A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 The Dream Master

Nightmare on Elm Street 3 ended ambiguously, suggesting that Freddy may not be as dead as the dream warriors think he is. Scientists estimate that there are approximately thirty Elm Street sequels and that there are fifteen more in preproduction. So, yes, Freddy’s back…
The movie opens with a quote that I was quite glad to screencap because I couldn’t read it at all. Damn old age, consarn it.
Kristen is back in high school, after being released from the hospital though she’s now played by Tuesday Knight (Patricia Arquette couldn’t play the part because she was pregnant.)
She’s still friends with Kincaid (Ken Sagoe, returning for the part) and Joe (Rodney Eastman, also returning), and she now has a boyfriend and her own group of friends.

Alice (Lisa Wilcox), Alice's brother & Kristen's boyfriend Rick (Andras Jones), and Kristen

Alice (Lisa Wilcox), Alice’s brother & Kristen’s boyfriend Rick (Andras Jones), and Kristen

Debbie (Brooke Theiss) and Sheila (Toy Newkirk)

Debbie (Brooke Theiss) and Sheila (Toy Newkirk)

Kristen has a nightmare about Freddy Kreuger (Robert Englund, as always) and pulls Joe and Kincaid into her dream. They’re less than pleased and point out that Freddy is dead and his furnace is cold.
Kincaid goes to sleep and dreams about the junkyard where Freddy’s remains are buried. His dog, Jason (Voorhees?), accidentally awakens Freddy, who is indeed back and warns that they shouldn’t have buried him since he’s not dead. Freddy kills Kincaid, despite Kincaid’s strength.
Joe falls asleep and dreams that the sexy bikini model from his poster is in his water-bed. It’s like he learned absolutely nothing from his prior experiences with the sexy nurse that was really Freddy Kreuger. Or, he’s just pubertying really hard.
Kristen goes to school and when she realizes that Joe and Kincaid are dead, she blacks out and dreams of Freddy. Freddy in drag as a nurse. When Kristen gets home, her mom secretly drugs her with sleeping pills. Oh, those Elm Street parents! I really like the way this sequence is filmed because it looks loopy and conveys well how out of it Kristen must have felt. She tries to call Alice but falls asleep so she pulls Alice into her dreams as a last resort. Freddy throws Kristen into a furnace but not before she passes her gift on to Alice wakes up and runs with Rick to Kristen’s house but they’re too late. Kristen is burnt to death in her bed.
Alice begins to realize the nature of her gift as she accidentally pulls her friends into her dreams and they’re killed by Freddy. She provides him with new victims, since he killed the last of the Elm Street children whose parents were involved in his death. This high school’s mortality rate has to rival Sunnydale’s. It’s finally up to Alice and Dan (Danny Hassel), the cute guy she never dreamed would notice her, to fight Freddy. Alice gains her friends’ powers and traits with each death. Also, as each friend dies, she takes their picture off of her mirror that was initially so crowded that she couldn’t see her reflection. It’s like Alice is discovering herself and that she’s the sum total of her friendships. Freddy himself has grown more powerful, as he possesses the souls of those he’s killed.
Alice defeats Freddy by remembering part of a poem, the “Dream Master” and it’s very Sarah versus Jareth in Labyrinth only gross, not sexy. When the parents of Elm Street killed Fred Krueger, they made him more powerful than they could imagine, like a pervy Obi-Wan Kenobi. It’s like he became some kind of archetypical dream reaper. I barely remember the series, just specific scenes, so I wonder if Freddy’s powers are discussed in more mystical terms. I mean, how did a dead child molester get all this power?
So, I’ve sat through the first movies in the series and with each movie it gets clearer that sex is an issue in each one. Or, maybe not sex but puberty. Nancy faces Freddy and comes out with a grown-up gray streak. Jesse wrestles with his secret gay side. Kristen is almost eaten by a Freddy-shaped snake that also looked like a dong. And now Alice transforms herself from a shy daydreamer into a mature young woman. Plus, the fact that the victims are high-school aged just reinforces the notion that high school is literally hell.
There is the issue of sex being dangerous throughout the movies. Look at poor Joey. In the third movie, he’s seduced by Nurse Freddy and tied up over an open hell pit with Freddy’s tongues. That is a sentence I never thought I would write. In the Nightmare on Elm Street universe, sex kills, whether it’s Tina dying after having sex with her boyfriend or Joey being attacked by the girl in the water-bed.
This isn’t exactly a progressive stance but it can also reflect the era when the movies came out, when AIDS was becoming a legitimate threat.
I do like the fact that Robert Englund’s performance is not just menacing and creepy, it’s also sexual. That just adds to the creep factor.
I’d like to point out that the parents in this series just keep getting shittier and shittier. Alice and Rick Johnson’s dad wins the prize for worst dad on Elm Street and that’s saying a lot. He’s drunk, a workaholic, and outright abusive. There’s also the creepiness of Kristen’s mother surreptitiously drugging her, even if it was with good intentions.
I didn’t like this movie as much as I love Dream Warriors but I don’t hate it the way I hate Freddy’s Revenge. I feel like the cast is too large and too driven by novelty. There’s Karate Rick, Nerd Sheila, Bad-girl Debbie, Shy Alice, Crazy Kristen, and Dan the Jock but somehow they’re all friends. Also, this seems to be the point when they start focusing on novelty deaths, like Debbie being turned into a roach (Because she hates them and they were discussing Kafka earlier.) So there were definitely tense moments but they were interspersed with goofiness, like Land-shark Freddy.
The weird part, for me, is this isn’t my favorite entry in the series so I haven’t watched it since I was young. But I still remembered the scene when the souls of Freddy’s victim start coming out of his body and it’s like stretching a sheet of rubber. I remember seeing that when I was young and it freaked me out and I didn’t want to be near my wall because I thought that would turn to rubber. Who knows how I managed to sneak watching that movie because I know my parents would not be cool with that happening at such a young age.
This is the last movie in my Nightmare on Elm Street box-set and I’m actually sad to see Freddy go. It’s been kind of nice reliving what was an essential movie series from my childhood.


About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
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9 Responses to A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 The Dream Master

  1. Fear Street says:

    Pubertying. I tried saying that five times fast. Now I have no tongue.

    I also have a set with the same four Freddy films, but I’ve only watched the first one. After reading your reviews, though, I’ve got a compulsion to immediately watch the next 3. You always do this to me! I read your reviews and no matter what the quality of the film, I feel a strange NEED to watch rightthisminute. *sigh* Remember Boobs Disco?

    • scarina says:

      Well, at least you didn’t get touched by Freddy Kreuger’s stink-tongue.
      Do it! May is traditionally Freddy Kreuger Month. LoL I’m glad that someone’s willing to watch some of the shit I watch.
      Oh, Boobs Disco, I love that sign so much I made it part of my sidebar. And I post it on Facebook about once a year.

  2. Crypticpsych says:

    I’ve always thought that, while it’s not as good as 1, 3, or 7, Nightmare 4 is easily the most underrated of the series. It’s not perfect (as you pointed out, it gets gimmicky and doesn’t hold together in casting as well as its predecessor), but it does feel legitly like the direct sequel to Nightmare 3 that it’s supposed to be and still has some of the fear of Nightmare 3 even if it was inching its way more and more to where the series and Freddy ended up going.

    Crappy parenting (avoidable or otherwise), for the record, is the universal theme of the entire series. After all, next one is The Dream Child and focuses partially on Freddy’s mom, Freddy’s Dead is about a lost Elm Street child and looks at Freddy’s father (oh hai, Alice Cooper)…New Nightmare’s the only one that really bucks that trend, but then it’s about people trying to stop Nancy from BEING a good parent…and, of course, neglectful parenting pops up again a tiny, almost unnoticeable bit in FvJ. There’s a universality to that. It’s why I like the series so much. Sure, I like Friday and Hellraiser (and some sequels), but there’s more to the original than hulking guy in a mask in Friday’s case and WAY more to Hellraiser 1 and 2 than the Pinhead being stuck into unrelated stories that the series ended up becoming.

    • scarina says:

      I have a fondness for the cast, even though the acting wasn’t great. I found them all to be likeable and relatable, even if I wondered how they all came to be friends.
      I barely remember the series, except for the ones I’ve just watched, so I’ll have to take your word for it. I just find it so ironic that the Elm Street parents were so outraged by Freddy’s crimes that they were willing to burn a man to death but they just checked out afterwards.
      I haven’t seen the rest of the Hellraiser series but I’ve seen several of the Friday series & it never made sense to me. I mean, at the end of the 1st one you just see him at the bottom of the lake & by the second one he’s sack-head. What the hell…?

  3. Crypticpsych says:

    Oh…and I still need to get around to watching my copy of Bollywood Nightmare on Elm Street (aka Mahakaal: The Monster)

  4. While Dream Master wasn’t the best Nightmare movie, it is oddly one of my favorites. I can never figure out why.

  5. Pingback: Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers | Scarina's Scary Vault of Scariness

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