A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET III: THE DREAM WARRIORS
A Nightmare on Elm Street III: The Dream Warriors is where the formula of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series began. In the first film, Robert Englunds Freddy Krueger was a genuinely sinister boogey man but by this point he has turned into the equivalent of Wile E. Coyote in a Road Runner cartoon, popping up like a malevolent jack-in-a-box to quip a one-liner and dispatch victims in a display of makeup effects virtuosity. Robert Englunds punning one-liners made the character into a cuddly malevolent anti-hero, even a poster pin-up figure, that people could enjoy in much the same way that Marilyn Mansons shock rock theatrics gained a following a few years later.
Certainly, Nightmare on Elm Street III: The Dream Warriors stands slightly above the mostly dull and formulaic sequels. It is formulaic but at least mounts its various set-pieces with some imagination particularly a sequence with a character being walked along like a marionette by his own veins, up to the top of a tower where a maniacally cackling Robert Englunds face fills the sky and his steel claw slashes the strings; and another with the appearance of a bio-mechanoid Freddy tv set where the channels flicker with the disembodied cries of children and arms made of wire and circuitry reach down to grab the victim. These are balanced by a couple of shoddy sequences like the unconvincing rubber Freddy snake that turns up at the beginning and the poorly stop-motion animated climactic skeleton dance. As the A Nightmare on Elm Street series went on, any of the subtle and eerie undermining of reality that occurred in the original film would be supplanted by these novelty makeup effects dispatches. It is really the rubber latex and air bladder transformation whiz kids who are at the helm of this one. As in the previous two films, the twist ending throws previously established logic to the wind.
Director Chuck Russell (who sometimes also bills himself as Charles Russell) made his debut here and would go onto make a number of other genre films, usually all effects-centred vehicles. These include the remake of The Blob (1988), the Jim Carrey cartoon superhero film The Mask (1994), the Arnold Schwarzenegger action film Eraser (1996), the occult flop Bless the Child (2000), The Scorpion King (2002) and The Hunchback (2018). A few years later, co-writer Frank Darabont caught public attention as director of the acclaimed Stephen King adaptations The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Green Mile (1999) and The Mist (2007). The Dream Warriors is also notable for the surprising number of actors present who went onto make names for themselves, including Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne and Jennifer Rubin.
The other Elm Street films are: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street Part II: Freddys Revenge (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master (1988), A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), Freddys Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Wes Cravens New Nightmare (1994) and Freddy vs. Jason (2003). The original was remade as A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). Robert Englund also introduced the tv anthology series Freddys Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street The Series (1988-9), which is unrelated to the films, except for its pilot episode that told a Freddy origin story.