A Nightmare On Elm Street was such a massive success on release that it was inevitable that a sequel would be released as soon as possible. That is, of course, what happens. So one was rushed into production and almost a year to the day later Freddy’s Revenge was released. But how do you follow up a film like Nightmare On Elm Street?
Well by making the sequel about one man’s struggle to come to terms with his homosexuality.
I’ve written about the film previously but I sometimes find myself coming back to it. It’s not the most visually arresting of the Nightmare sequels but it’s notable perhaps because it definitely ignores the template set up by its predecessor and doesn’t attempt to rehash any kind of formula.
The link of Freddy Krueger to the film is tenuous at times, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the monster is there, lurking in the background, a constant reminder of the life that Jesse (Notice the gender ambiguous name) tries to ignore.
First, a plot. Five years have passed since the events of the first film (Which I guess sets this one in 1990 even though it was released in 1985) and a new family moves into the home that the Thompsons lived at in the first film. He has nightmares where Freddy Krueger appears to him, asking him to kill so that Freddy can live. He finds Nancy’s diary and realises that they dreamed about the same person and thus things spiral predictably out of control from there.
Oh when I say spiral I mean get really weird. The film is, through and through, about Jesse’s struggle to come to terms with who he is. The Freddy here doesn’t even resemble the Freddy from the other films. He exists mainly as a voice, as a subconscious, urging Jesse to do these things for him. The main thrust of the film is if Jesse will do what the voice tells him or if he’ll resist these ‘urges’.
So, on a scale of 1 to flaming just how gay are we talking here? Well Jesse, somehow, ends up in a club called The Viper Pit or The Coal Pit or some such. While he’s there he bumps into his Gym teacher who inexplicably takes Jesse back to School for detention (Now I’m not sure that the teacher really has the power to do this but it is a horror film after all). He makes Jesse run some laps and then send him to the showers. While the teacher is in his office things start to come alive, he gets pelted with balls(?!) and then is tied up in the shower and whipped before Freddy/Jesse finally kills him.
Pretty pretty Gay.
Freddy’s Revenge is in no way a ‘good’ film, but it is a fascinating one. What’s great is that the subtext went unnoticed for years, despite the fact that it’s so obvious it might as well be text. The sequels, save for Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, would never really bother to be anything more than slasher movies. So for the makers of this one to step out and try something different should be lauded, regardless of the final result.
If you want a really interesting double-bill then watch it with Top Gun. They basically deal with the same themes.