In case the title isn’t tipping you off, we’ve been here before. Twice, even! Nary a Friday the 13th passes without my ranting about horror flicks. It’s mostly a horror stream of consciousness, frankly. I never go into these articles with a plan. Planning is for people that have something important to say!
So what’s not important right now…?
I was recently at some very dear friends’ going away party before they left the cold winter confines of Pittsburgh, PA for the beachier pastures of coastal-ish North Carolina. At some point during that party, I got my hands on my chum’s Plex remote. And you know what goes best with parties?
That’s right! My friends deserve only the FINEST of Nightmares on Elm Street. And when you are looking for the cream of that series, you are looking for DREAM WARRIORS, featuring the rockin’ song “DREAM WARRIORS” by Dokken. I feel like I must always capitalize the phrase DREAM WARRIORS.
Nightmare on Elm Street the first is a fine movie. It’s both original and scary, and it debuts a classic horror villain who would be part of the pop culture zeitgeist. The sequel is best regarded for having influenced much of a truly awesome Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff song, down to who has the body and who has the brain.
(I could listen to that all day)
But the third Nightmare? That is *chef’s kiss*. It’s the perfect conglomeration of still being frightening and having dire circumstances, while also truly incorporating the snarky elements that would be integral to the Freddy Krueger character.
By this point, Freddy has turned his attention to the patients at a mental institution, killing and hunting them in increasingly creative ways (Freddy snake! “Welcome to prime time, bitch!”, the blood vessel marionette scene!) until the kids learn that they, too, can become powerful in their dreams.
It’s something of a joke that Freddy is hard up to defeat one girl whose dream power is Barely-Olympic-Level-Flippy-Shit, but he pretty effortlessly murders a poor crippled teen who becomes a friggin’ wizard. A WIZARD! With green wizard blasts of indeterminate power! Even Sami Zayn can counter flippy shit!
But Dream Warriors is both the best and the last good Nightmare before Freddy became a self-parody in parts 4 and 5. Remember the Power Glove? Oy. He was revitalized a bit in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, sure, but by that point, the book had already been written on the nightmare killer.
Whereas Dream Warriors garnered a fair bit of attention when it was on at the party, we cycled through several other films that night as background noise after it ended. The first Anchorman. The ‘Burbs. Part of Newsies until we kept mocking it and the person who initially demanded we watch it next turned it off. Sorry, I couldn’t get over that there is a statue of Lenin in Newsies.
I kept trying to sneak in John Carpenter’s The Thing, and across all my ventures back to the horror classic, we got a fair chunk of the way through it. I’ve actually never seen the whole movie proper, if you believe it! Now I have seen about three-quarters of it… on really low volume… with a lot of cross-conversations… and a lot of Wilford Brimley jokes. I’ll be honest… I feel like that’s the best way to enjoy this movie; it seemed pretty mundane aside from that. Mostly I felt bad for the dogs when they were trying to escape The Thing. Why do the dogs have to die, man?
There is a whole John Carpenter blindspot I have to confess to. Sure I have seen Halloween maybe more than any other movie ever. Yeah, I’ve watched They Live multiple times. But this quasi-viewing of The Thing is the best I’ve ever managed, and I have never seen Escape from New York, either. Oddly, I saw the sequel (Escape from L.A.) when I was a kid, and I had no idea it wasn’t a stand alone flick. Does… does that count for anything? He surfed!
Hmmm. This flippy shit Dream Warrior is still bothering me. That would be like if my dream power was the ability to bench press 300 pounds. Is it a lot better than I can do now? Yep! Is it relatively impressive to 95% of the population? Yep! Is it a quality super-power that would put me on par with literally ANYTHING Freddy Krueger can do? Nope! Why is Freddy so defenseless against cartwheels, though? He gutted a WIZARD!
No, that can’t be right, Morpheus.
(Fun fact: Laurence Fishbourne is in Dream Warriors! QUICK SURVEY: Who is more powerful? Freddy Krueger in dreams, or Morpheus in The Matrix? What about Neo in the Matrix?)
Since the last Friday the 13th, I have seen a few absolutely fantastic horror movies (well, in one case, a “horror” movie) in the way of Train to Busan and One Cut of the Dead. I can’t recommend either of those highly enough. Train to Busan is one of the most intense and powerful zombie movies I have ever seen, and some of the scenes are wildly imaginative. It was a breath of fresh air to the genre. One Cut of the Dead is a laugh riot once you get past the opening thirty minutes (which are absolutely necessary to enjoying the rest of the flick).
Watching those two and then sitting down to Parasite did lead to some confusion for my wife when she turned to me after an hour and asked “When do the zombies show up?”. I laughed, but when she pointed out some of the details (not only had we had just seen two other Asian zombie films, but in Parasite we see the family get gassed with poison, and there is a weird shambling derelict who pees on their house)… I see where she was coming from.
But now I wonder… would Parasite have been better with zombies? Well, no. Parasite was brilliant as is. But what if the guy… No, it’s still too soon to get into even hypothetical spoilers on Parasite. Go watch Parasite already, everyone! Then tell me where zombies could fit in.
BACK TO FREDDY KRUEGER! And let’s tie it in to Friday the 13th: Can you guess what we are reviewing soon on the podcast?
I am legitimately excited for this. Can you believe I never read it before? Man, The Thing… Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash. This article is all about the stuff I haven’t enjoyed yet!
I refused to believe they wouldn’t just end up making the long-awaited movie, but… nope. It as never as inevitable as I had hoped. So the comic came and went, and I just read more than the first issue. But when Andy asked Chad and I for future recommendations for Read Piles, I had to get it in.
We’re doing a two-fer show where we review this and the recent DC Snagglepuss comic and see which is better. As if that is even in question!
It’s funny that in a Pre-MCU world, Freddy Vs Jason felt like the biggest deal in cinematic history when it came out in 2003. When I saw it at the movie theater, it was PACKED. More than a decade’s worth of horror fans arguing who would come out on top if two of the genre’s best went at it, and we were all going to find out. We had no idea we were 16 years away from seeing, like, fifty Marvel super heroes share a screen in a two-part cinematic extravaganza. But who cared? Freddy was about to versus Jason!
Was I more excited for Freddy vs Jason in 2003 or Endgame in 2019? …okay, probably Endgame. But it’s closer than it has any right to be, I can’t lie.
On that note, there can be only one way to end this entry, so until next time… take care! And…