A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge is a 1985 American slasher film and the second film in the Nightmare on Elm Street film series. The film was directed by Jack Sholder and stars Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler and Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger. Despite the film's title, Freddy Krueger's screen time in the movie is just 13 minutes. It was released by New Line Cinema.
Five years have passed since Freddy Krueger was seemingly defeated. A new family, the Walshes, have moved into the former home of Nancy Thompson. The son, Jesse, happens to move into Nancy's old room. He eventually begins to have nightmares of Krueger demanding that Jesse kill for him using Jesse as a host body to come back to life in the real world.
Jesse's girlfriend, Lisa, finds Nancy's old diary in Jesse's closet in which she had been keeping track of her nightmares and her encounters with Freddy. Reading the diary strikes a chord with Jesse as he is experiencing similar nightmares himself. He goes to his parents in a panic, but they argue and Jesse storms out.
Jesse later finds himself walking the streets late at night and walks into a bar where he runs into his gym coach. His coach takes him back to the gym to run laps as detention. The coach has Jesse hit the showers while he goes back to his office. While he is in his office, the shelves begin to come alive, hurling balls and other sports equipment at him. Two ropes grab him by the wrists and drag him into the shower that begins to fill with steam. Freddy appears among the steam and slashes the coach's back, killing him. As the steam clears, Jesse is the one with the glove on his hand, Jesse screams and the scene passes onto Jesse's house.
Lisa begins to do some digging and uncovers information about Krueger, including the location of the abandoned power plant where he used to work, and where he brought his victims. Meanwhile, Freddy visits Jesse's younger sister, Angela, but when she wakes up, it's actually Jesse standing there with the glove on his hand. Jesse enlists his classmate, Ron Grady, to watch over him while he sleeps. Once Jesse falls asleep, Grady turns out the lights for himself. As soon as Grady is asleep, Jesse awakens and begins to scream in pain as Krueger begins to claw his way out of him. With the door jammed, Grady is helpless against Krueger, who stabs him to his door and slashes down the inside of his torso, gruesomely killing him. When Krueger looks in the mirror it turns out to be Jesse, with Krueger staring back at him from the mirror.
Jesse runs to Lisa's house where she is having a pool party. However, Freddy takes control of Jesse once again and attacks Lisa. Lisa is able to fight off Freddy, who runs from the house and out to the party. Some party guests try to take Freddy down, but are killed immediately. With all the guests cornered against the back fence, he stabs one and throws him through a barbecue. After Lisa saves him from being shot by her father, he vanishes into a fiery ball.
Lisa runs to the old power plant, thinking she might save Jesse there. She finds him and tells him that she loves him and that he can fight from the inside. She then removes Freddy's hat and kisses him. Freddy begins to lose control. As the power plant begins to burn to the ground, Freddy himself starts burning. After he dies, the rest of the power plant suddenly extinguishes. Just when Lisa thinks it is all over, Freddy's burnt corpse begins to move and Jesse crawls out of Freddy's ashes.
The following Monday, Jesse goes back to school. He climbs the bus, finally relieved that it is all over. When the bus begins traveling too fast, Jesse panics and jumps up, only to find out there is nothing wrong; the bus is coming to its regular stop. As he and Lisa rest at ease, Freddy's hand impales through their friend Kerry's chest, killing her, while Jesse and Lisa scream in horror and the bus speeds off the main road and into the open land, just like Jesse's nightmare at the beginning of the film, as Freddy's evil laugh is heard in the background.
- Mark Patton as Jesse Walsh
- Kim Myers as Lisa Webber
- Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger/Bus driver
- Robert Rusler as Ron Grady
- Clu Gulager as Ken Walsh
- Hope Lange as Cheryl Walsh
- Christie Clark as Angela Walsh
- Marshall Bell as Coach Schneider
- Melinda O. Fee as Mrs. Webber
- Tom McFadden as Eddie Webber
- Sydney Walsh as Kerry
Nightmare series creator Wes Craven refused to work on this film because he never wanted or intended A Nightmare on Elm Street to become an ongoing franchise (and even wanted the first film to have a happy ending), and also because the movie changed the premise of the first film with Freddy deciding to attack people in the waking world, rather than avoiding this in favor of killing people in their dreams. Craven also said that he did not like the idea of Freddy manipulating the protagonist into committing the murders.
The film opened in just 614 theaters, making $3.3 million in its opening weekend. Domestically, the film has made $30 million, making it another huge success on a budget of only $3 million.
The film has generally received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Much of the negative criticism of Freddy's Revenge, from both film critics and fans, was aimed at the fact that the film, while continuing the storyline of its predecessor, takes on a completely different direction. Rather than just stalk the teenagers and kill them in their dreams, Freddy would commit random acts of violence (which he did only briefly in the first film) in the real world. Also, very little was seen of Freddy in this film.
Film commentators often remark on the film's perceived homoerotic theme. The argument is that a subtext exists about Jesse's alleged repressed homosexuality (never clarified in the movie), with the major examples pointed to being the encounter he has with his gym teacher in a homosexual S&M leather bar, and his fleeing to a male friend's house after an aborted attempt of making out at his girlfriend's pool party.
In a February 2010 interview with Attitude magazine, Robert Englund commented on this when asked whether he was aware about the camp, gay appeal of the series. He replied: "... the second Nightmare on Elm Street is obviously intended as a bisexual themed film. It was early '80s, pre-AIDS paranoia. Jesse's wrestling with whether to come out or not and his own sexual desires was manifested by Freddy. His friend is the object of his affection. That's all there in that film. We did it subtly but the casting of Mark Patton was intentional too, because Mark was out and had done Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean."
In an article written by Brent Hartinger for After Elton, it is stated that a "frequent debate in gay pop culture circles is this: Just how 'gay' was 1985's A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (the first Elm Street sequel)? The imagery in the movie makes it seem unmistakably gay — but the filmmakers have all along denied that that was their intention." During his interview segment for the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, screenwriter David Chaskin admitted that the homosexual themes were intentionally written into the script. The rest of the cast and crew stated that they were unaware of any such themes at the time they made the film, but that a series of creative decisions on the part of director Jack Sholder unintentionally brought Chaskin's themes to the forefront. In his interview, Sholder stated, "I simply didn't have the self-awareness to realize that any of this might be interpreted as gay", while "now-out actor" Mark Patton stated, "I don't think that [the character] Jesse was originally written as a gay character. I think it's something that happened along the line by serendipity."