Wes Craven was not on board for this one, feeling that the first NOES was a "one and done" deal, plus the script for Part Two broke a lot of the rules of logic set down for the characters to follow (which I will get into more detail soon). New Line, however, saw the chance to create a cash cow with Freddy and went ahead with director Jack Sholder at the horror helm.
The story here centers around Jesse (Mark Patton), whose family got a financial bargain by buying Nancy's old house. But that place does have it's drawbacks; like being so hot, that one of the family pet parakeets goes insane and pulls a When Animals Attack on them (it's more stupid than scary) before it explodes. I kid you not, the bird blows up and all the dad can think to say about is to accuse Jesse of stuffing a firecracker into the poor thing!
While Jesse tries to bond with jock classmate Grady and girl next door Lisa (played by Kim Myers, who has the look of a young Meryl Streep), he faces some freakish dreams about our good friend Freddy, who wants him to take up the mantle of the finger knives for some slash and dash fun:
Since the victims weren't asleep, and it's not clear if Jesse was dreaming or just in a trance, that set-up tends to undercut the whole point of the villain as a killer who strikes at you only in your dreams.
Not to mention that in this version, Freddy has fire element powers that cause flames to erupt on command, as well as raise the room temperature. Also, bringing Freddy out into the real world was established in the first film as a way to weaken him for a defeat, not to make him more of a threat. A lot of shameless rule breaking going on here which only serves to undermine the true horror of its Big Bad and makes for a mess of a movie:
Making Nancy's house a focal point for Freddy was picked up again for the third film, subtitled Dream Warriors, and continued throughout the rest of the series, even down to Freddy Vs. Jason (a nifty little line from Freddy comments on that in FVJ). The idea of Freddy using a new person to connect him to future prey was better developed in the third movie and formed a trilogy of sorts in the series, which I call The Dream Team, and are my favorites in the whole NOES saga.
Also, the organic look of the finger blade glove, which grows out of Jesse's hand during a key transformation scene, was used for Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Most importantly, it cements the pattern of a woman being the one to ultimately defeat Freddy, as Lisa plays the part of exorcist in driving the dark spirit of Kruger out of Jesse by declaring her love (an early version of Xander in the sixth season of Buffy saving the world from the wrath of Dark Willow by offering his unyielding affection for her crayon breaky self, if you will):
With the screenwriter, David Chaskin, now acknowledging that was his intention all along, and the film's leading man being openly gay, this metaphor for the emotional complications of a teenager struggling with his sexual identity has earned NOES2 cult film status. Considering that this movie was made during the 1980s, when these issues were barely being dealt with constructively in the mainstream media, having this particular theme fly under the radar here was a nifty act of social rebellion.
I do recall seeing this movie in theaters (the poster art intrigued me) and still find it hard to believe that the director had no clue whatsoever about this particular theme, especially in the sequence where the gym coach gets slaughtered in the locker room showers after meeting Jesse at a leather bar. Be that as it may, NOES 2 may have not been the best follow-up film, but it did offer some merits that contributed to the rest of the series:
Tune in next time,when Wes Craven returns to revive his dream monster man in Dream Warriors and if you haven't seen Freddy's Revenge,do check it out. It's far from my favorite film in the NOES saga but one thing you can say in it's favor is that it certainly gives you something to talk about: