A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Freddy returns to finish off the remaining 3 teens from the last flick before wrecking havoc on a new crop of 80’s teens.  With quiet, mousey Alice as his scapegoat Freddy Krueger slices his way through Springwood by turning tomboy-chics into cockroaches, a Mr. Miyagi wannabe into sushi and spinning out one-liners at any given moment. The film starts with Tuesday Knight (yes, her that’s her real name) taking over for Patricia Arquette as alpha-girl, Kristen Parker, from the previous film.  After having “Freddy-like” dreams she warns her fellow survivors Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) and Joey (Rodney Eastman) that Freddy’s impending return is near.  Because she’s hot and blonde they laugh off her warning before being offed in the same night.  Kristen, somehow passes her power to her friend Alice, who becomes the unwilling accomplice in bringing Freddy to her fellow Elm street friends.

THE GOOD

The Dream Master has always been one of my favorite NIGHTMARE flicks.  Yes, this is the entry where Krueger becomes a full-on comedian, but it’s also one of the most imaginative and fun horror movies of the entire decade.  The bright lights, the clever murders and likeable cast sets this movie apart from many of its genre peers like Friday the 13th part 8.    If Heather Langenkamp, who plays Nancy in NIGHTMARE 1,3 and 7,  is the true heroine of the entire series, then Lisa Wilcox’s Alice is surely second runner-up.  Alice finds her identity and strength while batting the razor-clawed killer.  She isn’t a typical 80’s horror bimbo- then again this series has always avoided that cliché.  While Freddy captures his victims souls, Alice captures they’re strength culminating in Krueger getting his ass handed to him in a church.  Freddy also likes to mind-fuck his victims which is more apparant in this installment than before.  By having them run in circles, repeating entire events and questioning their own sanity, Freddy plays like a pre-90s Hannible Lecter. This entry injects more humor and late-80’s pop-culture surrealism, that at this point in the series was the MTV-generation.

THE BAD

This film is not without its problems -mainly the script.  After over 20 years, I’m still not clear on how Freddy’s physical ressurection came to be.  Flaming dog piss?  Really?  Even in a movie where a girl is turned into a cockroach, having Freddy come alive due to flaming dog piss is far-fetched.  Also, why is Freddy killing the new batch of kids?  The teens from part 3 were the last of the Elm Street children and supposedly the last on his shit -list.  I know he’s a wise-cracking serial killer, but a little explanation would’ve made this puppy solid. Also, what’s up with the pink claw marks on the lockers in the hallway that no one seemed to notice?

THE UGLY

This entry is criticized for making Freddy a comedian.  I’m one of the few who didn’t have a problem with that.  Freddy’s humor wasn’t out of hand like in FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE.  His humor was dark and the kills were nasty and downright fucked up.  This is one of the best sequels of the NIGHTMARE series and still holds up nicely.  Robert Englund excels here as he clearly owns Freddy and quickly became THE HORROR ICON of our time. Director Renny Harlin shines here and it’s easy to see why he became an in-demand Hollywood director.  Crazy lightening, acid-tripping angles and a steady pace makes this the liveliest of the sequels.  The Dream Master isn’t for everyone, but if you like Freddy with personality and creative kills, this one’s for you.

***1/2 out of 4

Food Recommendation:

Chorizo dip and Devin’s Cheapsake Margaritas.  Brown ground chorizo sausage in the skillet.  Once done, add to a baking dish, top with cream cheese, and mixed shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20 mins, until cheese is melted.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Devin’s Cheapsake Margarita: 2 shots of tequila, Crystal Light lemonade, squirt of fresh lime and a shot of grenedine.

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