We’ve reached the fourth Elm Street film, and my other favorite in the franchise. Featuring a kick-ass soundtrack, a slew of great-looking actors, relatable characters and dialogue, and of course, Freddy Krueger, this film is a great watch anytime, but especially when coupled back-to-back with Dream Warriors. It’s pretty rare to find two movies in a franchise that are absolutely fantastic, especially when they come in sequential order.
After the events at Westin Hills Psychiatric, Kristen is now back home and attending high school. Her group of friends include bestie, Alice, her boyfriend, Rick (also Alice’s brother), Debbie, Sheila, Dan, and old pals, Joey and Kincaid. Kristen is concerned that Freddy is coming back, even though he’s been buried and consecrated. Joey and Kincaid get pulled into her dream at the beginning, where they try to convince her she’s being paranoid and unnecessarily worried. Kincaid’s adorable dog, aptly named Jason, bites Kristen on her arm and they all wake up, with Kristen feeling a sense of dread. Boyfriend Rick (the sensational Adonis, Andras Jones) does his best to comfort her, though it seems she knows she is doomed. Alice and Rick’s father is a bit of an alcoholic asshole, who acts like his children are a burden, so Alice engages in daydreaming, and Rick is into karate. Exercise freak Debbie is terrified of bugs, which makes her demise towards the end all the more horrifying. Sheila is an asthmatic bookworm, who is relied upon by Debbie to get her homework done. Dan is the class hunk, though he is actually nice, and not the typical stuck-up prick.
That night, Kincaid falls asleep and ends up in the junkyard where Freddy’s remains were buried at the end of the last film. His dog, Jason, is there, as well, and pees on the ground, causing it to crack open and reveal said remains. The bones begin to link back together, as Freddy returns to life. He sadly dispatches Kincaid, and moves onto Joey. Joey is watching MTV in his bed, ogling his poster of a swimsuit clad supermodel. Suddenly, his waterbed begins to shake and he sees the same model, naked, lustfully swimming near him. She vanishes, and Freddy suddenly bursts through the bed. He stabs Joey and drowns him, leaving him blue-balled and dead in his waterbed. Poor Joey. The next day, upon finding out about their deaths, Kristen freaks out, and tells her friends about Freddy, and that she is the next to die. Her mother, still country-club, still a bitch, drugs her beverage at dinner, causing her to fall asleep, no matter how hard she tries to fight it.
Once she falls asleep, or more like passes out, she remembers what Alice said about dreaming about some place fun. She ends up on a beautiful, secluded beach, where it seems nothing can go wrong. Until it does. Freddy’s glove pulls a Jaws, and glides through the water up to the shore, when it explodes, and he appears. He chases her down, and pushes her into some quicksand. She lands in his house, running for her life, and ends up in the boiler room. Freddy is determined to kill “Elm Street’s last brat”, and tells her to call on one of her friends. She refuses, but her subconscious has already called on Alice. Alice appears and Kristen tells her to wake up and get out. Alice has no idea what is going on, and as Kristen lunges at Freddy to attack him, he tosses her into this boiling lake of fire type thing. She passes on her dream power to Alice, and Alice promptly wakes up and tells Rick they’ve got to see Kristen. They arrive at her house, and her room is ablaze with fire. Sadly, she perishes as her mother, Alice, and Rick look on in horror.
Alice is now determined to find out what happened to her friend, and begins to believe the Freddy story. She also begins taking on qualities of Kristen, such as smoking. She is stronger than she appeared to be in the beginning of the film, slowly taking on all different aspects of her friends’ personalities as they are one by one killed off. Sheila suffers a fatal asthma attack in class, and Rick is killed, well, on the toilet, but in the dream, he does his best to kick Freddy’s ass with some hardcore karate, but to no avail. There is now a clear distinction between Alice’s mousey, shy character in the beginning, to her kick ass transformation into The Dream Master with a little help from her friends. She and Dan make a plan to go to Debbie’s house, but on the way get caught up in a dizzying repeat sequence, until they both realize they’re asleep. Meanwhile, Freddy is transforming Debbie into her greatest fear – a huge, nasty, icky bug. He proceeds to crush her in a roach motel. So much for working out! Alice and Dan crash his truck into a tree, after envisioning that it was Freddy, and Dan is rushed to the hospital. She tells him not to let anyone put him to sleep, but if you’re going into surgery, that’s not going to happen.
Alice takes off back to her house to get ready for Freddy. She is now a full 360 degrees different than she was before, encompassing Rick’s karate skills, Kincaid’s potty mouth, Kristen’s bravery, Sheila’s bug catcher she made for Debbie, and Debbie’s athleticism, and bit of her own newfound courage, that I think she had all along. She takes off through the mirror to fight Freddy, and she and Dan make a run for it. Soon, he fades away, because he is being awakened by the doctors in surgery. She is all alone now. In a down-trodden old church, she finds Freddy, and begins to kung fu his ass in a way that would make brother Rick proud. Eventually, she remembers the old nursery rhyme her mother taught her about the dream master. She grabs a shard of broken stained-glass and turns it towards Freddy, making evil see itself.
This also causes all the trapped souls within Freddy to start breaking out, virtually tearing him to pieces in the process. As all the freed souls travel out of the window into the sky, they thank Alice for her good deed. Alice is now more confident and out-going and is dating Dan at the end (the “major league hunk”). As they encircle the fountain, he tells Alice to make a wish. As she glances in the water, she sees Freddy’s reflection, but only momentarily, as Dan’s coin washes it away. He asks her what she wished for, to which she responds, “If I tell you, it won’t come true”. Cue rockin’ 80s tunes and roll credits.
Can we just talk about how awesome this movie is? Not to mention the soundtrack? Featuring some of the biggest singers at the time (Sinead O’Connor, Go West, Billy Idol, Blondie, and the addicting Anything, Anything by Dramarama), this soundtrack easily beats all the others in this franchise by a mile. We hate that Kristen, Kincaid, and Joey are killed off, but at least it was done with some sense of finality, some sense of decency and respect to the characters, unlike some movies I could mention (:cough: Halloween: Resurrection :cough:). The metamorphosis of Alice from weak teenager to kick-ass heroine and ‘final girl’ is one of the best things about this film. I must say I always root for the underdog. Renny Harlin also knew what he was doing. This Finnish director truly gave us what we wanted in a horror film, and would go on to direct Deep Blue Sea, Cutthroat Island, and The Long Kiss Goodnight. Freddy himself is divine, of course, and I did sense his character was much darker at times than he would appear to be in later sequels. There are numerous hilarious one-liners, namely from Rick and Kincaid (“Swish. Kill the fish.” “Helloooo baaaby” “Woo-hoo, take that mothafucka!”). The diner where many of the teens work is called the Crave Inn (get it?…Craven). There is even a cameo by Robert Shaye (producer) as a teacher. Where can you go wrong?!
The character of Rick damn near stole the show, and I was sad when he got killed, but it is a Freddy movie, so I should have been expecting it. Interestingly, Freddy was referenced in my favorite episode of Good Morning, Miss Bliss, featuring Andras Jones as bully Deke Simmons (“At his last school, he was voted Most Likely to Draw Blood”. “What school was that, St. Freddy’s on Elm Street?”) in 1989. He even made Screech do his homework. Classic. Although I was a bit sad that Arquette did not reprise her role as Kristen Parker, I thought Tuesday Knight did an excellent job acting, as well as singing that catchy tune over the opening credits. I was also highly impressed with Lisa Wilcox, who would go on to reprise her role as Alice in the fifth installment. But hold on, we aren’t there yet. Can we please just relish in the amazing wonderment that is The Dream Master? Let it sink in, soak in, enjoy it! And for crying out loud, if you haven’t seen this, please – do it now!