Welcome to Elm Street: Part Three

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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.

“Live together, die alone.” I stole that line from Lost, but it sums up A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) all too well. The remaining Elm Street kids — you know, the ones whose parents enacted mob justice on Fred Krueger — find themselves locked in a psych ward. They’re not really crazy: they’re just having bad dreams. But these teens are (mostly) smarter than their predecessors, and they refuse to go down without a fight. The “dream warriors” pick up on two important facts: there’s safety in numbers, and you can do awesome shit when you’re dreaming. I believe The Simpsons’ Ralph Wiggum said it best: “Sleep! That’s where I’m a Viking.”
No Vikings in this bunch, sadly, but these kids do have pretty nifty powers and thus a fighting chance against Freddy. In case you’re planning on assembling your own team of dream warriors — and honestly, it’s not a bad idea — I thought I’d break down the pros and cons of part three’s heroes. Yes, most of them end up dead and those that don’t (spoiler alert) are offed in part four. But hey, it’s good to know what skills to look for and what faults to avoid when you’re trying to save your ass.

Presenting the dream warriors, in the order in which they bite it.

Phillip (Bradley Gregg)
Pros: Bitchin’ ‘80s hair.
Cons: Sleepwalker. First to die, with the most disturbing death scene by far. He really doesn’t have a lot going for him.

Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow)
Pros: Has a (somewhat painful) system for staying awake. Burning oneself with cigarettes shows serious motivation.
Cons: Smoker. Thinks she’s going to be an actress — yeah, she’s one of those. And, of course, the second to die. “Welcome to prime time, bitch.”

Taryn (Jennifer Rubin)
Pros: Stands her ground. That means not putting out for skeezy orderlies. Gets the best line of the movie: “In my dreams, I’m beautiful. And bad.” Switchblades.
Cons: Attitude. Really needs to comb that hair. Pesky heroin addiction, which Freddy exploits with terrifying fingerneedles.

Will (Ira Heiden)
Pros: Nerdy charm. In his dreams, he can walk — not to mention be the Wizard Master. That’s right, he can blow up evil wheelchairs with green lightning (in the name of Lowrek, Prince of Elves).
Cons: Even as a wizard master, he’s still just a dweeb. And eventually, a dead one.

Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp)
Pros: She’s been here before. Check out that grey streak: it screams “survivor.” Prescription for Hypnocil. Won’t take getting killed lying down.
Cons: Lots of baggage. Dead friends, dead boyfriend, dead mom — rewatch the first Nightmare on Elm Street if you need a refresher. Kind of naïve, inevitably. You really thought ghost dad was legit?

Kristen (Patricia Arquette)
Pros: Good at art. Marvel at her popsicle stick recreation of Nancy’s house! Does flips. Can bring people into her dreams.
Cons: Can bring people into her dreams. Hey, that’s a bad thing when you’re trying to avoid getting murdered. Poor common sense. All the Freddy fan-art is asking for it, don’t you think?

Kincaid (Ken Sagoes)
Pros: Tells it like it is, which means more great lines: “Let’s go kick the motherfucker’s ass all over dream land!” “Yo, Freddy! Where you hidin’ at, you burnt-face pussy?” Also, dreams give him super strength!
Cons: Gets thrown in the quiet room a lot, so you know he’s bad news. Nasty habit of antagonizing Freddy Krueger.

Joey (Rodney Eastman)
Pros: Knows to wake up his friends when necessary. Dream scream can break mirrors and banish the boogeyman.
Cons: But mostly quiet. Too quiet. Ball of teenage hormones, which inspires him to follow the hot nurse from hell and get himself comatose.

Dr. Neil Gordon (Craig Wasson)
Pros: The only doctor who actually believes that his patients are being killed by Freddy Krueger. Master hypnotist. Sees dead people — or dead nuns, at least.
Cons: Not a teenager. Might we say he’s getting too old for this shit? Can’t even fight a skeleton.

So there you have it. Now you can — I’m so sorry for this — pick your own dream team. And if you’d like to recruit me as a dream warrior, you should know that I’ve seen countless horror movies and know how to survive relatively unscathed. On the other hand, I’m pee-my-pants frightened of Freddy, so let’s call it a draw.

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