Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cinema of the Absurd: Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge

1985, dir. Jack Sholder

Or as I like to call it; Gaymare on Camp Street Part 2: Freddy's Queer. In this, the first of many sequels to Wes Craven's 1984 original Nightmare on Elm Street, is an odd affair. It takes a much different thought process to the mythology of Freddy Krueger. Instead of the burnt child molester haunting and murdering people in their sleep, in Freddy's Revenge he actually takes over the body of a high school student called Jesse who then goes around unsure as to whether he is killing people or just dreaming it. To be perfectly honest with you, I'm not even sure I followed the storyline or whether that description I just gave is correct. That didn't stop me, however, from thinking it was ridiculousness of the highest order. Freddy even appears in the real world for the second half the film, something that strains credibility even in a movie such as this. Nevertheless, I'm not here to talk about this movies shortcomings, I'm here to discuss how incredible it is.

Before I get going into this movie I need to question something. So, in then original Heather Langenkamp starred as Nancy along with others like Johnny Depp. They were the first set of kids to be tormented by Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) in their dreams. However, nobody from that movie returns for the sequel. So how is it "Freddy's Revenge", exactly? It's not exactly revenge if you're targeting people who don't even know about the events from the first film, is it? "Freddy's a Bastard", perhaps? And then there's the little issue that this sequel is set five years after the first... five years! And yet the fashions haven't changed a bit. The '80s must have felt like an eternity in this town!

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge actually starts off quite well, with a nicely done opening sequence involving a runaway yellow school bus (that is such an American thing, isn't it?) and three teenagers. It has a wonderful edge of "whose nightmare is this?" and then it ends with this, which is the sort of imagery that the series has become known for.

Unfortunately after this it descends into idiocy. I think it's fair to say that Freddy's Revenge is the campest slasher movie ever made. The pièce de résistance comes early when the lead character, Jesse (played by - as revealed years later - gay actor Mark Patton), is told to go clean his room. Now, normally, when a teenager gets told to clean their room they get angry and put on some loud music and make a big scene. What does Jesse do? Well, he sort of does that. Except instead of a big heavy metal track like you might expect (remember when Dokken made the theme song for A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warrior? I was expecting that) he pops a cassette in the tape player and on comes...

Why yes, "Touch Me (All Night Long)" by Wish featuring Fonda Rae. That'll get that adolescent anger brimming. FONDA RAE, people! He handles the fact that he's not allowed to go to his girlfriend's house and swim in her pool rather well, actually.

What follows is, most definitely, the gayest thing I have ever seen in a horror movie (excluding stuff like Otto. Actually, no, let's include it, my statement still stands). He proceeds to dance around his bedroom in Elton John gold glitter glasses, while bumping and grinding to a mid-80s freestyle dance track. I feel like a reel of Footloose got misplaced and inserted in here. There is masturbation simulation, oh yes.

Watch it below on YouTube. It is amazing. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G-!

The film's quite incredible amount of homo-erotic tendencies isn't just relegated to impromptu dance numbers. Oh no! One of the stranger aspects of Freddy's Revenge is the gym coach, played by Randy Quaid lookalike Marshall Bell. When he's not watching his students wrestle in their jock straps and short shorts...

or watching them after a hot shower...

he's going to S&M bars!

This particular development is especially strange since when the underage Jesse is caught - *gasp* - drinking beer at a bar, Coach Schneider then takes the young kid back to the school gymnasium (in the middle of the night?) and makes him do laps before the camera watches him slowly clean himself off in the showers. All of this while in the very next room the coach is getting pummeled by balls. I don't mean that as a euphemism, but balls do actually fly at his face. He is then strung up by his wrists like in a scene from a porn movie before getting whipped by magical flying towels.

I seriously couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!

There is, indeed, more male nudity in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge than there is female nudity. In fact, there is NONE of the latter whatsoever, and yet we see multiple male arses plus quite a few close-ups of barely-covered genitalia. The closest a straight male viewer gets to any titillation is at the pool party sequence when the girls where their bikinis. I must say, that pre-Baywatch number is quite sporty, don't you think?

Then, of course, we get to the other big scene that sends off rainbow-coloured fireworks. Having left his girlfriend's cabana pool party midway through a breast-tonguing (I believe that is the technical term for it) because he was "worried" that something was trying to "come out" of him (oh dear, poor gal was oblivious to it all) he runs away. Runs away to where?

The bedroom of the high school jock who he got into a wrestling match with and bonded with during detention with Coach Schneider in the locker rooms, of course. Oh yes, that high school jock. What follows are these fantastic dialogue exchanges. Words cannot express how hilarious they are. Really, honestly, truly.

"Tonight with Lisa in the cabana it started happening again... Something is trying to get inside my body."

"Yeah, she's female and she's waiting for you in the cabana and you wanna sleep with me."

"No! I don't... know. I'm all messed up. What difference does it make? I'm in trouble."

"Alright man, what do you want me to do?"

"Just watch me."

Ooh, scintillating. For a brief moment I thought he was going to go into a Naomi Watts slapper routine. Did I mention that Grady has a Limahl poster in his room? Somebody's an awfully big fan of German fantasy films with Giorgio Moroder soundtracks. This is perhaps the best part of the movie, for reasons that should be easy to figure out.

I haven't shown any caps involving the lead actress who looks so much like a young Meryl Streep at times that it occasionally took me out of the movie. Well, took me out of the movie as much as you can with a movie like this, I suppose. It was quite scary at times watching this Kim Myers chick (hey, her surname has four letter from Meryl's first name - what a scary coincidence!!!) but let us just say that Myers' talents lie in resembling Meryl Streep more than actually acting like her. Even today she still looks like her quite a bit.

I will finish this entry with one bit from the movie that I don't understand at all. Not sure where it comes from, but it's there and it's weird and... well, you'll see.

In conclusion, this is probably the most absurd entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street canon. The entire franchise could probably count as being absurd, but the overriding fantasy element and it's place in the storyline makes it acceptable and the films are better of for it. Part two, Freddy's Revenge, on the other hand, is absurd for completely different reasons. Homoerotica, Meryl Streep lookalikes and crazy camp dance numbers specifically. I'm honestly not sure what the makers of this movie were doing. On the Scale of Absurdity I give it a 4/5. The series' over-riding strangeness diminishes some of the absurdity, but - in all fairness - this movie is extremely bloody absurd. Bravo!


StinkyLulu said...

You're just watching ALL my favorite movies lately.

I love love love this one, especially that bedroom scene where the straight jock guy has the gayest posters on his wall. You're probably too young to remember just how incriminating an appreciation of Limahl was...

I actually think this film is an AIDS allegory as well, but that's another post.

Scott Mendelson said...

I actually had a thing for Kim Myers back when I first saw this film at the tender age of nine. Glad to see she aged well. And unlike some people with Jewish noses (Jennifer Grey, Ashley Tisdale), she still has the original article.

TrG said...

I'm so glad somebody posted about this. The homo stuff is not even subtext in this one. Love this movie and love his little jock friend ... sex in tube socks...

Robert said...

Y'all will appreciate this post from several years ago over on, which christens "Freddy's Revenge" the gayest horror film ever made:

Adam said...

I too did an exhaustive breakdown of its gayness. Such a bizarre turn for a horror series, and weird that such a homoerotic film can also be homophobic. Who knew Freddy Krueger was a gay icon?

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Grey looks better with her new nose.

Bob said...

I'm gay and I love horror movies. This is one of my favorites. In no other mainstream horror franchise did things ever get THIS homoerotic. And it'll probably never happen again in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Haha, it good to see another poster had a thing for Miss Myers. I just thought she was hot and cute when I saw the movie as a teen in Singapore. I thought there might have been some nudity of Miss Myers but that the Singapore censors edited out. Turns out there was none. Bummer.