In honor(?) of the new A Nightmare on Elm Street, we're recapping all of the Elms so far. Find more on the Pixel Vision blog.
Here’s some friendly advice — don’t be friends with Alice. She’s a nice girl and all, but she’s kind of a getting-stabbed-to-death magnet. It’s like Greta says in Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989): “The bottom line, Alice, if anyone’s trying to hurt you, supernatural or not, they’re going to have to go through us first.” Yeah, that’s not really a problem for Freddy Krueger, who’s all too happy about dispatching Alice’s friends and lovers. Souls make him strong! Hey, remember when he was just trying to get revenge? In the words of President Barack Obama, “This shit’s getting way too complicated for me.”
Part five of the Nightmare on Elm Street series isn’t all that well-regarded, but I actually like it far more than part four. Lisa Wilcox’s Alice breaks Carol Clover’s “Final Girl” model: she has sex, she gets naked, and she survives — twice! In The Dream Child, she’s transformed from the meek and mousy victim in Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) to a kick-ass mama bear. That’s right, she’s with child. The plot is really silly, though it doesn’t matter. As Cheryl pointed out, by this point in the series we’re mostly watching for the nightmares. And the ones here are great.
Let me break it down, nightmare-by-nightmare.
“Hey, Danny, better not dream and drive!” Even though he’s all charged up and knows better, Dan (Danny Hassel), a holdover from part four, falls asleep on his way to meet Alice. He hears his mom call him an “ungrateful, unmanageable dickweed” on the radio. Don’t worry, she also calls Alice a “bimbo-slut-whore.” The car turns into Freddy, Dan loses all control, and he flies through the windshield. But wait, there’s more! Dan only thinks he’s survived — a stolen motorcycle also takes on some frightening Freddy features. Dan gets a hot fuel injection (less sexy than it sounds) and finally crashes in a fiery heap outside of the diner where Alice works. Tragic.
“Bon appétit, bitch.” Greta (Erika Anderson) may not get a death sequence as extended as Dan’s, but holy crap is it gross. In the real world, her mom is forcing her to attend a dinner party where lecherous older men ogle Greta’s model figure. You know, a day after her friend dies in a terrible accident. When Greta dozes off, she encounters Chef Freddy, who traps her in her chair and shovels unfathomable amounts of food into her mouth. Soon she’s got the chipmunk cheeks from hell — the most disturbing visual since Freddy’s sleepwalking puppet in Dream Warriors. And then Alice sees Greta in her fridge, which is bound to kill her appetite for at least a few days. Long story short: Greta chokes to death and no one even tries to intervene.
“You’re not crazy." Well, duh, Yvonne (Kelly Jo Minter). Is everyone in these movies willfully dense? Yes, they’re slasher flicks. I’m just saying it would be nice if for once, the Final Girl’s friends believed her right away. But I digress. Diving boards are scary enough as it is, but Yvonne almost gets destroyed by one when she falls asleep in the pool. Of course, she doesn’t actually die. Instead, Yvonne gets pulled into Alice’s dream, which turns out to be a stroke of good luck. Wading in a nasty tank for a while is a whole lot better than what the rest of Alice’s friends face. Though I’m guessing Yvonne feels pretty awkward about the whole “not trusting her bestie” thing.
“Faster than a bastard maniac, more powerful than a loco-madman, it’s Super Freddy!” Not gonna lie, I totally have a crush on dweeby comic artist Mark (Joe Seely). He also has The Dream Child’s best nightmare, because it’s by far the most absurd — and because I’m pretty sure it was inspired by A-Ha’s “Take On Me” video. Mark is pulled into his comic, and at first, he’s sort of OK with it. In the comic, Mark can become the Phantom Prowler, a dark and deadly vigilante who says things like, “Time to die, you scar-faced, limp-dick!” But movie monsters are just as resilient as superheroes. Even after getting shot repeatedly, Freddy is still able to overtake Mark, slashing the crap out of him. Well, a two-dimensional paper version of Mark. And not a single papercut joke. Color me impressed.
There’s other great stuff here. I love all the unnerving flashbacks to Freddy’s conception: something about the combination of an innocent nun and 100 horny maniacs freaks me out more than Krueger himself. We also get Alice’s creepy offspring Jacob (Whitby Hertford) — no offense to the actor, but he’s just … weird-looking. Oh, and Alice travels inside her own womb, where Freddy is hanging out on her uterine wall. As one does. Part five may not be as good as parts one through three, but it’s way more tolerable than Freddy’s Dead (1991), which Cheryl will be slogging through next.