A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master ★½

Hooptober 6/6/6 #1

Kynky's HORRORx52 #23 Sequel/Prequel

Alas, not the best start to Hooptober 6/6/6, but here we are!

Even if both Halloween and Friday the 13th have managed to have stronger deep sequels than A Nightmare on Elm Street, the concept of the franchise alone was always stronger than either of its beefed-up '80s and '90s peers. Freddy's an excellent antagonist on a conceptual level, always easy enough to understand his longevity, and thanks to his mastery of nightmares, you always know you're going to see something awesome and/or fucked up via '80s practical effects. Even IF everything else is highly subpar (and it is!), the roach motel dream D E L I V E R S (and was, appropriately enough, helmed by Screaming Mad George of the Hooptober requirements!), in addition the all of the souls crawling out of Freddy's chest.

But apart from that, things are really feeling tired the fourth time around the sun. I guess the concept of the Dream Master is fine enough if you're really invested in the lore of the series, which is admittedly pretty thin, but it's delivered with such a bizarre method of nonchalant exposition that we barely understand all what's occurring, much less inclined to really get invested in it. I'm much, much more likely to remember the delightfully aggrandized presence of kung-fu in this movie than anything related to its story, but in some regards, hearing chintzy radio hard rock play as a white kid in a Japanese flag headband blindly kicks and chops the empty air in an attempt to find Freddy is worth the price of admission alone.

At the end of the day, what's most disappointing about DREAM MASTER is its rather lazy kills and set pieces. Apart from the ones mentioned above, a lot of deaths occur by simple physical actions such as choking or stabbing, refusing to make full use of Freddy's chameleonic abilities and cut in a way that feels censored. As such, this is so far the least fun in the series by a country mile, and one that felt like mostly soulless grinding. Oh well, see you soon for THE DREAM CHILD since I can't watch them out of order and FREDDY'S DEAD fulfills list requirements!