Horror Sequels We Love: “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

I will say this, I don’t think this is the best of the series, so before you say “WTH WHY IS THIS POSTED BEFORE SO AND SO. ” The reason I am posting this is for one simple reason, this was my first exposure to horror, I wasn’t scared when I saw this, but I knew it was wrong to watch(I was like 6 years old). I can remember sitting down one night, my mother having gone out and a babysitter watching me and my sister and baby brother and suddenly WPIX (my channel 11)airing this, grant it it wasn’t unedited and many of the cool FX scenes were taken out, but when I saw Freddy stalking and toying with his victims I remember loving it, now it may sound sick that I got joy from it, especially since those who know me, call me a goody good, bu I loved the idea of him basically teasing those he was about to kill and than to see Alice kicking his ass like she was Bruce Lee (I loved Enter the Dragon already )was fucking awesome.

I still love this film, its definitely the pop star of the franchise as it had a killer soundtrack and was made to capitalize on the franchises fame it had recently garnered. Tuesday Knight, Lisa E. Wilcox, Robert Englund and the rest of the cast were amazing in the film.

The writers, although, there were script problem, still managed to get out a somewhat cohesive story and let you care for the people. Of course, the scene that comes to mind, aside from the kick ass ending was the roach motel and the movie theater scenes, the scenes are played so well, from a pop/R&B death scene to a tense scene between the heroine and killer.

Alice Johnson is played very well by Lisa Wilcox, who really comes into the role, its a shame that her character, while still strong is easily “defeated” in the fifth film and needs to be rescued in a sense, although, I guess you can say the same for the Dream Warriors who die so easily in this film. While I do know Patricia Arquette is usually peoples favorite Kristen, Tuesday was my first Kristen and played the character strong and assertive, Patricia’s Kristen is whiny, even after Nancy appears, while she does grow later on in the 3rd film, she still cries a lot(I guess if I were chased in my dreams by a killer, I’d cry too), but Tuesday plays a more developed character, someone who is taking responsibility for her gift/curse, its sad to see her character go. Its even more upsetting when the back of the VHS and DVD’s reads that Freddy is going up against Kristen, when she is not the main hero against him.

Robert is of course incredible as always and makes you really get into the character, especially for a first timer like I was. Its an easy film to get into, if your mind is open to this type of entertainment(its hard when your father, who you live with can’t stand horror and thinks its a waste of time).

–Eric Curto

80’s Slasher Throwback: “Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

Freddy is at the top of his game. After the immensely popular “Dream Warriors”, Freddy had reached his highest peak of pop culture fame. This movie brashly illustrates the pop culture phenomena, with Freddy being less scary, and more of an icon. I admit once again of seeing all the horror franchises at a (very) young age and I don’t think I was alone as by this point in the franchise as there was a wave of Freddy toys, sheets, lunch boxes, posters, etc. Basically the statistics were rolled in, and marketing knew its age group. So yes, before I start this review, I’ll say that Freddy isn’t scary, the movie doesn’t even try to scare you, but alas, it wants to entertain, and boy does it ever.

The movie continues on from 3, with the survivors trying to get on with their lives (Kristen, Joe, Kincaid) and the beginning of the film has Kristen (now played by the less competent Tuesday Knight) having the dream of the Elm street house (which is EVEN more pimping than part 3). She gets frightened and pulls the other two in, but they get angry and don’t believe her (after everything they went through together you’d think they wouldn’t give it a second thought, but never mind). We then go into the now familiar territory of the introduction of our new batch of teens since the Elm street children are now near extinct. Alice is the only one we should really invest in since she eventually is going to take the lead as Freddie’s new opponent. Anyways, Freddy indeed does resurrect (in one kick ass surreal “regeneration” scene which is started by flaming dog urine!?!) and continues to dispatch our remaining survivors. The mythology for this sequel tries to expand off 3. It seems if Freddy kills all the final Elm street children he will forever be trapped in the dream world with no more victims so he now must find someone he can use to bring new victims, and he finds that in the very shy and insecure Alice, who inherits Kristen’s gift (after her grisly “furnace” death). One thing Freddy didn’t count on is that every time he kills someone, she inherits their special power, and gets stronger and stronger, and when Freddy kills a very close family member, Alice must use everything she’s got in a final kick ass showdown.

Although many people feel this movie is a cheat and that the series should have ended after 3, I beg to differ and felt that the closure for 3 was too abruptly done, making the ending very underwhelming, I WANTED MORE! So the sequel is a somewhat decent companion piece to 3. Bringing back the warriors was genius, and I enjoyed the continuity. Sure, I can make a stink about them getting killed, but personally since I cared so much about them from 3, their deaths upped the stakes for me. Also the new characters, although nothing that layered, the actors portraying them were competent and very likable none the less, and like part three, I cared about the kids. Also Lisa Wilcox is a revelation, creating one of the most interesting Elm Street characters ever. I was rooting for her all the way.

Another pro for this sequel is Renny Harlin in the directing seat. Not only did he create the most visually appealing sequel of the entire series, he made the movie an extremely effortless watch as well. This movie has flaws, but boring us is not one of the them. It’s so fast paced, you feel like you need to stop for a breath of air. The camera is very fluid and I loved the style. The colors are also very vibrant, lot’s of green and red lighting. Thank you Mr. Harlin, you certainly can punch a wallop with your scenes. I’ve watched this sequel countless times just for the visual visceral experience, it’s the “music video” Freddy and is the definite eye candy nightmare.

As with 3, there is so much scenes that stand out in my mind with picture clarity, the Junkyard scene, the water bed scene, the beach scene, the classroom scene, the elevator scene, the movie theater, Freddy eating the Pizza, Alice and Dan spinning through the tunnel, Roach motel scene, Freddy’s death (my fav in the series, it’s the work of genius Steve Johnson), all classic scenes and after watching them you can see why the movie made the most money in the entire series (ex Freddy Vs Jason).

Some flaws I have with the movie are 1) Although the deaths had good SFX, the gore and mean streak so prominent in previous sequels was seriously lacking (ok Debby’s ROACH DEATH IS ONE FOR THE BLOODY BOOKS!), Should have made Freddy mean like part 3 did, 2) the movie’s narrative gets a little shaky in places, making some dream sequences not following up with proper timeline in the “real world”, comes off as a tad distracting(I still don’t fully grasp Dan and Alice meeting up and crashing the truck?!?), and 3) the movie does get a little heavy handed making some scenes very cheesy (you’ll probably groan) like Alice gearing up to go into hand and hand combat. Too much man, I ended up laughing at it.

Overall though, this is the last decent hurrah for Freddy. The movie sells his soul but at least it’s still quite fun watching it go down, swinging. It only gets lesser and lesser after this one, and Robert Englund has even admitted in some interviews that he felt strongly about this movie ending the series, as Freddy’s death certainly gives him his just desserts in spades and is a fitting touch. What a kick ass scene too. This is where Elm street ends for me, even though I still watch 5, I consider this to be Freddy’s final “adventure”.

Of course, commercialism and the mighty buck thought otherwise, but you can still consider this the final Freddy, and should wisely do so. (Until New Nightmare that is, but I consider that more of a stand alone despite referring to it as part “7”).

– Vince Fontaine

Slashers We Love: “Black Christmas” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

Two more mini reviews from fellow fans of the slasher genre as they each talk about their slasher favorites. Thank you Cory and Wesley for your awesome selections! Only a few hours left to enter the contest so make sure to write your reviews soon! All you have to do is go to the Slasher Studios Facebook Page and select a picture from your favorite slasher movie and do a small write up and we will feature you and your review on our site. One special review will win a free autographed copy of Teddy!

Wesley James Skelly- “Black Christmas”

Black Christmas (1974) may not actually hold the crown for starting the slasher genre but it pioneered so many of the elements we love in the genre, such as the killers POV (yes as did Peeping Tom). What’s more it used them more effectively then a number of copycats that would follow. Utilizing the warm atmosphere of Christmas time but turning it into one of dread. Mixing shocks, tension, character moments and black humor to make a more rounded film overall.

It also perfectly sets most of the story in a generally creepy on its own merits sorority house while offering audiences insights into the mind of a truly frightening serial killer the film manages to create a sense of dread as the story progresses. It eloquently paints it killer bit by bit blending back story with the multi-layered personality at the end of the phone. The audience hanging on every eerie word spoken, unlike most phone horror’s the film’s calls stand head and shoulders above all others.

The cast do a fine job of behaving believably in the situations, including final girl Jess going back upstairs for her friends despite the news she has been given by the less then tactful police officer Nash. The girls are drawn as humans with thoughts feeling and emotions and not types, Margot Kidder standing out whist drowning her sorrows at the bottom of a bottle while providing some subtle comic relief.

The perfectly staged ending that plays on the audiences suspicious of who this killer may be and the wry promise of a reveal to ‘whodunit’ leads to a pitch perfect epilogue that manages to leave you as chilled as the snowy surrounds of the sorority house and is a truly perfect end to in my opinion the quintessential slasher film.

Cory Allen-“A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

Another favorite slasher film of mine is A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. As a child walking down the horror aisle in my local video store so many VHS covers caught my attention but none like Nightmare 4. Freddy was at his greatest in this sequel. I love everything about this film. From Freddy’s sweater to his one-liners to the soundtrack and then the creative kills. This is my favorite Nightmare on Elm Street and I seriously doubt that opinion will ever change 😛 plus if John Hughes made a horror film this would be the outcome. Also the cast is pretty great as well!

“Dream Master? Sounds Like a Game Show Host to Me.”

By 1988, the Nightmare series had reached its peak of popularity. Freddy was everywhere from the late night news to hosting his own show on MTV. Freddy was no longer scary, he was marketable. So it should come as no surprise that the fourth entry in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series is the series’ least scary movie yet. That is not to say that “Dream Master” isn’t a hell of a lot of fun. Far from it. From the MTV style visuals to the use of pop music, the film is a kaleidoscope of the 1980’s. Scary, however, it isn’t.

“Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master” starts with the surviving team of “Dream Warriors” united once again to battle Freddy Krueger. One by one the surviving group are killed off by Freddy. However, Kristen (who has the ability to draw others into her dreams) wills her special ability to her friend Alice before her demise. Soon after, Alice quickly realizes that Freddy is taking advantage of that unknown power she now wields to pull a new group of teenagers into his “chest of souls”.

Truth be told, “Dream Master” is probably the most fun a viewer can have with the series. The deaths are completely imaginative, the special effects top notch, and the acting is solid on all accounts. It is also probably the most quotable entry of the series. It is entertaining as hell. Nonetheless, part of me wants Freddy scary again. As cool as the deaths are (Debbie’s cockroach death being the highlight death of the entire series for me), something here is missing that made the third installment so special.

Buy It Here: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 – The Dream Master