With Nightmare 2's $29 million box office, Robert Shaye was ready again for another sequel. This time they took more time to get this one ready (part 2 came out just under a year after the first one came out). They were able to coax Wes Craven back into the writer’s chair for part 3. With Craven’s return, came what most people say is the best Nightmare movie.
Nightmare 3 involves a clinic where a group of teenagers are having nightmares of Freddy, this time around Freddy is killing the kids but making it look like they are committing suicide. Nancy Thompson (Langenkamp) is back for the ride as a counselor who knows all too well what is going on and who is doing it. The drug Hypnocil is introduced in this film, a drug that suppresses dreams. With the drug the group of teenagers are able to rise above Freddy and find their “dream skills”. But not all goes well, when Freddy is able to take a captive in his nightmare world.
This film really developed Freddy and his nightmare world, which would come back in all of the following films. There were a few reasons why this movie was so much better than part 2. I feel that part 2 was really trying to be a separate slasher film from the original, and that’s basically how it came off. But this film was staying truer to the character of Freddy. Gone are the days of needing help from someone to kill, and gone are the days of a male lead. Here we have Patricia Arquette (before she was famous) and the return of Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon, both reprising their roles from part one. I really enjoy films that have continuing stories with the same characters. Granted Freddy (Englund) is in all of the Nightmare films, but it is more interesting to see the characters that he goes after. Don’t get me wrong, the movies are all about Freddy which is why Robert Englund eventually began getting top billing on the Nightmare films. But, seeing how “real” people deal with what is going on in the movies is very interesting.
Nightmare 3 was also a great film because Wes Craven had returned. So he was able to see his characters go into a direction he had originally wanted. It’s always great when the original creator comes back to a series he created. This is the last Nightmare movie to be any good. After this New Line Cinema began cranking them out every year, simply to cash in on the series. The movies get periodically worse as it goes along. Until 1991 when the series just died, in more ways than one.
By this time Freddy Krueger was one of the biggest names in horror. In 1988 there were rumors of a Freddy vs. Jason film, that didn’t happen for another 15 years because New Line owned Freddy and Paramount owned Jason and they couldn’t settle the rights. The original Freddy vs. Jason eventually became Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood which was once referred to as Jason vs. Carrie. But, Freddy wasn’t ready to give up just yet on the movies or his fans.