In honor(?) of the new A Nightmare on Elm Street, we're recapping all of the Elms so far. Find more on the Pixel Vision blog.
A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) is probably the most reviled of all the Nightmare movies. Which is silly, because it’s awesome. OK, there are serious continuity problems and an utter lack of interior logic. You could skip right to part three without missing a beat — in fact, maybe you should. Freddy’s Revenge works better outside the context of the series. You have to appreciate this movie for what it is: a campy, homoerotic comedy. Dark comedy, but still.
Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) has been replaced by adorkable dweeb Jesse (Mark Patton). Freddy (Robert Englund) doesn’t want to kill Jesse; he wants to—wait for it — get inside him. And if you’re wondering how this Freddy relates to the original, don’t bother. Part 2’s Freddy seems to be able to torment people who are awake. He doesn’t murder teens on his own: he has to work through Jesse’s body. Or something. Screw the plot — the fun of Freddy’s Revenge is noting all the queer subtext.
Here’s my list of the 14 gayest things in this movie.
1. Jesse’s uber-femme scream is way more piercing than Nancy’s. Now, I don’t want to make assumptions. I’m sure lots of straight boys scream like that. But in context, it’s suspect.
2. Jesse is terrible at sports. Again, not trying to play into stereotypes. Well, no more than the movie is.
3. Grady (Robert Rusler) queers things further when he pulls down Jesse’s pants. Then the boys start wrestling. Coach Schneider (Marshall Bell) offers the only appropriate response: “Assume the position.”
4. To borrow a line from Buffy, “the subtext is rapidly becoming text.” “Guy gets his rocks off like this,” Grady says. “Hangs out at queer S&M joints downtown. He likes pretty boys like you.” Smile, Jesse. Grady thinks you’re pretty.
5. Diagram of an ass on the chalkboard. Giant snake rubbing against Jesse’s face. Paging Dr. Freud!
6. Jesse’s dance routine evokes painful memories for gay men everywhere who recall similar embarrassments. Relatedly, I love his Lady Gaga glasses.
7. “Schneider’s always got a stick up his ass.” Cough.
8. Look, I’m not saying sleepwalking isn’t real. I’m just saying sleepwalking into the aforementioned gay S&M club is a little hard to swallow. No pun intended.
9. Coach Schneider’s death scene is where things get really interesting: he’s tied up, stripped, and ravaged in the shower. Need I mention the towel repeatedly slapping his ass? Or the fact that the showerheads are obviously penises?
10. Jesse’s beard/love interest Lisa (Kim Myers) insists that she wants to help him. I think she means “cure” him, but we all know that never works.
11. Once Jesse does try to hetero it up by making out with Lisa, he finds himself rudely interrupted. See, Freddy’s tongue is in his mouth.
12. Where does he run? To (shirtless) Grady’s room, of course. This leads to the film’s most surreal exchange yet: “Something is trying to get inside my body.” “Yeah, and she’s female and she’s waiting for you in the cabana. And you want to sleep with me.”
13. It doesn’t stop there. “He’s inside me,” Jesse whines. “I’m scared.” Just relax. “He’s inside me and he wants to take me again!” That Freddy — he’s insatiable!
14. Fast-forward to Lisa’s intervention. “I love you, Jesse,” she says. Then she has the audacity to kiss Freddy, and you better believe he freaks. (Ew, girls.)
So in the end, Lisa’s love destroys the evil (read: queer) Freddy. A sadly homophobic twist to this otherwise gay romp. How would I have ended Freddy’s Revenge? Krueger realizes he’s just a metaphor for repressed sexuality and scampers off to part three, where he can be legitimately scary again. Meanwhile, Jesse and Grady ride off into the sunset, and any further bodily penetration is completely consensual.
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