A Nightmare on Elm St 2: Freddy's Revenge

Director: Jack Sholder (1985)
Starring: Mark Patton, Lisa Webber, Robert Rusler, Robert Englund
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Freddy makes his first comeback in this, the first and perhaps most unfairly maligned of the Elm Street sequels. Whereas most slasher sequels tend to simply replay the events of earlier movies, Freddy's Revenge does its own thing - with varying degrees of success. One thing's for sure - Freddy's revenge sure is sweaty. And gay.

After the events of the first movie, Jesse Walsh (Patton) and his family move into Nancy's house. Soon, Jessie begins experiencing terrible nightmares. And who should show up in these nightmares but the dream demon hisself, a Mister Freddy Kreuger. Freddy's working under a different Modus Operandi this time, and uses Jesse as a vessel for real-world murders. All of this is punctuated with a lot of homoeroticism and scenes of a shirtless Jesse waking up covered in sweat. A lot of sweat. This movie is sweatier and more loaded with nudity than that bit in the sauna with Viggo Mortenson in Eastern Promises.

And such glorious nudity. It's like Twilight crossed with Brokeback Mountain. Jesse spends as much time nearly-naked as he does clothed; and usually drenched in sweat too. To be fair though, the 80s' wardrobing is hideous, so your eyes will probably be glad for a respite from all the terrible, terrible shirts on show. Early in the movie, he tussles with classmate Ron Grady (Rusler), and ends up with his pants around his ankles as they fight/undress one another. Then there's PE teacher Mr. Schneider (Marshall Bell) who trawls S&M clubs at night and forces Jesse to shower. The homosexual undertones in Freddy's Revenge aren't hard to miss. If I were at university still, I might theorise that Jesse's struggles with Freddy represent his coming to terms with his own burgeoning sexuality. Thankfully, I'm not at university anymore, so I don't have to say shit like that no more. Such things aside, Freddy's Revenge is undeniably the most interesting of his Nightmares. And it comes at a period in Krueger's career where the man is still a damn scary prescence. Even when he's towel-whipping a man's ass, Freddy is terrifying.

That said, I can see why a lot of people have problems with Freddy's Revenge. I'm not entirely sold myself on Freddy committing real-world crimes, and Jesse as a protagonist just doesn't have the same appeal as Nancy. But it's really a very solid entry into the series, and not just a lazy rehash of the first movie. Just look at the Friday the 13th series - every episode is exactly the same (well, save for perhaps the last few). Even the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise would itself devolve into repetitious nonsense (to this day, I have trouble telling the fifth and sixth entries apart). Freddy's Revenge is original, interesting, well-made and sweaty. Very, very sweaty.

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