A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Chuck Russell, 1987, USA)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is regarded as one of the best entries in the franchise, and for good reason. Following the bizarre second film, Nightmare 3 marked the return of Wes Craven's involvement in the project. He receives a screenwriting credit, along with others including Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist). The film also marked the return of some original cast members, including Heather Lagenkamp as final girl Nancy Thompson (now grown up) and John Saxon as her father Donald Thompson. The film marked the screen debut of Patricia Arquette, and features Laurence Fishburne in an early role. Elm Street 3 was a critical and commercial success.

The film takes place in a mental hospital, where the young patients are all being traumatized by Freddie. While the characters are not terribly complex, each is memorably drawn with a particular "thing" that makes them unique or identifiable. While the slasher formula is here, many of the deaths are particularly inventive. Some of the most memorable in the franchise include Freddy turning Phillip into a puppet with his vein, as well as when Jennifer is pulled into the TV. The film strikes a right balance between thrills and humor. It is campy but not too over-the-top.

We receive more info about Freddy's background in this film, involving a subplot related to his mother. We learn he is the "bastard son of 100 maniacs". There are other inventive touches in the film, including several uses of stop-motion animation. One involves a Freddy puppet, and another involves a living skeleton that appears straight out of Jason and the Argonauts. While Nightmare 3 is perhaps not as iconic as the original film, it is still highly entertaining. It is proof that sequels are not always on a linear downward trend.


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