Every day Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on a movie either so bad it’s good or just downright terrible. Today: Hi, Alice. Want to make babies?
At 5:30 AM, I began A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.
The last of the ‘80s Elm Street movies, The Dream Child picks up from where Dream Master left off, with Lisa Wilcox as Alice slowly getting her life back on track after all of her friends were slaughtered by Freddy Krueger. Not one to waste any time, Alice has done a good job building a new clique of chums to pal around with after school — including Danny Hassel reprising his role as Dan Jordan, who, in the year since The Dream Master, has started dating Alice.
Alice’s adept skills at meeting new people and making friends comes in handy when Freddy Krueger once again returns from the grave and is looking for a new batch of teenagers to kill off.
At this point in the series, writers John Skipp, Craig Spector and Leslie Bohem had to really stretch to come up with a plausible explanation for how Krueger could once again shuffle onto the mortal coil and do some damage.
The explanation the writers and director Stephen Hopkins came up with is a bit much — something involving looped dreams, reincarnation and the unborn child of Alice and Dan. In the end, all of this pseudo-mystical explanation is for naught. Audiences don’t care how Freddy Krueger comes back from the grave — only that he does.
In The Dream Child, Krueger is able to use the embryonic fetus growing inside of Alice to reach into the dreams of those around her — leading to, you guessed it, plenty of gruesome death scenes featuring the latest in special effects and prosthetics.
The Dream Child, while entirely too silly of a plot, does have a few choice death scenes — including Dan’s demise in which Freddy Krueger morphs the stud with his motorcycle, creating the love child of H.R. Giger and 2000 A.D.
There is also a scene in which a comic book geek uses lucid dreaming to become a superhero in order to battle Krueger. As the geek is sucked into his comic book, you may begin to think you’re watching the beginning of an A-HA music video but it quickly becomes apparent that it is the style of Dick Tracy that is being aped. The scene is even shot in grayscale — with Krueger donning his own beefed-up super villain identity.
It is with Dream Master that the series’ filmmakers began to tinker with how to visualize Freddy’s victims entering his domain. While in the original Nightmare on Elm Street, there was a definite blur between what was real and what was a dream, in The Dream Child there are scenes in which people enter their sleep like they were being downloaded into ENCOM— complete with dated TRON-esque special effects.
There of course is plenty of blood, guts and puns via Krueger to keep hard-core Nightmare on Elm Street enthusiasts happy as they stuff their faces with Cheetos and pound back Mountain Dews. For the casual Freddy Krueger fan, though, this is the point where the film series becomes a little harder to sit through. The jokes cracked by Freddy Krueger begin to wear thin and the constant need to elaborate on Freddy’s increasingly complex origin grows frustrating.
Stephen Hopkins is a director I like. I actually mostly enjoyed Predator 2 and really loved The Ghost and The Darkness. His attempt at creating a Nightmare on Elm Street movie, though, missed the mark. During the scenes in which a horribly disfigured Freddy Krueger fetus runs around the floors of an abandoned church like some kind of escaped Chestburster from Alien, it becomes apparent that The Dream Child is a bit too fantastical — even by Nightmare on Elm Street standards.
As a rap song played over the end credits and I realized I had just seen Freddy Krueger impaled on a baby carriage that looked like something Tim Burton had farted out, I began to really wonder if it was worth staying awake for another three movies.
To be continued…
Robert’s your friend, Jacob. Just like a daddy. Heh, huh. Gootchy-gootchy-goo! Follow Robert on Twitter @robsaucedo2500.
Robert Saucedo is an avid movie watcher with seriously poor sleeping habits. The Mikey from Life cereal of film fans, Robert will watch just about anything — good, bad or ugly. He has written about film for newspapers, radio and online for the last 10 years. This has taken a toll on his sanity — of that you can be sure. Follow him on Twitter at @robsaucedo2500.