A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE (1985)
OK, you Kreugerites, it is time to discuss the first sequel to the 1984 original film–the movie Wes Craven was unwilling to make, feeling that it betrayed some of the primary principles of his original plot & vision.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE (1985)
It was directed by Jack Sholder @ 87 minutes.
It was written by David Chaskin.
It had a budget of 2.2 million dollars, grossing 30 million in USA.
It has the most sexual scenarios of any of the films in the series.
A girl’s nipple makes a very brief appearance.
A boy & a man show their naked butts.
Pervasive sexuality with some teen nudity.
Permeated with strong language (20 F-words), blood horror violence
& plenty of gore.
Taglines: The first name in Terror returns.
The man of your dreams is back.
Someone is coming back to Elm Street.
Director Jack Sholder has had 23 film credits since 1973, including ALONE IN THE DARK (1982), THE HIDDEN (1987), BY THE DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT (1990), then 10 years of directing TV shows before ARACHNID (2001). It was reported that for this film he could not direct the pool party scene without breaking up with laughter; so he assigned his first AD to do it–& the scene suffered for it.
Jack Sholder: “I’m not out to be another Wes Craven–hell no, I set out to be another Jean Renoir.”
The writer of the film was David Chaskin, based on characters, of course, created by Wes Craven. This was his first writing screenplay credit. He did write 6 films, including THE CURSE (1987), I, MADMAN (1989), & LOVE HURTS (2000).
The cinematography was done by Jacques Haitkin, his second film in a row for the ANOES series. For some reason on IMDb, his camera operator, Christopher Tufty was given cinematographer credits. Perhaps there was some dramatic problems while shooting, and Tufty hand to finish the job.
The musical score was done by veteran composer Christopher Young, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for his score to THE SHIPPING NEWS. Whenever Freddy appeared on the screen, whale-song has been added to the music, adding to the eerie dreamy feeling. He has written 119 film scores since 1968, including THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1982), DEF CON 4 (1985), INVADERS FROM MARS 1986), BAT 21 (1988), THE FLY II (1989), DREAM LOVER (1993), SPECIES (1995), HARD RAIN (1998), THE CORE (2003), THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE (2005), GHOST RIDER (2007), SPIDER MAN 3 (2007), DRAG ME TO HELL (2009), & PRIEST (2011). This is the only film in the franchise to not use the original Charles Bernstein theme music, or a variation of it.
Robert Englund as Fred Krueger.
Clu Gulager as Ken Walsh.
Hope Lange as Cheryl Walsh.
Mark Patton as Jesse Walsh.
Christie Clark as Angela Walsh.
Kim Meyer as Lisa Webber.
Melinda O. Fee as Mrs. Webber.
Marshall Bell as Coach Schneider.
Robert Rusler as Ron Grady.
Sydney Walsh as Kerry.
Jo Anne Willette as Girl on the Bus.
Robert England as Fred K. appears with & without the character make-up, & makes significant strides toward cementing his place in the Horror Hall of fame.
Director Jack Sholder said: “One of the most brilliant things that Wes Craven did was to cast Robert Englund as Freddy–usually they cast some lunkhead as the killer, but Bobby is not a big scary guy; he has this funny face that gives him humanity, & he is a terrific actor.”
Clu Gulager was cast as Ken Walsh, the father, 30 years into his career; eager to take any job offered. He has had 158 film roles since 1956, including THE KILLERS (1964), WINNING (1969), THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971), McQ (1974), THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT (1977), THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985), THE HIDDEN (1987), FEAST (2005), PIRANHA 3D (2012). He has a reputation for being difficult & outspoken.
Culager said: “I don’t enjoy acting, it’s not fun; I think it is very painful. There is no real happiness in the creative process. Those with creative obsession never learn. Those with the compulsion to make movies are fucked from the beginning, fucked in the middle, & fucked in the end. You can call it madness, but after making a movie one has not learned one God damn thing.”
Veteran actress, Hope Lange played Cheryl Walsh, the Mother. Married three times, her first two husbands were actor Don Murray & director Alan J. Pakula. She had 56 film credits, including BUS STOP (1956)-where she met Murray, THE YOUNG LIONS (1958), WILD IN THE COUNTRY (1961), DEATH WISH (1974), THE PRODIGAL (1983), & BLUE VELVET (1986).
She was quite the buttoned-up prim kind of actress, and this image was a close to cheesecake as she ever came.
Mark Patton, who had auditioned for the role of Glen in the original film, won the lead role in this film over several bigger stars. He had 5 film credits between 1982-1986, this role being his largest part. He was in COME BACK TO THE 5 & DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN (1982), & ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER (1983). He got more involved in Theater after that, becoming a theatrical director. In 2004, on his 46th birthday, he was diagnosed with AIDS; pulling through he moved to Mexico & married his long time companion Hector Mondragon.
Kim Meyers played the girlfriend, Lisa Webber, & had the privilege of flashing her right nipple for part of a second. She has had 43 film projects since 1985, including LETTERS FROM A KILLER (1998), THE DUST FACTORY (2004), & THE FORGER (2012).
She was nice enough to provide us with better tit-shots in other films; thank-you Miss Meyers.
Sydney Walsh played the girlfriend, Kerry; who had the distinction of being the most flat-chested actress I could remember. She has had 18 film roles since 1985, including TO DIE FOR (1988), 3 MEN & A LITTLE LADY (1990), POINT BREAK (1991), & AMERICAN GUN (2005).
She did horse around a bit at one point & provided us with a kind of cheesecake pose.
Christie Clark, to be fair, was only 12 years old when she made this film, playing Jesse’s little sister, Angela.
She has done 13 film credits since 1985, including CHILDREN OF THE CORN III (1992), & a ton of TV roles, settling in for a long run on DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1986-2012).
However, as she grew up she became quite the little sexpot, giving the web site MR. SKIN quite a lot of choices to share.
Jo Ann Willette was the Girl on the Bus in the opening scene. She seemed to enjoy her brief encounter with Sir Kreuger.
She has had 33 film credits since 1983, including REAL GENIUS (1985), & THE DRIFTER (1988), & after that having a ton of television roles.
Bless her heart, I was able to find one good tit-shot from another film.
With a bizarre adjunct here, Melinda O. Fee played Lisa’s mother. Her career spanned 30 years of television roles, and several soap operas. I did find only one nude shot of her, & it is so strange, I suspect it might be a fake.
And now, dear HH readers, here is one of my favorite sections:
The movie opens with a 60’s old style school bus coming at the camera, down that street in Woodland Hills, Ca., that has some older style homes & actual elm trees. The bus begins unloading high school kids. We see that actor, Robert Englund, is the driver of the bus; looking like himself.
Jesse Walsh is sitting in the back of the bus, looking all sweaty & uncomfortable. Camera is focusing a lot on two girls several seats up toward the front, Lisa Webber, & a blond girlfriend. Everyone has got off but those three, when we see CU of a gloved hand, in a red & green sweater doing the shifting; the bus begins to pick up speed, careening a bit out of control; the kids began yelling & screaming. Suddenly it drives off the main road & out onto the desert. (which is strange as hell since the location of the story is supposed to be Springwood, Indiana, & there are not too many deserts there. Actually we see several palm trees during the movie; sloppy editing.)
The bus speeds past a lot of Joshua trees, & then crashes into a sand dune. The kids see that the ground is opening up all around them.
Freddy Kreuger (still being called Fred mostly in this film too) rises up from the driver’s seat, & begins to advance on the kids. The bus is barely teetering on two pillars of rock & sand. The three kids are screaming, Jesse loudest of all. Freddy corners them, raises his knife-gloved hand for an assault.
Cut to Jesse waking up, bathed in sweat, his room a mess from numerous unpacked boxes. [over the next few minutes we find out that the Walsh family have moved into the Thompson House (from the first movie). Five years have passed. Oddly, the bars are left on the windows, and the front door has been painted red rather than its original bright blue. The kid is still unpacking, and already Freddy is reaching out to him).
Cut to the kitchen, where Ken & Cheryl Walsh are having breakfast. We hear a very high pitched scream; definitely sounds like a female. Angela: (who is 12) Why can’t Jesse wake up like a normal person? Jesse breezes through, has only coffee, as his father warns him that he “must” finish unpacking that very evening.
Jesse meets his friend Lisa outside, where she is waiting for a ride to school in his piece of shit, dented-up Dodge convertible. He has the ignition hot-wired; no key.
Lisa: Don’t you use a key?
Lisa: Someone could steal your car, couldn’t they?
Jesse: What do you mean–the deadly dinosaur?
Cut to the play field, the boys are jogging about, getting ready to play softball, the girls are doing archery over to the side. Lisa, looking very stylish in her white short skirt archery outfit, keeps watching Jesse.
Jesse: Hey, do you remember your dreams?
Ron: Only the wet ones.
Coach Scheider: No talking!
During the softball game, Jesse is pitching to Ron, who smacks the ball high into the air; a center fielder picks it up with good hustle, & fires it to the first baseman, who puts Ron out. Ron is enraged, & he charges Jesse, tackling him, and pulling down his sweat pants, exposing his bare butt in a jockstrap.
They begin wrestling, but soon the coach breaks it up, & forces them to do infinite push-ups as punishment.
That night Jesse calls Lisa, & makes a date to go over to her house. On the way out, my father stops him, & makes him go back upstairs to finish unpacking & clean up his room. Upstairs, he shrugs & begins opening drawers & shoving things in willy-nilly:
Jesse: So how do you like that, Dad?
He puts on a rock tape, and begins rocking out, putting on his Tom Cruise sunglasses, shaking his ass, when suddenly the door opens; it’s his mother, escorting Lisa to the room. (it is, of course, Nancy Thompson’s old bedroom.)
Mother: Well, I’ll leave you two alone.
Jesse: As you can see, I wasn’t allowed to leave the house.
Lisa: I told them you had invited me to come over & help you.
Lisa find’s Nancy’s old red diary, which we never saw her writing in in the previous film.
Lisa: sometimes when I’m lying in bed I can see Glen in his window across the way, getting ready for bed. His body is slim & smooth, & I know I shouldn’t watch him, but that part of me that wants him forces me to. That’s when I weaken, & I want to go to him.
Jesse: taking the diary & reading it himself–He comes to me at night-horrible. ugly, dirty–under the sheets with me–tearing at my nightgown with his steel claws (actually she always wore only pajamas, never a nightgown). His name is Fred–& he keeps trying to take me to the boiler room. I think he wants to kill me.
Cut to the next day, Jesse, sleep-deprived, is falling asleep as the biology teacher is lecturing about solid intestinal wastes.
A boy: Man, you can talk some shit, Teach.
Jesse is full asleep, perhaps, & we see a boa constrictor wrapping itself around his neck; suddenly he wakes up screaming, & he does have the school snake around his neck. The angry biology teacher retrieves the snake & says: If you want to play with animals, Mr. Walsh–go join the circus.
After gym class, as he & Ron are getting dressed, after showering, Jesse tells him where he lives, 1428 Elm Street.
Ron: Tell your Dad he got screwed on that deal.
Jesse: Why, what do you mean?
Ron: You don’t know that house is very bad luck? The mother locked her daughter up in her room, & it drove the girl insane; then the mother committed suicide in the living room.
In the cafeteria, Ron & Jesse are eating together, & they are joined by Lisa & Kerry.
Kerry: So, Ron, are you going to the pool party at Lisa’s house tomorrow night?
Ron: Nope, can’t, I’m grounded.
Kerry: How come?
Ron: I threw my grandmother down a flight of stairs.
Inside the Walsh home it is sweltering hot. The mother begs the father to call an air-
conditioning man; but he fancies himself as a fix-it kind of guy, so he refuses.
Jesse: Why did it take 5 years to sell this house?
Father: Oh, I don’t know–just couldn’t get the right price, I guess.
Jesse: You didn’t know anything about the murder across the street, and the crazy girl who lived here who saw the whole thing?
Father: Yeah, they told me something about that.
Mother: You mean you knew something about this & you….
Father: Oh come on, Cheryl–how do you think we got such a good deal?
Jesse: Did they tell you that the girl lost her mind, & her mother killed herself?
Jesse: Did they tell you that too?
Angela: Mommy, I’m scared.
Father: Come here, princess.
Mother: Oh, honey, it’s all right; Daddy & Jesse are just pretending, that’s all. I don’t think this is something we should discuss here & now.
Father: to Jesse–See what you’re doing here? I don’t want to hear one more word about it, Jess. There is absolutely nothing, I mean “nothing” is wrong with this house.
Jesse dreams that night, dreams he wakes up & hears noises outside; so, of course, he gets dressed, goes outside to the back yard to check it out. He looks in their basement window, & sees Freddy messing with their furnace in the basement–goes back inside, & sneaks down to the basement. He opens the furnace, & finds the Thompson bundle, the Kreuger knife-blade glove, wrapped in rags.
Freddy shows up: Go ahead, try it on, Jesse; you know you want to. Jesse tosses the glove onto the floor. Freddy picks it up.
Freddy: I need you, Jesse. We’ve got special work to do here, you & me.
He pushes Jesse up against the wall, takes off his hat, & begins peeling at his own skull.
Freddy: You got the body, & I have the brains!
The skull is ripped back, & Freddy’s brain is exposed.
Jesse screams like a little girl.
Freddy: Kill for me!
Jesse returns from school, and the living room in his home is up over 98 degrees. The parakeets in their covered cage are going wild. They uncover them, and one of the birds flops over dead & bloody; the other breaks out of the cage, & begins dive-bombing the family. Ken gets an ugly slash on his cheek (& now he can wear a band aid on his face for the rest of the movie).
Then the berserk bird simply bursts into flames.
Ken, to Jesse: You did this, didn’t you? Planted a god damn cherry bomb in our poor bird.
Jesse: I didn’t do anything!
Ken: Then what the hell is this–bird rabies? Cheryl, I think it’ s that cheap seed you have been buying.
Later that night the camera visits young Angela’s room, Jesse’s little sister. A shadow of the Freddy glove covers her sleeping face.
Freddy: Wake up, little girl.
Angela does wake up, & she finds Jesses standing there.
Angela: What’s wrong, Jesse? What time is it?
Jesse: Nothing, it’s late. I was just checking on you; go back to sleep.
Then Jesse wakes up. It is storming outside. He dresses & sneaks out into the cold rain. He wanders the streets, until he comes to an S&M gay leather bar, calmly walks in & orders a beer. Suddenly Coach Schneider appears behind him.
Cut to the HS gym, where Jesse is running laps for detention. (whole scene is horse shit; the coach still dressed in his S&M leathers, forcing Jesse to come back to the school at 2 in the morning). Coach sends Jesse to the showers, then peeks at him.
Suddenly all the sports balls & equipment begin pelting the Coach, hundreds of pieces; he crawls along the floor; Jesse seems impervious to the goings on. Then a jump rope snaps & the ends wrap around the Coach’s wrists, & soon he is being dragged along the floor, into the shower room; Jesse still doesn’t notice; he is probably making a deposit at the spank-bank in the hot steam of his shower.
The coach is dragged upright, & pinned to the wall; & his clothes are mysteriously torn off; & there he stands, his butt to the camera, & his dick to the wall. Then he sees Freddy coming toward him, & he begins to scream like an overage transexual with a cattle prod up his/her ass.
Freddy slashes at the Coach’s back, then leaves him there hanging & bleeding out.
Jesse notices that several showers all around him come on all at once, & they are spewing blood instead of water. When the steam clears, Jesse is standing near the dead bled-out Coach, & he realizes that he is the one with Freddy’s glove on his hand.
He screams, tosses the glove to the floor for the umpteenth time (but that fucking glove will not go away; it appears where ever he goes. Once he heard a scratching noise in his top drawer, & found it twitching in there.) He screams like an adolescent female, & rushes out into the night naked.
Cut to the Walsh house. Ken & Cheryl are roused awake by pounding on their red front door. It’s a pair of cops, standing there with Jesse between them; he is wrapped up in a cop’s cotton blanket.
Cop: Does this belong to you?
Father: Oh yes, he sleeps walks. We’ve been terrified; Thanks for bringing him home.
Cop #2: We found him walking naked on the freeway; better keep an eye on him.
The cops leave, & Ken demands to know what kind of drugs he is on; Jesse whines, & his mother takes him upstairs so that “He can go back to sleep!” (Which makes perfect sense, right?).
The next morning, Jesse is followed outside by his mother, who is pleading with him to go to a doctor; he shines her on, & drives off to get Lisa. Ken is up on a ladder in golfing shorts, working on the bars to the windows.
Cheryl: I tell you, he needs professional help. I think we have to take him to see a psychiatrist.
Ken: Cheryl, come on, are you out of your gourd? What the hell will that accomplish?
Cheryl: I don’t know, but I just feel that he needs help–& we don’t know how to give it to him.
Ken: Christ, Cheryl.
Cheryl: Are you hearing me? Our boy’s in trouble!
Ken: No, he is not in trouble. I’ll tell you what he really needs is a good God damn kick in the butt–that’s what he needs–and maybe he also needs a methadone clinic.
On the drive to school, Lisa is sympathetic, having done some research on Fred Kreuger.
Lisa: You had another nightmare, didn’t you?
Jesse: Yes, I had a bad night.
Lisa: Who’s doing this to you?
Jesse: Fred Kreuger. Listen, I’m in trouble. There is something inside of me, trying to take over, to get out.
Lisa: Fight him–you’re not afraid of him; he doesn’t really exist!
Lisa has him drive to the edge of town to an abandoned power plant.
Jesse: Wow, what is this place?
Lisa: Do you remember the diary–Nancy said that she kept finding herself in a boiler room. Fred Kreuger worked here; it’s an old power plant. Fred brought over 20 children here & killed them.
They arrive at school late, & find the parking lot crammed with police cars & aide vehicles. Ron comes over to them.
Ron: Hey, Schneider got wasted last night. He must have been working late. Some maniac sliced him up like a kielbasa, hacked him to pieces while he was tied up in a shower; got bloody footprints all over the place.
Cut to Lisa’s pool party, 20 teenagers all around their pool, filling up their back yard. Lisa’s father is grilling burgers, & playing Benny Goodman tapes. Lisa’s Mom is hip, so she lures her husband upstairs for a highball & a blow job.
Jesse is there, but he is sulking in a corner; then he goes to a changing room, & Lisa follows him inside. He wants to go home, but she seduces him instead. They get to kissing & wrestling on the floor.
He unbuttons her blouse, finds she is not wearing a bra, & kisses down her chest. For one 25/th of a second we see the nipple on her right breast peeking through his fingers as he cops a feel from both tits. Lisa closes her eyes in pleasure,
and suddenly Jesse’s tongue becomes a 12 inch gray monstrosity; which freaks him out, even though she didn’t see it. He gets up & rushes out.
Cut to Ron Grady’s bedroom. He is awakened rudely by a freaked out Jesse.
Ron: God damn, man, you scared the fuck out of me.
Jesse: Something is trying to get inside my body.
Ron: Yeah, and she’s female, has rich parents, & she’s waiting for you back in the cabana–and shit, You want to sleep with me!
Jesse: I killed Schneider!
Jesse: I’m scared, Grady,.
Ron: OK, I believe you, you’ve had some real scary dreams.
Jesse get Ron to assist him, stay awake while he drifts off to sleep. If you see I am having some kind of a nightmare, or I get up & try to leave, I don’t care if you smack the shit out of me; don’t let me leave here–& whatever you do, “Don’t Fall Asleep”.
Ron tries to stay awake watching late night TV, but soon just turns off his light, and goes back to sleep.
Jesse wakes up frightened. He leaps off the couch, and cowers in the corner. Ron wakes up, & becomes frightened too.
Jesse: Oh, God, he’s coming back; help me!
Ron sits wide-eyed & helpless.
Jesse’s face becomes contorted like he is giving birth. He screams as his right hand splits open at the fingers, and Freddy blades sprout out, and his forearm splits open & we see Freddy’s sweater beneath. He tries to stand, opening up his shirt. We see Freddy’s face beginning to push through Jesse’s chest, like a creature from ALIEN demanding to be born.
As Jesse screams on, his chest does split open & Freddy’s head emerges; soon Jesse’s body is ripped to shreds, and Freddy emerges whole, stands up, & looks at Ron.
Ron tries to get out of his room, but, of course, the door is jammed. He pounds on it, screaming for his parents to help him. They do come to the door, but can’t get it.
Freddy attacks Ron, slicing him from juggler to crotch. Ron slides down to the floor, quite dead. When Kreuger looks into a tall mirror, he sees the reflection of Jesse. Jesse, covered in blood, screaming, looks into the mirror and sees Freddy as a reflection. He hears police sirens, so he panics & escapes from the bedroom window, where he snuck in earlier.
Cut back to the pool party. Lisa is confiding to Kerry that she wants to go after Jesse, but feels guilty about leaving the party. The parents have gone upstairs, so the beer & make-out sessions are all in progress.
Kerry: Fuck the party; go after him!
( I notice that this actress is so flat chested she almost has no tits at all; what we used to call “bee stings” in HS.)
Lisa agrees, and goes into to the house to change.
A moment later, all hell breaks loose. Gates & doors mysteriously lock; the BBQ grill bursts into flames; the swimming pool erupts into boiling water,
beer cans are popping open spraying beer foam into geysers, like a scene from a porn bukkake party–then Freddy Kreuger appears, smashing everything setting fires, killing several boys who try to confront him.
(I realize that this movie never has one female fatality; it’s only the boys & men who reap the blades–kind of like the fag vampire who only bites boys in Polanski’s THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, OR PARDON ME, BUT YOUR TEETH ARE IN MY NECK.)
Freddy tires of killing punks, and heads into the Webber house. Lisa is just coming downstairs after changing, and she is attacked by Freddy. knocked.
down thrice, she kicks him in the face, fights him off, and gets away. At one point, she stabs him with a butcher knife several times; he laughs it off.
Lisa: Jesse, help me.
Freddy: There is no Jesse. I’m Jesse now!
Lisa: Fight him, Jesse, don’t give up.
Freddy: He can’t fight me–I’m already him.
Freddy tires of chasing Lisa, & leaps through a glass door to re-attack the kids outside.
Lisa’s father comes out of the house with a shotgun, fires one round, & misses. Lisa comes out, knocks the barrel out of alignment, and prevents her Dad from shooting Freddy, who has Jesse inside him.
Freddy tires of being shot at, and disappears walking through the garden wall. ( In the first movie, he walked through the iron cell bars, can manipulate objects while invisible–why do people even waste the time shooting at him?)
Cut to Lisa driving the Jesse Dinosaur, her hair blowing in the night wind. (It does kind of bother me that this young woman, from a wealthy family, does not have a vehicle of her own; just saying.) She drives to the old power plant, & of course in the middle of the night, it is all lit up with green & blue flood lamps; which are moody & pretty & fucking ridiculous all at the same time. She has this theory that this will be where Freddy is, and thus where what’s left of Jesse is too.
She wanders up & down ladders, all over cat walks, walking through pink & green & blue steam, never saying a word. Freddy, or Fred still in this movie, of course, shows up.
He chases her, until she stumbles a few times, and then gets cornered in a dead end. She reaches out to him, to Jesse within. He slashes her shoulder, grabs her by the throat, raises the glove for the coup de gras, but something stops him; the remnants of Jesse:
Jesse’s voice from Freddy’s mouth: I love you Lisa, please kill me.
Lisa takes Freddy in her arms, takes off his hat, & kisses him passionately–quite the juxtaposition of Beauty & the Beast; hard to watch, hard to look away from. So, beauty, true love, slay-ed the demon from hell. Freddy lost control, Jesse began to fight him.
Freddy went to his knees as Lisa stood watched from a safe distance. The power plant erupted into flames, and Freddy, once more, was consumed by hellfire.
The moment he “died” the fires all went out. Lisa approached the charred body, & then it began to move.
Jesse emerged from the ashes, peeling Freddy’s dead face off. Lisa put his head onto her heaving breasts–true love the victor yet again.
Cut Jesse leaving the house with a bandaged arm.
Jesse: Gosh, I never imagined that I would get to return to school so soon.
The trusty old school bus pulls up, & he boards it; sitting with Lisa, with Kerry in the seat behind him. But as the bus drove down the street, Jesse kept feeling odd, imagining that it was speeding too fast. Both of the girls said the bus was not speeding. The bus came to a regular stop & picked up some more kids.
Kerry: See, everything is fine.
The bus starts up, Jesse holds Lisa’s hand. They smile. Suddenly Freddy’s bloody knife-glove bursts through Kerry’s chest.
As Jesse & Lisa begin screaming, with Jesse screaming the highest, the bus careens out of control, leaves the main road, and Wham, there it is back on the desert dodging Joshua trees, just like Jesse’s nightmare that opened the film. As the bus fades into desert dust, we hear Freddy evil laughter in the background.
Roll the end credits, as we all scratch our heads.
Brad Pitt, John Stamos, & Christian Slater all auditioned for the part of Jesse; newbie Mark Patton beat them all out. Even Michael J. Fox was considered for the lead, but he had no time because in 1985 he was pretty busy filming BACK TO THE FUTURE & TEEN WOLF.
The film is 87 minutes long; Freddy only was on screen for 13 of those minutes. This is the only NIGHTMARE film in which a male is the lead character; where no female characters are ever killed. This movie grossed nearly twice as much money as the original film. In the S&M leather bar scene, the bartender is played by the film’s producer, Robert Shaye.
Jo Anne Willette, the Girl on the Bus, went on to star in the ABC sitcom JUST THE TEN OF US (1988), which co-starred Heather Langenkamp (from the first, third, & seventh films), & Brooke Theiss (from the fourth film). Robert Englund demanded a pay raise, & New Line Cinema refused; putting in a stunt man for the beginning of the shoot; but they realized their mistake quickly, and paid Englund what he was asking. Robert Rusler auditioned for the part of Ron Grady the last day of auditions, driven there by his pal, Robert Downey, Jr., fresh from shooting their last day on WEIRD SCIENCE (1985).
Rotten Tomatoes at 42% Critic’s approval, & 34% for the Audience approval.
Well, hell, it generated big BO, so the producers could give a shit as they were making plans for A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIOR (1987).
VARIETY: “The episodic treatment is punched up by an imaginative series of spectacular special effects.”
Janet Maslin of the NEW YORK TIMES wrote: “Robert Englund actually turns Freddy Kreuger into a welcome presence.”
Felix Vasquez, Jr. of CINEMA CRAZED wrote: “This is an uneven, sloppy, & tedious sequel with plot holes, lapses in logic, & simply horrible performances.”
Leo Goldsmith of NOT COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU wrote: “A superb work of high Camp, even if Freddy is often reduced to an annoying nocturnal emission that will inevitably ruin any pool party.”
Clint Morris of MOVIE HOLE wrote: “Freddy’s nails have become a bit blunt here this time.”
Alex Sandall of JUICY CEREBELLUM wrote: “The darkest of the Elm Street series, it gets real cheesy, but it’s still fun–if you watch it stoned.”
As a first Kreuger sequel, this one was strange indeed. I have toyed with, implied that this was a Fag Fantasy, but actually there was some credibility to my insights. Many viewers, & some critics perceived a homo-erotic theme running throughout the movie–only boys & men being killed, that Jesse was struggling with his repressed homosexuality, that the gym teacher, & some of his buddies picked up on this–that the scene in the S&M gay leather bar was not accidental, & when he left Lisa panting with passion at the cabana, he did rush straight to Grady’s house & begged Ron to allow him to stay the night with him. There are some subliminal insights into the possibility that the living Freddy Kreuger was a pedophile as well as child murderer, that molestation was not out of the question.
In 2010, in an article interview in ATTITUDE magazine, Robert Englund commented, when asked if he had been aware of the camp, gay appeal of the whole series, & this film in particular.
Englund said: “ The second NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was obviously intended as a bisexual-themed film. It was the mid-80’s after all, pre-AIDS paranoia. Jesse’s wrestling with whether he should come out or not, & his own sexual desires was manifested by, & perhaps attracted Freddy. His best friend was the object of his affection–it’s all there in the film. I think we did it subtly, but the casting of Mark Patton was no accident, because Mark was openly gay, & willing to explore these darker themes.”
Screenwriter David Chaskin admitted that gay themes were written into the script. The director, Jack Sholder, kept insisting that he was unaware of the gay dynamic within the story ( Sure, Jackie, we buy that crock of shit. )
Actor Mark Patton said: “I don’t think that Jesse was originally written as a gay character per say–I just think the gay theme just happened along the line, during the shoot, by serendipity.”
In the lexicon of horror/fantasy, it is not unheard of, or original to have a demonic spirit want to inhabit the body of an innocent soul, looking for conquest, for soul energy, for reincarnation of the nastiest kind. Yet, since Freddy was conceived as a dream monster who only has access to victims when they sleep, this bizarre transformation to a partially living behemoth who could attack the victims while they were awake, yet not losing his powers of invisibility & manipulation of objects, seemed a bit “out of character” to me. The homo-erotica of the piece did give it an interesting direction to pursue, but it got real bogged down in a bisexual fog that turned out not be fish or fag.
Freddy did get more screen time, but the writing was weak, much of the dialogue was insipid, leaving veteran actors like Clu Gulager & Hope Lange adrift. Lange managed to do an OK job with her nothing role, but Gulager was terrible, just doing a phone-it-in listless performance, the worst I have ever seen him do. He seemed to be emulating Darren McGavin’s brilliant performance in A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983), but minus the charm & talent.
With a 2 million dollar budget, why couldn’t they have been more careful with the editing; hate seeing those fucking palm trees in Indiana–& the desert scenes were just bad decisions, or bullshit editing–even though the filmmakers, I suppose, could assert that those desert scenes were part of a nightmare, so the desert locales made it more demonic, or some shit. The acting by the young cast was not bad, except during the pool party scene. It just hummed with a forced sense of “let’s party”, no preparation, no inner monologues, no back stories–just two dozen teenagers that were directed, I’m sure, to “just act like teenagers at a party”; & the results were amateurish beyond measure.
I did enjoy the hell out of Christopher Young’s musical score; it had very interesting colors & feelings to it, fully supporting the action, no matter how absurd that might have been.
I think some hooch needs to be consumed before viewing this entry in the NIGHTMARE Saga, & it might be an idea to watch it with a couple of hip gay friends who could explain a lot of the sub-text to you. On the HH scale of ten throbbing dancing stars, I can only give it 3.5 of them. I will not rush to view this homosexual primer annually while celebrating the anniversary of passing legislation to support Same Sex Marriage (which I believe in actually).