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Right Said Fred: A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Halloween Review!!!


A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
* Originally posted on October 31, 2009. Like you care!
For this Halloween, our staff at Bitter Balcony decided to revisit a few titles from our childhood, before we had developed good taste or judgment. From the archives we pulled out Ronny Harlan’s 1988 sequel “A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master,” a film in which one of the memorable moments included a fire-pissing dog. This was good cinema in the late ‘80s when you were a kid; an opus of preteen curiosities wrapped in cartoonish violence and poor acting. Well, what can you expect from recently pubescent actors with lines like “In case you haven't been keeping score, it's his f*@%ing banquet, and I'm the last course,” or one of our personal favorites “F%^ing A.” And how could we forget one-liner master Freddy Krueger’s (Robert Englund) “Why don't you reach out... and CUT someone,” or "Wanna suck face?” We could just cut and paste the script and let it speak for itself, but the last thing we want to do is beat up this movie. To watch this film again after more than a decade fills us with nostalgia and warmth. Leave it to a movie that has a girl transformed to a cockroach and subsequently crushed by Krueger's hands to soften the Balcony's bitterness.

The story centers on reserved Alice, played by Lisa Wilcox. Following the events of “A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors,” Alice is besties with part 3's main survivor Kristen (Tuesday Knight, who replaced Patricia Arquette) who along with Kinkaid (Ken Sagoes) and Joey (Rodney Eastman) left Freddy for dead. But successful box office numbers never killed a villain, and so our shard-clawed ghoul reappears to claim the soul of Elm Street's children. Freddy takes care of unfinished business with the Dream Warriors, leaving Kristen with only Alice to pass her powers to. Since Kristen was the last of the kids from the parents that killed Freddy when he was a man, he uses Alice to track down more teens. As Freddy begins to wipe out Alice's friends, the weak protagonist begins to absorb her dead buddies' powers, turning her into one badass, martial arts babe. As Alice tries to save herself and her remaining friends from more sequels, an inevitable final battle with Krueger awaits.
“A Nightmare On Elm Street 4” was directed by Renny Harlin, one of those nut job Scandinavian guys who came to work in Hollywood during the ‘80s (see Paul Verhoeven, Jan de Bont). This was the right decade for eccentric foreigners to direct ultra-violent, sexually deviant fare, taking advantage of a time the "R" rating was more than 15 cuss words and a partial butt shot. As trashy and corny as some of these movies are, these guys brought a visual aesthetic that gave their popcorn flicks an artistic merit. “Elm Street 4” has a certain charm that holds up after all these years.  Robert Englund turned Freddy Krueger from gruesome monster into a lovable heel, and transformed himself from a two-bit player into a poor man's Boris Karloff.

By no means are we calling this film good, but something needs to be said about Freddy's lasting appeal in today's era of Britney Spears and bottled water. Hey, they are remaking the damn thing with Rorschach, after all! After viewing “A Nightmare On Elm Street 4,” one wishes to fall asleep and wake up to an easier time of hair-metal bands and new Coke. Plus, how can you top hip-hop Freddie bustin' a rhythm with The Fat Boys during the closing credits? All we can say is "Gnarly, dude.”




Directed by: Renny Harlin
Written by: Brian Helgeland, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Tuesday Knight

Originally posted: 10/31/09 Halloween, baby!

Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

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