Retro Movie Review: Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

I know this may seem like an odd movie to review out of the blue, but hear me out. My first Retro Move Review was Mommie Dearest. Retro for sure, and I reviewed it because, well, this is a gay site, and a lot of gay men love that movie. I wanted to continue the trend of reviewing older movies that have some gay link to them.

1985’s Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge may not seem like an obvious choice if you’ve never seen it. Pretty much everyone over 20 is familiar with Freddy Krueger and the Wes Craven created Elm Street franchise. Seeing how there are over 7 movies (not including the remake or the fight with Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees) I wouldn’t expect everyone to have seen all of them. But let me tell you, this movie is loaded with gay subtext, and stars the self-proclaimed first male scream queen, now openly gay actor Mark Patton. Usually these teenage torment films star females, due to their inherent vulnerabilities. Freddy’s Revenge sort of bucks the trend here.

Now, I have seen snippets of Elm Street movies over the years, but I can’t say for sure if I had ever watched one straight through to the end. The original came out in 1984. I would have been 1 year and a bit, so I wasn’t the target audience upon release. A lot of other people were though. New Line Cinema’s early success can be attributed solely to that movie, and earned the nickname “The House that Freddy Built”.

I first watched the original, so that I would have the context for the second one. It stars a bunch of teens being tormented in their dreams by Kreuger. Kreuger was originally a suspected child killer who was acquitted of his crimes due to police negligence. The parents of the community wouldn’t stand for this, and killed Freddy by pushing him into a boiler fire. Freddy then comes back years later to enact his revenge on his murderers’ children. I noticed a few things while watching the first one. First, it doesn’t really age well. The special effects are laughable, although one scene filmed in a spinning room is quite the spectacle. Secondly, you didn’t really have to be that good looking to be case in an 80s film. Besides Johnny Depp (his first acting role), none of the teens in the movie are that hot.

I watched the second one a few days after I had seen the first. The effects and the acting were about on par with the first: terrible. The plot of the second movie revolves around one boy, Jesse Walsh, played by Mark Patton. Jesse’s family moves into the house where the lead of the first movie lived. Freddy invades Jesse’s dreams and tries to get him to commit murders for him in the real world. As a whole, the movie is quite tame, with no real motivation for Freddy except to be evil. The plot or the scares isn’t why you should watch this movie though, it’s the blatant homosexuality that Jesse exudes, that many have claimed Freddy is the manifestation of.

There’s the obvious explicitly gay gym teacher, who is in to S&M. Freddy takes control of Jesse one night and makes him go down to a leather bar where he runs into Coach Queer. The coach gets angry and drags Jesse down to the gym (while still wearing leather pants and a harness) and makes Jesse run laps. Then he makes Jesse hit the showers and he goes to sit in his office (you know, like all gym teachers would do when they run into one of their students at an S&M bar). Freddy then takes over and kills the coach by pummeling him with balls (mmm hmmm), tying him up naked in the shower and whipping him with towels. …. yeah.

That’s one of the more obvious gay scenes in the movie. Another, that I guess could be excused for it being the 80s, is when Jesse is made to clean his room, and he puts on some music and prances around lip-syncing to Touch Me (All Night Long) by Cathy Dennis.

Another scene includes Jesse leaving a hot make-out session with his “girl-friend” when Freddy starts to appear, to then go to sleep over at his best friend’s house.

I’m not the first to notice all the homo-eroticism in this movie. One of my favourite bloggers, Rich over at Four Four highlighted this a while back, and movie message boards have discussed the topic endlessly. The director and actors even addressed it in the Nightmare on Elm Street series documentary: Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy which is definitely also worth a watch if you like the series at all.

The movie isn’t very scary by today’s standards, even if you don’t like scary movies. It’s passed its prime, and is more camp than scare. It’s laughable in scenes, and it’s great to see how movies were made some 25 years ago. If you’re bored, you wouldn’t be wasting your time giving this a watch.

  • Dan

    Hey Topher – I was totally going to do a retro movie review last week after I sat down and watched Back to the Future AND Edward Scissorhands. Both were EPIC and totally worth re-watching again!

  • oooh, Edward scissorhands. That’s a great movie. Love the style. Go for it!

  • frederick

    Those aren’t really “gay” scenes. There is no such thing as “gay” scene unless it’s homosexual relations between two..homosexuals!

    The scene you describe with the balls, you realize Freddy’d do that to a woman as well? It really has nothing to do with it being gay. And the Coach is acting like a typical coach.

  • Nightmare 2 is indeed a gay horror classic. Writer David Chaskin even admitted that he intended the film’s many gay subtexts, so you’re right on the spot with this review.