Wednesday, April 28, 2010

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

And it continues as the survivors of Dream Warriors are back and still attending high school in Springwood. Unfortunately, the three have what are basically extended cameos as Freddy rises again and offs them all with relative ease (what happened to that fighting spirit?). This includes Kristen who is only able to use her power to bring people into her dreams to screw her bookish friend Alice into taking over said powers and thusly, drawing Freddy's wrath. We are also reminded that Kristen is the last of the Elm Street kids therefore marking Freddy's triumphant switch from vengeance demon to just plain 'being a dick' demon, as he sets his sights on any old teenager that comes his way. Luckily for him, Alice graciously keeps dragging friends into her nightmares so that Freddy may dispose of them...and the town can have a funeral. Seriously, there is a funeral scene directly after almost every death. People are sad...we get it. Anyway, Alice also starts to possess whatever skill her dead friend's had before their untimely demise and will use all that she has acquired in her final battle with Freddy. This includes, but is not limited to, kung fu and weight lifting. In the end, though, it is "mind over matter" that sends Freddy back to hell not unlike Nancy's tactics of conquering the fear that gives Freddy all his power.

Also, Freddy is resurrected with the assistance of flaming dog urine and one of the dead teenagers turns into a cockroach. There really wasn't a sufficient place to add these two facts to the above synopsis, but they should be known.

Interesting trivia fact: The cockroach girl went on to play one of the many daughters in the 'Growing Pains' spin-off 'Just the Ten of Us.' One of her sisters on the show? Heather Langenkamp

Interesting trivia fact (if it was still 1995): Director Renny Harlin went on to make a series of semi-popular but astounding bad action thrillers. He has only gotten worse with age. Hell, NOES4 might actually be his crowning achievement.

There is little redeeming value found in Dream Master. The re-emergence of the survivors from Dream Warriors is likely the most egregious error as they are given no reason to be there other than to act as hapless victims. Meanwhile, the new kids are nothing more than generic, one-dimensional characters who are dead long before they can ever establish themselves. Freddy has officially hit full-on, stand-up mode (He might as well have been standing in front of a brick wall, microphone in hand, opening for Emo Phillips).

As well, there is never an adequate explanation as to how Alice is absorbing her dead friend's abilities nor really what the Dream Master is exactly. Alice's long forgotten mother taught her as a child that she could control where her dreams took her by reciting a nursery rhyme that is "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" just with slightly different wording. This does not help Kristen at all as her beach dream turns sour when a "Freddy shark" shows up nor is Alice ever able to manipulate her own dream environment through the use of this prayer. Still, somehow she uses it to defeat Freddy. Honestly, I didn't really get it. Feel free to explain if it made more sense to you.


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