Monday, October 23, 2006

A Nightmare on Elm Street Parts 5 and 6: Robot Hand is the Dream Future

They've come up with more "definitive" ways to kill Freddy Krueger than dwarves under Snow White's dominion. If you are not afraid of Freddy, he will be OBLITERATED! If you love Freddy, he will be OBLITERATED! If you finally put Freddy's remains to rest, he will be OBLITERATED! If you show him his reflection, he will be OBLITERATED! It doesn't exactly add a whole lot of credibility to the series. Jason Voorhees was only obliterated once. The rest of the time he just got axed in the forehead, and we all know how easy it is to survive that.

Yet somehow, despite the fact that he is finally defeated in a final showdown (of finality) at the end of every movie, he manages to come back for more. He's been jumping from host to host. He's been reincarnated via fire-pissing dog. And then there was the Dream Child.

In A Nightmare On Elm Street, Part 5: The Dream Child, Freddy is born again via the various bodily oozes of our surviving characters from its predecessor, The Dream Master. We see him emerge from his mother's womb a scarred and disfigured demon child (the doctor's understandable first words: "Holy shit!"). And then he haunts the dreams of The Dream Master's unborn fetus.

Babies apparently sleep and dream for eighteen hours of the day (at least in the terrifying mind of Wes Craven), and this allows for the interesting tangent that the Dream Master can dream when she's awake. There are moments that you're uncertain: is this a dream or is this reality? And then you realize that the "dreams" are the ones that include Freddy Krueger turning into a superhero or a chef ("Bon appetit, bitch!"). Much of a stretch? Well, yeah.

There are some decent kills, although not enough for my tastes. One character is made into a motorcycle-human hybrid and fuel-injected until Freddy can harvest his soul. Another is force-fed until her stomach explodes. The coolest part of the movie isn't actually a kill, but Freddy is stabbed right through the mouth with a pool skimmer.

Then, of course, he is OBLITERATED forever or until the next year when New Line wants another couple bucks out of the deal.

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare! Wow! There's no way he can make it out of this one alive!

Wait...of course he can. Jason [went] to Hell but he made it out in due time to slaughter some astronauts and enter mortal combat with our wrinkly lord and savior, Freddy himself. So of course Freddy will never actually die.

A touch of class: Freddy's Dead begins with a famous Nietzsche quote ("Do you know the terror of he who falls asleep? To the toes he is very terrified, Because the ground gives the way under him, And the dream begins..."), followed by a famous Freddy quote ("Welcome to Prime Time, bitch!").

I'm pretty sure that killing Freddy for good was for the best. The kills in this film were pretty lame. One boy is trounced in a video game Freddy is playing with his "power-glove." With Freddy, the sky is the limit: he can kill anybody however he'd like. It's a shame that he did it in such cheesy ways.

Still, there's some good stuff. One character falls through the atmosphere and lands on a bed of spikes (which have been placed there Road-Runner-style by a mischievous Krueger). Freddy taunts a deaf kid by stealing his hearing aid and giving it back to him with all new modifications. Let's just say the deaf guy's noggin isn't long for this world.

And then there's the 3D. It's really poorly done. Where Friday the 13th Part 3 had its share of incredible sequences--harpoons going towards the camera, eyeballs popping out, the works--the extent of this 3D involves some animated demons flying around and causing a ruckus. Great.

This really does feel like the final chapter of a saga. Characters return from the past--Johnny Depp makes a surprise appearance. Also, there's an incredible Freddy montage that runs over the end credits. I'm two movies away from finishing the saga for real. Stay tuned for Wes Craven's New Nightmare and Freddy Vs. Jason, the culmination of the last month of my life.

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