Friday, June 7, 2013

Fan Favourite 'Dream Warriors' High on the Re-Watch List

 A behind the scenes photo of Patricia Arquette partially being devoured by a snake-like Freddy. 

It did it all wrong; I watched the Nightmare on Elm Street films in the worst possible order. The first being the absolute worst in the series which is of course Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare and I think I speak for 99% of fans when I say that. And the last one being my favourite on par with the original, Dream Warriors as the title of this blog post would suggest. The rest of the series I watched in complete random, none in order of one another.

I was in my mid teens when I first watched Dream Warriors. It was the only Elm Street film I was yet to see and I was lucky enough to have been able to record it of Pay-TV the very night before my parents had it cut. I watched it the following night which was the middle of the week so it was a school night but I didn't care, I had been waiting too long to see it. 

Well after that first viewing I could hardly stop watching it for months. Dream Warriors was the Elm Street film I had been waiting for. There was just something about it that made it click with me; thinking about it now it would easily be the excellent script by Chuck Russell, Frank Darabont, Wes Craven and Bruce Wagner and also the film's characters, especially the children. The child characters appealed to me the most for a number of reasons; firstly because each one was unique, they each represented a different emotion. Secondly, they were around the same age as me at the time I first watched the film, 14-15 which are the prime years of puberty; not an easy time to be a kid with the raging hormones and the constant emotional yo-yo effect. And these kids were being stalked in their dreams on top of all that so I guess I had it easy. And thirdly, now this is were I get deep. It goes back to that underlying theme that the original film touched on; that Freddy Krueger represents neglect, specifically neglect suffered by children. Because when you think about it the parents of these kids and I'm not just talking about Dream Warriors, are pretty shitty at best. 

I'm 28 years old, so by now I've seen Dream Warriors countless times. I especially love watching it late on a Saturday night and it's one those movies you just pop in when you can't sleep. Now that might sound a little strange given what the film is about but nightmares have never been a problem for me so I had nothing to worry about. Dream Warriors has that old monster movie feel but combined with a modern flavour, that being of the 1980s. The plot is well paced, it has the perfect balance of dark humour, creative dream sequences and impressive special effects that includes a little tribute to stop motion pioneer the late Ray Harryhausen.     

A puppet Freddy in Phillip's (Bradley Gregg) dream.
Now Dream Warriors is not without its flaws. For example some of the physical acting/stunt-work is not very convincing at times. Specifically the moment just after Freddy stabs Nancy; Kristen runs over to her aid only to be punched in the face by Freddy sending her to the floor. Now of course the punch didn't make contact as it's a movie but to clearly see it not making contact really takes me out of the moment; it still does to this day. Now why director Chuck Russell didn't yell cut just baffles me. Now on to Heather Langenkamp; I have nothing against her, the contribution she has made to horror movies, her devotion and what she has given back to us fans I’ll always be grateful but her performance in Dream Warriors is terrible. It's so lack lustre and she’s so still. It took me years to realise this, maybe I just didn't want to admit it.  But now I know why every scene with her and Craig Wasson in that film felt so awkward. 

So that's about wraps it up. I hope you enjoyed reading why Dreams Warriors keeps me coming back again and again. It was somewhat of a nostalgic experience writing this and I can't believe it's been 13 years since I first watched it. I wonder how I'll feel about this fan favourite in another 13 years?

By Kevin Bechaz

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