‘Dream Warriors’: Third Nightmare Outing Vastly Improves Series

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Franchise Friday rages on as 1428 takes a look at the third film in the ‘Elm Street’ series, Chuck Russell’s ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’. Welcome back Dreamers.

Chuck Russell’s ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ – Courtesy of New Line Cinema


Set six years after the original Nightmare, Dream Warriors tells the tale of kids versus Krueger.

When Kristen, one of the last of the “Elm Street” children, begins having bad dreams with that crazed burned boogeyman as her nocturnal guest, she’s sent to Westin Hills by her neglectful mother as a starved-for-attention suicide case. Assumed slightly insane and delusional by the staff at Westin, Kristen is all alone in her fight against the fedora-rocking dream freak.

Soon, she discovers she’s not the only kid who’ll do anything not to sleep. When the rare ability to bring people into her dreams reappears, Kristen must use it to bring the Westin Hills guests into her dream With Nancy by her side, the group wages the ultimate battle between the remaining adolescences of Elm Street and the demonic dream baddie. Being locked up in a mental institution can make life seem like death. The dream doctor can make it murder. Welcome to A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors.


’80s slashers are a big love of mine and nothing is quite like A Nightmare on Elm Street. As I mention in last week’s Franchise Friday, I got the VHS set that was released way back and ran through it like a mad matador in a bull fight. After I sat through Jack Shoulder’s pointlessly numbing Freddy’s Revenge, the first sequel to the late Wes Craven’s original classic, I made my way to the third Elm Street outing.

Since then, I’ve been a huge fan of Dream Warriors. I used to go to conventions and have many conversations with other Dreamers, fearlessly praising and defending the film that pits the Springwood Slasher against the last of the “Elm Street” kids. And, as it turns, out I’m not alone. In fact, the film is arguably the most loved sequel in the entire genre.

But sadly, while watching the film for this review, some points came up that were unbelievably unforgivable. Some things work extremely well, while others had me lunging for my many Freddy figures to ironically burn.

So let’s all befriend a fellow nocturnal fighter, pop a little hypnosil, and get admitted to Westin Hills as I review Chuck Russell’s 1987 slasher sequel, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.


Chuck Russell’s ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ – Courtesy of New Line Cinema


Chuck Russell directs A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors with class and precision. Russell, who also directed the 1988 cult-classic The Blob staring Entourage’s Kevin Dillion and Saw series favorite Shawnee Smith, does an admirable job with Dream Warriors. Giving the fact that the horror sequel is the filmmaker’s first film, it’s even more impressive.

It’s really you. I’ve killed you once before, you son of a bitch.-Lt. Thompson

While the film’s composition isn’t sharp, it does showcase a lot of attractive camera work. Great examples of camera movement moments include the scene when Kristen fights with snake Freddy (a great rotating shot as the Freddy snake slithers about inside the walls of the now decrepit 1428 Elm Street house), the moment before the epic showdown highlighting the entrance (a shot that focuses on the principals looking at something as the camera slowly rotates 180 degrees to show the audience what the characters are already viewing), and a beautiful steady-cam sequence that I’d like to go into further.

This scene happens early in the film, when the two lead doctors at Westin Hills are doing rounds and distributing medication. The shot is a medium and follows the two principals walking down the hall. As the actors deliver their lines, different characters enter and exit the frame.

This long shot consists of the characters saying a line or two to add a dimension of realism. The two doctors then stop at Kincaid’s room and the camera cuts to a shot of him alone in the rubber room. The camera then cuts away to follow the doctors further down the hall. This is a great example of using the camera to strengthen the narrative.

‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ – Courtesy of New Line Cinema

Not every direction works in the film though. Without spoiling too much, at the end of the film a character must fight a skeleton Freddy. As if this wasn’t embarrassing enough, the way in which it was shot is corny beyond belief.

Filmed long before decent CGI was cheap and easily available, the filmmaker was tasked with bringing the sillier parts of the script to life any way he could. To achieve this fight between man and bones, the characters are filmed doing fight choreography. Then a stop-motion animation sequence is created for the skeleton. The two are then superimposed together. The result is one of the silliest moments in the history of horror.