Friday, October 5, 2012

30 Days of Fright - 04: A Nightmare on Elm St. Pt5: The Dream Child

I'm often curious about the people on the edges of the stories in horror films. The low level cops working the cases of all those baby-sitter murderers. The ambulance crews who scoop up the survivors and the bits of those that didn't survive. The dry-cleaners dealing with all those blood stained clothes. There is however a job in horror much worse than all of those put together and that's the poor estate agent who has to try to sell a house on Elm Street.

A Nightmare on Elm St. Pt5: The Dream Child (1989) once again continues the tale of the children of Elm Street as they now reach the end of their high school careers. Getting ready to face the real world, Alice (left over from the last movie) and Dan (also a survivor from the previous flick) are now a couple and have been doing the thing that young couples do (i.e. hiding the pork steeple in the ham locker). After one of their marathon sessions, Alice enters the dreamworld and experiences a vision of drowning in her shower right before she encounters a nun from the 1940's - obviously same nun who's mother to Freddy Kruger as introduced in Part 3).

Alice is worried that her latest dream experience is an indication that Freddy is planning another of his returns and she tries to warn the rest of the gang who pay no heed to her or her bullshit. The kids graduate from school and set about partying like it was 1989 (which it was), all except for poor Alice who has to go to work.

While walking through the park on her way to her job Alice enters the dream world for several hours indicating that there's a new way to get into that world other than by falling asleep - at least for Alice. While in the world of dreams Alice sees that Freddy is, as she suspected, reborn through a vision of his original birth in the puzzle factory where his mother worked. Emerging from the dream world,Alice calls Dan, who leaves the party to go to her. En route, he apparently falls asleep at the wheel and Freddy kills him.

Severely traumatised by Dan's death and terrified by Freddy's reappearance, Alice is admitted to hospital where it's discovered that she is pregnant. She soon realises that the baby sleeping in her womb is behind the unexpected trips into the dreamworld, and that Freddy is very interested in her offspring...

Supernanny places another helpless victim onto the naughty spot

As a series like the Nightmare's on Elm Street, made as they were during the 80's, progressed they were inevitably doomed to get worse and worse, so when sitting down to watch part 5 of the franchise it was with less than high expectations. Oddly, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child is excellent!

The central concept of the film, of the baby dreaming in it's mother and accessing the dream world that way, is a great idea and it gives the story a nice edge. On top of that, Alice's predicament as both the principal victim and heroine is interesting, what with worrying about the baby and her future coupled with the threat posed by Freddy and by her extended family, all putting a lot of strain on her. The additional angle provided by Fred's mum being the key to whole Elm Street mess is excellent; her soul not being seems to be the reason why Freddy's been able to do the things he has for five films and keep coming back.

On a more subtle level Nightmare 5 features some fantastic imagery - like the character of Gretta, the budding model, represented as a porcelain doll in a way reflective of the way her mother treated her, and even though she's not exactly a leading character, the parts of the film and story about her work very well because of those deeper elements. Sadly, not every attempt at this kind of thing works as well.

Effects wise there's one or two decent bits, but nothing great and in terms of "acting" what was done for Nightmare 5 barely deserves the term, but none of that mattered as the story was just so good.

I'm forced to wonder if with the fifth film the Elm Street franchise was trying to grow up along with its audience. Those who would have been in their late teens when the first film came out would have been about the right age to be starting families when Part 5 made it to theatres and so would have been well able to relate to the story (the baby part that is, not the homicidal monster from well beyond the grave spawned by the unnatural coupling of 100 lunatics and a nun part). Whatever caused it, Part 5 is a worthy addition to the story of the poor gobshites with an address on Elm Street.

Two Thumbs Up for A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child

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