Wednesday, October 14, 2009

31 Days of Halloween - Day 14 - Movie












"A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 - The Dream Master" (1988) is full of exploding glass and late 80s movie soundtrack pop songs but a not very imaginative use of the outlandish nightmare murders in the previous entries. The three surviving teens from the last movie (though Tuesday Knight was cast in the Patricia Arquette role) are murdered off by a resurrected Freddy Krueger. As Kristen is killed, she transfers her power to pull other people into her dreams to her friend Alice (Lisa Wilcox). Now that the last of the Elm Street kids are dead, Freddy uses Alice and her new ability to supply him with fresh souls to kill in dreams. As Alice's friends are killed, she somehow also inherits their abilities as well (and in one dubious example, their wardrobe which mysteriously appears in her dresser drawers). Alice then uses these combine abilities to fight back.

Directed by Renny Harlan, this movie was diverting but unimaginative. The characters were a little more engaging in this movie than the last. The nightmare sets were nothing we hadn't seen to death in the previous entries with the new addition of what was meant to be a tropical beach that looked like it was manufactured and filmed in the colder months. Freddy's killings were almost all identical jabs to the abdomen with his glove, and including a boy who drowns in his water bed very stale and uncreative. Later on we are treated to a girl being turned into a cockroach and a sequence in which all of the souls of Freddy's victims begin to erupt from his body in order to break free. The entire special effects budget must have been saved for these two sequences, as one of the previous sequences saved money by having one of the victims trying to fight off an invisible Freddy, who merely punched back, and didn't even use his glove, until that final abdomen plunge. By now Freddy is in full catch phrase pun mode. "How's this for a wet dream?" He asks the victim of the death by waterbed scene. Freddy does not come off as being even remotely menacing in this movie, which for a horror film is a major crime. In previous entries he was a controlling be anywhere, do anything, kind of boogie man which lent a lot of weight to his prey's desperation to remain awake. Here, he's just an ugly guy in a bad sweater with a knife fingered glove. You get the sense that one good whack on the head with a shovel would be enough to do him in.

3 comments:

Shawn Robare said...

It's all downhill from here too. Well, there's one speedbump left...

Jay Amabile said...

John and Shawn - completely agree. This is my least favorite of the series as well as #5. I can handle Freddy's dead and I love New Nightmare but 4 and 5 sucked.

Shawn Robare said...

I just re-watched this one this past weekend. Ug. I like a few aspects, the pizza eating scene and the one girl turning into a roach, but yeah there was a lot of lame. So seriously, did a dog peeing on Freddy's dreamworld version of his grave really bring him back? Well, it was burning pee...

Honestly, by this point in the franchise I was expecting to see Freddy more often, especially if he was going to be in full on catch phrase mode. If they're going to treat him as the main star, they might as well give him more of the spotlight.