Triskaidekafiles

Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS

WRITERS: Screenplay by Wes Craven & Bruce Wagner and Chuck Russell & Frank Darabont
    Story by Wes Craven & Bruce Wagner

DIRECTOR: Chuck Russell

STARRING: Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson
    Patricia Arquette as Kristen Parker
    Larry Fishburne as Max
    Craig Wasson as Neil Gordon
    Bradley Gregg as Phillip
    Rodney Eastman as Joey
    Ira Heiden as Will
    Nan Martin as Nun
    Jennifer Rubin as Taryn
    Ken Sagoes as Kincaid
    Penelope Sudrow as Jennifer
    John Saxon as Thompson
    Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger

QUICK CUT: A new therapist helps a group of kids find friendship and their own inner strength as they battle their personal demons.

THE MORGUE

    Nancy - Making a triumphant return from the first movie and her encounters with Krueger, Nancy comes back with all her confidence and strength she had then, but with added years of maturing and studying.  The character has made a fairly logical progression from when we last saw her.

    Kristen - Our new head victim, and as much the lead character as Nancy is.  She's very much a younger version of Nancy, but is a bit more mousy, and loves arts and crafts.  We find her, and the rest of the Elm Street kids, after they've been dealing with their nightmares for awhile.

    Will - A troubled kid who tried to kill himself, and instead paralyzed himself from the waist down.  He's very much the stereotypical nerd of the movie, and loves his Dungeons & Dragons knockoff.

    Kincaid - Another kid that Heather is trying to help, and he's a *bit* of the angry black guy stereotype, but the movie does also allow him to have some heart.  Most of his violent outburts are understandable, what with the nightmares, and people always trying to grab him and calm him down and sedate him and put him into solitary.

    Taryn - A girl in the group who tried to kill herself by ODing, and rather than go to jail for drug possession, she chose to be put in with the rest of the Elm Street Gang, trying to get help.

    Jennifer - Another of Freddy's victims who has taken to extreme measures to stay awake, including burning herself with cigarettes when she starts to doze off.

    Phillip - A kid in the hospital who likes making puppets, although they won't let him have knives so he can properly make them from would.  Instead, he shows his inventiveness by making them from any sort of junk he can find.

    Joey - A troubled kid who has stopped talking after an incident, so he spends the movie as pretty much a mute.  He seems like a good kid, just quiet, and has a crush on one of the nurses.

    Doctor Gordon - The main doctor on the ward housing all the troubled, sleepless kids, and a romantic interest for Nancy.  He's dubious of any claims of shared dreams and a monster coming for them all, but he's willing to give Nancy a shot at her ideas, and gives her a lot of leeway.

    Freddy Krueger - He's still very much in classic Freddy mode, very much a wild animal coming after the kids, without many words.  But when he does speak, you can start to see the jokes creeping in more and more, as a personality begins to form.

 Kick those dreams in the nuts.

Kick those dreams in the nuts.

THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskelions!  After our little fun with giant robots, it's time to get right back into horror, for our annual trip to Elm Street and the return of Freddy Krueger.  That's right, it's A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.  This was, to the best of my recollection, the first Freddy movie I ever saw, and one of the first horror movies.  I *might* have seen four first, and come back to this one, which let me tell you...confused me greatly.  But I digress.

Much like Friday part 3, this movie also sees Freddy going after someone with previous connections to him, but unlike that sequel, this one actually brought back some familiar faces in Heather Langenkamp's Nancy, and her father the Master...er, John Saxon.

But we won't get to them for a little bit longer.  For now, we're dealing with Kristen Parker, who must be related to the kid from Shocker, right?  During the credits, she's building a replica of Nancy's house, and going through the usual routine of anyone who has encountered Freddy, and doing anything she can to stay awake.

Kristen's mother comes upstairs, urging her daughter to get some sleep, but the girl complains that she's still having awful dreams.  Look, ma, just let the kid have her dreams.  For all you know, they might lead her to become a crime-solving medium!  You don't know!

But since a Nightmare movie without nightmares would probably be pretty boring, she eventually falls asleep, and follows a little girl into a full-sized version of the house she's building out of Popsicle sticks.  And once again, this movie just *nails* dream logic and common tropes.  Kristen tries running with the girl, to escape Freddy, but she ends up stuck in a tarry, gooey floor, running in place, with Freddy growing ever closer.  That's just so perfect.

 Hey, Kristen!  Wanna hang out with the gang?

Hey, Kristen!  Wanna hang out with the gang?

After finding the room with all the hanging bodies, Kristen screams and...IT WAS ALL A DREAM.  Wait, right, that's okay in these movies.  She heads to the bathroom to calm down, and the sink faucet grabs her because...IT IS STILL A DREAM.  Her mom rushes in from all the screaming and finds her daughter slashing her wrists, so they send her off to a mental ward to get some help.

We wander through the halls and meet the lead doctor, Dr. Gordon, and some of the patients we'll come to know just before they get brutally murdered in their sleep.  It's maybe a bit too brief, but the movie has plenty of time to flesh them out.  This works as quick intros to the locale and people so you know their faces, and will recognise them when they get more screentime later.

Oh, and there's a hotshot grad student coming in to help the kids, who's doing some groundbreaking nightmare research and...It's Nancy!  That's a great way to bring a character back, and is the perfect thing you can see her going into after her experiences.  She wants answers for herself, and can help others.

 Morpheus the orderly, and Dr. Not! Bill Maher.

Morpheus the orderly, and Dr. Not! Bill Maher.

Jack Crawford shows Nancy around a bit more, and we get to meet at least a few patients in a bit more personal manner.  We've got Philip who likes to carve puppets, so he'll go on to a nice career at Full Moon when he's not sleepwalking.  Kincaid, who's prone to violent outbursts and being tossed into the 'quiet room'.  And then there's Joey, who's mute.  There's a few more lurking around, and they'll all get their moments.

It's been awhile, so I guess it's time for another nightmare, as Kristen runs from Jigsaw's melting tricycle and finds herself back in Nancy's house.  She gets attacked by the giant wormy head of Freddy, who decides she looks tasty.

Kristen freaks out and calls out to Nancy, who falls back into her chair, and is sucked right through into the girl's dream.  She grabs a broken shard of glass or mirror, and stabs the fredworm in the face.

 I can has Parkerburger?

I can has Parkerburger?

The next day, there's a group session where we meet the rest of the gang; Will's in a wheelchair after trying to kill himself by jumping off a building.  Jennifer who likes to burn herself with cigarettes.  And finally, there's Taryn who's a recovering drug addict, and is in this place because it's better than juvie.

Doctor Simms tries to brush aside their shared dreams of Freddy as a sort of mass hysteria, but she doesn't take into account that they all dreamed about him before ever meeting.  Ahh, science.

That night, Joey and Will crash, and they have a good system going of sleeping in shifts so they can rest, and avoid Freddy.  That didn't go so well in the first movie, but they're doing okay so far, I suppose.

 Enjoy your red pills, kids!

Enjoy your red pills, kids!

While Nancy tries to convince Doctor Not!Bill Maher to give the kids sleep deprivation drugs to help them, Freddy decides to go after some kids.  He brings to life one of Phil's puppets, and invades the dreams of the sleepwalker.

He slashes the kid's limbs, and yanks out blood vessels, allowing Freddy to puppeteer the kid like a marionette.  In the dream, that is.  In reality, all anyone sees is Phillip on another sleepwalking journey.

Joey on watch looks out the window and sees Phillip about to jump, and does his muted best to wake everyone up, so they can all rush to the window and watch him plummet to his death.

 I had strings, but now I'm free, there are no strings on me!

I had strings, but now I'm free, there are no strings on me!

The next day in group, the kids are understandably freaking out, and saying it was murder, while the doctors all try to reassure them, badly, that Phillip just committed suicide.  And because of all the commotion, Simms decides there will now be a curfew with locked doors, forced sedation and sleepy go nap nap time.

Kincaid freaks out and resumes his stay in solitary, and that night Morpheus finds Jennifer watching tv.  He tries to talk her into reading a book, saying she watches too much tv, becausethe tv keeps her sedated, unaware of the true reality, and he wants to show her how deep the rabbit hole goes.

He agrees to leave Jennifer alone so she can stay up and watch tv, but she doesn't do too well at that, eventually dozing off.  Freddy's arms and head sprout from the tv, grab Jennifer, and bash her head into the picture tube.

 There really is nothing good on tv anymore.

There really is nothing good on tv anymore.

Later, Dr. Gordon and Nancy lead a special group session so she can become Doctor Infodump and bring the kids and audience up to speed on who Freddy is, and who the kids are, saying they're the last of the Elm Street kids.  Well, that's good, so this should be the last film!  Ahahaha, no.

Neil agrees to try hypnotising everyone, so Kristen can bring everyone into her dreams, and we can end this.  Sadly, we're about halfway through, so that's not about to happen.

The hypnosis doesn't seem to work, and Dr. Gordon only seems to think this proves him and all his science talk right.  While everyone takes a break before trying again, Joey sneaks off to flirt with the nurse he's been crushing on all movie.

Dr. Gordon is ready to try again, when the balls of his Newton's Cradle decide to zoom off around his head.  And if that doesn't convince him that they're all inside a dream, when Will stands up out of his chair, that does the trick.

Will grabs a passing ball and turns it into a bird, because in the Dreamscape, he is a wizard master.  Kristen does some hand springs and backflips, because in dreams, she is a gym master.  Kincaid picks up a chair and twists the metal legs all around, revealing himself as a bending master.  And then there's Taryn who...um...who has a mohawk and leather and knives, so she's either a punk master, or a Storm master.

Together they are...THE DREAM MASTERS.  Or something.  Someone call Sleepwalker to deal with these kids...OH wait, their Sleepwalker jumped off a roof.  ...Too soon?

 That hair is sharper than Freddy's claws.

That hair is sharper than Freddy's claws.

Meanwhile, Joey helps the nurse out of her uniform, they make out, until she spits out a bunch of tongues to tie him down to the bed.  This is the ickiest bondage play ever.  Oh, and she reveals she's really Freddy, who makes what *might* be his first terrible joke ever.

The group realises something is wrong when the lights go out, and they try and find Joey, only to find the room catching on fire and transforming into a giant boiler.  It's a great sequence with practical effects as they very effectively demolish the room and have the metal walls close around the gang.

Fortunately, Simms bursts in and wakes everyone up, except for Joey, because he's a little tied up at the moment.  He's stuck in a coma and the administration comes down on Gordon for his unauthorised session.

 Death Bed: The Bed That Eats

Death Bed: The Bed That Eats

Before he leaves, Neil sees a nun he's been bumping into all movie long, and follows her to an abandoned part of the hospital.  Sister Mary Exposition tells about a young girl who got trapped in the hospital back in the 40s, raped repeatedly by the inmates, and oh yeah, she was named Amanda Krueger.  Behold, the secret origin of Freddy!  Because we really needed him to have some tragic epic backstory to explain away his acts.  Cool motive, still murder.

While she tells the doctor that Freddy's bones need to be properly buried to get rid of him once and for all, Nancy is sitting with Joey, telling Freddy to let the kid go, so he carves a message into Joey's chest, "Come and get him, bitch."  Boy, I sure hope that doesn't scar, because that will be rough to explain to anyone for the next sixty years of his life.

But the parents that caused all this mess by roasting Fred back in the day, didn't exactly give him a proper burial, and hid his remains so they'd never be caught.  And most of them have died off or moved on as plot convenience dictates.  Fortunately, Nancy's father is still around hanging out at Little Nemo's Bar.  Cute reference, gang.

Kristen loses her mind over the only people actually helping her being given the boot, so they giver her Kincaid's usual reservation in the quiet room.  The kids call Doctor Gordon, and he sends Nancy back to the hospital to help them, while he tries to convince Nancy's father to actually be helpful and get the bones.

 That scorch mark is still better entertainment than reality tv.

That scorch mark is still better entertainment than reality tv.

Nancy heads back to the hospital to try and help the kids.  They won't let her see Kristen, but she sneaks off with the rest of the Dream Dorks to try and get ready to go into the dreams to help Kristen when she falls asleep.

Everyone reunites in the dreamscape's quiet room, just before Freddy slashes through the padded walls.  Amidst the snowstorm of feathery confusion, everyone gets separated into their own dreams, driving them apart and dividing their power.

Kristen finds herself back in her room from the start of the movie because IT WAS ALL A D...wait, what?  No?   THIS is the dream?  Are we sure?  Okay...

Freddy shows up to stab Kristen's dream mom in the face, shouting, "Where's the fucking bourbon??" and I wonder if he might have also been searching for the cheese spread.

 Who's the head of this household, Kristen??

Who's the head of this household, Kristen??

Kristen jumps out her bedroom window, and lands right into Nancy's old home.  Once again, wonderful dream logic.  Meanwhile, punk Taryn is back on the streets and runs right into Freddy.

She's more than ready to kick his ass, and whips out her knives, all set to bring it in a back alley of the Dreamscape.

But Freddy gets the upper hands when he turns his fingers into hypodermics and injects her with dream drugs, killing her.

 That's not a knife...THIS is a knife!

That's not a knife...THIS is a knife!

With her out of the way, it's time to see where our grand wizard master ended up, and he's busy being taunted by an evil chair of spikey evil.

He finds his confidence and wizard's cloak though, zapping the chair with green Force lightning, and then following up with a good zap on Freddy.

Will foolishly rushes in to press his advantage, but Freddy grabs him and stabs him, taking care of one more Dream Warrior.

 Oh, tell me this dork is Freddy';s downfall.  He'll never hear the end of that.

Oh, tell me this dork is Freddy';s downfall.  He'll never hear the end of that.

Meanwhile, Nancy and Kristen meet up in the old house, and are quickly joined by Kool Aid Kincaid smashing through the walls.  That's not going to help the property values in Dreamville.

Kincaid is great.  He has zero patience and a need to punch something, so he calls out Freddy.  It's perfect for his character, and Freddy sort of obliges, by popping up a handy doorway for them.

They head into the doorway and descend into the final act.  Back in the really real world, Neil and Thompson are still searching the junkyard for Krueger's bones.

 The Drawing of the Three

The Drawing of the Three

Back in Dreamhell, the gang finds Krueger, and Nancy demands he release Joey...which he does, and is bad, because the kid is dangling over a fiery pit that falls into even deeper Hell.  Nancy rushes down and grabs him just in time.  And hey, if you see an Imaginator in all that mess, let me know, I got a guy looking for one.

In a game of everything you can do, I can do better, the kids all try and uses their magic dream powers against Freddy.  Kristen tries to flip around and distract him, but he can do that too.  Kincaid tries to bash him with anything handy that's giant and heavy, but Freddy just shrugs it off and hoists the kid like he's a feather.  Who's the real Dream Master, kids?

Nancy realises he's stronger than he's ever been, and Freddy reveals that the dead kids' souls give him power.  Oh look, there's a *reason* behind all these killings, beyond revenge.  That's a nice touch.

 I'm your soulkeeper now, Nancy!

I'm your soulkeeper now, Nancy!

Before he can finish them off and add to his power though, Krueger's Freddysense is tingling, and he knows his bones are being disturbed.  He teleports away, leaving the kids to just look confused for a bit.

The cars all start coming to life in the really real world like a discarded plot from Maximum Overdrive, and Thompson tells the doctor to bury the bones.  Little did they expect that they would leap to life and start attacking them

Freddy Skelekrueger quickly dispatches Nancy's dad on a handy piece of metal, and then beats up Neil for a bit, before trying to bury him in what would be Freddy's grave.

 By the power of Ray Harryhausen, I have the power!!

By the power of Ray Harryhausen, I have the power!!

Declaring himself the winnah and new champeen, Freddy roars triumphantly, and heads back to the Dreamscape to deal with those pesky kids.  They're busily wandering the halls, and get trapped in a hallway covered in mirrors when Freddy redecorates and seals off both ends.

Multiple Freds start popping out of the mirrors and grabbing the kids, trapping them inside their own personal mirror universes, to be forever tormented by endless Nightmare sequels.  Just wait until they get to the reboot.

The last one remaining is Joey, curled up in a corner, and he finally reveals his own special dream power when he cries out, shattering the mirrors.  Because he is a Black Canary Master, I guess.

 And Joey just ended up with one metric assload of bad luck.

And Joey just ended up with one metric assload of bad luck.

With everyone saved, Nancy declares that it's over, but all together now gang, Freddy is Not Really Dead.  But before he can arrive, Ghost Dad poofs down to say hey to his daughter after being impaled.

Nancy goes to her father so he can say goodbye, but surprise!  It's Freddy!  He may not be really dead, but he is really dad!  He stabs Nancy in the gut, so I guess that's her out from the franchise.

Her death cries wake up Neil in the real world, while Fred turns his attention to Kristen.  Before he can make stabbyhands on her, Nancy reveals she's learned a few things and isn't dead yet either.  She grabs Fred from behind, and stabs him with his own glove.

 Nooo!  I don't wanna go to the dentist, and you can't make me!!

Nooo!  I don't wanna go to the dentist, and you can't make me!!

Neil crawls out of the shallow grave, pushing the lifeless bones in his place, while spraying them with holy water and laying a cross upon him.

In the Dreamscape, Freddy starts exploding into little balls of light, surely to torment me a year ago during one of the Leprechaun movies.

So this time, Freddy is actually dead, at least for the purposes of this movie, and everyone wakes up, and heads off to Nancy's funeral.  And probably two or three others.

 Get your Freddy Krueger disco ball today!

Get your Freddy Krueger disco ball today!

Oh, and one last twist before we dream off into the sunset.  At the funeral, Neil sees the nun again and follows her to a gravesite for Freddy's mother, and finds out she was actually Sister Mary Exposition, guiding events to stop her bastardly son.

And that is it for Freddy for now, but the Nightmares are just beginning.  Come back on the 13th for our next visit to horrorville...

AUTOPSY REPORT

Video: As should be expected, this looks perfectly solid.  The image is good, nothing is ever *too* dark or weirdly coloured, and it has the look you'd expect from the time period.

Audio: A solid enough surround mix, which is always great when you're talking horror and nightmares.

Sound Bite: "The bastard son of a hundred maniacs," may be the single best description of a character.

Body Count: The Nightmare movies have never been known to be very heavy with the dead, but they do make up for quantity with quality, IMO.

1 - 35 minutes in, and Phillip is strung along until he falls to his death.
2 - Freddy smashes Jennifer's face into a television, because she always wanted to be on tv.,
3 - Taryn fatally overdoses in her dreams.
4 - Freddy stabs Will in the heart, wizard powers be damned.
5 - Back in the real world, Skelefred kills Nancy's dad.
6 - Fred tricks Nancy, and stabs her in the heart.
7 - And finally, Freddy's bones are consecrated and buried, killing hiiaaahahaha

Best Corpse: Like I said, slim picking this time, and most are pretty quick and to the *ahem* point.  But I'll give the nod to the tv smash, since that's a pretty sweet effect of Fred forming out of it as the original Teletubby.

Blood Type - B: There are moments where the movie is weirdly bloodless, but then there are times when it's got quite a bit.  But most of the points are given for the effects.  The Fredworm, the puppets, the gore on sleepwalking Phillip, the tv Fred...all of that just looks amazing, especially for the time.

Sex Appeal: Provided largely from the nurse who gets naked in Joey's dream.

Drink Up! Every time you see Nancy's house, either in nightmare form, or Popsicle stick effigy.

Video Nasties: I went with Kristen's second nightmare, where she brings Nancy into the Dreamscape, and we get to see the pretty awesome Fredworm.

Movie Review: I should really go back and double check my thoughts on Freddy's Revenge, but I think I prefer this one better.  I'd honestly lean to it being almost the equal of the original.  The plot is solid, and is a better sequel and continuation of the first movie.  The flow is good, and while it takes the first third of the movie to get going and the bodies to start dying, there is solid pacing and character work, interspersed with the nightmares to keep things lively.  Freddy's still not the jokester he would become, so he's got a lot of menace still going for him, and his plot to increase his power brings things to a whole new level, and justifies this movie existing, and not just being a retread.  Having Wes Craven back with some scripting duties really helped.  There is a fair bit of camp though, and while all the Dream Warriors are fully realised characters, they are also kinda silly, and rather dated.  Four out of five claws.

Entertainment Value: This is an absolutely rock solid horror movie.  The kills are fun, if quick, and if they're not super inventive, they are for the most part tailored for the characters, for maximum dramatic irony.  You gotta laugh at the 80sness of it all, especially Taryn's over the top punk look, and the D&D wannabe.  Krueger cracking jokes is starting to creep in, and it's JUST the right amount.  He manages to be funny and not have it take away from his menace.  There's a number of familiar faces who would have great careers.  There's not a *lot* of cheese here, but there's good fun to be had.  Four out of five dream warriors.

Oh, and let me not forget that the end credits theme is another song written about the movie.  I always love that.