Even before Jack Sholder’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Freddy’s character and powers were a bit confusing. This was, after all, an undead deviant who could attack and kill people in their dreams. By his very nature, Freddy messes with reality, threatening to overturn conventional logic. That being said, in the sequel, Freddy had a markedly different approach to his victims. He tried to turn Jesse Walsh’s (Mark Patton: Come Back To The 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean 1982) body into his new home, using him as a vessel for a renewed killing spree. He also tormented the teen, haunting him on a school bus, turning up the heat in his room and doing a number of crazy things around his family’s house.
Let’s take a closer look at Freddy’s evilness in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. In case you missed it, you can read my article on the first film here.
Freddy Krueger, Party Animal
Unfortunately for the Fredster, Lisa Webber (Kim Myers: Hellraiser: Bloodline 1996 – read our retro review here) proves to be valuable in thwarting his efforts, though he does get in a few good kills. In addition to killing Jesse’s pal, Grady (Robert Rusler: Weird Science 1985), he comically attacks and then slashes up Coach Schneider (Marshall Bell: Starship Troopers 1997) after the perv brought Jesse back to school to make him take a shower.
On top of this, Freddy comes out big time in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. No, I don’t mean in that way, silly! Freddy comes out of the dream world to attack a teenage pool party. Yes, he is an archetypal maniacal party animal here, whereas most slasher villains prior to Freddy Krueger were shy about it.
Whether you like this film or not, it does give insight into how Freddy’s character works. Yes, Wes Craven himself attacked the pool party scene, suggesting it was too much. However, let’s not forget that Freddy seemed capable of being rowdy, even in the first film, and was quite the jokester even back then. While some people almost disregard this film from the overall series, it still fits in. Freddy’s motives simply come off as more convoluted.
Obviously, one can only guess what’s going on in Freddy Krueger’s hypothetical mind. However, if you pair this film with the franchise as a whole, it’s not even the most absurd glimpse into Freddy’s methods and madness. If he had genuinely been semi-defeated in A Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s possible he would have had to acquire a new method to attack the living. Why not possess a young, insecure and somewhat troubled high schooler? While it’s not entirely clear why Jesse was chosen, it could be that Freddy falls in line with “Beggars can’t be choosers.”
By the time A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge ended, Freddy seemed like a force pathetically clinging to whatever power he could muster. In fact, he almost doesn’t even seem like himself, but someone whose evil has dominated his personality but has been thwarted by the (platonic or romantic) love between Jesse and Lisa.
Does Freddy Have Demons, Or Is He A Demon?
Really, this is the first Nightmare on Elm Street film that examines Freddy somewhat beyond both dreams and reality. This isn’t to say it’s clearly defined, but the door’s opened to the possibility that Freddy isn’t just some burnt up child murderer. He comes across more as a literal personification of evil, hellbent on entering the real world. In case you didn’t notice, this is exactly the type of premise Wes Craven went with for New Nightmare (read our retro review here).
While Wes went meta with that one, this story is most definitely intended as discovering the actual Freddy, more animated by pure evil than personal vengeance. In fact, this is implied by the makeup artist Kevin Yagher, who suggested in Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy that Freddy was designed to look more like a wicked witch and not simply a burn victim.
Is Freddy Himself?
So, what is Freddy Krueger in this movie? Whereas the first Nightmare depicts him as someone who has personal demons, here he comes across more as a demon himself. As the series continues, Freddy acts as though he’s possessed by evil himself. Oh, his own character may shine through, but his hatred and the power he wields seem to dominate the vast majority of his decisions. Not only is he addicted to killing, but it seems to be his only nature. In this movie, he serves no greater purpose.
Personally, I suspect this is partly the reason why Freddy would want to possess someone. It is the closest he will ever come to having a pal. In fact, his need to associate with someone also emerges in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. The question is: is it something he wants to do or has to do for power? It could even be a combination of both. In addition to the revenge motif being less prominent, his razor glove seems like an extension of Jesse’s hand, which is definitely different. Freddy’s not only a maniac but an odd duck besides, but that’s part of his appeal.
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