By Jerome Reuter
The Nightmare On Elm Street films need no introduction. Neither does the iconic Freddy Krueger, for that matter. Even if someone’s never seen a horror film in their life, they know both of these terms as household words. This particular series, along with Halloween, and Friday The Thirteenth are some of the most lucrative and popular. Several sequels have been made, as well as crossovers, fan conventions, documentaries, and there seems to be no end to their legacy. There’s one sequel in the Nightmare series that seems to have fans split right down the middle; A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, released in 1985. It’s criticized by some as overly homoerotic, and having almost nothing to do with the other sequels. In recent years however, it’s gained more of a cult following. Some universities use it as a teaching aid when lecturing about sexuality.
In a recent interview with SCREAM magazine, the films star Marc Patton opened up about his experiences during production. He also talked candidly about his own sexuality, and a time period that was blatantly homophobic. He’s also going to be the subject of an upcoming documentary entitled Scream, Queen! The world will finally get full disclosure a film I feel is very underrated.
When it comes to the second nightmare entry, I only have good things to say about it. Many hardcore fans of the series have trashed this one, and I can’t say I blame them. It’s a huge departure from the first entry directed by the late Wes Carven. In some ways, this can almost be considered the Nightmare equivalent of Halloween 3:Season Of The Witch. This breaks from what we’re used to, and takes things in a brand new direction. Once again, we have Robert Englund reprising his role the ultimate nightmare stalker. Once again, we also have teenagers being placed at the mercy of Krueger’s unbridled rage.
At the same time, this one departs from the traditional slasher formula. The body count is relatively low, and focus is more on our protagonist’s dementia. Freddie has always been someone who appears only in our dreams; here he’s a product of our reality. In some ways, he’s an entity embedded in the subconscious. Krueger takes on a persona of something within us, much like a parasite taking over its’ host. The terror of this film is found from deep within, and not isolated within our dreams.
As far as this being a film that’s homoerotic, there’s no denying that. However, it’s not presented in a way that’s hateful or homophobic. In some ways, it’s actually proposing that these events can happen to anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. I’m not entirely sure that was the intent of the director, but it’s what people discuss when this entry comes up in conversation. When considering the time period in which it was released, it’s somewhat of bold step.
I’m glad to see this has gained a cult following. While this might not be a game changer, it deserves any and all praise it’s received. John Waters said it best; “Gay is not enough, it’s good start.” Besides, it’s a lot better than the Nightmare On Elm Street remake. Although that isn’t saying much.