Well kiddies, we’ve reached another sequel that has inspired its share of vitriol amongst the masses. Love it or hate it, you cannot deny Freddy’s Dead. Released in 1991, this film had excellent music, fab cameos, recognizable stars, and kick-ass kills. So why does everyone hate it? Is it that Freddy had a child? Is it that people feel he didn’t get an appropriate enough farewell? I will attempt to explore the answer to that question here, because I sure as heck don’t understand the hatred.
At the beginning, we meet a young man, known only throughout the whole film as John Doe, having a nightmare on an airplane. A little girl tells him, “He’s going to make you help him, cuz you’re the last.” The plane begins to shake and break apart. He proceeds to wake up back in his bed, which begins falling through the sky, and Freddy appears at his window, dressed like the Wicked Witch. Eventually, he hits ground and falls down a hill that must be three fucking miles long, and ends up on the road. Freddy hits him with a bus, slams on the brakes, and sends him flying through a chasm, where he lands hard on a boulder at the welcome entrance to Springwood. He wakes up stumbling around with no idea as to who he is and finds a mysterious newspaper clipping in his pocket. Meanwhile, we meet some wayward kids at a local youth shelter, including a young, adorable Breckin Meyer as Spencer, as well as feisty Tracy, and deaf, polite Carlos. Spencer is into vandalism and has a worthless father, fairly typical, Tracy has been abused by her father, and Carlos’ mother beat him and made him deaf. Just a couple of your regular Freddy victims.
Maggie, a social worker at the shelter has genuine concern for the kids, but has a recurring nightmare of her own that she can’t explain. Doc, played by Yaphet Kotto (who doesn’t love Yaphet Kotto?!), is into dreams, how to control them, and knows about ancient dream demons. John Doe arrives, and still hasn’t figured out his identity. Maggie finds his newspaper article curious, and that night, John dreams of the little girl again. He follows her around this creepy old house, as per usual, and he subsequently wakes up, pushing a security guard out the window. Maggie decides to take him back to Springwood, to hopefully trigger his memory. Unbeknownst to them, Carlos, Tracy, and Spencer have stowed away in the back of the shelter van, and get caught. She is angry, and tells them to call Kelly, the superintendent of the shelter and let him know what’s up. Of course, the phone is out-of-order in town, where there happens to be the world’s most boring town fair being held. There are no children, and all the adults are insane. Not sure why having no children around would make them insane, but whatev.
Two of these insane parents are Roseanne and Tom Arnold, who proceed to squeeze the cheeks of the kids, and succeed in creeping them out a bit, too. They try to leave town, but no matter which way they go, they always end up back in the same place. They eventually give up and decide to go take refuge for the night in an abandoned house. Of course, this house turns into 1428 Elm Street. Maggie and John have visited the local school, where they learn Freddy had a child. John thinks it’s him, and Maggie thinks they’re all nutso. They also travel to the local orphanage, where the Krueger child lived for a time. They find out the first name of the child begins with a ‘K’, and John still thinks it’s him, since Freddy hasn’t bothered to kill him yet when he could’ve many times by now.
Meanwhile, Carlos falls asleep and is pulled into a dream where Freddy sticks the world’s biggest Q-Tip all the way through his head, making him deaf, again. Then, he develops super hearing, whereby Freddy makes his head explode by running his knives along a chalkboard. I know we all hate that noise, ugh. Spencer smokes some bud and lays down to watch the broken television, while Tracy goes to find Carlos. Spencer is greeted by a PSA, done by none other than Johnny Depp, showing him his brain on drugs.
Freddy proceeds to whack Depp with a skillet, and pull Spencer into a psychedelic dream which turns into a videogame. In one of the coolest scenes, Spencer is shown as a video game character, which features some pretty nice graphics for 1991. Maggie and John meet up with Tracy and return to the house to find Spencer, who is zooming around the house, punching walls and hitting his head on the ceiling. John decides to go into the dream and try to save him, and Tracy follows. She kicks the controller out of Freddy’s hand, but it does no good because Freddy locks the door and has another controller on his glove. He kills Spencer and beats his high score.
Maggie and Tracy carry John out of the house and take off. He is still passed out, and is pulled into the sky by Freddy. He pulls his parachute ripcord, as Freddy begins slicing away at the only thing holding him up. Freddy reveals that he is not his father, and that he only kept John alive to bring him his daughter back. John falls to the earth and is impaled on spikes. Freddy turns into spirit form and jumps in Maggie’s head. Back at the shelter, Kelly tells Maggie that John, Carlos, and Spencer never existed and that she needs to get some rest. Maggie decides to go back home, and finds an adoption decree. She asks her mother who her real parents are and she doesn’t know. Maggie falls into a trance-like dream, where she is taken to Freddy’s house. She is now a little girl, and hears her mother scream. Her mother has found Freddy’s torture dungeon, which reveals that he is the killer. Her mother sobs, and tells him she won’t tell. Freddy tells her to go inside, and she reappears as Maggie. He tells her that her real name is Katherine, and that after she was taken away from him, he made the parents pay. Tracy is also asleep, and dreams of her old house, where her father, or step-father, it’s not really clear, begins to touch her and make inappropriate gestures. It is obvious she has been sexually molested, and she begins to weep. But she pulls her shit together, and begins to beat his ass. He turns into Freddy, and the fight continues. She intentionally burns herself on the stove to wake herself up. Maggie and Tracy go to Doc for help. Maggie decides to go into a dream to find Freddy and bring him out, like Nancy did in Part I.
She witnesses his progression from childhood, where he beats hamsters to death with a mallet, to where he is first called the “son of 100 maniacs”, to his stepfather (played by Alice Cooper), who whips him with a belt as a teenager. She also sees his transformation into a dream demon after being burned to death in his boiler room. Maggie now sees what happened to her mother – Fred strangled her to death after she found his murder weapons and other incriminating evidence. Turns out, she saw this as a child and tells him she’ll never tell. She was also the little girl appearing in John Doe’s dreams. She encounters Freddy, and grabs him, and Doc and Tracy wake her up when they see her struggling.
Freddy is now in the real world, where pain affects him. Maggie, Doc, and Tracy go down to the basement to gather the arsenal of weapons that had been previously confiscated by security guards. Maggie finds Freddy cowering in a corner and confronts him. They make small talk and he tells her how much he missed her. They begin fighting and Maggie uses the weapons against him. She even puts on his glove herself and stabs him with it. Tracy tosses her a lit pipe bomb and she rams it into Freddy’s chest. She tells him, “Happy Father’s Day”, and Freddy explodes, releasing the ancient dream demons, in a fiery eruption. Coughing but alive, Maggie, Doc, and Tracy begin to smile and giggle, to which Maggie states, “Freddy’s dead”. Cue amazing montage of the Elm Street series and Iggy Pop’s iconic jam, “Why Was I Born?”
So, what made everyone hate it? I thought it was pretty rad, actually, especially the soundtrack. I’ve always been a Goo Goo Dolls fan, and the rest of it is pretty cool, too. I like the teens in this one, and the kills were pretty cool. I guess it may not have had the magnetism and charisma of Dream Warriors or The Dream Master, but it is nowhere near as bad as some people think. Maybe Krueger could have had a better send off in the end, but I can live with the fact that his long-lost daughter killed him. It sort of comes full circle, no?
This movie came out at the height of the Nintendo craze, of which I was a part of, so I understand them using the phenomenon in Spencer’s kill scene. Freddy did have quite a few funny, albeit usually cheesy lines, but he was also dark in certain aspects, especially the flashback sequences. He killed his wife in front of his daughter, killed animals, and we basically got to see the upbringing of a psychopath. I suppose they could have gone into it more in-depth, but I was happy with what we got. I always found it fascinating that serial killers have children, and they would never dream of hurting them, but they have no problem killing other people’s kids. That’s what I saw in Freddy – he was a child killer, and yet was pissed off when his daughter was put into foster care. I guess that’s the psychopathy of it – it can never really be explained; their lives are separated into segments, and their brains are compartmentalized as well.
I like that we learned a little more about the teens’ lives, and their worthless, scumbag parents, and it really is what some kids have to go through. I am still on the fence about the ancient dream demon aspect, but it is sort of interesting, and not really surprising, considering how evil and supernatural Freddy is. It’s entertaining, funny, and though it will probably never make any Best Movies lists, it’s still worthy, and worthwhile. No matter what, it’s still better than Freddy’s Revenge!