Movie Review: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET Part 5: The Dream Child

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2-4 - Movie Review: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET Part 5New Line Cinema
1989
R

“Hi, Alice. Want to make babies?”

Unable to overpower the Dream Master who vanquished him in A Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Freddy haunts the innocent dreams of her unborn child and preys upon her friends with sheer horror. Will the child be saved from becoming Freddy’s newest weapon or will the maniac again resurrect his legacy of evil?

The fifth entry in the Nightmare On Elm Street series finds the heroine from The Dream Master–Alice–graduating from high school and going about her normal life as a part-time waitress of a cafe’, when she starts experiencing waking dreams that feature a nun getting raped by 100 maniacs and giving birth to Baby Freddy, and then witnessing Baby Freddy spontaneously growing into Freddy again, because we can’t just zap the guy with lightning to bring him back to life like we seem to do with Jason Voorhees. So now Freddy’s back, and after Alice’s boyfriend is taken out by him the night of their graduation, she’s hard pressed to convince her friends that Freddy’s real and is ready to slice-n-dice his way into everyone’s hearts. And various other body parts. It takes a bit, but when another dies and one other is almost gotten, they start to understand that Alice may not be as crazy as they think. Also, Alice is pregnant with her dead boyfriend’s baby, and Freddy is trying to mold the lil’ neonate into his image through his dreams. So now Alice not only has to take the battle to the dream world to fight for her friends’ lives, but also her unborn child’s life. And it’s going to take some assistance from the spirit of Freddy’s mother herself to fight him.

Looking over the history behind this entry in the series, it looks like it wasn’t very well liked by Robert Englund, but Lisa Wilcox (who played Alice in this and the previous entries) liked the darker, more Gothic tones, but not so much the darker subject matter and scenes. Which are the points that actually makes this one of my more favorite entries in the Nightmare On Elm Street series. It does have a very strong Hammer-esque Gothic quality and atmosphere both cinematic and story-wise. The movie overall is very dark, which is something that seems to be missed when attempting to do something with it nowadays. This one manages to hit some very dark topics, while the kills seem to be more of an incidental thing. I do admit, the characters did seem to come off more as caricatures, but as the movie filled out, the depth of them began to show. Not so much the parents; pretty much from the get-go, the actors who played the parents were hammy, over-the-top and annoying.

Overall, I rather enjoy The Dream Child. It’s dark, not as cheesy as it could have been (though Freddy is his usual playful self), and compared with certain other entries in the series, is one of the stronger ones in the list. Recommended.

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Movie Review: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET part 3- The Dream Warriors

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2-2 - Movie Review: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET Part 3New Line Cinema
1987
R

“It’s now or never. I’m not gonna kid you, this is as dangerous as it gets. If you die in this dream, it’s for real. Nobody has to go in that doesn’t want to.”

After the misfire that was the first sequel in the Nightmare On Elm Street series, things were thankfully brought back to the roots that made the first Nightmare On Elm Street movie work – namely, Freddy was back terrorizing kids in their nightmares, instead of trying to possess the body of someone to make it to the real world. Also, Heather Langenkamp was back as Nancy, this time at a psychologist specializing in dream research. And having the setting in a psychiatric hospital for teens was a good move on the plot. This ups the ante from the first movie, as questions of what is really happening and what is just the delusions of a mentally unstable individual keeps the psychological tense-ness pretty thick.

As far as sequels to this series go, Part 3: Dream Warriors is one of the better ones, as it explores the mythos a bit deeper, as well as having a very capable cast as the group of protagonists taking on Freddy. The effects are decent and the end battle is pretty memorable.

If you’re so inclined, go ahead and skip Part 2, and go directly to Part 3, as it feels like a true sequel to A Nightmare On Elm Street.

Movie Review: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET part 2- Freddy’s Revenge

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2-1 - Movie Review: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET Part 2New Line Cinema
1985
R

“If you want to play with animals, Mr. Walsh, join the circus.”

Five years have passed since Freddy Krueger was sent howling back to hell. But now, a new kid on Elm Street is being haunted every night by gruesome visions of the deadly dream stalker. And if his twisted soul takes possession of the boy’s body, Freddy will return from the dead to wreak bloody murder and mayhem upon the entire town.

The second movie in the original Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, subtitled Freddy’s Revenge, was not unexpected, as the first movie had an insanely popular horror fan base and made money for the fledgling New Line Cinema. But, Wes Craven wanted nothing to do with any sequels, let alone this one. Craven never envisioned A Nightmare On Elm Street being more than a one-and-done horror flick. But, with or without the man who brought Freddy to life, New Line was forging ahead with the hot new property. And the resulting A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge was…um…think of this as the Jason Goes To Hell of the Nightmare On Elm Street series.

Really, there’s a lot that was wrong with this movie. And not just the very thinly veiled homo-eroticism of the script. Seriously, take out the Freddy horror element, and you’ve pretty much got an After School Special about a high school boy with questions about his sexuality and the frustrated Physical Education teacher with a bondage fetish who brings him out of his shell. And while you’re sitting there wondering what sick and twisted After School Specials did I grow up watching, I’ll just tell you that it was the mishandling of Freddy that trips up Freddy’s Revenge all on its own.

Let’s face it: Freddy is the killer that stalks and kills in your nightmares. When you dream, and he’s got his sights on you, you’re in his world, a world where he wields your psyche as a surrealistic weapon gleefully. There’s no need for him to want to do his thing in the waking (read: REAL) world; what’s the point? And yet, here we have him not only wanting to do just that, but also trying to coerce someone into doing his dirty work for him in the mean time.

Overall, Freddy’s Revenge doesn’t really seem like an actual sequel to the first Nightmare On Elm Street movie. It’s my understanding that Wes Craven didn’t really want this to be an ongoing series of movies, and didn’t like the idea of the change to the premise, which was why he declined being a part of this sequel. There were some decent ideas that maybe would have worked as a stand-alone movie that wasn’t about Freddy or the first film. As it stands, though, unless for some reason I decide to watch all the movies in the series in a Lost Weekend Marathon setting, I don’t forsee watching A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge any time soon.