Monday, October 20, 2014

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

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (USA, 1988) - Color, Director(s): Renny Harlin
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 15]
Approx. 93 min.

Z-rating: 4 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 5 stars out of 5

The movie opens with some random new girl who's supposed to be Kristen. As cool as her name is (Tuesday Knight), it's weird when you watch parts 3 and 4 back to back and Kristen is a completely different girl. I loved Patricia Arquette too, she was so awesome in the role as Kristen. So anyway Kristen drags Joey, the previously mute kid, and Kincaid, the tough guy, into her nightmare cause she thinks Freddy might be coming back. Seems that Kristen, Joey, and Kincaid have all been released from Westin Hills psychiatric hospital and are living normal lives in high school now. Kristen has even made some new friends.

Freddy is revived when Kincaid's dog digs up Freddy's grave and pisses fire on it. Freddy gets a pretty sweet regeneration scene, his skeleton reconstructs and his melted flesh reforms, then he kills Kincaid and finishes off the last of the survivors from the previous film. Right before she dies, Kristen passes her powers onto a girl named Alice. Since the last of the Elm Street kids are dead, Freddy uses Alice's newfound powers to bring the new batch of kids into his dreamworld. As her friends are killed one by one, Alice gains the powers of each friend that dies. Lisa Wilcox does a great job as Alice, she's awkward and aloof at the beginning of the movie but appears much more confident after she's collected her friends' powers. I think it's the way she slouches or the grandma clothes she wears that made her appear meek. I can't quite put my finger on it but by the end, she's doing all kinds of flips and karate kicking Freddy. You know, thanks to her brother's obvious martial art prowess.

Karate Kid status!

Nudity: In one scene, Joey is laying on his waterbed and staring up at a poster with a beer babe on it. When he pulls back the covers on his bed, he sees the babe from the poster swimming around topless inside his water bed. The always beautiful Linnea Quigley is one of the people pressing her bare chest against Freddy's flesh at the end of the movie.

Gore: There's not much blood in this movie, which is surprising. Despite the lack of blood, there are some memorable scenes like the girl doing bench presses who gets her elbows broken by Freddy. Also, Freddy's death is pretty disgusting and disturbing too. The faces of tortured souls trapped in Freddy's body is always some hellish imagery. A slightly funnier version is the pizza with sausage meatballs with faces. I have a friend that still cannot eat pizza with those round meatball sausages to this day because of that scene.

Awesome: This was an interesting entry into the franchise that passed the torch from Kristen to Alice. I still liked Dream Warriors better because the script was much tighter. There were a lot of parts in this film that felt like they were just random events happening. Perfect example: after Kristen and her boyfriend walk past a locker, we see four slashes across the lockers to indicate Freddy's presence. But no one was dreaming during that scene, was it really there? Why didn't Kristen or anyone else notice it? If you think about it, Kristen got everyone killed because she passed on her power to Alice. Freddy wouldn't have a way to reach a new group of kids if it wasn't for her. Kind of a dick move. The movie was supposedly inspired by A Chinese Ghost Story, which is apparent because Freddy is afraid of his own reflection like Chinese ghosts and hopping vampires... as described in my Guide to Surviving Chinese Hopping Vampires!