to horror audiences. “Dream Warriors” is definitely the best of the “Nightmare” sequels, and it’s a shame this is about as good as it got for the series once it ran out of ideas and became a standard hack and slash. There are so many more realms of dream culture out there that the final films could have been even better than “Dream Warriors.” Imagine the possibilities. A great rebound from the wretched sequel, “Dream Warriors” is arguably the best sequel of the “Nightmare” series featuring one of the most creative premises of the franchise and a concept many viewers will find quite innovative. It’s a shame the rest of the films never reached this peak.