A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (Jack Sholder, 1985, USA)

Nightmare on Elm Street 2
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge is certainly one of the stranger mainstream horror sequels ever produced. The film saw the departure of Wes Craven from the franchise, and his departure is noticeable. The film succeeded financially on the coattails of its predecessor, but it had a mixed critical reception. Nightmare 2 departs significantly from the first film in a number of ways, namely in that it focuses on a single character - Jesse Walsh. The film is essentially a character study or psychological profile of Jesse, who is being forced by Freddy to kill for him. The film also makes a significant departure from the portrayal of Freddy in the first film. In this film, he has much more dialogue. He is also physically present as a threat in a much more tangible way than he was in the first film.

It would be remiss not to mention the gay subtext of the film, something that has become very well known in cult film circles since the film's release. There are also many academic articles about this subject. Screenwriter insisted for many years that there was no gay subtext in his script, and that it was manifested by the casting choice of Jesse Walsh (who is himself gay). Rightly many people realized this was ridiculous, and later on Chaskin admitted the gay themes in the film are intentional. The entire film can essentially be read as Jesse's grappling with his sexuality - even Freddy's involvement with him has sexual overtones (at one point Jesse gives birth to Freddy through his stomach in a take on the Alien chest-burster scene).

Nightmare 2 is a weird and entertaining curio that exceeds because of this weirdness. While the pool party finale is a bit underwhelming, the film still deserves to be revisited.


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