cult horror

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER (1988)

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 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER (1988)

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SLASH’S SHITFACED SATURDAY

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OK, Kreugerites, time to get your mind right about Master Freddy, your dream date; a man so ugly he is beautiful, so grotesque he is stunning, part demon-part guest host for SNL.

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Like many of the other classic & modern monsters, he sets a pattern of being killed, or destroyed, by the end of each film in the series, & then leaving up to the writers, clever or otherwise, to devise a way to resurrect his bad ass, set up a scenario with a new antagonist, with plenty of teenage flesh to slash–and it appears that his audience appeal is bullet-proof, impervious to critical slams, his death dances in boiler rooms continuing to build a following.

Come with me on the 4th Trip Down Freddy Lane.

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Directed by Renny Harlin @ 93 minutes.

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He was snagged as a director for this film early on in his career. Harlin, presently, is the most successful Finnish director ever to work in Hollywood. His films have grossed more than 5 billion dollars; not that he hasn’t had his flops in the mix; CUTTHROAT ISLAND (1995) cost 65 million to make, & it only grossed 30 million; considered one of the greatest of flops. THE LONG KISS GOOD NIGHT (1996), also cost 65 million to make, grossed 33 million in USA, & 89 million world-wide; he still considers that film to be his personal favorite. The lucky bastard cast Geena Davis in both films, & was married to her for 5 years.

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He has directed 27 film projects since 1981, including DIE HARD 2 (1990), THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE (1990), CLIFFHANGER (1993), DEEP BLUE SEA (1999), EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING (2004), and the upcoming THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (2014). 

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Taglines:  Are you ready for Freddy?

                 The Name’s Kreuger.

                 Pure Evil never really dies.

                 Terror beyond your wildest dreams.

                 You shouldn’t have buried me–I’m not dead.

                 The biggest Nightmare of them All. 

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The approximate budget for this film was 7 million dollars, & it grossed $ 49, 369,900 in the USA. It was the highest grossing horror film, & the highest grossing film for New Line Cinema for 1988.

 

PARENTAL GUIDE:

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A teen age boy sees a naked woman in a water bed for 10 seconds.

Freddy kisses a girl & sucks the life out of her.

A young girl is turned into a cockroach.

When Freddy dies, it is pretty gross.

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The cinematography was done by Steven Fierberg, who has lensed 60 films since 1982,

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including STREETWALKER (1985), HELL HIGH (1989), ASPEN EXTREME (1993), SECRETARY (2002), SUBURBAN GIRL (2007), RAGE (2009), & LOVE & OTHER DRUGS (2010).

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The Musical score was composed by Craig Safan, who has written scores for 86 films since 1975; including APAPULCO GOLD (1978), FADE TO BLACK (1980), THE LAST STARFIGHTER (1984), REMO WILLIAMS 1985). STAND & DELIVER (1988), 271 episodes of CHEERS (1982-93), MAJOR PAYNE (1995), & TIME OF FEAR (2005). 

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C A S T:

 

Robert Englund as Freddy Kreuger.

Lisa Wilcox as Alice Johnson.

Andras Jones as Rick Johnson.

Rodney Eastman as Joey Crusel.

Danny Hassel as Dan Jordan.

Tuesday Knight as Kristin Parker.

Brook Bundy as Elaine Parker.

Ken Sagoes as Roland Kinkaid.

Toy Newkirk as Sheila Kopecky.

Brooke Theiss as Debbie Stevens.

Hope Marie Carlton as Pin-up Girl.

Cameos by Renny Harlin, Robert Shaye,

& Jason–the Dog.

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Notice that despite the 7 million buck budget, they did not snag or cast any Name Stars, over the hill or otherwise. They went with attractive newcomers instead; saving bucks of F/X.

Patricia Arquette could not portray Kristin Parker again because she was very pregnant during the shooting. This is the first film released without any major stars in it.

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Robert Englund continues to portray the Blademaster, Freddy
Kreuger. This time his performance was critically acclaimed, & he received a SATURN AWARD nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

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In his memoir HOLLYWOOD MONSTER: A Walk Down Elm Street with the Man of your Dreams, he considered THE DREAM MASTER to be his favorite film of the series. This is the first film in the series in which he received top billing.

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Lisa Wilcox got the coveted role of Alice Johnson. They auditioned 600 actresses for the part. She was 24 when she did the film. She has 37 film credits since 1984. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4 was her feature film debut; other roles included A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: DREAM CHILD (1989), MEN SEEKING WOMEN (1997), WATCHERS REBORN (1998), DEAD COUNTRY (2008), SAVAGE (2009), & IMAGO (2012). 

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I was happy to find a sweet tit-shot for her from another film.

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Tuesday Knight played Kristin Parker. She thinks of herself more as a musician, singer, dancer, & composer than just an actress. She sings the title song for THE DREAM MASTER. ANOES 4 was her feature film debut. She has had 44 film credits since 1984. I love the fact that she played a sexpot in THEY CAME FROM OUTER SPACE II (1990), a film starring the inimitable Adrian Sparks, which I reviewed early on here at HH, STRESS (1992), CALENDAR GIRL (1993), WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE (1994), THE BABYSITTER (1995), THE FAN (1996), DADDY & THEM (2001), & OPENING NIGHT (2014). 

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I did find a very good tit-shot of her from another film.

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Brooke Theiss played big-haired Debbie Stevens. She has had 26 film credits since 1988, including LITTLE NIKITA (1988), THEY CAME FROM OUTER SPACE II  (1990)…another cheer from the peanut gallery at HH, THE ALTERNATE (2000), & CATWOMAN (2004).

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She was kind enough to provide a couple of nice cheesecake shots for the HH gallery.

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Hope Marie Carlton played the Pin Up Girl, doing her inside the waterbed 10 second nude scene for us; but nudity was second nature to her. She was the Playmate of the Month for July 1985, & she appeared in “several” Playboy sex videos. To her credit she has had 24 film credits since 1987,

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including HARD TICKET TO HAWAII (1987), SLAUGHTERHOUSE ROCK (1988), PICASSO TRIGGER (1988), SAVAGE BEACH (1989), SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE III (1990), BLOODMATCH (1991–she quit acting in movies in 2003. 

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I must say that her alluring tit-shots were very professional.

 

Alright, enough time in the skin game, let’s get down the nut-cutting, as we review the innards of this movie done in Kreugertones. For those of you new to my reviews, consider this a commentary on the Special Features of the DVD in your mind, OK?

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S Y N O P S I S:

 

We see the Title Card: When deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, & trembling, which made all my bones to shake.”–Job IV: 13-14.

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Kristin Johnson is dreaming.

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She comes upon a little girl drawing the Thompson house with chalk on the sidewalk.

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Kristin looks up & the Thompson house, the dream model, is all boarded up except for its wide red door.

Little Girl (Alice): Hello.

Kristin: Do you live here?

Little Girl: Nobody lives here.

Kristin: Where’s Freddy?

Little Girl: chuckling–He’s not home.

 

Kristin goes up onto the porch & opens the red front door, then looks back into the front yard.

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Three little girls in white dresses are skipping rope & chanting the Freddy rhyme, & playing ball with a little boy (at this point we are beginning to understand that this is Kristin, from ANOES 3, who has been in this house in her dreams countless times–& is not being played by the incredible Patricia Arquette, & we miss her already.)

The red door closes & locks itself.

Kristin begins to walk about the main part of the house; all abandoned & spooky & shit; wind blowing curtains everywhere. All that’s missing are some white doves flitting around.

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She opens the basement door, & immediately she is descending a long staircase; this is Freddy Boiler Room.

This is not the boiler room used before; this is more all spread out, long hallways, with several huge boilers; & several spooky chains hanging from winches & cross-beams; creating a more torture room meleiu no doubt. She hears something;

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sounds like Freddy’s glove blades scraping on metal pipes & equipment.

Kristin: Joey & Kinkaid, come & help me–I need you!

Cut to Roland Kinkaid’s bedroom, where he is sitting at his desk, playing a bit with his B&W mutt named Jason (wink-wink). Suddenly he is pulled backward out his chair, flying through the air & disappearing into the wall.

Cut to a laundry chute in the boiler room where Kinkaid lands on his butt in a cloud of smoke & small debris. A moment later Joey Crusel appears. Neither is happy being pulled into another of Kristin’s dreams.

Kristin: I tell you I heard the bastard; Freddy is here somewhere.

Kinkaid: You know that Fred Kreuger is dead; this is bullshit. Quit pulling us into your dreams. 

Joey: Yeah, we just want to live our normal lives now. There are a lot better things to dream about these days than fucking Freddy.

Kinkaid: punching him in the shoulder–You got that right, Bro. 

(Wow, two things become evident here; Ken Sagoes (Kinkaid) was not doing a very good job of acting in the previous movie, & in the interim, one can see that in his eyes he is a black stud action star–but all we see is a chubby black kid who somehow has gotten worse in his techniques; his line readings would not have been acceptable in a HS play. And it is good to see Rodney Eastman is maturing well, has a deeper voice, longer hair, & his acting has improved already.)

The boys show her that the main boilers are cold; there has been no activity in this area for a long time. Kristin opens the boiler door & peers in.

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Cut to Jason, the dog, flying out of the boiler and biting Kristin on the right forearm; waking them all up.

Cut to the Johnson’s garage; Rick Johnson is practicing some wicked martial arts moves; punches, kicks, & kung fu grunting–which is cool since Rick is just a skinny kid, with wimpy arms & legs, who puts a pound of mousse in his longish hair to make it stick straight up Boss. He is wearing the KARATE KID (1984) rising sun head band, doing his best Ralph Macchio imitation.

Alice drives up in her spiffy VW convertible, so Rick calls it quits, & goes in the house with her. Later their father shows up very late for dinner that Alice has prepared, saying he had “reports” to do, but smelling like a gin mill. Their mother is gone/dead, it seems.

He complains of a salad she unwraps for him, & she imagines that she slams the salad down in front of him, confronts him about his drinking, & informs him the will eat what she gives him or do without; of course, this event was not real, so she went to her room & sulked; as Rick dropped by to give her his condolences.

The next morning, Alice is met by Kristin who rides with her to school.

Kristin: I see we have matching luggage again–the bag under your eyes–nightmares again?

Alice: Yeah.

Kristin: God, I hate dreaming.

Alice: Mmmm–I love to dream–I just hate the ones about my Dad.

Kristin: How do you handle your nightmares?

Alice: My mother taught me when I was little. Did you ever hear of the Dream Master?

Kristin: Sounds like a game show host to me (or today a video Game).

Alice: No, it’s a rhyme. You just have to dream about someplace –& remember that you are in control.

Kristin: How do you know so much about dreams?

Alice: When that’s all you have, you kind of become an expert.

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At school, & this time we do not see the name of the school, or of the town come to think of it–the girls park the VW,

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& we meet Debbie Stevens, a tough sexy chick with big hair (looking a lot like Nancy Thompson actually), who is bragging about working out in the gym & bitching about the Trigonometry assignment since she stayed up watching DYNASTY & couldn’t finish it.

Debbie: Never mind, here comes my salvation. 

A skinny black girl rides up on a scooter that is belching smoke; she has big glasses & braids; an obvious Nerd.

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Debbie: How can you ride this health hazard? It’s no wonder that you have asthma.

Sheila: No, you see, asthma is an inherited condition. Read a book now & then, you might learn something.

Debbie: You know, speaking of books, isn’t Trig your favorite?

Sheila: Dynasty again?

Debbie smiles.

Sheila: Deb, hey so us all a favor & get yourself a VCR.

Sheila pulls out her asthma inhaler, & takes a puff.

Jock: Hey, baby–you’re sucking on the wrong nossle. 

Debbie: Hey, yo, needle-dick–I’ll bet you’re the only male in this school suffering from penis envy.

Two young men get out of a car.

Debbie: Mmmm–there’s Dan Jordan. We are talking one major league hunk.

Alice daydreams as Dan approaches, looking up at him with bedroom eyes:

You know, Dan, you are one major league hunk.

Dan (laughing): Why thank-you, Alice.

Sheila: goofing off: Oh. hi handsome–care for some hot buns?

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Cut to Alice at her locker, joined by Joey & Kinkaid.

Kinkaid: Listen, little sister, you got this freako talent to bring folks into your dream–but hey, we don’t need it anymore. Let’s just be regular people.

Joey: Yeah, let it rest. Did it ever occur to you that if you keep going in, you might just stir him up again. Nobody would dig that! We are willing to help if you need us, but….

Kinkaid: slaps Joey a high 5 : You got that right, brother; signed & sealed.

Kristin: Shows them the actual wound from Jason’s bite–”then what about this?

Kinkaid: That don’t mean dick. My dog is like me–drag his butt into your crazy dream & he can get wild. (pointing to Rick walking up) Here comes your boyfriend. Can he give you a good night’s sleep?

Rick: We don’t kiss & tell–how about you assholes?

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Cut to Kinkaid’s bedroom, where he is falling asleep, with Jason alongside him. He is into a dream immediately, waking up in the dark trunk of some car. He kicks the lid open, & sits up; he is in a wrecked car, on top of a 4-car stack–this is the same salvage yard where Freddy’s bones were buried.

Kinkaid: Shit, this ain”t my dreamland! Kristin, if you are here too I’m going to have to pound your ass!

He hears Jason barking below, as the dog was excitedly sniffing around. Kinkaid climbed down to join his pet. Jason had found something he liked the scent of, & he was digging frantically. Roland approached him, but Jason whirled around growling demonically; all teeth.

The whole area is bathed in red light, we see the ground beginning to wrinkle up & crack open as the weird music sets the scene. Now we are witnessing the rebirth of Freddy, much like the resurrecting of Vlad the Impaler in the past. His bones begin to twitch, then they begin to reconnect, the spine & rib cage first, then the hips & legs, as the skull snaps onto the reincarnation train. (it is certainly not clear what the fucking dog did to start this regeneration process, but we watch it regardless.)

Flesh begins to sprout on the bones. the beautiful burn-scarred flesh on his head form Freddy’s familiar visage, as each scar & pock mark pulsates & glows. The dog understands its major fuck- up, so it ran off.

Only the resurrection of the king of the vampires could rival this wicked transformation. Freddy manifests his filthy clothes & battered hat, crawls up out of his consecrated ground, & stands spread-legged, the blades on the glove of his right hand twitching.

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Freddy: You shouldn’t have buried me. I’m not dead.

Roland runs off, & hides in the vast sea of wrecked cars. Freddy ambles after him, in no particular rush. Kinkaid pushes a car off the top of a stack & it lands smack onto Freddy.

Kinkaid: Take that you burned-face motherfucker!

Freddy, of course, just appears unhurt alongside Kinkaid. Roland is suddenly very frightened; as he should be.

Kinkaid: Freddy’s back! Do you hear me, Kristin! FREDDY IS BACK!!!

Freddy stabs Kinkaid viciously in the stomach with all four blades, as he cackled & chortled.

Kinkaid: I’ll see you in Hell!

Freddy: Tell them that Freddy sent you!

He dug the blades in harder & further.

Freddy; holding the dying Roland gently: One down, two to go.

In the real world Kinkaid awakens in his bedroom, sees that his guts are sliced to ribbons, sighs, gasps & dies.

We hear Freddy’s maniacal laughter in the distance.

Cut  to Joey in his bedroom, listening to rock music on his headphones. The camera pans the room, littered with rock posters & sound equipment. Over the door to the bathroom there is a Playboy 3-page fold-out of July 1985, signed by Hope Marie Carlton.

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Suddenly his bed starts to vibrate, & he struggled to stay on it, and pull back the covers. It is a waterbed, with a light & heater in it. The water seems unusually bright to him,

 

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just as a very naked Hope Marie Carlton swam up from inside it, smiling & rubbing her fine tits on the underside of the plastic. Joey is laughing in heat, gyrating like a hyena in full rut–but then the waterbed mermaid disappeared.

Joey: No, no, come back, you must come back!

The waterbed split open, filling the room with steaming water, as Freddy appeared next to Joey, coming out of the water; grabbing Joey, putting their faces together:

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Freddy: How’s that for a wet dream? 

He began pulling Joey under the water; stabbing him repeatedly; the water turned crimson in the mattress. 

Cut to Joey’s mother coming into the bedroom late in the morning,  chiding him for not getting up. She pulls back the messy pile of covers in the middle of the bed, & begins screaming.

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Joey is dead, drown, his body inside the water bed mattress.

Cut to the next morning at school. Kristin is frightened, asking the gang if they have seen Joey or Roland; no one had. Their empty desks set off her emotions, then her brother Rick got the news that Joey & Roland both “died” the night before. Horrified, Alice lurched backwards, & knocked herself out on the wall.

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She awakens in the school nurse room, & as the nurse turns around we see it is Robert Englund in drag, with large glasses on, & a nurse’s cap;

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the most butt-ugly drag-queen cross-dressing bitch you will ever see; made Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie look like Demi Moore.

The nurse decides she must draw some blood; when she turns around, it is the Full Freddy; the Nursie all gone.

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She begins screaming & fighting him, only to be awakened by the real school nurse who looks almost as homely as Englund did in drag.

Kristin decides to inform the rest of her posse about Freddy, & what really happened to Joey & Roland. We discover that Debbie is deathly afraid of bugs; seeing a beetle, & stepping on it repeatedly.

Rick: Hey, Supergirl, give a bug a break, it’s way dead.

So Kristin takes Debbie, Rick, & Dan Jordan to the abandoned Thompson house. 

Dan: So, why the haunted house?

Kristin: It’s not just a house–it’s his home (though he never fucking lived there, until in dreamland, he somehow connected his boiler room to the house’s basement). He is in there just waiting for me to dream.

Debbie: Hey, I don’t work out for hours every day just to let some nightstalker beat me!

Alice: You don’t get it. He’s not a nightstalker, & it’ll take a lot more than bench presses to defeat him. 

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Standing outside, as the girl’s enter:

Rick: She told us this story about Freddy Kreuger. He’s the town legend. He was a child killer that got freed on a technicality.  

Dan: So?

Rick: So a lot of our parents got pissed off, and according to Kris, they hunted his ass down & roasted him like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Joining the girls inside.

Rick: He, it’ll be OK, we are all with you now.

Kristin: I told you, you can’t help me. These are not normal nightmares. I tell you, I’m fucking history. 

 

Cut to later that night,

Kristin is sitting at the dining room table just staring at the food.

Elaine (Kristin’s mother): Is there something wrong with the cuisine?

Kristin: Well, Mom, I’ll tell you, when two of your best friends die in the same day, let me know what that does to your appetite. 

Elaine: Dear, you are just tired–don’t think I haven’t noticed that you have not been sleeping–that has got to stop, young lady.

Kristin: staring at her lemonade, & suddenly feeling very drowsy: Jesus, what’s wrong with me?

Elaine: Adolescent anxiety–this will make it better.

Kristin: looking at her murky beverage: OMG, what the fuck did you do?

Elaine: Now, Kristin.

Kristin grabs her mother’s purse and sleeping pills fall out of it. 

Kristin: Christ, sleeping pills?

Elaine: Look, I’m sorry, it’s just that I…..

Kristin: Sorry? Sorry that you & your tennis pals torched this guy & now he’s after me?  In case you haven’t been keeping score, it’s his fucking banquet– & I am the last course!

Elaine: Kristin, we went all over this in therapy.

Kristin: No, mother, you just murdered me, so take that to you god damned therapy session!

She stumbles out of the room, struggling to get upstairs to her room, where she collapses, and falls asleep immediately. 

 

Cut to a beach scene, with a phony palm tree, and fake ocean, like a studio scene from one of the BEACH BLANKET teen movies with Frankie Avalon–hearing Alice say that she needed to control the dream, & steer it to a fun place. She is in a colorful bikini, stretched out & nipping out on a beach chair.

There is a little girl (there is always a little girl, isn’t there?) building a sand castle; a lovely fake idyllic scene. Then we see the Freddy glove approaching the beach, out of the water like a shark’s fin; strains of JAWS in the background.

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The glove strikes the sand castle, and Freddy pops up out of the sand.

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Kristin starts screaming, & tries to run away but the ground becomes quick-sand, & he catches up to her easily, laughing his cruel ugly laugh as he pushed her under the sand with his foot. They appear in his boiler room, his dominion.

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Kristin tries to control the dream, but Freddy just laughs her off.

Freddy: Elm Street’s last brat, farewell! (raising his glove blades).

Kristin: We beat you before!

Freddy: But now you’re all alone, Kristin–why don’t you call on one of your little friend, maybe they could help you.

Kristin: Never–I’m the last!

Freddy: Why don’t you reach out & cut someone?

Kristin screams.

Suddenly Alice appears in the dream.

Freddy: How sweet; fresh meat.

Inadvertently, Kristin has created, opened up a situation where Freddy now has access to the other children, who were not even from Elm Street.

Freddy: Give it up, bitches; you will never defeat me, for I have the power (he lifts up his shirt, and once again we see the dozens of tiny faces poking out of his chest) of all the souls of my children.

Kristin: Alice, you will need all my powers.

Freddy lifts her up like a rag doll, and tosses her into the burning flames in one of the boilers (which would not have flames, that would be a furnace, but what the fuck do I know?).

As Kristin is burning she passes on her special abilities to Alice, but it seems to pass through Freddy on the way; uh–ooh. 

Kristin is burned alive just as Alice wakes up.

There are several brief funeral scenes that have happened; Joey, Roland, now Kristin, but I can’t remember many details about them.

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Alice quickly gets dressed & wakes up Rick, telling him they must go over to Kristin’s house. Arriving there they find her bedroom engulfed in huge flames  and they can see her charred body in the middle of them, quite dead.

Cut to later that night, Alice’s bedroom; Rick comes in & sits on the bed next to her; she is watching a VHS video of Rick & Kristin in happier times.

Alice: You made her so happy then.

Rick: Yeah, before all the Freddy shit.

Alice: I tell you I saw Kristin die first in my dream; there was this horrible man..

[ let me state that actually it was hard to stay on track with these two female protagonists, Kristin & Alice–Alice & she looked a lot alike; Alice was the lead character, I guess, but it was still jarring to watch a different actress playing Kristin, even though she had the same actress as her mother. Now that Kristin is dead; too easily disposed of to suit me, it will be the Alice Show, & it should be easier to sort out the plot intricacies.]

Rick: Oh, who, Freddy, fucking Freddy? I don’t want to hear about Freddy, OK? I heard it all continuously from Kristin & I don’t want to hear any more; so stop it!

Alice: But Rick, I could smell the smoke. I could feel the heat of the fire. It wasn’t a dream, it was real!

Rick: I said stop it!  She wasn’t crazy, & neither are you, so just stop it! Please, God, why are you acting this way. 

Alice: I just don’t know, Rick–something happened to me in that dream–and now she is a part of me; they’re all part of me now! I think that Freddy can not get new kids unless there is someone to bring them in. 

Cut to the next day in class. Alice, exhausted. falls asleep at her desk. She sits next to her friend, Sheila. Accidently, she pulled Sheila into her dream, & Freddy shows up immediately.

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Freddy: Hello, little girlie, do you want to suck face?

Sheila: Noooo!

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Freddy grabs her & holds her in an evil kiss, sucking the life out of her. She turns into a skinless barely alive zombie as he sucks & sucks. When he drops her back into her chair, she is just the husk of her former self.  He had sucked all the oxygen out of her lungs, & then her soul followed.

Cut to Rick falling asleep sometime later, & he creates a Dojo to meet Freddy in. Freddy appears & they begin to fight; Rick is wearing his black belt karate outfit. He attacks Freddy with a flurry of experts kicks & punches, but, of course, Freddy laughs them off.  Then he keeps Rick blindfolded, so he is kicking & punching air

Freddy: mocking the the sensei: Find your balance, Rick. A true warrior needs no eyes; stay calm.

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Then ruthlessly & quickly Freddy dispatches young Karate Rick, tearing him to pieces; sending the glove to kill him by itself.

Cut to Rick’s funeral. Mr. Johnson wants Alice to stay at home, where she “can be safe”. Alice wants to meet up with Dan & Debbie & plan some stratagem.

Alice: You have no right to stop me–if you only knew what was going on.

Mr. Johnson: Hey, I know a lot about what is going on with you & your friends.

Alice: Yeah, everybody thinks they know, but they don’t.

Mr. Johnson: Look at me, Alice. I lost Rick because I didn’t watch him close enough. I don’t want to lose you too. You are all I have left.

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At the Diner, during a shift, Alice & Dan & Debbie hatch plan to attack Freddy. Debbie will go home, pump iron, & get ready for battle. Dan will meet Alice at the Diner at midnight. As Alice is heading home, she mumbles: Mind over matter, remember that.

Debbie: Mind over matter? Sheila used to say that. God, she changes every day.

Dan: No, it’s after every death.

Cut to later that night. Alice is asleep. She finds herself sitting at the counter at the CRAVE IN DINER. An unknown waitress is cleaning up behind the counter. Freddy appears. Alice eyes him calmly.

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Freddy: If the food doesn’t kill you, the service will.

He laughs cruelly. Then he is served a pizza, made up of tiny throbbing human faces in the bubbling cheese.

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Freddy: Mmmm–my favorite, the usual. Mmmm–eeney, meeney, minney–Moe! 

He stabs Rick’s face with a blade of his glove. 

Freddy: Oh, Rick, you little meatball. I just love soul food. Bring me more.

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He sees that the waitress is Debbie; he laughs.

Freddy: Your shift is over, bitch.

 

Cut to Alice, thinking that she is waking up, but, of course, she is not; thus giving Freddy access to Debbie, at home alone, pumping iron. Alice gets dressed & heads out for the diner, having taken her father’s keys & his car.

Cut to Debbie’s bedroom, where she has a bench set up, & is doing a series of free weight bench presses. Freddy appears, and presses down on the bar.

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Debbie: I don’t believe in you!

Freddy: I believe in you.

 

Cut to Alice arriving at the Diner, finding Dan there by his red pick up, telling him they must rush over to Debbie’s, telling him she would drive; racing down dark streets; arriving at Debbie’s, hearing her screams, Alice leaps out of the truck, & runs toward the house.

 

Freddy begins to press down harder on the bar; Debbie is straining against him.

Freddy: No pain, no gain.

 

Cut to Alice arriving at the Diner, finding Dan there by his red pick up, telling him they must rush over to Debbie’s, telling him she would drive; racing down dark streets; arriving at Debbie’s, hearing her screams, Alice leaps out of the truck, & runs toward the house.

He presses down so hard that he breaks both of her arms at the elbows, making bones stick out. Debbie is screaming. Suddenly huge cockroach arms begin to poke up out of her broken elbows,

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tearing their way in; severing both of her forearms with hands attached; which flop off onto the floor.

Cut to Alice arriving at the Diner, finding Dan there by his red pick up, telling him they must rush over to Debbie’s, telling him she would drive; racing down dark streets; arriving at Debbie’s, hearing her screams, Alice leaps out of the truck, & runs toward the house.

Debbie stands up screaming. Cockroach legs begin to rip through her calves. Her insect arms were huge. She tried to run, but her new cockroach legs were not easy to master. A hard shell, and small wings began to sprout out of her back.

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Suddenly on the dozenth “Loop” in the dream, Alice & Dan realize what is happening; so they shake it off, and head to Debbie’s house yet again.

Debbie’s feet get stuck in some kind of yellow goo, & she pitches forward into it, getting her face stuck in it too.

Cut to Freddy holding a Roach Motel box:

Freddy: You can check in, but you can’t check out.

We hearing tiny screaming, like a mosquito buzz, like the hero in THE FLY crying for help where no one could hear him. Freddy squashes the box, & pours out the yellow ooze, & the dead roaches.

Alice & Dan driving fast toward Debbie’s house, spot Freddy standing in the road in front of them–Alice is driving.

Alice: Alright, I’m going to punch his fucking ticket.

She puts the petal to the medal, but just as she runs over what appears to be Freddy, the pick up stops cold, like it just hit a brick wall at 70 mph; turns out Freddy was a large tree; probably an Elm, right?

[Here is another conundrum; did the kids somehow wake up during the last drive over, & if so, where on the continuum did they become conscious; & how or when did they get there? And why did the tree appear to be Freddy in the middle of the road? But then…]

Cut to an emergency vehicle picking them both up, since Dan was injured more than she was when they struck the tree. At the ER, they have to push Alice out of the OR.

Alice: Do not let them put you to sleep!

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Dan tries to fight off the nurses from giving him an anesthetic, but, in the end, of course, they put him under; & immediately one of the doctors turns into Freddy.

Dan: Kreuger?

Freddy: Well, it ain’t Dr. Suess, numb nuts!

Right away Freddy begins to slash up Dan’s Abdomen, no foreplay, no fucking around. The doctors in Real Time see the wounds being slashed into his stomach, and they immediately shake him awake; which I didn’t know you could do if a patient is under anesthetic.

Dan is very agitated, claiming he needs to be put back under so that he could help Alice. ( help Alice do what? Isn’t Alice in the waiting room in Real Time? What the hell is he thinking; what the fuck were the writers thinking?)

So the time has come, the Stallone tearing off the Reindeer testicles moment–Alice is all alone now. Her only friend that is still alive is Dandy Dan, & we see how fucking confused & incapacitated he is.

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Alice prepares for the Final Battle like a bullfighter; lots of macro-CU of her getting ready, pulling on her ripped jeans, lacing up her soft leather fighting boots, putting on a leather jacket like Debbie’s, pulling her hair back into a tight combat bob, putting on the spiked bracelets given to her by Debbie, practicing some martial arts moves; putting an asthma inhaler in her pocket (psyche). She stands up, legs spread in a power pose, fists clenched.

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Cut to her entering a Dream Church (now how did she get there? Is this the place she created, is controlling? If she is asleep now, was she asleep when she prepared herself for battle? Is her father not around, or off in some bar getting shit-faced & staying out of the way? Inquiring minds want a fucking answer, dudes.)

She walks about the church, taunting Freddy to appear, kicking things, acting all tough & shit. Freddy, like a tom cat shows up when he wants to, not when you call him.

Freddy: Welcome to Wonderland, Alice.

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To her credit, Alice gets right in his face, charges right in, & lands a couple stiff punches & connects with some effective kicks. Freddy looks surprised that she is actually tougher than Rick had been!

In terms of stage combat/movie fighting, this battle was very well choreographed. Lisa Wilcox, moved like a well-practiced Jennifer Garner; quite well done, almost believable actually.

At one point she kicks him in the face, bloodying his lip, & knocking his hat off.

Freddy: Yeah, you got all their powers, but I got their souls–come on!

She continues to leap over him, pummel him, kicking his ass–& he seems to not be doing well.

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Freddy: Do you really think you got what it takes? I have been guarding my gate for a long time, bitch!

In response, she reaches behind her & picks up some kind of homemade gas torch bazooka thingy, & with a terrific Sly Stallone yell, she blows a large hole clear through the center of his chest. ( Wow, did she sneak in here & stash this weapon? Did she conjure up the Dream Church herself? Or did she just conjure up the weapon with her own powers right on the spot?)

Nice CU from behind Freddy & we see Alice through the looking hole. Freddy reaches down and heals the foot-wide hole in a few strokes.

Freddy: Stupid child; I–am–Eternal. 

He is done toying with her now. He moves in & begins to kick the shit out of her; at one point slamming her against the back wall; then stepping back to allow her to get up for some more evil bashing fun.

As Alice sits on the floor, she sees the four little girls up in the Choral loft, & they are sing-chanting the Dream Master rhyme:

Children: Now I lay me down to sleep.

               The Master of Dreams my soul will keep;

               In the reflection of my mind’s eye….

Alice:      Evil will see itself–& it will die!

She picks up a large piece of broken stained glass; the reflective kind, & holds it up so that Freddy could see himself. He, of course, begins to writhe like a Vamp taking a garlic shower in the sunlight. (which is kind of odd, oh writers of this script; damn it, Freddy was no stranger to mirrors in the past films; he kind of liked looking at his bad self).

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But, of course, that was then, & this is Part Four, so shut the front door and just dig it, Slashman. His nasty torn & tattered sweater, once more, rips itself to shreds, & we see all the many souls of the tormented children writhing about in his chest & neck; whole arms begin to poke through, & hands thrash about; couple of legs too–one nice touch was the waterbed mermaid rubbing her tits against the flexing underside of things; a quick little treat.

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A hand & arm sprouts out of the backside of his head, reaching up & grasping a pipe behind him; dozens of little legs, heads, arms & hands are poking up out of his undulating torso. His is screaming in delicious pain, & begins to look like an East Indian spiritual monster with many legs, arms, & heads. With one last scream that would blast past the soprano scales of Maria Callas, Freddy just imploded, grunt-poof; his clothes stood empty for a long moment, before they fluttered to the floor like torn filthy butterfly & wasp wings.

Alice: Victorious: Rest in Hell!

Cut to some time later. Alice, in a fetching short wide-pleated skirt & tight white blouse, looked all virginal & sexy; which was cool since for most of the movie she dressed like a frumpy Nerd, never ever looking very sensual or alluring. Perhaps all the power of the dead friends heightened her fashion sense too.

She is with Dan, walking hand in hand in a Hallmark moment epilogue. They stop to chat at a large wishing fountain. Dan decides that he will toss a coin in for her to wish on. For a moment, Alice sees Freddy’s reflection in the water.The coin hits that spot, & he disappears.

Dan: What did you wish for?

Alice: You know I can’t tell you; then it wouldn’t come true.

They embrace, and walk away to the crappy Rap song ballad that plays over the end credits.

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TRIVIA:

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In an interview posted on NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET COMPANION, Lisa Wilcox said: “This one has a great story, funny Freddy lines, overall not too gruesome, with a cast that worked really well together.”

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This movie was the highest grossing Slasher film of the 1980’s. The name of the diner where Alice works is called the CRAVE INN; a reference to the series creator, Wes Cravin. When Alice & Dan go to the hospital, there is an announcement on the PA, requesting a Dr. Shaye–a reference to Robert Shaye, producer of the series, and CEO of New Line Cinema.

 

A magazine in Kristin’s room has a picture of Johnny Depp in it. Depp did his film debut in the original film, & has a cameo the sixth film of the series; FREDDY IS DEAD; THE FINAL NIGHTMARE (1991). Of course, we are aware that there were three more films done in the series after this one.

In the scene in the hospital, after Kristin hits her head, when the nurse changes into Freddy, one vial of blood was labeled for ENGLUND; nice touch.

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Script writer Brian Helgeland,  was a friend of Robert Englund’s, having penned the script for Englund’s directorial debut on 976-EVIL; which was released after ANOES 4–so it was considered Helgeland’s first screen writing credit.

 

The character Roland Kinkaid has a movie poster of THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977), a film directed by Wes Craven. The two gravestone visible behind Kristin Parker & Roland Kinkaid were for Nancy & Don Thompson; both killed in THE DREAM WARRIORS (1987). In the brief classroom scene, the teacher was played by series producer, Robert Shaye.

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When Alice goes into the theater, there is a poster of REEFER MADNESS II (1985), which was New Line Cinema’s first big hit. On the background wall of the theater there is a poster of Renny Harlin’s previous movie PRISON (1987).

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The use of chains in the boiler room were an homage to Wes Craven’s previous film HELLRAISER. 

This was the first film in the series to have a song over the opening credits, & also the first to have a Rap song in the ending credits. Dutch director Dick Maas was first picked to helm this movie, THE DREAM MASTER, but he had to drop out secondary to scheduling conflicts with his own thriller, AMSTERDAMNED. Then Tibor Takacs was offered the directing chair, but he dropped out when this film was starting too early for him.

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ROTTEN TOMATOES rated the film at 56% Critic’s approval, with 44% Audience approval.

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LA TIMES wrote: “ Loaded with killer effects & drop dead humor, this is a  superior horror picture that manages to balance wit & gore with both imagination & intelligence.”

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Jonathan Rosenbaum of the CHICAGO READER wrote: “ Robert Englund, receiving top billing for the first time, is delightful in his frequent incarnations of Freddy Kreuger–delivering his gag lines with relish–& making the grisly proceedings funny.”

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VARIETY wrote: “While some of the monotonous effects are strikingly surreal, Harlin’s direction creates an atmosphere which is more morbid than scary.”

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TIME OUT wrote: “ With each entry, the films become more removed from their source. Face it, Freddy just isn’t scary any more.”

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TV GUIDE wrote: “ Though the Elm Street series contains the most intelligent premise in current genre film, it seems that none of the movies in the series takes full advantage of their potential.”

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Caryn James of the NEW YORK TIMES wrote: “This was surprisingly watchable for the third sequel–& despite its general predictability, it is entertainingly inventive.”

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Karen Krizanovich of EMPIRE MAGAZINE wrote: “ Not counting WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE (1994), this is superior to all the other later sequels in the series.”

 

Richard Harrington of the WASHINGTON POST wrote: “ As always, the teen actors are all disposable, & even Robert Englund seems to be sleepwalking through Freddy.”

 

MY RATING:

 

I am not sure that all 7 million bucks of the budget showed up on the screen; maybe inflation ate up some of it, do you think? Brian Helgeland’ s writing was adequate for a sequel, but there was no heralding trumpets sounding the arrival of a man who would go on to write & direct films like LA CONFIDENTIAL (1997), A KNIGHT’S TALE (2001), & MYSTIC RIVER (2003). I still felt conflicted & confused as to which heroine to root for, Kristin or Alice.

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Robert Englund was camping it up much less in this one, & I appreciated that; although he was very aware that his Freddy was becoming an Indie icon, a true Hollywood Monster to be reckoned with; facing what Bela, Boris, & Lon, Jr. had to face eons before–he will never shake off this character. Cash cows should not be abandoned anyway.

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As other critics have noted, the teenage stars are disposable–the pattern for most all the finest Slasher Film series; HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY the 13TH, SCREAM, CABIN IN THE WOODS, EVIL DEAD, & so on & so on. I kind of did miss including a Name Star in the cast, but they usually are underwritten anyway, so what the hell.

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Lisa Wilcox is a far superior actress to many of the former ones in the series; of course, Jake the dog could out act Heather Lagenkamp on her best day. Tuesday Knight was OK, in for the much missed Patricia Arquette. Ken Sagoes needed to consider finding a real job, or taking some acting lessons, or some shit. (Actually, he stayed in the business, did some writing, & stayed busy with TV roles mostly; God only knows if he ever became a decent actor.) Andras Jones, Rodney Eastman, & Danny Hassell did fine in their young hunk roles.

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Hope Marie Carlton went on exhibiting her perky tits for decades, doing a stint on BAYWATCH too.

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Renny Harlin had a much keener eye, even then, for the action scenes than he did the dialogue sections; maybe he never was an “actor’s director”.

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Craig Safan’s musical score was a bit uninspired, but adequate.

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Ditto for Steven Fierberg’scinematography. On the expanded HH scale of 10 stars, I would rate this sequel with 6 stars. It was very watchable, had some nice plots twists & turns, & they killed off Freddy in fine cinematic style.

Ok, it is time to move on the the next installment of As Freddy Passes: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: DREAM CHILD (1989) directed by Stephen Hopkins ( his second film), who went on to direct films like THE GHOST & THE DARKNESS (1996)–& I will be looking forward to seeing actress Beatrice Beopple playing Amanda Kreuger–Freddy’s mother.

 

 

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