#481 Halloween 2016: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 – The Dream Child (1989)

Another day, another Elm Street movie.

Considering that at times even the first sequel can be counted as beating a dead horse with a stick, there’s something almost kind of admirable doing it for the fourth time.
Made in what could be only described as an insane rush, the fifth freddy is not a bad movie, but clearly the most uneven of the series. It will constantly keep your interest level down with mediocre or even awkwardly bad design decisions and effects, only to completely surprise you with actually pretty amazingly well coordinated scenes that are among the best of the series.

No, scratch that. The motocycle scene in The Dream Child is so dynamite I’m willing to dub it as the best 10 minutes of the series.

So, In the end The Dream Child will leave you scratching your head. It’s a flawed product, but with many strong points that could’ve added up to a pretty decent movie in the end. Clearly the movie could’ve used more time in the preproduction and go through a few iteration rounds, and a lot of the material should’ve ended up on cutting room’s floor.
As it stands now, it’s a worthy, but ultimately disappointing effort for the last Elm Street movie of the decade.

With its numerous worst and best bits of the franchise, The Dream Child is a worthy, but ultimately disappointing effort for the last Elm Street movie of the decade.

#480 Halloween 2016: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 – The Dream Master (1988)

No matter what the movie is actually like. by the third sequel the stigma of being that ’just another sequel’ really starts to set in – and usually makes it challenging to watch the movie with just a face value. With that in mind, let’s dive into Elm Street part 4, directed by a fellow finn Renny Harlin.

Harlin’s directorial take of the franchise is flashy and at times almost music video like, in a true tradition of the eighties generation MTV. Effects are top notch and a step up from the previous movie.

The take is funny with obvious humoristic elements scattered throughout the movie, but on the other hand also without depth or substance. The seemingly quickly hacked up plot is a mere the necessity to move from a imaginative kill to another and Freddy’s lines throughout the movie consist mainly of just various kinds of wisecracks.

Freddy movies were never scary movies in a traditional sense and The Dream Master takes the franchise even further away from pure horror, and towards the main stream dark tongue-in-cheek adventure. Three sequels for one movie is already obviously too much, but Harlin’s decision of not even bothering to explain everything but just have a good time actually translates well to the silver screen.

Ultimately The Dream Master is much more entertaining than its predecessor The Dream Warriors, and remains the second best sequel of the series.

The Dream Master may have the depth of a long music video, but it does the best out of what the series has left at this point and makes an entertaining 90 minutes out of it

#479 Halloween 2016: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 – Dream Warriors (1987)

Dream Warriors is often dubbed as the best sequel to the series, but now – after viewing them all – I can’t help but to disagree. Where the previous two movies felt fresh, The Dream Warriors mixes in very generic elements like mental hospitals, religious mumbo jumbo and disappearing nuns and throws away most of the simple, working elements from the previous films.
This time around the agonised youth is locked in a mental institute where they form a Dream Warrior team and actually try to get to sleep to beat Freddy. It plays out pretty much as childish as it sounds, and with this dreamland Goonies theme the target age group seems to have slipped from 13+ all the way to eight.

Although the overall production values are amped up, the video edit and stop motion techniques have aged badly compared to the simple but working puppetry and camera tricks seen in previous movies. The kills still work, and the overall mood is there but with this poorly focused second sequel the franchise does seem to get a little old.

The third Freddy movie doesn’t rely on the simple, working elements of the previous movies, and A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 ends up quite lukewarm and generic

#478 Halloween 2016: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 – Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

From the second movie in the long list of A Nightmare on Elm Street sequels I was expecting a quick reheat of the elements of the first one – especially after hearing about the harsh criticism it’s received. But to my surprise Freddy’s Revenge actually manages to end up a working scary movie by keeping the working elements from the first one and to trying a little something new on top of it.

Don’t get me wrong: Freddy’s Revenge is still firmly a B-movie with some design decisions I can’t agree with, but it’s still pretty entertaining movie for what it is. The added elements, including the humoristic bits aren’t too distracting and the aspect of trying not to fall asleep at any cost still works and adds another layer of thrill to the ride.

Like the first movie, this one should also make it to your list of the 80s movies to watch, as it’s definitely not as bad as some critics would have you think.

The second Freddy surprises by trying something new instead of reheating the leftovers from the first movie, and is an entertaining horror movie, give or take a few blemishes.

#477 Halloween 2016: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

The Halloween 2016 gets kicked off with with what could be the most famous horror movie series of the eighties, and a confession: I’ve actually never seen any of them before.

Eighties is a decade well known for its slashers that spawned a seemingly endless number of sequels like the Halloween or Friday the 13th series. The movies were usually crafted out with the teenage audience in mind with more emphasis on gruesome kills and tits than imaginative script. Although best known from the movies made in the eighties, the slashers really have their roots firmly in the 70s, and the genre was pretty much just refined on the eighties with very little progress. So, already by 1984 the genre was almost totally drained out by formulaic slashers designed to to tap on the same money vein by giving the audience a carbon copy of the same generic slasher.

The Nightmare on Elm Street tries something different by reimagining the formula and by placing the antagonist to lurk its victims in their dreams. In this world even the safest of places like a class room becomes a place to be potentially killed and trying to stay awake at any cost becomes an essence. It seems like an enormous leap of faith to go along with the story but the concept is very effective and not at all any more hard to believe than the other movies in the genre, on the contrary.

It’s easy to see why The Nightmare on Elm Street was a breath of fresh air when it was released in 1984. Now, over 30 years later the movie feels much better matured than the other slashers of the era and should definitely be part of your 80s movie to-do list.

Oh, and it’s also Johnny Depp’s first movie.

A Nightmare On Elm Street successfully mixes supernatural thriller elements to the action slasher genre, is deservedly a milestone of the eighties horror, and a must see.