A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD (1989)
Directed by Stephen Hopkins @ 89 minutes.
SLASH’S SHITFACED SATURDAY
Hot damn, you sicko swarm of Kreugerites out there, the series marches on; a lot of irons in the fire, a rushed shooting schedule, lukewarm critical & audience responses–& yet in the spirit of independent criticism promulgated passionately here at HH, fuck those people; this film renewed my interest, and revived my faith in the franchise.
Both Stephen King & Frank Miller were offered the director’s seat for this flick, but neither showed real interest.
Enter Stephen Hopkins, who had only directed one film prior to this one. In typical Indie fashion, New Line gave him one month to shoot the film, & he brought it in under budget, on time, & looking great. Blown the fuck away, they hired him to direct PREDATOR 2 (1990) immediately. He went on to a fine career, directing films like THE GHOST & THE DARKNESS (1996), LOST IN SPACE (1998), UNDER SUSPICION (200O), won a damn Emmy for THE LIFE & DEATH OF PETER SELLERS (2004), & is kept busy on television now. I think its cool that he dated Heather Graham for a while. On almost all his films he hired cinematographer Peter Levy.
Peter Levy has lensed 38 movies since 1982. NIGHTMARE 5 was his lucky 13th feature. Besides all of Stephen Hopkins films, he also shot RICOCHET (1991), & BLOWN AWAY (1994).
The musical score was done by Jay Ferguson, who has written 45 film scores since 1985, including THE PATRIOT (1986), BAD DREAMS (1988), & DRIVEN (1996).
TAGLINES: It’s a Boy.
Now Freddy is a Daddy, & he kills for two.
New Evil has spawned.
SEX & GORE:
Actually the film opens between credits in blue lit bodies; very artsy-fartsy, but a few butt shots are quite clear. A lot of Alice’s first scene, a dream of course, she is nude in. We see her quite naked through the frosted glass, getting several hazy tit-shots, nipples clearly visible, & one eighth of a second bush shot.
The gore is vintage NIGHTMARE variety, with torn off limbs, eviscerations, plenty of blade slashes, but this one is a bit light on blood splashes; sort of Gore-Lite.
NIGHTMARE BABE GALLERY:
I know it’s a cheap shot, but since the director did date Heather Graham,
we needed to see one of her fabulous tit-shots from another film.
Lisa Wilcox played the lead, Alice Johnson. She does not seem to shy about showing the cheesecake side of her allure.
Thank-you Ms. Wilcox for providing us a full Monty tit-shot for the gallery.
Kelly Jo Minter played Yvonne. She only has bikini or swim suit shots to share, but none of them were very clear; so we were happy to just find this perky resume shot.
Erika Anderson played Greta, the “beauty” in the posse.
She has managed to leave a buxom legacy of fine tit-shots for us to utilize.
She gets the HH prize for the most tit-shots on the Net (not counting those of Heather Graham; primarily because she is not in the fucking film, but since the director had access to those primo-breasts, we should too.)
A nice surprise is that Beatrice Boepple who played Freddy’s mother, Amanda,
had some fine tit-shots to share; so whelping Freddy couldn’t be all bad.
Alice & Dan have done the dirty deed, albeit all blue light abstract & shit, but when Alice gets up to take a shower (which seems to be in her own bedroom, & in her own shower),
at first we are just treated to the naked shoulders, head-shot wet hair bullshit,
& then several nice nude (through frosted glass) shots.
But shit gets strange real fast; brown crap bubbles up out of the drain, ceramic tile is popping off the walls, she can’t turn the water off, the water controls are breaking off in her hands & the shower door is locked as the water begins rising quickly.
Alice is struggling to keep her head above water, but it completely fills up the stall. I’m hoping to get a nipple rub like the mermaid waterbed tit-shots in NIGHTMARE 4, but no dice. She crashes through the shower door. & she is dumped on her beaver & boobs on the floor of the Asylum (somehow we know that’s where it is). She, of course, gets up, crosses her arms over her tits & wanders toward a well-lit noisy room.
She finds herself in the Snake Pit, swarming with 100 lunatics, dressed suddenly as a Nun. This is an amazing scene, all MARAT SADE & shit, giving us our first peek at the fine Art Direction done by Timothy Gray; some of the only real positive things said about this movie had to do with the very Gothic dark German Expressionism abstract feel to several of the set pieces.
Those with a sharp eye spotted actor Robert Englund in the mass of maniacs, included one nice CU as Alice/Amanda/Nun goes down under the sexual crush of dozens of dicks. We had been informed in two previous films that she was raped by all one hundred maniacs; quite the train for sure.
Alice wakes up first in bed with the non-Freddy looking Robert Englund; she freaks out, awakening again, this time in her real bed. She is wary of her shower, but finally says fuck it, & jumps in. (this would have been the perfect spot to get a real nude scene inserted; I’m just saying.)
Soon we meet the Alice posse, at the Springwood HS graduation; more slasher fodder, disposable teens; a candy stripper, Yvonne, who also is a champion swimmer, a wanna’be model-Greta, bitching about her forced bulimia, lover boy Big Dan, & Mark, a comic book geek, who both collects & draws comics while carrying a torch for Greta/model–all to be fresh meat for Freddy ASAP.
Things get convoluted after Alice is on her way to work, is walking through the park playground, sees the infamous NIGHTMARE chanting children, all dressed in white, skipping rope, playing ball & shit; giving we fans the clue that Freddy must be fucking close by. Somehow she moves right into a dream while still awake; finds herself in a wheeled stretcher heading into a filthy bloody insane ER back in the Asylum. Doctors & dumbshit nurses hold her down, telling her she is ready to give birth; then she sees herself standing & watching in her white nightie as Amanda Kreuger is giving birth to a demon, a little Freddy monster. (Now, my bullshit meter is tingling here, writers, because we spent 4 other fucking movies in this series believing that Freddy looked “normal”, although obviously had a serial killer complex, until the Elm Street parents hunted his sad ass down, & then burned him to death, thus causing his special “Look”–& dream sequence aside, unless this is a token rebirth of the demon spirit, I guess, to have a perfect Mini-Me Freddy be ejected from the womb after a breech-birth just doesn’t resonate with my ass.)
The little bugger is both nasty & ugly immediately after being born, & in a scene right out of the IT’S ALIVE series, the newborn demon spawn escapes the doctors & scurries like a rodent out of the ER.
Only Alice seems to give a shit, as she gives chase, ending up in the church rectory where she last defeated Freddy in ANOES 4; a fact she points out several times, but to no avail.
This director like to have sets just fall down, break apart, raise a hell of a lot of dust, twist the shit out of steel girders, have strange lights shining up from cracks in the floor, wall, & ceiling. With all this horse-shit happening, Alice is knocked on her shapely butt several times, & we get tidy glimpses of her white lace bikini panties.
While lightning strikes, sets fall down, thunder rattles, the Freddy ersatz fetus finds the Freddy costume, apparently just fucking left there after killing the blade man in ANOES 4, & Alaka-zam, the real adult Freddy reincarnates, stands up, & he & Alice swap insults. Suddenly Amanda, monster-Mom, shows up, wagging her Nun’s finger, informing Fred that his shit is no longer valid.
“We’ll see about that, bitch.” chortles Freddy, slamming the sanctuary doors in her face (ever notice that in horror movies, the word/concept of sanctuary becomes an oxymoron?).
One thing about this movie, the pace is unrelenting; it delivers the teen sacrifices in short order. Alice calls Dan, who is at the HS swimming pool being cool with his homies; she is all freaked out all about arriving at work 4 hrs. late, & that somehow that fucking Fredboy has found a way to pull her into Dreamville while she’s still awake.
This movie, unlike ANOES 4, is not reticent to mention Springwood as it’s locale. Dan tells Alice, who is still being a waitress at the Diner, to hang on cuz he is on his way to rescue her. He jumps in his beater blue Ford pick-up (replacing his spiffy red one that got wrecked by Freddy in ANOES 4), but shit, wouldn’t you know it, he falls asleep at the wheel, & the pick up begins to speed dangerously through traffic, then suddenly transforms into a demonic Freddy motorcycle (actually a Yamaha V-Max 1200 with CA tags & a “FREDDY” license plate), & a Zen transformation happens as the bike becomes Freddy, with pipes, cables, & wires cutting through his arms, hands, & legs; beginning to turn him into the bike as well, when WHAM Danny Boy wakes up just in time to have a head on collision with a huge truck.
This melee happens like a 100 yards from the Crave Inn Diner, so, of course, Alice runs out & sees the aftermath. She runs over to the wreckage; the truck driver jumps out & yells at her (he is dressed a lot like Freddy, so there is a momentary director-induced mistaken identity). She sees Dan dying, being burned up, & then transforming into Freddy so that he could taunt Alice even further.
After fainting in the street, Alice wakes up in the hospital where Yvonne is a candy striper. She is told that she is pregnant with Dan’s child. While there, she meets a six year old boy, named Jacob, who seems lost & sad. Later, Yvonne informs her there were no children on that ward at all. (cue spooky music). So then Master Freddy gets busy going after the rest of Alice’s friends.
Cut to a dinner party over at Greta’s house; her mother is being the bitch Matriarch, demanding that she eat some of the fine cuisine. But pretty Greta is conflict, afraid she will gain weight.
Enter Freddy dressed as the Mad Chef, who begins to force feed Greta, to the delight of the dinner guests.
Greta’s cheeks puff out like a chipmunk going nuts in a corn bin, & Freddy keeps stuffing more food in
(in the uncut version Freddy slices open the Greta doll, & forces her to eat spoonfuls of innards. You are what you eat, bitch! She looks down, sees that her own stomach is ripped open & she is literally eating her self.) Greta flops over face first at the dinner table; dead-awake.
Alice becomes alerted to this event in a waking dream where all the food in her fridge rots, & Greta, chipmunk-cheeks a flutter tries to come out of the fridge door.
One nice touch in this film was that it no longer wasted our valuable viewing time showing funerals of the victims. OK, Alice gets an ultrasound, & is told her baby is healthy; but she figures out that because a fetus can dream, that fucking Freddy has found a way to live in those dreams, & then both cause waking dreams, & have access to Alice’s friends. In one of those dreams, Alice sees her unborn son, has her epiphany, & figures out further that the sad mysterious little boy Jacob, is the embodiment of her son–& that Freddy wants to be the Godfather, or maybe just capture the boy’s soul entirely (some pretty fucking convoluted plot machinations for sure).
Then we get a nice homage, & precursor to soon to be realized Frank Miller CGI animated comics, as Mark picks up a comic book that is written about him, & Freddy, & that moment as he is sucked into the comic strip, becoming a paper version of himself. (This concept was then borrowed & elaborated on in several seasons of HEROES).
Mark becomes his own created comic character, The Phantom Prowler, who guns Freddy down with some kind of fucking ray guns; but psych, old Freddy was not really killed; jumping up & slicing the shit out of Mark, who remained a paper figure.
Doubting Yvonne, who wasn’t buying into this Freddy shit, is then attacked by Freddy while she is practicing her swimming & diving. Alice enters the dream & helps Yvonne to escape, with a little help from Amanda Kreuger’s soul; which Freddy seems to fear. Yvonne is now a believer, so she runs off on an errand to the creepy Asylum, to find Amanda, & free her soul; & she does this with the plucky spirit of someone on their way to buy a 6-pack of Bud at the AM-PM.
She wanders around the Asylum awhile, until she hears whimpering/praying behind a bricked up wall. She picks up some Rebar, & breaks out the bricks like they were styrofoam; which they fucking were.
She finds Amanda on her knees, back to us, deep in prayer. Yvonne gets her to turn around, & no surprise, she is a gray corpse in her starched white nun’s habit. Amanda becomes more human, says THANKS, & poof, now apparently free, is off to help Alice.
Boy-Howdy, the music tells us that the Big Climax Scene is about to happen. Alice decides to enter a dream in order to save Jacob, & herself. This is where the art design gets terrific, with a set that is all M.C. Escher stairways crossing in all angles, with Freddy, Alice, Jacob, Dan-who is really Freddy, all walking upside down, crossways, backwards & shit; really cool effects for the times. Alice catches up to Jacob, who informs his Mommy that actually Freddy was able to hide inside her for much of the time, whispering evil nothings in Jacob’s ear; the serpent as womb worm.
Alice gets really pissed off about this development, so she begins to force Freddy out of herself, & we see him emerging from her head, back, & chest. (Actually since he had been chasing her in the Escher set, it seems fucking nuts that he was inside her too; just saying.) After a titanic struggle, Alice is not doing too well with this self-exorcism–so the doors bang open & lovely Amanda Nun pontificates to Jacob that he need to use the powers given to him by Freddy in order to defeat the asshole; which is the point of the whole movie, right?
Freddy buys Jacob’s bullshit, drops Alice like a limp rag doll, & goes to Jacob. School’s out, Kreuger, says the boy (the actual line had been “Fuck you, Kreuger!”–but they decided a 6 year old didn’t need to say it like that.) Jacob does some mini-wizard shit, forcing himself & Freddy to revert back to infants; but not before the gnarly spirits of Dan, Greta, & Mark pop out of his chest (Jesus, old Fred has real problems holding those captured spirits within him).
While Freddy & Jacob are infants again, Amanda absorbs her whelp back into her womb, just as Alice does the same with Jacob. Amanda was having a hard time containing the pissed off Freddy, so she advised Alice to boogie out of there pronto.
Cut to an idyllic scene in the park; little sweet Jacob is in his stroller, with friend Yvonne, & Alice’s father all smiling & shit. The crane shot dollys back &, of course, we see those pesky church kids in white chanting & skipping rope. Gee, whatever is that a precursor for?
ROTTEN TOMATOES rated this film at 33% Critic’s approval, & 33% Audience approval.
Jonathan Rosenbum of the CHICAGO READER wrote: “The series here takes a depressing nosedive into zero-degree filmmaking.”
David Hughes of EMPIRE MAGAZINE wrote: “Despite an impressive bag of special effects, old Freddy is beginning to resemble one of those dead horses that studio Execs insist on flogging.”
TV GUIDE wrote: “Director Stephen Hopkins does an imaginative job in visualizing the bizarre, freely associative nightmares, & produces some memorably surrealistic scenes.”
Steve Newton of GEORGIA STRAIGHT wrote: “Don’t wait for this one to come out on video–see it in a theater, & sit close to the screen. Roller coasters are always better at the front.”
Anytime you get three writers “collaborating” on one script, as well as the director, the producer, & the producer’s bitch of the week, & others, cohesion is not the byword for the event–and yet the concept that old devious Freddy could survive like a herpes virus inside of Alice, lying dormant until the time was right, is a terrific plot device.
As previously stated, I thought the direction was pretty tight, the art design & direction was inspired, the cinematography wonderfully Gothic, all CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920, 1962, & 2005) mixed liberally with NOSFERATU (1922, & 1979) & shit, & I really enjoyed the musical score, minus the bad hip-hop white boy Rap over the ending titles (wasn’t it interesting that Lisa Wilcox was in the opening titles, but not in the ending ones; strange.).
Robert England spent a lot of time with his hat off in this one, which he probably should not do. He emerged more of a comic character, almost silly-looking, like a poor man’s patchwork version of his former bad self. Lisa Wilcox did a strong job with her role, improving on the simpering Alice of ANOES 4. It is worthy of note that Alice is the only one of the Elm Street children who survived two Freddy movies, killing his ragged butt twice.
I rate this film at 7.5 on the HH 10 star scale. It held together well, had excellent pacing & editing. We did get Lisa’s nude scene in the first few minutes, but for Christ’s sake, grow some nads, producers, & let’s be treated to some concise tit-shots & beaver glimpses in the future.