Welcome to the Terrordome (October Horror Film Fest): “A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master

Originally, I was going to review 1979’s “When A Stranger Calls” tonight. But, let’s be real. That movie is pretty much the first twenty minutes with waning attention afterwards. I cannot lie. Those twenty minutes are scary; but, afterwards, I don’t care about the film because it basically turns into a suspense movie and I’m not writing about thrillers. Maybe I will in another month sometime next year. But, not now. So, I’ll just review the movie I did see this morning. Yes, I watch horror films no matter the hour. I’m not picky. Just give me the film and a comfort spot to watch it.

Blah, blah, blah. Get on with it already!

“The Nightmare on Elm Street” film series is my favorite one. With the exception of one member of the Nightmare series (I think we pretty much know the one I’m referring to – *cough “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” *cough*), the films have ranged from excellent (the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) to the mediocre, but still better than the second one (1989’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child, WTH?). I am not going to discuss the remake because, to me, it doesn’t exist.

Our feature film presentation:

However, as mentioned before, the series gave us a range of films with their own merit (and dishonor, but I digress). One such worthy installment was 1988’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master”. Directed by Renny Harlin (“Cliffhanger” and “The Long Kiss Goodnight”), the film opens with Freddy Krueger’s three remaining survivors of the third installment, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” out of the juvenile mental ward we found them previously and attempting, as best as they could, to blend into society. Kristen, (Tuesday Knight), a girl with the ability to connect people mentally into dreamland, introduces the viewer to her new clique of friends with personality traits that may serve or disservice them later.

One, in particular, Alice Johnson, a smart, gangly, and socially awkward girl, is immediately summoned as the obvious final girl of the film (No, that wasn’t a spoiler. If you know anything about a Freddy Krueger film, then you know there’s death of many teens and a final girl to “whoop” his butt later.). She inherits the ability of Kristen after the latter discovers that, “Hey, Freddy’s not dead”, and he must be destroyed (yet again), in a “fiery” fashion. As the movie progresses and Freddy’s kills become more elaborate and creative, Alice discovers that she has gained the traits of the rest of her dead friends.

As mentioned before, Freddy becomes more creative and thoughtful toward his murders. My favorite kill is that of Alice’s tough girlfriend, Debbie. Without giving anything away, I’ll say she checks in, but never checks out. Eventually, Freddy and Alice have their climatic showdown, where the movie’s title shows prominence as a nursery rhyme that helps Alice succeed (No. That’s to a spoiler. It’s quite obvious that Freddy bites it at the end as he always do. But, he’s the “Kill Master” and he’ll, metaphorically, see another day.).

Apparently, the critics gave it mixed reviews, while the audience, including me, loved it. After all, it was the highest-grossing horror film of 1989, grossing almost $50 million a the box office. Remember, this is 1989 and a horror film. It was a big deal. A well-worth big deal in fact. It’s one of my favorites with in the series, along with the original (Really, that’s a top ten horror fave, period), “Dream Warriors”, and, “New Nightmare”. Now, over time, the scare factor is lost (although, the only true scary one was the original); but, I still recommend a shot at it.

Thus, I’m giving it 7 out of 10 

Hopefully, as the days progress, I’ll review a film that’s higher or lower than 7 since it’s been twice in a row now. That’s only because I take my freak-outs seriously and I don’t give high scores to just any horror film. However, considering that I haven’t dealt with anything below a 6, my odds of looking at good films are great so far.

Fun Facts About “A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master”

  • Sinead O’Connor (“Nothing Compares to U”) contributes to a good song to the soundtrack with “I Want Your (Hands on Me)

  • Freddy raps! “Are You Ready For Freddy?”, a tune with party rappers The Fat Boys, appeared as a music video.

Wow! Screams and songs! They’re the gift that keeps on giving.


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