Day 4 of the Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge is Franchise Day. Pick something from any franchise that has four or more entries. Bonus points if it has a fast food eating scene in it – have it your way.
There was no choice other than 1988’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. I bought two collections of these films last year with the intent of doing a WATCH THE SERIES post of them (which I still fully intend to finish). I’ve often written off all of these films after the first three — one being the originator, two being a strange metaphor for growing up gay and the third being a bravura Dokken soundtrack sporting thrill ride that was amongst the first slasher films I ever watched.
The thing is, part four is slick and as commercial as it gets, but isn’t that what you want? Aren’t we all wistful for the movie theaters of thirty years ago, when films like Bad Dreams, the Chuck Russell remake of The Blob, Child’s Play, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Fright Night II, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Phantasm II, Poltergeist 3, Pumpkinhead and so many more graced the silver screen? This is a movie made for teenagers to devour in the same way that they chow down through a pizza — more on that in a bit.
After the final battle in the last film in this series — Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors — which was intended by Wes Craven to end the franchise. With original protagonist Nancy sacrificing herself to stop Krueger, the rest of the Dream Warriors have been released from the insane asylum and are back to being normal teenagers.
However, Kristen (Tuesday Knight, replacing Patricia Arquette) believes that Freddy isn’t dead, drawing Joey, Kincaid and Kincaid’s dog Jason into her dream, where they show her that Freddy’s boiler is cold. There’s been a rift between these former friends, as the boys are seen as freaks and Kristen has joined the popular crowd with her martial arts practicing boyfriend Rick (Andras Jones, Sorority Girls in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama), Alice, Sheila and Debbie.
Soon, Kincaid has been killed in the junkyard from Dream Warriors, where Freddy comes back after a dog pisses fire onto him. Yes, that really happens. Then, Joey finds a naked girl swimming in his waterbed in a sequence that’s glossy, ridiculous and awesome all in equal measure. He’s soon dead and Kristen passes out when she finds out, bringing Freddy after her. She swears to get revenge, but once her mother gives her sleeping pills to ensure that she gets rest, she is felled by the “Bastard Son of a One Hundred Maniacs.” However, she is able to give her dream power to Alice which she’s gonna need because with each kill, Freddy gains the abilities and personalities of Alice’s dead friends.
Sure, these movies would get much worse, but if you’re looking for a movie that’ll make the middle of the night just fly past, you can’t go wrong with this one. I was surprised how much I liked it, which is kind of the point of this challenge, right?
This movie is filled with plenty of out there kill scenes and flip dialogue that finally makes Freddy the actual hero of the film. There’s a girl that gets turned into a cockroach and smashed into a Roach Motel. And then there’s the scene where Freddy shows Alice all of his victims on a “soul pizza” that must be witnessed to be believed.
Say what you will about Renny Harlin, but in this follow up to his American debut Prison, he really takes the series all the way into the surreal, basing each of the murders on actual nightmares that he had, as well as crazy moments that push the film into meta territory when Alice goes from a movie theater into an actual movie while the rest of the cast watches.
This was the highest grossing movie in the series until Freddy vs. Jason, which it earns with an all-star team of special effects artists, a soundtrack boasting bands like the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, Blondie, and the Fat Boys, and an ending that boasts a twenty foot tall practical model of Freddy being destroyed by the souls of those he has taken.
For even more fun, here’s a video from fast food lovers The Fat Boys that features them getting Freddy’s house as an inheritance and having to spend the night there.