NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER is one of the greatest horror sequels of ALL time. I’m saying this in my “Kanye snatching the Moonman trophy from Taylor Swift -voice” so I’m going to say it again. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER is one of the greatest horror sequels of all time! While it’s no match for the dark, sinister original or as elevated in thematic storytelling as its predecessor, THE DREAM WARRIORS, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER is one of the greatest horror sequels of all time. Don’t believe me? Oh, ye of little faith. Watch as I give you 10 reasons why:
- The kills were the best in the series. While Johnny Depp being pulled into the center of his bed resulting in a blood fountain is iconic, he still didn’t turn into a cockroach. You know who did? Debbie- and she’s in the fourth installment. By the time Part 3: THE DREAM WARRIORS came around the series was noted for the creative ways in which Freddy dispatched the naughty Ohio teens. THE DREAM WARRIORS deaths were amazing and downright creative, however, in THE DREAM MASTER the deaths became much more elaborate and blended the horror and the humor the series eventually developed. SPOILER ALERT FOR A 30-YEAR-OLD MOVIE AHEAD: Joey drowning in a waterbed, Sheila literally having the life sucked out of her, Rick’s failed attempt at becoming the next Karate Kid! THE DREAM MASTER has crazy inventive ways of killing the kids of Elm Street.
- The film is fun. Pure and simple. It’s use of bright colors and crazy, over the top, inventive set pieces (quicksand Kristen) made this movie stand out from others in the series. The series goes gothic dark in the next installment and weirdly David Lynch-ian comical in the sixth film. DREAM MASTER is 80’s MTV iteration of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Love it or hate it- and how could you possibly hate a film where the villain is brought back to life with flaming dog piss- DREAM MASTER is a bright spot in the ‘NIGHTMARE’ franchise.
- THE DREAM MASTER knows what it is and doesn’t try to hide it. This entry became a source of contention for some fans. This was the point where Freddy tried to give Joan Rivers a run for her money in the joke department. This wasn’t an issue for me. Freddy was still a vicious killer but let’s face it- this is the fourth chapter in an 80s slasher film. The chances of Freddy being “Fred Krueger”-scary from the first film were slim. This was the point in the franchise where Freddy Krueger and Robert Englund became pop culture icons. Krueger appeared in music videos for Will Smith and The Fat Boys, he had his own late-night spin-off series, became a friend to MTV and countless imitators trick or treating on Halloween night. The dark and brooding Fred Krueger, created by Wes Craven, was dead. His joke-prone imitator was alive.
- The guys were hot. That is all.
- While Freddy becomes less scary he, nor the film itself, tarnish the legacy of the series. This is still a strong sequel with very likable characters and engaging performances. Despite Patricia Arquette’s absence in the film, Tuesday Knight was still a great and believable Kristen Parker.
- The mythology stays true to the original film. Unlike Part 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE, the story never betrays the rules Craven created with the first film. A group of teens are tormented by their internal demons and Freddy Kruger is the manifestation of said demons. I wonder if Craven secretly liked this movie.
- The sheer creativity of the movie. The pizza of lost souls. Sending Alice and Dan around in dream-induced circles, the opening junkyard scene! Renny Harlin brought his own youthful rocker’s-edge originality to the film.
- Robert Englund owns this movie. Robert Englund’s performance as Freddy was so over the top (in a good way) that it was clear the Shakespearean actor was having the time of his life. This is also the first ‘NIGHTMARE’ film where he gets top billing in the credits.
- The soundtrack. The hard-to-find soundtrack is a mixture of classic pop and modern hip-hop. As mentioned above, Will Smith and The Fat Boys both contributed to the soundtrack in competing tracks. Blondie and Sinead O’Connor can also be heard, as well as Kristen herself, Tuesday Knight who sings the opening theme.
- Alice is one of the best heroines in horror. We see Alice Johnson turn from a meek redhead into a badass blonde (the hair color changes happens in part 5, but still). Lisa Wilcox breathed life into a character who could’ve been a one-dimensional nerd turned hot chick cliche. However, Alice was a self-reliant and smart character who figured out Freddy’s weakness and his strengths and used it against him. She became a more than worthy successor to Nancy Thompson and is technically one of Freddy’s adversaries who’s still alive.
So there. 10 great reasons why NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER is one of the greatest horror sequels of all time. This is a fact and not a disputable opinion. THE DREAM MASTER is still the G.O.A.T even after 30 years.
If I had one complaint it would- why did Kincaid have to be the FIRST to die?