Monday, March 18, 2013

Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Okay, what is it tonight?
Please just tell me what the hell is wrong?
Do you want to eat?
Do you want to sleep?
Do you want to drown?
- Dramarama

The Nightmare marathon continues with the 4th installment of the series: The Dream Master. And I hate to say it, but this is kind of the one that jumped the shark. I mean, if you disregard Part II (and many people do) NOES wasn't doing too badly up until this point.

It's not that Part 4 is extremely bad. It's just not that good.

We begin with Kristin, who has changed so much that she's actually morphed into another actress.  She's having those dreams again. You know, those dreams. And she wants Kincaid and Joey to believe that Freddy is back. Luckily all the suicide attempts are behind them and they all go to the same school which is convenient. With the surviving trio are Kristin's new friends - mousy Alice, Alice's brother Rick, slutty Debby, brainy Sheila and dreamboat Dan.

The main character becomes clear a bit later in this sequel as the friends start dying in droves and daydreamy Alice begins to take on the characteristics of each one. And she uses all those traits to take on Freddy. Of course.

So where to begin with this one?  The characters are okay I guess but they were just there to die essentially. The movie actually gets rid of the surviving three pretty early on, which is sort of bitter sweet because I actually liked Kincaid and Joey. Tuesday Knight as the new Kristin though was off. Yeah, Patricia Arquette's acting was a bit wooden at times but she had a real presence. This girl was just...there. Alice is okay but she's no Nancy. Same for the rest of the cast. They're okay. Their acting isn't bad, just okay. The whole thing was just...okay.

The dreams? Well, they showed creativity. A little too much creativity. Debby turns into a partial roach with roach arms inside of a roach motel. Rick takes on an invisible Freddy in a martial arts fight. I mean, they're okay to watch but no one really dreams like that. And each dream is telegraphed ahead of time. Okay, you have asthma? Guess how you die.  You don't like roaches? Guess what. Meh.

And okay, as I always ask, what about Freddy?

All of the time I was watching this movie, I knew there was somebody Freddy reminded me of and then it hit me. Freddy was the Wicked Witch of the West. No, seriously.  His features are much more angular than before, he practically rubs his hands in glee at every evil thought. Heck, he even cackles every time he kills a victim. And believe me,  a line reminiscent of "How about a little fire Scarecrow" follows each and every death.  Freddy is more like a comic book villain than an actual threat. And without the fear, Freddy really isn't Freddy.

I knew what Renny Harlin (in his first feature directorial debut) and the writers were going for but they just didn't get it. Part III had shown that Freddy could be funny AND frightening.  Here, he's reduced to the class clown. Yeah, you may laugh at him a bit, but you know he's capable of so much more and that makes one sad.

Sadly,  I think this was the beginning of the end for the franchise. But we'll see with Part 5....

Favorite Moments (may contain spoilers):
  • Oh Joey, don't you ever learn? Dames ain't nothing but trouble.
  • Robert Englund in drag. Who looks like one thing. And that is Robert Englund in drag.
  • That awesome Dramarama song.
  • Alice and Dan's loop de loop dream and the feeling they'd done this before.... 
Fun Facts Kids!
  • The opening song "Running from this Nightmare" was sung by Tuesday Knight.
  • The martial arts sequence was supposed to be longer and more involved but they ran out of budget.
  • The diner Alice works at is the Crave Inn. Get it?
  • Toy Newkirk's mouth to mouth with Robert Englund was her first onscreen kiss. And his Freddy dentures fell into her mouth on the first take.
  • One of the naked souls in Freddy's chest was played by horror favorite Linnea Quigley.
Agree? Disagree? Or just have a random string of curse words you'd like to share? Comment

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