Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sleep Tight: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4- The Dream Master

I hope you weren't getting too comfortable when you slept.  Today's Film is A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, the 1988 follow-up to arguably the most popular Film in the Franchise.  Well, it is either that or the 2010 Reboot.  This time, Freddy is inexplicably-back and kind of gets side-tracked.  3 and a half Films in, they released that there was only a finite number of kids that could be possible victims.  Unless they kept adding new Adults to the original kill list, this would just get silly.  Their solution: have Freddy just decided to kill people for no purpose.  I would ask what his motivation is though, since, while he was a killer in life, he didn't exactly target the same victims.  It is kind of like that Film I saw where the Ghost of John Wayne Gacy molests a Woman- only slightly-less stupid.  From this point, he's just some crazy killer with no goals other than to kill- how interesting is that?  To the Film's credit, they do acknowledge the continuity; well, most of the time.  They somehow mix up Freddy's House (which presumably burned down) with Nancy's House!  On top of that, the transition between Films is vague and in need of some real explanation.  This one is notable for being the second highest-grossing in the Franchise, so that must make it good, right?  It is from the Director of 12 Rounds, Cutthroat Island and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, so that must help.  To find out just how good this Nightmare is, you'll have to read on...
Kristen is back and she's...not the lady from Medium.

Yes, our future Oscar Winner is not back.  The reason?  Well, there are about six stories and none of them actually make sense/cover it.
She knows that Freddy is dead (not until Part Six!) and is scolded by her fellow Dream Warriors to get over it.  She can't.
She's joined by a slew of new people, including Asthmatic Girl, Karate Boyfriend, Exercise Girl and Not Sam J. Jones.

Apparently Kristen made friends fast in the, I guess, a year since she's been out of the Institution.
Freddy returns when one of the Warriors' dog appears in a dream, digs up Freddy and pisses fire on him.  Freddy is apparently eternal now...although we still don't know why.

Is this sillier than Jason reviving via lightning 2 years prior?
So Freddy is back and he wipes out the two other Warriors in one night, since Kristen is keeping herself awake.

My questions...

1) Why does the 'mute' guy talk now?
2) Why does he fall for the same trick again?!?
Kristen is killed next, but only after she brings her friend Alice into her dream and gives her the powers.  Why they work differently here is anyone's guess.

Also, isn't Alice awake here?  That means that Freddy made something happen in the waking world?
This leads to Freddy now killing a bunch of new people because...reasons.  He at least keeps his creativity up, even if the foreshadowing for their deaths is so on the nose this time.
Alice has a new version of the Dream Warriors powers- the ability to use the strengths/traits of her dead friend's.  Dial H for Movie Heroine, I guess.
After trying to beat Freddy with some kicks and a Chekhov's Tool from her friend, she uses a Dream Master trick (hurray for the Title) to trap Freddy and free all of the souls he stole.

He's dead for real now...until the next Film (or 3).  The End.
Pretty good, but getting a bit formulaic at this point.  The Elm Street Franchise is a tricky one.  On one hand, it works well by using Dream Logic to allow for creativity.  On the other hand, the stuff outside the kills is kind of lazy.  Characters are introduced, their fears are set up and Freddy later exploits them.  They always seem to tease that they are going to do something new, but never quite commit to it.  In Part 3, the whole Dream Warriors thing is a bit of a letdown for me.  They set them up as having unique abilities, but none of them help them actually beat Freddy.  In this Film, the Dream Master stuff doesn't help or add all that much.  Kristen tries the trick early on, but Freddy still gets her.  It really only factors into the end, with Alice constantly being stopped from interceding.  It is the awkward mix that happens with all of these Slasher Franchises- you want a Hero, but you also want a set number of kills.  Some are better at this than others.  Alice definitely tries to be a Heroine, but really only saves one guy in the end.  The way they handled the transition in Story, as noted, is still odd.  If Freddy was manipulating Kristen there, did he have to?  If she didn't see him in the dream, would he not be able to target her?  On top of that, he intentionally targets everyone around her first!  The first 3 Films have pretty unique feels, while this one feels like too much of a rehash much of the time.  It is still good as far as these go- it just isn't unique.  Speaking of unique, they use footage of Reefer Madness II: The True Story (a Comedy Re-Dub from 1985) in one dream, but turned down the dialog from said Film on all Video releases.  They didn't *remove* it though, so enjoy these useless Subtitles...
Next up, a fairly-recent Film that has flown under the radar for most.  It has 'Superman' fighting Nazis- what else do you need?  Stay tuned...

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