Archive for Danny Hassel

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) Review

Posted in Nightmare on Elm Street 5: Dream Child with tags , , , , , , on January 20, 2013 by Last Road Reviews


*** Out of 5

Tagline- It’s A Boy

Release Date- August 11th, 1989

Running Time- 89-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Leslie Bohem

Director- Stephen Hopkins

Starring- Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter, Danny Hassel, Erika Anderson, Joe Seely

Released in 1989 A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child like the previous installment was rushed into production to capitalize on the massive success the series had going at the time. The Dream Master released in 1988 became the highest grossing of the series at the time, which it would hold until the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street (this of course is excluding Freddy Vs.Jason and box office adjustments). 1989 saw the franchises take a dip in numbers as that year Friday the 13th Part VIII and Halloween 5 also saw their lowest box office numbers (both still hold that record not taking in box office adjustments).

Dream Child isn’t the flop some people make it out to be, but seeing as the 4th took in over 40-million and this part took in under 20 it is seen as a letdown. I think by this point each year a new sequel would be released and people began to tire and the tide was turning on the horror genre as a whole since outside of the franchises horror wasn’t as profitable as it was just a few years earlier. One thing clear is this film was rushed as it came out August 11th, 1989 and the 4th was released August 19th of 1988. I think the final product clearly shows the film was rushed and had more time been given I actually think this could have been one of the better sequels as it again has a lot of deeper issues, but the final product is a bit messy at times.

The Dream Child attempts at going back to the roots of the series and make Freddy scary again instead of being a homicidal bugs bunny. The Dream Child has a more gothic look and deals with such issues as teen pregnancy, being a single mother and eating disorders and this film had potential to be a lot deeper, but never plays up to these ideas. The comedy is sort of toned down as Freddy doesn’t actually appear a lot, but when he does he does have something silly to say, which doesn’t really mesh with the darker tone created and this one also features far less carnage than we’re used to seeing in an Elm Street movie. Even the makers realized the body count was too low, which normally I don’t have a problem with if the movie is really good. The original Elm Street only had a few deaths, but no offense, but Stephen Hopkins isn’t Wes Craven and the low body count does hinder the film at times.

Dream Child was a movie I wanted to love since I prefer the dark and evil Freddy with little to no comedy and the makers of Dream Child again had all the right ideas, but in the end it just doesn’t fully work, but despite that I enjoyed this this one more than most people and while I cannot defend the movie fully from those that claim this as one of the weaker ones, but for me I actually liked this more than most of the sequels and yes that includes Dream Warriors. Actually I would rate this as my 3rd favorite of the original series behind the original and Dream Master (as I stated in my review for Dream Master I see New Nightmare as its own film, but if I count it that would be my 2nd favorite of the series). At the end of the day the Elm Street movies may not be my favorite franchise, but I did grow up with them and will always have a special affection for them.

Freddy (Englund) once again is resurrected and this time strikes through Alice’s (Wilcox) unborn baby. And that basically sums up the plot as outside of that not a whole lot is happening story wise. It’s much of the same as the past parts, but with as touched upon earlier a little bit deeper of issues.

The screenplay by Leslie Bohem has all the right ideas, but it was clear the script was rushed and could have used a little more work as the ideas presented are solid, but aren’t executed to their fullest potential. As I mentioned this also deals with some deeper issues, but they aren’t fully explored. There can be lulls in the script as its more character driven rather than action and the plot wasn’t strong enough to carry the movie. If anything the script is sort of like the original in terms of its not about action, but this wasn’t nearly as well written as the original film.

Like previous installments the characters are actually fairly interesting, but they are also a bit cliched and therefore they can only carry the movie for so long, but overall in terms of characters that is the one thing the film gets right, but again they are a little cliched and mostly recite dialogue from other films just worded differently, but are fairly likable. In the end I think the biggest problem with the screenplay is there isn’t any mystery left to Freddy despite more attempts at a backstory, but it really doesn’t offer anything different than past movies. Again there were some nice touches of drama and deeper ideas than we’ve seen in the series, but Dream Child is hindered by being more or less the same. Overall for a 5th installment, Dream Child is fairly well written but brought down by clearly being rushed. John Skipp & Craig Spector also wrote the screenplay however they aren’t credited.

Director Stephen Hopkins creates a more gothic look and from a visual side Dream Child really stands out from what came before and after. Starting in Elm St. 3, Freddy became a homicidal Bugs Bunny and I know a lot of fans prefer comedic Freddy, but I’m one the people who prefer a dark and evil Freddy and Hopkins attempts at making Freddy a more imposing figure, but there is still plenty of comedy. Unlike the previous 2 there are long stretches when Freddy doesn’t appear so in that sense the comedy is toned down, but when he does make an appearance he often has a wisecrack and the problem here is it doesn’t really mesh well with the tone of the film Hopkins is trying to create.

The pace of the film can be somewhat sluggish as there are long stretches without any action and while the characters can carry the picture to a certain degree, but by this point in the series there is no mystery left to Freddy and keeping him off camera or hidden in the shadows worked brilliantly in the original, but here it can lead to a sluggish pace. The Dream Child doesn’t feature a lot of action only about 3 deaths in the 90-minute running time and this is bound to turn a lot of people off and seeing as the past 2 were so action filled with creative deaths this can be a letdown in that aspect and while the original film didn’t need a lot of action, Hopkins while a competent filmmaker is no Wes Craven.

I really liked what Stephen Hopkins was attempting to do and while in some ways it does work, again I think had this been the first sequel what Hopkins was attempting would have worked a lot better since there really wasn’t any mystery left to the Freddy character, but with that said again I liked what Hopkins was going for and for better or worse, the Dream Child does standout from other installments of the series.

Most fans seem to rate The Dream Child, Freddy’s Revenge and Freddy’s Dead as the weakest of the series, but I personally would rate this as my 3rd favorite behind the original and Dream Master (as I stated in my review for Dream Master I see New Nightmare as more of a spinoff if not for that New Nightmare would be my 2nd favorite). I really can’t defend Dream Child from those who say its the weakest of the series or one of the weaker ones since there clearly are some problems with the movie, but I can say though despite the flaws I mostly enjoy this one and even though it features some silly wisecracks and some silly scenes, I liked how the film attempted at making Freddy an imposing figure once again.











A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) Review

Posted in Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master with tags , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2013 by Last Road Reviews



*** ½ Out 5

Tagline- Terror Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Release Date- August 19th, 1988

Running Time- 93-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Brian Helgeland and Jim & Ken Wheat

Director- Renny Harlin

Starring-Robert Englund, Tuesday Knight Lisa Wilcox, Andras Jones, Danny Hassel, Ken Sagoes, Brooke Theiss,

There are some nice homages to Wes Craven such as early in the film in Kincaid’s room a couple of times briefly you can see a poster for Craven’s Hills Have Eyes and the diner Alice works at is called the Crave Inn.

Released in 1988 and by the time A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master was released, Freddy pretty much became a pop culture icon as well as a homicidal Bugs Bunny with silly one liners and a joke before killing his victims. It’s hard to believe only a couple of years before this film he was actually scary and intimidating. I suppose to keep up with other franchises a new angle was needed and plus after so many sequels the villain will lose their mystery and scare factor so even if I prefer dark and evil Freddy in the end I guess it was the right move and despite any flaws Dream Master is a fun movie and my 2nd favorite of the series (excluding New Nightmare, which is by far better, but I view as its own movie).

The original Elm Street was a suprise hit and even though part 2 also turned a profit it wasn’t as well received, but Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors ended up being a massive hit for New Line Cinema and launched the series into superstardom and made Freddy an icon. So with that Elm Street 4 was rushed into production and it also had to be written quickly due to the looming writers strike and all of this does show in the final product, but when all is said and done I’ll admit I have a blast watching this movie. In many ways the horror films we see now stem directly from the Elm Street franchise since they had big effects and I suppose one can view the series as MTV, which is a term people use to knock the newer horror movies, but lets not forget Robert Englund did many appearances on MTV as Freddy and the Elm Street sequels feel very much made for that crowd (but that’s back when MTV was cool unlike now).

Proving you can’t keep a good villian down, Freddy (Englund) once again returns and sets off to finish the last of the Elm Street kids and than turns his attention to Alice (Wilcox) as a bridge to new victims.

The screenplay was written by Brian Helgeland and Jim & Ken Wheat (both Wheat brothers are credited as Scott Pierce). The script won’t win any awards and as a series goes on it does get harder to write a quality sequel since rules have been established and you can’t stray too far from the formula. Seeing as most that can be explored had already been done so, Dream Master doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the series, but with that said it is fairly well written and more importantly has a very fun script and at this point that’s all that really matters. The one thing I’ll give the writers (and even the series) is we get some really excellent characters and while some are just sort of there all the characters have their own identity, which makes up for any lack of depth. As a whole I would say this one had my favorite group of characters.

My only problem is Freddy is far too likable, which does hinder the movie for me in a way since again I really dug the characters. Dream Warriors started the more comedic Freddy and that continues here. In some ways it does make him a bit more ruthless since he loves to torture his victims and he’s quite sadistic in that regard, but with all the amount of one liners rather than feel ruthless it has a camp value to it, which makes the scenes fun and makes Freddy fun. I personally like dark and evil Freddy like the original and had he been like that here I would probably rate the film higher. This was the debut of Alice and I personally like her more than Nancy. When looking at the series as a whole Nancy had the better installments, but I always preferred Alice. The writers give her the most depth and I love how her character develops over the course of the film. Overall the way I feel about the script is sort of the same way I feel about the film as a whole; nothing special and perhaps even a little forgettable, but highly entertaining.

Director Renny Harlin often sparks a lot of debate and while as a whole he isn’t a very good filmmaker, but he did make Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger, which are 2 films that are a hell of a lot of fun in my opinion. Here with Dream Master, there isn’t much in the way of suspense or tension and the film is devoid of any scares, but Harlin delivers a fun paced movie that never fails to entertain from opening shot until closing. By no means is this a greatly directed film, but Harlin again delivers a fast paced and fun film that has a tone more in tune with an action movie rather than horror. The pace of the movie moves at a swift pace and while Dream Master won’t go down as one of the great horror movies again Harlin delivers a fun paced movie that while forgettable never fails to entertain.

Normally I dislike when films recast a part, but in the case of the Dream Master I didn’t mind the change from Patricia Arquette as Kristen to Tuesday Knight. If I’m being totally honest I actually liked Tuesday Knight a little more than Arquette. As I mentioned before I liked Alice more than Nancy; I know I am in the minority on that and Nancy was a great character for sure, but like I said I always preferred Alice. I love how she starts off as plain Jane and by the end of the movie sexy heroine. In the end Nancy had the better installments, but for me its Alice when I think of the women of Elm Street.

The best way to describe The Dream Master; It’s sort of like chewing gum. You chew on it for a while and when it loses its flavor you spit it out. Dream Master is sort of forgettable, but for 90 or so minutes its highly entertaining and this isn’t a great movie, but delivers high on the fun factor and at the end of the day isn’t that all that truly matters?