Let’s all turn our pages back in time, back to when the soundtrack disclaimer “Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture” actually meant that the record company had paid the “it” artists of that particular day to write songs about their movies. Of course, we remember the good ones: Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” is about as iconic as a song featured in a hit movie can be and most likely helped to kick this craze into overdrive; any and each Will Smith song from the ’90s has, to some members of this generation, the potential to evoke crazy nostalgia for weird Wild Wild West tie-ins and awful afternoons at Burger King.
In 1987, though, we were gifted a particularly beautiful and vivid anthem from hair-metal outfit Dokken, who would break up two years later, only to reform in the ’90s and extend their longevity to what seems like annual gigs these days at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in New Hampshire.
And we’re here also to tell you that it’s 30 years old. Seriously. It probably works a shitty office job now, and is wondering if it’ll be able to pay off its student loans before 2040, and is married to Cyndi Lauper’s song from The Goonies but their relationship is on the ice and things aren’t going so hot. Anyways, you get the gist: It’s old and can feel pretty dated now, but it is still one hundred percent fucking awesome and hilarious. We will guarantee that if you play this at your Fourth of July barbecue, you’ll probably get a “hell yeah” from the over-30 crowd, and a bunch of wistful looks from children, who want to hear about the other time that we had an actor in the White House.
Think of it like this: How many music videos have future Oscar winners in them that aren’t the artists themselves (you never know though: the upcoming Three 6 Mafia and Meryl Streep crossover single is sure to get some dope-ass airplay)? This has a young pre-True Romance Patricia Arquette in it, and even though she’s mainly in it because they were able to use scenes from the movie and b-roll to make it look like she was smiling at the dudes from Dokken, hey, that’s still better than Courtney Cox’s appearance in the video for “Dancing in the Dark.”
And sure enough, Dokken themselves are so wonderfully of the era that we don’t doubt for a fucking second that they’d be used by teenagers to fend off Freddy Kruger.
But! It’s the ending of this video that makes it among the greatest released (for film nerds) in that era: Freddy himself has dreamed the events of the video! He’s dreamed about Dokken! He’s dreamed that Dokken, to the delight of young Arquette, will use their rock and roll powers to fuck him up! Look at how he recoils from the guitars and from Don Fuckin’ Dokken’s wails, man. Don looks like a fucking wizard here, and there’s really little difference between his gestures and movements at the end of the video and fucking Gandalf fighting off the Balrog in the Mines of Moria.
Anyways, Freddy wakes up, cuddling a stuffed animal of… Patricia Arquette? And he’s legit scared! He’s wondering who the hell those hair metal guys were, and how they were able to stop him. This introduces so much new nuance to the Elm Street canon, we don’t really know where to begin, and it’s a bummer nobody’s ever returned to it since (we know it’s technically not canon at all but we would totally love to see a movie about Dokken travelling in dreams to save kids from nightmare monsters).
Anyways, you’ll have the chance to see A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriorsat the Coolidge this weekend, as a part of their After Midnite series, which is spending the month of June bringing you the best flicks released in that far-off year of ‘87. Don’t miss this shit, because if you go to bed early that night, we can’t guarantee that Dokken will be able to save you from your nightmares. They’ll be too busy rocking the paint off the walls in Brookline to help you out.
‘A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS’ :: Saturday, June 10 at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St. in Brookline, MA :: 11:59 p.m., all ages, $12.75 :: Advance tickets :: Coolidge event page