Well, Halloween is but a mere two months away - and in the advent that I myself am beginning to get my Halloween costume in order already, what better way to start up the celebration than the films to come. I have devised the PERFECT set of horror films that one should start to either watch every week until Halloween or at least buy for their collection (just in case they don't have it already). Man, James Woods is a fucking smooth bastard in Casino- lol anyways, so allow me to expand my story. Starting today will mark 10 weeks (well at least 10 weekends) until Halloween. In the tradition of me growing up with cheap basic cable - they'd typically spend the whole month of October and show a great horror film every night. Granted, it was edited due to content - but even watching that stuff as a little kid - it was very gratifying and horrorfying. But channels like that (WPIX NY, back home with me) along with the other local channels - all started to get bought up by companies to help compete against cable and the bigger companies like NBC, CBS and ABC. So towards the mid nineties, newer networks like the WB and UPN sprung up. There became much more original program (like the Wayans Bros - thank God!) and fewer times that they would just show movies during their syndicated time slots. Over time, these slots depleted more and more - sure eventually ABC Family would run the monthly special but there was no way in Hell you'd find the type of line up that I grew up with. Well, here and there over the years you'd be lucky to catch a special or two. My favorite happened back in about '97 or so, Halloween landed on a Friday night - and what a special occassion that Joe Bob Briggs would host a night to remember.
For those of you that don't remember, Joe Bob Briggs hosted a late night show on Friday or Saturdays on TNT where he'd typically host horror films that I grew up with during the 80's in syndication. It was like being able to relive the past, and now with the hilarious commentary, body counts, breast counts and tid bits of worthless information that Joe Bob provided us with as he progressively got more and more drunk throughout the showing of the films. Not to mention his dirty jokes, and reading fan mail from prison inmates by his hot Mail call girls - ah the good old days. Ooh, what a coincidence, Joe Bob Briggs has a small role in Casino - which I'm watching right now :D
Well, so anywyas I can recall that as Joe Bob and Halloween's biggest hoorah for a while. He ran all of the 8 original Paramount produced Friday the 13th films (granted all edited for content and time - but still very enjoyable). Alas, due to too many of late night drunken antics and prob a drop of viewer's ratings - they cut Joe Bob back further and further. He was later granted another type of show that had a similar set up to Monstervision, but with some fantasy related films (like Always or Back to the Future) and with each week the films pulled further and further away and became just a routine showing of TNT's back lot of films. Shoot, nowadays you can't even find much a long steady flow of back lotted films anymore, and TNT is also going the way of syndicated shows.
Okay, but what else, with the fall of Joe Bob, the Sci-Fi channel (and yes even sometimes USA) would try and pick up the pieces. Granted, no true monthly week day night marathons but you could catch some good ones here and there. And towards the late 90's and dawn of the 21st century, AMC was really picking up steam and giving the older films that I grew up with, this sorta fun vitage feel to it. Like, only this channel could treat a film with Big Trouble in Little China or OVer the Top with such a respect to make it look enjoyable in promos. So AMC picked up the pieces, and they still hold true to this day with their fright fridays on late night. And over the past few years on AMC, acclaimed horror icons like John Carpenter and Cliver Barker would have contests to see if new film makers could make a scare in under a minute with their own short horror films. This instileld some watching of older horror films of the 80's with newer audiences and gave a chance for true fans of film to have a home on AMC. Even though they clearly show Halloween 4 and 5 waaaaay too much.
With the inspiration of their showings, Halloween coming up and even a few years ago I made up a similar listing for an article for my college magazine - I'd like to bring back my countdown, just a bit more in depth and expanded for the fans of horror and films alike. So starting in a weekend tradition, I now present film number 10 on my list:
10) A Nightmare on Elm Street part 3: The Dream Warriors
1987, Directed by Charles Russel and fairly written by the original Nightmare creator Wes Craven amongst others.
Let's start it off somewhere, hmmmmm. So this Nightmare film helps to create some of the strongest continuity in the whole series as the corner stone in the saga (in my humble opinion.) In the first Nightmare on Elm Street (written/directed) by Wes Craven and starring Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon. Well, we all know the story right: Fred Krueger was a bad man, a child killer known as the Springwood Slasher of Ohio. So, when Fred was trialed for being a child murderer, they let him out for unsubstantial evidence. The parents of the murdered, and of the town, revolted and burned Fred alive in his house to death. So, apparently he made a deal with the devil and the "dream people" so that he could come back with vengence to get the children of his murders through their dreams - where they're parents couldn't stop him.
So, in the first film, Freddy is "killed" again by Heather Langenkamp, supposedly the end of the story. In Nightmare 2, another family moves into the Krueger house and he possesses a young boy to do the killing for him. Well, the spirit is put to rest - until the next one. Now, in Nightmare 3, has the setting in psychiatric hospital and all of these teens are having problems, by chance they're all having nightmares around a frightening man wearing a dirty sweater, striped sweater and a glove of sharp blades - Freddy? Well, now Heather (who plays Amanda) has become a psychiatrist and gets involved with dream theories and yadda yadda. We also have the introduction of an experimental dream drug that can be later found in the Nightmare series of Freddy vs. Jason.
Okay, so we have a cute lil setup. these kids are having nightmares - the survivor from the frist nightmare is here to help them defeat Freddy. Now we have something knew that kinda uttered the whole change to the series, is bringing in this one character played by Patricia Arquette, who can technically have this power to bring in other people into her dreams. This is similar to the "what the fuck" in the Jason series when he rose from the grave via thunderbolt or to the numerous "what the fucks" of the Halloween films. But I digress, so the nightmares become intense, and when Amanda informs all of these kids that are in the hospital together are in fact the last children whose parents murdered Freddy.
So the kids have to conquer there fears, and their handicaps (wheter drug addiction, being a mute, in a wheelchair) whatever in order to beat Freddy. They become the Dream Warriors ah, thanks Dokken for the main song btw. Which totally kicks so much more ass than Vinnie Vincent's main song for Nightmare on Elm Street part 4.
So why do you ask makes this film stand out as truly one of the greats in the entire Nightmare series. Well for starters, you can look at this one as a direct sequel to Nightmare 1. And with stating these for the last of the Elm Street kids, it also promises us to be a climatic ending to the Nightmares and either they die or Freddy is put to rest. Amanda, the heroine from the first film, comes back in order to help the kids. Along with her father, who also helps out and in the end pays his dues by redeeming himself. This film stands out with awesome special effects, whether it be for gore, props or optical effects to blend some intense fantasy and horror together. Oh, not to mention what goes best with gore than.....nudity! There's a nurse in here that Freddy gets into the body of (mind the pun) who befriends the Mute boy Joey and seducing him. So, does that make Freddy gay then? Well anyways, the nurse has quite the nice rack and has some nice tongue action.
As far as a continuity standpoint, this film directly hooks up with the first nightmare, and helps pave the way for a new army of kids to be slaughtered in Nightmare 4: The Dream Master (which begins a whole dream thing going on with this girl Alice) But it helps keep the franchise going with this film and later on down the road the sequels got much cheesier - but they really pulled a lot from this movie to keep some fresh meat in the franchise. Freddy isn't as cheesy by this point, nor is he like some sorta creepy demon like he was in the first 1 and 2. There's a great blend of him, before he got totally over the top and ridiculous with his one liners. Almost making him a Roger Moore of the horror genre.
Awesome deaths, jacking a dork out of his wheelchair and stabbing him in the heart. Making this dude's arteries coming out of his body like a marionette's strings. Coming out of a television and smashing a girl's face into the screen with the memorable line:
"Welcome to the prime time bitch!"
And my absolute and creepy favorite, going afer the junkie girl. First her track marks turn into these creepy little sucker mouth/eyeball things and then Freddy's blades turn into hypodermic needles and he says:
"Let's get high" and thusly injecting into her like a junky lol - you can't make up this sorta stuff.
So for a final countdown (no no not Europe) let's get a review for a final time. Also, a special thanks for Wes Craven to return to the franchise and bringing back some of the original creepy feel to the series (until he would return again to Wes Craven's New Nightmare) and also a round of applause to Chuck Russel for his directorial debut. Who would later go onto directing such run away hits like the Scorpion King, Eraser, The Mask and the Blob - thanks for all the hits Chuck. And in true Joe Bob Briggs fashion:
Nightmare on Elm Street 3:
Pairs of boobs seen: 1
Body count: 7
Gore factor: 5 out of 10 buckets of blood