Director: Jack Sholder
Writer: David Chaskin
Cinematographer: Jacques Haitkin and Christopher Tufty
Producer: Robert Shaye
by Jon Cvack
This film has to be the worst sequel to the major slasher film series. In my previous thoughts on A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), I mentioned how a bad horror film will distract your attention. Rather than remaining fully immersed within the environment you become aware of what you’re watching; particularly the illogic or ridiculousness of certain scenes and moments. If frequent enough, the distraction starts to make time slow down. The last ten minutes of this film were amongst the longest I’ve recalled.
The movie opens up with a cool scene. High schooler Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton) boards a bus which is driven by Freddie who takes them off and into the desert where the ground soon falls apart, leaving them on a narrow cliff as though a cartoon, the bus rocking back and forth. Jesse wakes up and we learn that he and his family have just moved into Nancy’s old house. A random girl Lisa Webber (Kim Myers) immediately asks for a ride and two crush on one another. Jesse gets in a fight with a local jock at school Ron Grady (Robert Rusler) but the two become friends shortly after. Jesse continues having dreams and we learn that Freddie is attempting to coerce or possess him in order to continue the murders in real life.
The house is also dealing with some poltergeist activity where their pet bird explodes, the toaster catches on fire, and the air conditioner fails to work no matter how many times the dad fixes it. One evening, Jesse has a nightmare that he kills the coach that punished him. He wakes up to discover it really happened.
There’s a high school party that makes me honestly question if the storytellers had their own struggles in grasping reality. Lisa has a party and her parents to go to sleep. The dozens of kids then roll out the alcohol and start making out and having sex, all while the parents fail to notice as they have their own intimate moment. Jesse and Lisa almost have sex but Jesse almost provides oral with Freddie’s tongue, leaves, goes to Ron’s, kills Ron, gets absolutely covered in blood, and in a scene that might be one of the top three most ridiculous things I’ve ever watched, returns to Lisa, admits to the killing the coach and Ron (still covered in blood), and Lisa doesn’t care at all. It’s not ironic, it’s not melodramatic, she simply acts like what Jesse is telling him is no different than admitting he had a simple fight with his parents.
Freddie resurrects via Jesse at the backyard party and provides a somewhat cool scene minus some exploding hot dogs and Lisa’s dad grabbing a shotgun from a gun cabinet and failing to hit Freddie from only a few yards away. Freddie escapes and Lisa goes to the plant where the neighbors burned him alive and lights Freddie on fire, somehow bringing back Jesse and it all makes so little sense that my brain couldn’t even try to rationalize what was going on.
The plot is decent enough in having Freddie want to use a surrogate to enter the real world, but I was left wondering why they were trying to reinvent the wheel. It could have been so easy if they just stuck to the original formula. Freddie comes to the new kid in his dreams. Like Halloween II (1981), it would have just been a larger version of the original story; no longer needing to explain that Freddie can enter the real world with throwaway scenes. It’d use more money to create a larger world. Instead, it was this. Made worse by clearly having scenes that just didn’t work, edited down to the bare bones to just move things along; providing that gawky, ill-equipped feel that sequel directors often have. I’d have to return to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) and Friday the 13th (1981), but I’m pretty sure this is the worst immediate sequel to the famous four.
BELOW: Should have been a flag at "pool party"
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