A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

With the fourth entry of Nightmare on Elm Street, we begin our descent into outright silliness when it comes to Freddy Krueger. Depending on what you like about the series, this could be a good or a bad thing. Chris and Lizzie are a bit split on the issue, but there’s still a lot to love about A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.

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5 thoughts on “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

  1. (Apologies to Chris and Lizzie I missed the Elm Street LaserTime commentary. Unfortunately, I was invited to watch It on the same day and I didn’t have time but I did watch the film earlier to make up for that. Missing the commentary is my biggest regret really. I am sorry I couldn’t show up.

    P.S. The new It movie really good!)

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is my second least favorite Nightmare on Elm Street film. Not 5, Freddy’s Dead or Freddy vs. Jason. I know I implied 4 was my least favorite but I forgot about the remake being that actually. But the thing about the 4th film is that Alice’s arc aside, there didn’t seem to be something of a deep theme to go on or at least something of interest even with basic stuff. First film, what is the dream, what isn’t? Can you stop this force of evil? As well as the idea of adult figures being distrustful and not believing of youth. Second film, the gay overtones. Third film, uniting different people against a common foe with the theme from the first film about the adults not believing the youth. Fifth film, pro-choice. Freddy’s Dead, nature versus nurture. Can you avoid becoming the very monster as your parent? New Nightmare, reality and fiction blurred from here to kingdom come. Freddy vs. Jason, okay no deep theme there beyond Freddy and Jason fighting but I excuse it for being campy, wrestling fun. The Dream Master and the remake, have nothing to go on.

    Only things the fourth film had it going for were Freddy being Freddy, Harlin’s direction on certain moments, the soundtrack, the arc of Alice, certain victims like Sheila because she’s allowed to be black and a nerd without falling into stereotypes, the death dream sequences (like seriously, the effects hold up! Well save for Rick’s death, I’ll get to that in a moment) and I do like the climax.

    Unfortunately and this is going to sound weird but I think the cinematography is inappropriate. I’ve heard people call this the MTV Nightmare and I can see why but I think that was a mistake. Like I don’t mind like certain moments with the cinematography or editing, that’s fine of itself but I think they took it too far to the point of being too over the top and some moments in regards to back and forth dialogue between Freddy and Kristen for example. seemed very off. It doesn’t help that as you mentioned, I noticed on the Never Sleep Again documentary that they admitted they were winging it even like a week or two before the release date. And you can tell because they admitted Rick’s death was done because they didn’t have the budget. Like, I wish it was executed better really. And it’s a shame because the rest of the death scenes are really cool! Like the cockroach scene or Sheila’s death.

    Although I hear people when they say they don’t like Kincaid getting 86’d and I agree. So I’m with Lizzie and Louis honestly with the film’s quality. It can be fun but it lacks a lot of substance to sustain that fun. Especially since yeah, some things I don’t think I ever wrapped my head around. But really, I think that’s the problem. 4 is just there. It’s just bland. 5 was distinct. Freddy’s Dead had somethings memorable whether you liked it or not. I feel nothing with The Dream Master, that’s the problem. I mean make no mistake, Harlin can be great with the right script. He’s really dependent on the script. But I don’t hate this film, I don’t. I don’t hate the effort being seen because I can see it. He tried, everyone did and I don’t begrudge people who like the film. Even Wes Craven did, wow.

    Hilariously though, first time I saw Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, when it came to Sheila and Debbie’s first scene together, I had no idea what Dynasty was. I thought it was just a made up show by the filmmakers. I had a VCR. I knew what that was , owned one. But you tell me when in 2003 Dynasty was in reruns. I didn’t know that was Robert Englund was that nurse at the time. The bus driver in Freddy’s Revenge yeah but not him as a nurse. I was surprised to find out years later but it’s cool. He’s versatile!

    But yeah, fourth is not very good to me-simply that. I’d argue the Rotten Tomatoes score should be lower but hey, you like it. No judging anyone who does. I mean, I’m going to defend The Dream Child next week anyway and say my piece on Freddy’s Dead after so yeah.

  2. I do appreciate that this movie takes Freddy further into the comedic direction, actually makes good use of the premise of bizarre dream deaths, and has canon carryover from the prior film, but I really do think 4 and 5 are pretty middling entries, though far from the worst.

    Loving the podcast every week, it’s nice to see these movies talked about in the same vein that Halloween (and to a lesser extent, Friday) get discussed a lot.

  3. Wow, Chris, I’m surprised! In my mind, 4 and 6 were competing for the worst one. Now I wanna watch it again.

    Gotta say though, I feel like Freddy wasn’t ever really used to his full potential. I think someone could still make the best Freddy movie of all time. I want to say if they ever do bring it back, they should keep Robert Englund. But now I’m wondering who else might work. Jim Carrey would be interesting, although I’m not sure he’s doing movies anymore….

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