Robin Pierce OnLine
Addressing the Geek Nation......
Friday the 13th Pt VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Friday the 13th Pt VII - The New Blood (1988)
Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
Friday the 13th Pt VI - Jason Lives (1986)
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Friday the 13th Pt V - A New Beginning (1985)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 - The Dream Child (1989)
Sleepaway Camp III - Teenage Wasteland (1989)
Friday the 13th Part IV - The Final Chapter (1984)
Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers (1988)
Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 - Dream Warriors (1987)
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 - Freddy's Revenge (1985)
The Burning (1981)
Friday the 13th (1980)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
April Fool's Day (1986)
Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 - The Dream Master (1988)

“You shouldn’t’ve buried me. I’m not dead” – Freddy Krueger

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 The Dream Master | Scarina's Scary Vault of  Scariness

We should’ve seen this coming.

Freddy was killed at the end of the Dream Warriors, but he wasn’t about to stay dead while there were still survivors among the Elm Street kids. Even if he had managed to kill his main protagonist, Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) – there was another to take her place, Kristen – the girl who could draw people into her dreams, Kincaid, the muscle of the group of Dream Warriors (Ken Sagoes) and Joey (Rodney Eastman), the mute kid who discovered his voice, which became a big factor in Freddy’s defeat.

The film opens with Kristen, now recast with Tuesday Knight replacing Patricia Arquette in the role, encountering a little girl drawing a house on a pavement with chalk. She realises that this is 1428 Elm Street, and the child’s hand is covering her rendition of Freddy at the window. Looking up, Kristen is standing in front of the house at night – she’s having another nightmare, and almost reflexively draws both Kincaid and Joey in. But there’s no sign of Freddy. The boiler pipes are cold. But something’s happening. Kristen has also drawn Kincaid’s dog into her dream, and this becomes a major factor.

I’m not even going to try and explain how this works, it’s basically a case of going with the flow as in Kincaid’s dream the following night, he finds himself in the scrapyard where Freddy was buried, despite the fact he’d never been there. The dog is with him, and speaking of going with the flow, the hapless dog raises a leg to relieve himself and literally pees fire on Freddy’s unmarked grave, causing the ground to split open and Freddy’s remains to reassemble. It’s the best entrance Freddy ever had, I think. It brings to mind all the resurrection scenes Christopher Lee had in Hammer’s Dracula series.

Freddy (Robert Englund, of course) kills Kincaid in the scrapyard, and gets Joey in a water bed, luring him to death by drowning with visions of a nude model enticing him into his water bed. Kristen is losing her grip on reality and using any means to keep herself awake – until her well-meaning (interfering bitch) mother drugs her with sleeping pills and seals her fate. BUT… Kirsten has a plan, she asks her daydreaming schoolfriend, the shy Alice (Lisa Wilcox) to dream her into somewhere safe, and she finds herself on a tropical beach. Breaking the water like a shark’s fin, though is Freddy’s glove. He found her.

As Freddy takes her to the basement, he begins goading her about bringing him some more victims, as she’s the last and he wants his fun to continue. Unconsciously, she summons Alice before dying and Alice unwittingly becomes the conduit for a fresh slate of victims.

This is a turning point in the film, when we realise that despite Robert Englund receiving top billing for the first time, this is actually Alice’s film, and halfway through the trilogy formed by Nightmare 3, 4 and 5, the whole emphasis changes to focus on this shy wallflower and her journey to face and overcome not only her own fears, but an overwhelming evil that is wiping out her friends. It becomes more a hero’s journey than that of Nancy Thompson.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master – [FILMGRAB]

Alice has always been a background character, a peripheral even in her own life. Her father is a widowed alcoholic who seems to revel in browbeating his kids (Alice has a twin brother). Consequently, she has no confidence and little self-worth. And now, she’s Freddy’s pawn. A lure – because Kirsten has given Alice her power of drawing others into her dreams. BUT – those she leads to Freddy leave her something of themselves that she can use in her dreams. And these “gifts” are accumulating into powers she can use in her dreams. In a surprising development, shy girl Alice is becoming The Dream Master. Her brother, a martial arts student leaves her his skills, bookish Sheila leaves her a home-made taser, she gets strength and agility from exercise freak Debbie, and goes to war, defeating Freddy in a ruined church.

Is it all over?

Not really. As Alice is sitting by a fountain and meets her new boyfriend whose life she has saved, we briefly see Freddy’s reflection in the water. He’s just biding his time.

Although Pt 3 The Dream Warriors is the better known, and was the better received of the films, I think this definitely has the edge. I remember, back in ’88, being surprised that meek Alice was being groomed to be the “last girl standing”. There’s an unusual amount of character development in this one, particularly in Alice, and kudos to Lisa Wilcox on her performance.

As a slasher movie, of course I can’t not mention the kills which is what these films either stand or fall on. And again, ingenious as Freddy’s ways of killing were in Pt 3, this one raises the bar. Of particular note among the kills is that of workout queen Debbie (Brooke Theiss) who has an aversion to cockroaches and is physically turned into one in her dream, starting with her arms being fractured and the roach’s legs being exposed underneath.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

Freddy was a full-blown pop culture icon by this time, more so than Jason Voorhees and was visible everywhere. Posters, comic books, guest spots on TV talk shows, he even had his own horror anthology series. Director Renny Harlin had this to say about his approach to the character in this movie;

“We've reached a point where the audience sees Freddy as the hero. They come to these movies to hear his funny lines and see him do those amazing things. And because of that popularity, I'm faced with showing Freddy in a more heroic light and giving him more screen time. People will still fear him, but they will also be cheering him on”

And cheer Robert Englund’s sneering one-liners we did. 

Nightmare on Elm Street 4 Director Remembers Trying to Make Freddy Krueger  the 'James Bond of Horror' - IGN

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