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YMMV / A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • It's not hard to argue that the entire sequence leading up to Schneider's death was a shared dream created by Freddy, possibly with some sleep-walking involved to get the participants to the gym showers at the end. The entire sequence does play out like a sexual fantasy between two closeted gay men: the younger goes to a gay bar, where his coach is waiting to "punish" him for underaged drinking. This interpretation changes Schneider from a predator to a gay man who sometimes fantasizes about younger men. It also makes his death far more horrifying, as you realize that he likely believed he was being punished for his sexual desires.
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    • Is Jessie gay? Or is he someone with deep rooted psycho-sexual issues as a result of his tumultuous relationship with his father? His running away from making out with Lisa could alternately be interpreted as him being afraid of intimacy due to associating sex with violence.
  • Awesome Music: This in the only film of the franchise that doesn't use the series main theme by Charles Bernstein. Fortunately, this is compensated by Christopher Young's score, one of the eeriest themes in the Elm Street franchise.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Lisa Webber. Initially, she was The Scrappy purely for her association with the film, but recent years have turned her into a far more divisive character. Some franchise fans feel that, despite this film's flaws, Lisa stands out as a likeable and tough Final Girl who defeats Freddy. On the other hand, quite a few fans dislike Lisa for her clumsy involvement with the Homoerotic Subtext and, in particular, taking the co-lead role from Grady, who most fans would agree had a closer relationship with Jesse and who definitely fits in better with the previously mentioned subtext. Really, whether or not one likes her comes down to what one thinks about the incredibly divisive Homoerotic Subtext. If the person liked it, they'll probably dislike Lisa. If they disliked it, she'll be seen as a saving grace of the movie. Actually, it is possible to like both the homoerotic subtext and Lisa. The ending can be allegorically interpreted as her seeing Jesse for who he really is, and showing him love anyway. Maybe she's attracted to him, but it doesn't matter, she'd rather him be gay and happy than closeted and miserable.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Due to the line between dream and reality becoming foggy, several completely nonsensical things happen.
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    • The whole movie is this for the franchise, as it distances itself from the premise of Freddy killing only in the dream, and instead using possession to materialize in the real world.
    • The scene of the bird attacking the Walsh family and exploding in the air. It appears out of nowhere, is never mentioned by the rest of the film, and looks more like Poltergeist than A Nightmare on Elm Street.
    • When Lisa meets some dog creatures with humanoid faces. What they are and why they are there is never explained. They seem to be like Freddy's guard dogs, but they just let her pass without the smallest of fights.
  • Contested Sequel: The film was destroyed by the critic at the time of release and this seems to have influenced the producers, since its events are ignored for almost all the sequels. While everyone agrees that the film is far inferior to the original, it also has many defenders and has become a Cult Classic in recent years. However, in recent years there's been a Critical Backlash by people who see the film as an allegory for a gay teenager's struggle with self-hatred, and think the movie was largely killed by homophobia. It doesn't help that a disturbingly large number of people mocked the film for being "unintentionally" gay.
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  • Cult Classic: Many gay horror fans have claimed the movie as their own, with Jesse's sexual confusion reflecting their experiences. The fact that it is one of the few sequels that has the darker Freddy Krueger also helps.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Grady, mainly due to his "friendship" with Jesse, Jerk with a Heart of Gold status, and being the best acted character in the movie.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The film was extremely well-received in Europe, as residents of those countries caught (and loved) the sexual overtones. This overseas popularity is what convinced producers that they had a profitable franchise on their hands.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Lots of fans hold out hope that Jesse and Lisa escape at the end, especially if the final sequence was just one of their dreams (which might also mean good things for Kerry's survival).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One scene has Jesse and his family getting attacked by an exploding bird.
  • Ho Yay: Whatever the people may think of the movie, it's definitely the most homoerotic Elm Street film to date, and one of the gayest horror movies ever made.
    • Basically, the discussions revolve around the possibility of Jesse being a repressed homosexual. They note, in particular, the scenes where he encounters his gym teacher at a gay bar, and his flight to a male friend's house after he attempts to make out with his girlfriend at her pool party.
    • In the Nightmare documentary Never Sleep Again, the subject is talked about at length. It reveals that the writer actually did it on purpose, but not even the producer realized it until it was too late. Robert Englund has gone on record saying that he thinks that Freddy in this film represents Jesse's repressed homosexual desires. Mark Patton (who played Jesse) came out as gay after the film was released, and thinks that his self-doubts about his sexuality at the time the movie was shot carried over into his performance. A lot of other people have commented on it, too:
    • Tim Dirk's Filmsite.org is more intellectual in its analysis, but the homoerotic content is spelled out even further.
    • This funny recut of a scene in the film actually makes it look like a teen drama about someone coming to terms with his sexuality.
    • The host of Dead Meat makes a loooooot of references to these undertones throughout his video.
  • Narm:
    • Almost any time Jesse screams.
    • Freddy causing a lovebird to attack the characters and then explode was among the silliest scenes in the series. Made even worse if one makes a connection to another film about attacking, exploding birds.
    • Lisa's dad attempts to shoot Freddy and misses. Freddy turns towards him and the audience is given a terrifying closeup on his enraged face. But then Lisa arrives at her father's side, and the closeup shows Freddy going completely puppy-eyed. Although justified in that it is probably Jesse's personality in the body as he looks at Lisa.
  • Narm Charm: For some people, Jesse's hysterical screams make perfect sense, considering he is being tormented by a disfigured serial killer that is forcing him to murder other people.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The initial scene of the bus is one of the most creative and visually beautiful nightmares in the franchise.
    • Even the film's detractors generally tend to admit that Ron's death scene is one of the best kills in the entire franchise, thanks to the Visual Effects of Awesome as Freddy erupts from Jesse's body, which is followed by the simple-but-terrifying scenario of being locked in the room with a slowly-advancing Freddy.
    • Freddy materializing in the real world and killing a lot of teenagers at a party. As strange as it is, it is still very interesting to see Freddy using his tricks in the real world to kill several people at once.
  • Sophomore Slump: While it's not generally regarded as the worst film in the series (Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare and the remake are widely regarded as being far worse, and a fair few also consider the fourth and fifth films to be worse), it's still considered noticeably weaker than the original, parts 3 and 7. While the Homoerotic Subtext is now often seen as a strength of the film rather than something to be mocked, criticisms remain about this film's tenuous connection to the first, Jesse not being a particularly effective or interesting protagonist without reaching into said subtext, the silly nature of Coach Schneider's death, some of the film's other Jump Scare moments, and the climatic party massacre feeling more like something from a Halloween or Friday the 13th film.
  • Tear Jerker: Grady's death. Trapped in his room with Freddy slowly closing for the kill, he starts screaming for his father to come and help. Similar to Glen's death in the original, as he dies screaming for his mother, it reminds viewers that, Dawson Casting aside, in this universe, these are teenage children that Freddy is preying on.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Nancy Thompson never appears in the film, with the characters just citing that she lost her sanity after witnessing the deaths of Glen and her mother. Jesse and Lisa never consider looking for her to ask for help in defeating Freddy, something she would certainly do. It is even more bizarre when the script throws a diary out of nowhere with Nancy's information about Freddy, although we never saw Nancy writing a diary in the first film.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Many fans think the film could have been much better if it had confirmed that Jesse is homosexual, if Grady had taken over Lisa's role at the climax, and if the script had better defined the rules of what Freddy can do and not do when he is in the real world.
    • At one point, Jesse and Lisa find the diary of Nancy Thompson (the surviving protagonist of the first movie), through which they discover valuable information about Freddy Krueger. You would imagine that then they would try to find Nancy in person to ask her help against Freddy, but the idea never crosses their minds in the movie.
  • Values Dissonance: By 80's standards, Jesse is a textbook case of what was regarded as a closeted homosexual. However, over 30 years later, due to comparatively greater tolerance and understanding of homosexuality, especially in regards to most people knowing gays can run the same range of personalities as straight people, and the subtext of the film comes off as more of a parody than anything else.
  • Vindicated by History: While it’s not as highly ranked as some of the other sequels, it has been viewed more favorably in recent years as one of the better entries, with many praising it for still keeping Freddy as an intimidating and creepy force, some impressive gore effects, and even some enjoy it for what they see as an allegory for opening up to your sexuality. It helps too regarding the former point since the later sequels suffered from making Freddy too comedic to take seriously.

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