Archive for Freddy Krueger

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) Review

Posted in Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors with tags , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- If You Think You’ll Get Out Alive, You Must be Dreaming

Release Date- February 27th, 1987

Running Time- 96-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Wes Craven, Bruce Wagner, Frank Darabont & Chuck Russell

Director- Chuck Russell

Starring- Heather Langenkamp, Craig Wasson, Patricia Arquette with John Saxon and Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger

Released in 1987, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is considered by many fans of the franchise as the best of the series and for those who favor the original cite this as the best of all the sequels. Dream Warriors is kind of an interesting film since in some ways, Freddy (Englund) is at his cruelest as he uses the fears of his victims against them, but in other ways this is sort of what he in a sense became the hero and some people myself included labeled Freddy in some of the sequels as a homicidal Bugs Bunny and that sort of started here (more so in Part 4). Dream Warriors is a solid film, but its never been among my favorites of the series. While I understand why Dream Warriors is beloved by Elm St fans I very much prefer the original and I also liked New Nightmare more and I’d even favor part 4. I grew up with the Elm St films, but honestly I’ve never been a massive fan with the exception of the original and New Nightmare while I don’t dislike the others, but I don’t love them. But I can easily understand why Dream Warriors is so popular. This one also started the big F/X scenes and while the previous two had many F/X, Dream Warriors is when the series became very Hollywood as Freddy became a pop culture icon and starting here they sort of became CGI films before CGI. What I find interesting is people blast modern horror films for being Hollywood, filled with big F/X and made for the MTV generation. That’s exactly what Dream Warriors can be described as and if anything the MTV generation would be the 80s into the 90s. Robert Englund appearing as Freddy made many appearances on MTV. It’s interesting to me because people blast modern films for this and praise Dream Warriors. It’s a little hypocritical. Of course Hollywood at this time was still going strong and Hollywood releases at the time are far superior for the most over those now, but that isn’t the point.

Typically as a franchise goes on they tend to drop in popularity. The later Friday the 13th films while still making a profit weren’t as financially successful but Jason seemed to become a bigger pop culture icon. With Elm Street, the first two were highly successful though the 2nd wasn’t as well revived and is by many considered the weakest of the series and even at the time of its release many felt it was far inferior to the original, but than came along Dream Warriors, which made 43-million dollars, which basically doubled the money made by the first 2 and by far making it the highest grossing of the series (part 4 would edge it out the following year than Freddy Vs. Jason). And not only would the films grow in popularity, but again Freddy would become a pop culture icon. Very rarely does a series grow in popularity as it goes on and of course there will be exceptions, but with Dream Warriors and Dream Master (part 4) the Elm Street series just seemed to grow and grow in popularity rather than declining.

The screenplay was written by Wes Craven, Bruce Wagner, Frank Darabont & Chuck Russell and from what I can gather Craven and Wagner wrote the first draft and Darabont and Russell did the rewrites. The script is actually quite strong and while not my favorite of the sequels it is the best written. In my opinion the Elm Street series often featured strong characters and from a character standpoint this was probably the best of the series. All the characters I found likable and easy to root for and they’re also strong enough to carry the film when there isn’t any action. This took the series in a different direction and also offers some insight in the origins of Freddy, but it doesn’t fully stray from the concept either. Freddy is a lot more powerful here and this is sort of when he started getting comedic as well and while it worked it also made him too likable and, which was a little unfortunate since it also slightly takes away from the characters, which again were in my opinion the best of the series. Overall the script is quite strong and and at least offers something a little different rather than being a rehash like most sequels.

Director Chuck Russell delivers a well made and often exciting film. Pacing is generally strong and really my only complaint is it does lack suspense and tension and at times the tone of the film feels more like an action film rather than a horror film. While there are some decent moments of suspense if anything Russell aims to make a film built around more excitement and F/X rather than horror. When all is said and done though Chuck Russell does deliver a very entertaining film that does slightly stray from the concept, but not enough to feel out of place and with that Russell does his own thing rather than try and copy Wes Craven.

Overall Dream Warriors is a highly entertaining film and while its a little too Hollywood, but this also came at a time when Hollywood was going strong. I prefer the darker Freddy and the simplicity of the original, but Dream Warriors is still a lot of fun that changed the direction of the series for better or worse. While Dream Warriors isn’t one of my all time favorites its still a great watch.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) Review

Posted in Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) with tags , , , on October 21, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET

** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Never Sleep Again

Release Date- April 30th, 2010

Running Time- 95-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Wesley Strick & Eric Heisserer

Director- Samuel Bayer

Starring- Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy with Connie Britton and Clancy Brown

When it comes to the Elm Street series I enjoy them, but I’m not the biggest fan of the series with the exception of the original, which is one of my favorites and one of the few horror films that’s actually scary. As the series went on Freddy started to get a bit too comedic and by Freddy’s Dead he was pretty much a homicidal bugs bunny. New Nightmare is the only other one I rate very highly though I see that as more of a spinoff if anything. I grew up with the Elm Street series and again I do enjoy them, but I’m not as big a fan of the franchise as other horror fans and while I wasn’t thrilled about a remake I thought perhaps this could be a way to make Freddy scary again since I prefer the evil Freddy over the more comedic. However with Platinum Dunes involved my expectations were quite low. As popular as the first Elm St film was and how well received it was and with the first sequel despite not getting overly positive reviews even at the time of its release was also a box office success, but it was part 3 that launched Freddy into pop culture icon and helped make the series one of the most iconic in the horror genre and with word of a remake the standard this will ruin the series started popping up. I see it like this if Freddy riding a broomstick with a witches hat can’t ruin the series neither will a remake even if its a terrible film. In the end A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 was a nice try, but just never fully works. In my opinion this would probably be the weakest of the series if not this than Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge, but odds are I’d have to pick this as the weakest, but I did again think it was a nice attempt and I’m glad a darker and scarier Freddy was attempted. I don’t mind comedic Freddy since Elm Street 4: Dream Master is my 2nd favorite of the series (I rate New Nightmare higher, but again see it as a spinoff). But even though I enjoyed the 4th and the other parts for that matter I also disliked how comedic Freddy became since in the original he was quite terrifying.

When it comes to fan of the series there are two types; the ones like me that prefer the darker and more evil Freddy and than there are the fans that prefer the more comedic Freddy. Even though as I stated I prefer the scarier Freddy I do think the series went in the right direction. There are only so many sequels you can make before your villain loses their scare factor and by making Freddy more comedic it gave the franchise a twist from all the others. But like I said I prefer the scarier more evil Freddy like the original and while part 2 does attempt at retaining that it’s just not overly successful (though I thought the film was simply ok). As fun as 3-6 were and again I do think the right move was made it also saddened me to see a character that was truly frightening become so comedic and sure Freddy was funny and entertaining, but in the original film he was terrifying. As the popularity of the character and series grew both became pop culture icons and when little kids start dressing up as Freddy for Halloween (which I did as a kid) it’s really difficult to truly make him a villain again unless the right filmmaker is brought in and Wes Craven more or less was able to do that in New Nightmare. But when people think of Freddy I think most will think of the comedic Freddy and that’s sort of the problem here. For the most part the remake attempts at making Freddy scary and evil again, but knowing how split the fans are between scary and comedic this film also adds in some comedy and it sort of felt out of place and didn’t really fit in with the tone of the film.

Before it was even released the remake had a few strikes against it; it was yet another remake of a classic or cult classic, Robert Englund was out as Freddy and Samuel Bayer a music video director was hired. I know the fear of some fans were this would be too MTV Hollywood stylized, but I hate to break it to you that happened back in the 80s as Robert Englund would often appear on MTV as Freddy and the films starting with part 3 were a little more Hollywood stylized. At the end of the day the Elm Street remake does turn out a little better than I expected due to the factors going against it, but again I still see this as the weakest and far, far inferior to the original film.

The screenplay by Wesley Strick & Eric Heisserer is for the most part subpar. The plot is more or less the same as the original only with more characters thrown in. This could have been a time to reinvent the series, but instead the writers play it safe. Taking a series in a new direction could be a failure as films like Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers attempted that in regards of staying true to the series, but also adding something different. However Elm Street was successful at keeping true to the series and taking it in a new direction, but Strick & Heisserer play it safe and we’ve seen this done before and done far better. Even though the story is mostly the same this one isn’t exactly a rehash either and none of the changes or the scenes in common are effectively written. Outside of Freddy the only characters from the original are Nancy (Mara) and her mother (Britton) and both are totally opposite (the mother though also has a different name) I’m not sure why the Nancy character was in the film since again she’s nothing like the original at all. The one thing I have to give the series credit for even in the weaker ones is they usually had strong characters, but here the characters are dull and lifeless and for the most part are exactly the same. They all mope around being miserable. Nancy who was such a great character in the original is boring in the remake. Rooney Mara was solid, but totally failed by her writers. None of the characters will gain much attachment and you really won’t care if they all die or not. After a quick start Strick & Heisserer slow things down to focus on the characters, which is what in the end sinks the film since again they were boring and inter-changeable and weren’t strong enough at all to carry the film.

There was such a missed opportunity here since the script does make Freddy (Haley) mean and evil. In the original series Freddy is a child killer, but if not mistaken he’s never said to be a pedophile. Here Freddy is a pedophile, which to me is the lowest life form. This was a golden chance to really make Freddy evil, but its ruined by lame characters. Throughout the film Freddy does have a few one liners, which seem out of place and just aren’t funny. There isn’t anything funny about pedophilia and Freddy simply should have been played dark and evil.

Samuel Bayer best known due directing music videos makes his directorial debut with Elm Street. Most music video directors fail to make the leap to feature films with a few exceptions such as David Fincher. Bayer has very mixed results. The pacing is a bit sluggish in spots, which is more on the writing, but Bayer never really sets up much of a tone either and contributes to the flaws. The suspense and tension is light and all the scares are horror 101. The few scenes in common with the original come across as cheap knockoffs and are never effective. Samuel Bayer however does craft a nice looking film in terms of the visuals and had he been able to deliver some suspense the Elm Street remake could have been quite eerie, but like many other music video directors, Bayer seems a bit out of his league. The only other positive besides the visuals is the film is generally well made. The direction by Bayer isn’t bad, but its just bits and pieces of the original as well as other films and its cliched and not at all effective.

As I mentioned with Robert Englund out a lot of fans were angry, which is more than understandable, but I see it as if Karloff can be replaced as the Frankenstein Monster anything is fair game. However growing up with Englund in the role its quite odd to say the least. Obviously I would have preferred to see Robert Englund back, but I’m just saying many actors that made a role famous were later replaced. I personally would rate Robert Englund’s performance in the original right up there with Karloff as the Monster, Lugosi as Dracula and Chaney as the Wolf Man. Jackie Earle Haley is an excellent actor, but just wasn’t right for this role. Haley’s Freddy is never really scary despite the best efforts from those involved and he’s never very imposing either. I don’t know if its again Haley not right for the role or if it was more the writing and directing or perhaps all three. Jackie does give a good performance as Freddy, but something just wasn’t fully working.

Overall A Nightmare on Elm Street has its moments, but its just never very good either. The film while never really doing anything different from the original or sequels had the potential to be very good, but a weak script with boring characters and a director who makes a film by the book in the end sinks the production.

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Chiller 13: Great American Slashers

Posted in Chiller 13: Great American Slashers with tags , , , , , on July 15, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

Chiller 13: Great American Slashers

This list is from a special that aired on Chiller and I do have several issues with it. Chiller a network for horror fans, but with this list were thinking of the mass audience. There will always be somebody left off a list. I often see lists where people just seem to add an endless amount of films/actors/characters. The fun part at least for me is deciding what makes the cut. Adding everything is no fun and too easy. On my top 15 Scream Queens the fun part was narrowing it down to 15.

https://lastroadreviews.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/top-15-scream-queens/ (sorry if it isn’t clickable). There were many actresses left off and there were some that many will debate on being on there. Also people will debate the order and even I even still debate my choices and order. But what I like to do is get the best list possible and not make it a popularity contest, but I also don’t wanna add more underground actresses just for the sake of it. I know my readers or a good portion of them are legit horror fans that know the genre and will know the lesser know a or the very least heard of them. But I always with any list try and not only find the right balance, but order as well. I don’t wanna again make it a popularity contest, but I do wanna just focus on underground to be different.

But Chiller with the 13 Greatest American Slashers put together the safe list that not only will the die hards know, but your average person who may like the horror genre, but aren’t massive fans. Now I fully understand piling your list with lesser knows may not be good for ratings, but if you’re gonna make a list like this don’t take the easy way out; deliver a legit list not based on popularity.

With the rant over let’s take a look at Chiller’s 13 Greatest American Slashers.

13. Chucky
I enjoy the Child’s Play movies, but I’m not a huge fan. However I take no issue with Chucky on the list as he is deserving as one of the most iconic horror movie characters.

12. Sweeny Todd
Now this pick I do have an issue with. I’ll admit I haven’t seen the movie since it really didn’t interest me. Perhaps if I do see it I’ll love it who knows, but if you’re making a list of slasher characters I’m not sure Sweeny Todd should be one of the 13.

11. Candyman
Candyman is one of those borderline slasher films. It has some of the formula, but also mixes it up. However Candyman is a worthy and deserving pick.

10. Patrick Bateman
This was an interesting pick, but I do wonder if Bale didn’t go on to massive success in Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy if Bateman makes it. American Psycho is a slasher film that doesn’t really follow the slasher formula not that it’s a bad thing. The film is excellent for sure and Patrick Bateman was a great character and an excellent pick however when I think of slasher films and characters American Psycho and Patrick Bateman don’t exactly come to mind. With that said sure you can replace Bateman with other characters, but he is deserving.

9. Dexter Morgan
The TV series Dexter is a show I always wanted to see, but never got around to it. Either way this pick strikes me more for popularity than anything else and Dexter is also the only TV character (I suppose more on account not many TV characters can fit in with slashers). But it’s just an odd selection when the other 12 are all film characters.

8. Pinhead
HellRaiser is an iconic series for sure, but like some others border the slasher film. I guess it doesn’t really fit into anything else so its lumped in with slashers, but its a fair pick since Pinhead is a horror icon.

7. Ghostface
The Scream franchise changed modern horror as we know it and Ghostface instantly became a horror icon. My only issue is I think Ghostface should be higher up. What Jason, Michael and Freddy were for the 80s, Ghostface was for the 90s and early parts of the 2000s

6. Leatherface
Another excellent pick, but I personally don’t see the TCM films as slasher films. They have the same basic plot and many upon many slasher films have borrowed from TCM, but it does stray a bit from the slasher conventions. However due to the impact its had Leatherface is more than deserving.

5. Hannibal Lecter
Silence of the Lambs is horror simple as that. It seems when a horror film is a massive critical success and in the case of this film Oscar nominated suddenly its not horror. However as great of a character as Hannibal Lecter is when I think of slashers I don’t really think of him and this pick seems out of place and is here because of popularity than anything else. Silence of the Lambs is a classic and Hannibal Lecter a great character, but when I think of slashers this really doesn’t come to mind.

4. Norman Bates
What would a list like this be without Norman Bates? If not for Norman Bates and Psycho who knows where the slasher film would be. Odds are it would have happened, but who knows how it would have been. Norman is the original slasher and in some ways I feel should have been number 1. Many people debate if Psycho is a slasher and while yes it is different than the films it inspired this is very much a slasher flick.

3. Jason Voorhees
Well no surprise on the top 3. When putting a list like this together you sort of have to go with the picks from Chiller and the only real debate is the order. When I think of slasher films and characters Jason of course comes to mind and again that’s where my issue comes in with some of the picks. Does Hannibal Lecter, Dexter and Sweeny Todd really fit in with the top 3?

2. Michael Myers
Like Norman, you can make a case for Michael being the top pick. Without Michael Myers and Halloween where would the slasher film have been in the 80s? Besides Jason and Friday the 13th, Michael Myers and Halloween were often knocked off and as long as there are horror filmmakers I don’t see that ever changing. Personally I think Michael or Norman should be number 1, but a case can be made for any of the top 4.

1. Freddy Krueger
Elm Street is interesting in the fact they’re slasher films, but they also stray from slasher movie conventions (at least the sequels). However Freddy like the classic monsters of the 30s is a character you know even if you’ve never seen any of the films. While Freddy wouldn’t be my top pick I really can’t argue it.

Overall Chiller does provide a strong list of characters, but its simply a popularity contest. I think if you’re gonna make a list of slashers than make sure you fill it up with slasher characters. Again American Psycho is sort of a slasher, but its not a film that first comes to mind when thinking of these films. It’s a great film and Patrick Bateman a great character, but I still say add to the list with legit slasher characters. If I were to make a list like this I can’t say how it would look, but characters like Mrs. Voorhees, Frank Zito, the Prowler would all be included. It’s characters like that is what comes to mind when I think of slashers.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) Review

Posted in Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge with tags , , , , , , , on January 26, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE

** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- The Man of Your Dreams Is Back

Release Date- November 1st, 1985

Running Time- 87-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- David Chaskin

Director- Jack Sholder

Starring- Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler with Hope Lange, Clu Gulager and Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger

For many fans of the Elm Street series A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge is sometimes dubbed the weakest of the series along with the 5th part Dream Child . When it comes to Dream Child I think I like the film more for what it could have been rather than what it was, but I can’t really defend it against those who hail it as the weakest even if I don’t view it as the weakest and when it comes to Freddy’s Revenge like Dream Child I really can’t defend it from such comments on it being it being the weakest, but I would probably agree on Freddy’s Revenge. What I can say is the film is better than its reputation in my opinion even if at the end of the day it isn’t very good. Don’t let my 2.5 fool you too much; granted its not exactly a high rating and I stand by my rating, but I still can find enjoyment with the movie and every few years even revisit it. But when all is said and done he film is mostly forgettable and even if I do revisit it like I said its once every few years and while for me the film borderlines a 3 rating it just has certain factors working against, which I will cover in this review.

What Freddy’s Revenge is probably most famous for is the gay subtext, which is something when I was younger I never picked up on, but I remember reading reviews and comments on message boards and going back and revisiting it and being surprised by how much is implied. According to people involved with the film none of that was intentional, but quite honestly I really don’t believe that. If it wasn’t director Jack Sholder’s intention to tell a story about a teen coming to grips with his sexuality than it had to be the intentions of the writer David Chaskin.

Set 5-years after the orignal Jesse (Patton) and his family just moved into 1428 Elm Street the very house that Nancy lived in. Not long after arriving, Jesse starts to have nightmares about Freddy (Englund) he pays no mind to it at first thinking they’re just dreams, but soon he learns his dreams can be deadly and Freddy is using him to enter the real world to continue his killing spree.

The screenplay by David Chaskin is many ways is a rewrite of the original only inferior with weaker characters. The characters while not the worst really aren’t very interesting either. Jesse makes for a decent lead and the only film in the series to have a male lead over a female. Lisa (Myers) who is Jesse’s friend and love interest was a solid character, but given little to do. As I stated in past reviews while I love the original and New Nightmare, but find everything in between simply ok, but I always felt the Elm Street series always did an excellent job in creating solid and likable characters. While I liked Jesse and Lisa they are also kind of forgettable and the rest of the characters really serve little purpose. Even though this is only part 2 we already knew Freddy enough that his mystery is pretty much gone so when the characters are oblivious to the dangers it doesn’t work very well; the script might have been better served adding a little more to Freddy without straying. In later sequels the makers added a little something to the Freddy mythology, but this one doesn’t, which isn’t a bad thing per se, but problems is Freddy really doesn’t have much to do, but show up and recite the same dialogue over and over again. While not horribly written the script for the most part falls a bit flat and simply relies too much on rehashing the original and never really adding anything of its own.

As I mentioned about the gay subtext in many ways one can view this movie as a teenager coming to grips with his sexuality and Jesse trying to suppress Freddy is a metaphor for Jesse trying to deny his homosexuality. In one key scene that kinda sums it up for me is as Jesse is making out with his girlfriend Lisa, Freddy begins to come out of him and scared he runs off to be with Grady (Rusler). For me that scene speaks volumes of what the intentions of the film were regardless of what anyone says. I’m not sure though if this was meant to be a serious social commentary tale about a young man dealing with being gay in a society that won’t accept it or if this was just some kind of big joke. But through out the film there are hints that the film is about a guy dealing with being gay and perhaps its just me, but there does seem to be something sexual with Jesse and Grady.

As director Jack Sholder delivers a fairly decent, but ultimately forgettable film; Freddy for a good portion is off camera and when he appears its briefly until the final act, but the problem here is Freddy isn’t very imposing. Sholder mostly rehashes the original, but unlike the original Freddy’s Revenge is light on suspense and scares. The first half of the film while not overly interesting is fairly strong and Sholder keeps the movie running at a slow, but steady pace, but as the film goes on it does at times get very sluggish. Jack Sholder never really manages to inject much life into the movie and while I was never bored I wasn’t really entertained either. Freddy also isn’t very imposing in this one. I’d go as far to rate Robert Englund’s performance in the original up there with actors like Karloff as the Monster, Lugosi as Dracula and Chaney as the Wolf-Man, but this time around Freddy is never really imposing at all.

Freddy’s Revenge like some of the later sequels was rushed and I think at times it shows in the production since there was a decent idea that never rally goes anywhere. Also what the original did so well is blend the real world and dream world together, but that doesn’t work as well here and having Freddy enter the real world during the pool party scene had potential, but rather comes out as unintentionally funny.

Overall like I said I can’t defend this movie from being called the weakest since I would have to agree. But I do think the film is slightly better than its reputation. About the only thing I prefer over this than some of the later films is at least Freddy is still mostly dark. Over the years Freddy’s Revenge has gained a lots of fans from the series, but when all is said and done there isn’t enough happening and that’s what sinks the movie in the 2nd half. Despite my rating I can watch it every so often and find it semi-entertaining.

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Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) Review

Posted in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare with tags , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE

*** Out of 5

Tagline- They Saved the Best for Last

Release Date- September 13th, 1991

Running Time- 89-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Michael De Luca

Director- Rachel Talalay

Starring- Lisa Zane, Shon Greenblatt, Lezlie Deane, Ricky Dean Logan, Breckin Meyer with Yaphet Kotto and Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger

After the Elm Street series took a drop in numbers with the 5th part, New Line wisely took a year off in 1990 and returned in 1991 and I guess they felt they needed a hook and they had two of them; first the title billing it as the last of the series and the 2nd gimmick was the 3D, which was popular back in the 50s before fading than returning for a brief time in the 80s with such movies as Friday the 13th Part 3 and Jaws 3D. The gimmicks used seemed to work as Freddy’s Dead pulled much bigger numbers over part 5, but still down from the highest success with Dream Warriors and Dream Master. In many ways I do sort of see this as the last of the series since I view both New Nightmare and Freddy Vs. Jason as spinoffs and the 2010 remake is unrelated to the previous parts.

Freddy’s Dead sort of goes in its own direction as nothing from the previous film carries over. Part 2 also stands on its own since even though it continues from the original nobody returned excluding Freddy of course. But part 3 has characters from the first returning and of course 3-5 all lead into each other, but Freddy’s Dead brings in a new set of characters and its a little dissapointing as why would Freddy suddenly stop going after Alice. It’s also hard to believe at one point Freddy was actually scary and quite imposing, but as the series went on he started to become far too comedic. Part 5 sort of toned down the comedy since Freddy wasn’t on camera all that much, but here with Freddy’s Dead the comedy is amped up big time and this is why I refer to Freddy as a homicidal bugs bunny; basically if Bugs Bunny was a psycho killer he would probably be just like Freddy. Even if I felt some of the sequels made Freddy a little funny he was at least imposing even if not a scary, but here he sure isn’t scary nor very imposing and the film plays way up to the camp value and even if I’m not overly fond of the direction the film took it is however mindless fun.

After years of terrorizing Springwood all the children and teenagers are dead and the adults have gone insane and Springwood is pretty much a ghost town. However there is 1 survivor John Doe (Greenblatt) who has no idea who he is and Freddy is using him to locate his daughter and for new victims.

The screenplay by Michael De Luca like some of the other sequels adds onto Freddy’s mythology as we see portions of Freddy’s childhood as well as learning he had a daughter (not a spoiler since its fairly obvious). The script had some nice ideas dealing with such issues as psychical, mental and sexual abuse, but these aspects of the script are often lost due to the extremely high camp value. The characters are fairly entertaining, but by this point in the series they’re also heavily cliched. Outside of a few deeper issues, De Luca writes a very silly, but yet entertaining script that is high on camp value.

Rachel Talalay who previously worked on a couple of the Elm Street movies in various different roles makes her directorial debut and delivers an entertaining movie that is quite silly and over the top its hard to take anything serious here and that even goes for the serious moments, which feel out of place due to the campiness of the film. The pacing of the film is fairly strong since if Freddy isn’t killing someone the high camp value keeps the film dumb fun. Talalay seems to have no interest in creating any suspense and simply delivers a silly movie. Freddy isn’t even the least bit scary as scenes have him riding a broom dressed as a witch and even playing Nintendo, but the highlight was one character who is deaf, Freddy is behind him jumping up and down acting like a clown. This is what Talalay seems to be most interested in and while it does work to some degree its also sad to see this once scary villain turned into all out slapstick. This sure isn’t filmmaking at its best, but Rachel Talalay does deliver a fun movie that works due to the idiocy of it all.

I suppose regardless of what direction the film took making Freddy scary wouldn’t have been an easy task since as a series goes on the villain is bound to lose their scare factor. While Michael Myers in the Halloween films retained an eerie presence he wasn’t nearly as scary as the series went on and the same can be said about Jason in the Friday the 13th films and about every horror villain. But honestly I would have liked to have seen Talalay at least make an attempt at suspense mixed in with the comedic moments.

Overall Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare is a silly idiotic film, but does have the fun factor going for it. This part is for me sort of middle of the pack and what keeps the film fun for me is the camp value. I much prefer Freddy dark and evil and that’s why the original and New Nightmare are my favorites, but campy Freddy can also be fun even if forgettable. All in all Freddy’s Dead is entertaining and I while I can enjoy the film, but its something I can only watch every few years.

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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

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A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 5: THE DREAM CHILD

*** 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.

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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

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A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 4: THE DREAM MASTER

*** 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?

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