Eye For Film >> Movies >> A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) Film Review
A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Reviewed by: James Gracey
The tagline for Freddy’s Revenge boasts that “The man of your dreams is back” but it doesn’t say that he’s back in a sequel completely lacking in the surreal intensity and creepy ingenuity of its predecessor. Director Jack Sholder (Alone In The Dark, The Hidden) attempts to take the story in a new, body-horror orientated direction, with child killer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) attempting to possess a teenaged boy (Mark Patton) and emerge into the waking world; but it’s an attempt that isn’t entirely successful. None of the queasy tension from the original is present, although the opening scene with Krueger driving a school bus through an increasingly hellish landscape is effectively realised. At times it boasts a stifling atmosphere and palpable uneasiness, but these aspects are diluted by more ludicrous moments, such as the scene in which the family’s pet parrot explodes, and the pool party scene where Krueger finally emerges into the real world only to snarl at revellers - many of whom are taller than him.
An unexpected and interesting aspect of Freddy’s Revenge is a subtext hinting at homosexual anxiety and repression. As the story progresses it takes the form of a violent ‘coming out’ parable. Freddy - who had yet to become the clownish figure he was in later sequels - appears to be constructed as the repressed desires of a young gay man that have become destructive as he lashes out at those he is attracted to. Interestingly, there are no female victims in this sequel; strange indeed for an Eighties’ slasher. Freddy (a dirty, disfigured and sadistic man who molests teenagers in their beds while they sleep) emerges from Jesse’s body when the teen finds himself in sexual situations, and it isn’t difficult to read these moments as manifestations of Jesse’s sexual anxiety; he sees his emerging sexual orientation as monstrous and so struggles to repress it.
Various scenes play out in leather bars, steamy locker rooms, and the bedrooms of half-naked male peers, whom Jesse regularly wrestles with in various moments that are charged with homoeroticism. The death of the sadistic gym teacher is particularly camp, as an unseen intruder hurls soccer balls at him, ties him up with jump ropes, strips him bare and whips his buttocks with a towel before slashing him to death. Conjuring all manner of S & M connotations, this has to be one of the more bizarre deaths in the series.
Freudian and blatantly phallic imagery comes when Jesse falls asleep in class and dreams that a huge snake has wrapped itself around his body, and later he comments that he is having nightmares about "a man who wants my body", exclaiming loaded lines such as "Fred Krueger! He's inside me, and he wants to take me!" The repression of his homosexual urges, the anxiety and panic he feels and the eventual nervous breakdown he seems to suffer lead to Jesse’s fraying relationship with his family and friends. His mother and girlfriend plead with him to talk about what’s troubling him; highly reminiscent of certain key moments in ‘coming-out’ movies. It is actually these parallels that make this otherwise lacklustre sequel so interesting, and at times unintentionally entertaining. However, coming in the wake of the original, Freddy’s Revenge unfolds as a rather uninspiring film indeed.Reviewed on: 04 Oct 2014
If you like this, try:A Nightmare On Elm Street