A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child Recap

Jamie

Freddy’s back, Jack! And boy howdy does he still like to kill teenagers. In this entry Alice is still the dream master, but uh oh! So is her unborn child! And he’s now helping Freddy bring people into his dream domain. Can Alice stop Freddy and save her unborn child before it’s too late? Find out in… A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.

How?! After subduing Freddy in the fourth film through her combined dream powers as the Dream Master, Alice and her beau Dan are living it up. They plan to travel the world after graduation, much to the dismay of Dan’s parents, but they don’t care! They’re young and alive… well, that is until Freddy returns to kill Dan by turning him into a motorcycle (this is real). But that doesn’t make sense. Alice wasn’t asleep to bring Dan into the dream world, although she did seem to have a premonition when she dreamt of Freddy’s birth (rebirth?) just prior. She soon gets news that starts to clarify things when it’s revealed that she’s pregnant. Uh oh! Alice’s friends are mostly supportive, even if they think she’s a little crazy. One of her friends soon dies in a very Freddy-esque way and Alice figures out that Freddy is using her child’s dreams to bring new souls to him. Jacob is a future dream master and Freddy is feeding him souls to try to corrupt him. Her friend Mark helps discover a possible way to fight Freddy by finding and helping his mother Amanda who is trapped in the asylum where Freddy was conceived. But when they go to the asylum in the dream world, Freddy uses their friend Yvonne to distract them and ultimately kills Mark. Now fully convinced Yvonne goes to the asylum while Alice battles Freddy and finds and frees Amanda. Amanda comes to Alice’s aid just in time and helps her and Jacob escape. With Freddy safely locked away Alice settles into a life raising Jacob. THE END… or is it? (it never is). 

Why?! In many genres the motivations of the bad guys are more interesting and/or nonsensical, while the good guys just kinda want love and justice (not necessarily in that order). In horror they often throw out the antagonist’s motivations as well, particularly as the series goes on. Freddy is and always was just an insane maniac. It’s a little vague exactly why or who he is in the first film but by the fifth entry he’s the progeny of a hundred maniacs and he lives forever in the dream world. An immortal killing machine. The protagonists just want to survive, mostly to no avail, although in this one Alice also wants to save the soul of her unborn child. So that’s a little wrinkle.

Who?! Very very very briefly there is a cameo by a conservative talk show host named Wally George who shows up on Mark’s TV with his show Hot Seat. On it there is a band which consists of Ted Nugent, Rudy Sarzo, Eric Singer, and Ron Armstrong… the first three are very famous musicians. I don’t know who Ron Armstrong is. Interesting factoid is that Wally George is the father of Rebecca De Mornay. Also interesting given the setting of the Nightmare franchise because Hot Seat was a local broadcast only available in Southern California… hmmmmm.

What?! In some ways the Nightmare films are always playing with some form of MacGuffin, mostly because they are always coming up with a new reason that Freddy is still alive in the dream world and how they can finally (and likely unsuccessfully) kill him once and for all. In this one it turns out that Freddy was able to be reborn because his mom wasn’t there to keep him in check since she wasn’t properly buried. By releasing her from her prison within the asylum she is able to absorb and imprison Freddy.

Where?! Up until the sixth entry in the film I assumed the whole series took place in LA. The first film has palm trees and California license plates and just feels very LA suburbs. After that it gets hazy and I guess they decided to switch more to an anywhere USA vibe with an Ohio setting. So this is set in Ohio, but not super up front about it. In fact online sources suggest it really wasn’t made explicit until the sixth film, so I wasn’t wrong in assuming it continued to be LA. D-. 

When?! This is one of the clearer time frames of any of the entries as it coincides with Alice’s graduation from high school. Almost certainly starts in May or June and then proceeds quickly through the plot in a matter of what feels like is a few weeks. Not really sure why it needed to be set at the end of the school year other than to ratchet up the tension between Dan and his parents at the start of the film. B.

After four relatively highly rated films in the franchise (which are actually somewhat hit or miss), the first entry that qualified for BMT is a little confusing. Definitely not my least favorite of the first five (that would be the second one), this one might even be slightly higher on my list than the fourth one. Although really, I thought the 3rd, 4th, and 5th were all pretty solid entries in a genre that often goes off the rails pretty quickly when it comes to franchises. The first is still my favorite mostly because Freddy is still a serious character at that point and it’s genuinely creepy. By the fifth, Freddy is already a bit too much of a chatterbox and starting in on the sexist “Bitch” gag that comes to define parodies of the character. The films also become borderline fantasy films more than horror films as the scares start to wane. But the entry is still consistent with the series and the visuals continued to be mostly effective and interesting. Just from a pure artistry point of view the middle three films are pretty interesting to look at. The sixth? Well… I guess just go to that recap for that one to see what I think, but it’ll just say that you may as well stop here. The mere fact that I would recommend watching the fifth one as part of the series, though, probably means it’s not as bad as the reviews suggest. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! In the run up to the big 600 in BMT we set out to finish a full horror mega-franchise. Amazingly the first Nightmare film to qualify is the fifth. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – It is indeed quite shocking to realize the first four Nightmare films were all at least reasonably well received. Given that I hated the second film, it does make me wonder about the quality of this film. Then again, critics tend to be quite hard on horror films, so maybe this was actually secretly good. What were my expectations? A ridiculously vulgar Freddy, and nonsensical and non-scary thrills and kills. You know, all I care about is some sweet dream kills though and practical effects, so I hoped it would have that in spades.

The Good – The lore in A Nightmare on Elm Street is, by far in my opinion, the best of the three big 80s horror franchises. Halloween had the dumb Cult of Thorn. And Friday the 13th … well it was a mess and zombie Jason is fun, but I wouldn’t call it good. This is the culmination of that lore, with the Dream Child born of a Dream Master with characters who at least knew genuine Elm Street kids. The effects are okay, not as good as some of the previous films, but still they are decent practical effects. And the main actress was quite a good actress. Best Bit: Practical effects.

The Bad – Borrows heavily from the third film as far as “we must find someone’s body and consecrate it, it is the only way to stop Freddy!” Spoiler alert, it didn’t actually stop him in either case. The overeating kill looks bad and is gross and I didn’t like it. And, as usual with the later sequels, the main character is Freddy Krueger (a gross child murderer) who talks way too much, says “bitch” multiple times for no reason, and is starting to just come across as silly this time around. Fatal Flaw: Silly Freddy Krueger.

The BMT – Just the Halloween franchise to go no really. Interesting to watch a full franchise basically straight out, and especially in the context of Friday the 13th. Both Jason and Freddy become silly as their franchises wear one, but Jason in in an amusing tongue-in-cheek way, and Freddy in an annoying way. Michael Myers is just flat nothing and becomes boring eventually. An interesting trichotomy. Did it meet my expectations? I had heard of the motorcycle kill prior to the film and it didn’t disappoint. Freddy, though, was as unpleasant as expected … so yeah, it met my expectations.

Roast-radamus – Not much, as usually a decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for Springwood, Ohio, although I’m not sure you really explicitly know that until the sixth film really. And an okay MacGuffin (Why?) for Freddy’s mother’s bones which I guess need to be consecrated and buried to put them to rest to help lock Freddy away? Definitely closest to Good in my opinion, I think this is about on par with the fourth film which was also quite good for a late-series sequel to an 80s horror franchise. 

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – In the end I think I would like to Remake the lore of the franchise as a whole. It is pretty good, especially compared to Halloween or Friday the 13th. But still it feels like that drop the ball a bit with the Dream Master idea later on. The first, third, and fourth to an extent concern the systematic murder of all of the children of the vigilantes who killed Freddy (and the numbers kind of make sense). The second I think I would change only slightly to make Freddy’s goal to get Jesse killed by a vigilante mob after possessing him and forcing him to murder people, thus bringing in more children to kill. The fourth and fifth, with the Dream Master, I would make it far clearer that Freddy is a Dream Master, and due to abuse as a child he retreated so far into the Dream World that he was able to construct a form of immortality whereby when he died his soul survived there, but that he can only kill the children of his murderers, or people connected to other Dream Masters. The sixth I would change completely, but I’ll get into that during that recap. I guess the main problem is that Freddy is immortal, and also his power limitless. I think they didn’t do a good job explaining a good weakness, and the good Dream Masters were a perfect opportunity.

You Just Got Schooled – There is obviously a ton of stuff with this so between the two recaps I’ll try and hit the main series, and then extracurriculars separately. I naturally had to watch the four original films. A Nightmare on Elm Street: Amazing film with some really cool technical achievements as well. I can tell I’m quite close to being acclimated to the genre because this movie freaked me out when I first saw it ten years ago, but now I just stare at it and wonder how they did the effects and grade each kill. A, solidly. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge: quite bad with almost no dream kills which defeats the entire purpose, if not for the sixth film this would be my least favourite. C-, not horrendous, but a below average slasher. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: The best of the sequels. Despite not being a super great actress, bringing back the lead from the first was a good idea, and the idea of the Dream Warriors is great and rightfully carried through the bulk of the sequels. B+, enjoyable with probably the best lore building of the major three slasher franchises. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master: Loved how the story carries through from three to four. Some weak kills and poorer effects, but, again, maybe the best core background given for a slasher killer. B-. The main issue you can see carrying through all of the sequels is that slowly but surely Freddy becomes the main character, he starts talking more and more, he becomes more vulgar, and finally he becomes a parody of himself because guess what? A child murderer doesn’t have much to say beyond “bitch”, who would have thought. Overall the best series as far as slashers go and very painless to get through. The lore was shockingly good, usually long running horror franchises cult-of-thorn it quickly, but these were pretty okay.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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