Hollywood and Elm Part 3 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

Our imagination can be our own worst enemy sometimes, we need reassurance, even in the face of insurmountable evidence. Even then, all our collected experiences may go out of the window, in the face of our deepest fears. In 1988, after ending with the ultimate sacrifice, the survivors begin to readjust to normal lives, only releasing that their nightmares were just beginning, unless they can utilise the talents of The Dream Master.

Creepy intro surrounded by a rocking composition by Tuesday Knight rally sets the tone.

The Dream Warriors are now out of Westin Hills and are attempting to live as normal teenagers. Unfortunately for them, it seems that recently vanquished Freddy Kruger is back to strike his vengeance, and without the protection of dearly departed Nancy. Despite reassurance to the contrary, Her powers aren’t helping to convince her Kruger is dead, and as the adults in her life say otherwise, the bodies of her friends keep piling up. Unless the group can unlock the powers of The Dream Master, Freddy will finally get his vengeance.

A more youthful attitude permeates the film, reflect the audience, and Freddy’s victims!

Despite starting only half a decade ago, the new film has started to cater to the evolving aesthetics of the decade. Its pop intro, composed and performed by Tuesday Knight, certainly reflects the evolving tastes of the youth (considering they comprise the majority of Kruger’s victims, this makes a lot of sense.) The soundtrack and score is an offering of deep cuts of late 80s pop and rock, from the fashions and otherwise, with similarly youthful protagonists. Speaking of, it is nice to see their lives outside the hospital’s walls; among their schools, and their relationships. Yet still, Parents are again the issue, shrugging off supposed asthma attacks, even doping Kristen to help her sleep, leaving her almost defenceless to Freddy.

Freddy’s macabre wit remains on full display, even at the worst times and places!

Patricia Arquette is no longer Kristen, which is more than a shame, leading to Tuesday Knight picking up the role, you can hardly tell in some cases. The newcomers to the franchise are an intriguing bunch, especially, Lisa Wilcox as Alice. Using the dreams as elaborate set pieces for dazzling demises has since become a hallmark of the series, and despite qualms about how Kruger will keep elevating himself, The Dream Master shows that he more than delivers. His inappropriate humour shines at funerals and underscores his popularity. The set pieces for each victim are fun enough, yet the depilated, almost Silent-Hill-like, rendition of Springwood is a highlight. As Freddy becomes even more honed in his torture, by bending both time and space, in a way that his realm of dreams can afford.

For a franchise that keeps using the ante, the dreamworld version of Springwood delivers in spades!

Keeping some of the same heroes as the previous film, but forcing them into the fray without Nancy’s guidance, feels like a master-stroke. The Dream Master reflects on the evolving tastes of youth, a time when the Rock and Roller Cola Wars were in full swing, and Kruger’s position as a malevolent trickster had been codified. With four films worth of experience, there are still plenty of creepy and new ideas to inflict the populace, confident as always, Kruger remains the master of his dominion, and The Dream Master can’t do anything to stop that.

Even on the old standards, Freddy delivers on the wit… and the body count!

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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