Thursday, October 1, 2015

Franchises: A Nightmare on Elm Street. A Nightmare on Elm Street (5)*: The Dream Child (1989)

*I put the 5 in parentheses because it doesn't appear in the actual film or even on the DVD menu. It's like the inverse of the deal with The Revenge of Michael Myers subtitle for Halloween 5.

Freddy delivers? Not this time.
That's the artwork they should have used for this film's original VHS but, instead, they used an image of Freddy standing by the demonic baby-carriage seen in the film, shushing the viewer with one of his knives. It wasn't a very eye-catching cover, especially amongst those of the other films in the series, and the back of the box didn't help things either, with a background image of Freddy just standing there and two pictures from the film, one of the kid, Jacob, when he has makeup on him similar to Freddy and the other of Greta when her cheeks are completely bloated with food. When I saw that as a kid, even then I thought, "Well, this one just looks stupid." Little did I know that I wasn't that far off. Fittingly, this was one of the Nightmare movies that I saw last. Not only had I seen the first four but I had also seen Wes Craven's New Nightmare and Freddy vs. Jason by the time I got to this one, which was when I came across it an FYE in a mall in Memphis when I was there on a junior year retreat. I picked it up, along with some over DVDs, mainly to round out the collection since, despite what some of my classmates told me when I showed it to them (I don't know if they were being serious or just trying not to make me feel like an idiot for buying a not so good film), I had learned that it was considered by fans to be a low point in the series. Going by those images I remembered from that VHS, as well as what little I had read of the film's plot, it didn't surprise me that this one wasn't generally liked but, at the same time, I had heard the same thing about Nightmare 2 and I had ended up really liking that one, so I still had something of an open mind when I went into it. This time, however, I agreed with the general consensus: this movie blows. While I don't think it's the worst in the series like a fans do, it's a very lame entry nevertheless. Little about it really clicks, be it the story (which had a lot of potential but wasn't fully realized), the effects (some are good but a lot of them could have been better), or the dream sequences, which try to still be creative but more often than not come off as ho-hum. This is also where Robert Englund's overly comedic portrayal of Freddy becomes a detriment, especially since they were trying to go for a darker feel with this one, and where you can feel fatigue beginning to set into the franchise overall.

After a passionate night with her boyfriend, Dan, Alice Johnson has a dream where she takes a shower and is suddenly pulled into a dark mental asylum full of deranged patients. She finds herself wearing a nun's habit and a name tag that reads Amanda Krueger, the mother of Freddy Krueger. She's then locked in the asylum and attacked by the numerous inmates, experiencing the events that led to Freddy's conception, but awakens before she's raped. The next day, she graduates from high school with Dan and her other friends, Yvonne, Greta, and Mark, and plans to spend the summer in Europe with him. She tells him about her dream but he reassures her that if she doesn't dream Freddy up, he can't hurt them. Dan and the others have a graduation party at the pool where Yvonne practices swimming while Alice has to go to work. On the way, she finds herself pulled into back into the nightmare at the asylum, where she sees Amanda give birth to Freddy. The evil baby gets loose and Alice follows him into the church where she defeated him previously. He finds his clothes and glove and crawls into them, growing back into the adult Freddy Krueger. Amanda then appears, explaining that he brought her spirit back in order to bring himself back to life. She tries to tell Alice where to find her earthly remains so she can defeat Freddy but he closes the door on her before she can finish her sentence. Alice then comes out of the dream, frightened and perplexed about how this could happen while she was awake since Freddy used her dreams to continue his killing spree before. She phones Dan at the pool, tells him what happened, and he rushes to meet up with her, but is attacked by Freddy on the way and is ultimately killed in a car crash. Upon seeing a vision of Dan dying, Alice rushes outside the diner to find the burning remains of the vehicles and faints when Dan's body comes to life and speaks in Freddy's voice. When she awakens at the hospital, she learns for sure that Dan is dead and is also told that she's pregnant with his child. That night, a young boy who calls himself Jacob visits her room but the next day, she learns that the hospital has no children's ward and there were no children on her floor either. Alice tells her friends the story of Freddy and they're fairly skeptical, especially Yvonne, but promise to help her if anyone really is after her. Freddy soon kills Greta and almost kills Mark, whereupon Alice discovers that the boy Jacob is actually the embodiment of her unborn child. Alice still doesn't know how Freddy is attacking her friends while she's awake but when she goes in for an ultrasound, she learns that unborn babies spend most of their time dreaming and then sees a vision of Freddy feeding Jacob the souls of his victims, threatening to make the baby like him so he can live on through him. Now Alice must fight to save her unborn son's soul as well as stop him from being taken away from her due to her perceived erratic behavior.

This was the series' first major critical and commercial disappointment and I think a little bit of perspective is in order to understand the many factors that led to its demise. The most important one is that it was severely rushed. After Nightmare 4 was such a big hit, New Line Cinema got greedy and decided that they wanted another one out exactly one year later, leading to a hastily put-together, hodgepodge of a script that barely resembles what the three credited writers originally wrote since it was rewritten by two uncredited ones and finalized just days before shooting began. Shooting and post-production were also ridiculously fast, with director Stephen Hopkins given only two months to do both in order to meet the August release date. Such hasty conception and production is almost always disastrous and it's really ironic when you realize that Moustapha Akkad and company made the exact same mistake with Halloween 5 the same year. Speaking of which, 1989 was not a good year for horror franchises in general. Halloween 5 bombed badly that October and is still the lowest-grossing film in that series to this day; Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan performed so poorly that Paramount decided to wash their hands of that franchise and sell the rights to someone else; and while The Dream Child did better than both of those films, its $22 million box-office take was quite a comedown from The Dream Master's near $50 million the year before. This was the year when you had movies like Batman, Ghostbusters II, Lethal Weapon 2, and a number of other major blockbusters, so smaller films like these didn't stand a chance (not even the James Bond movie that year, Licence To Kill, fared well). Also, by this point, the 80's slasher craze was dead and buried, with even popular characters like Freddy and Jason Voorhees unable to overcome the indifference people now felt towards the subgenre. And finally, I think Freddy himself got really overexposed in the year between Nightmare 4 and 5. Now only was that fourth movie an enormous hit but New Line saturated the marketplace with a lot of Freddy-related items, from toys to Halloween masks to pinball machines and even kids' pajamas, along with it and also began production on that Freddy's Nightmares TV show that same year (in case you're wondering, I've only seen bits and pieces of that show when it's been played on Chiller). With Freddy being everywhere, I think it really made people indifferent to another Nightmare movie, to the point where I don't think it would be far-fetched to say that they were sick of him by this point. I know poor Robert Englund must have been exhausted as well, which, among other reasons, could be why he's said that this is his least favorite. In short, Nightmare 5 was virtually doomed from the start and the actual movie didn't help matters either.

Stephen Hopkins, who, before this, had directed an Australian horror film called Dangerous Game about kids being stalked in a department store by a killer, is actually something of a controversial figure amongst the cast of Nightmare 5. Before shooting, he told them upfront that they would have to take care of themselves when it came to character motivations, development, and so forth because he was so under the gun schedule-wise that he really needed to concentrate on the film's visuals. Fair enough given the enormous pressure he had to have been feeling, but then in an interview he gave after the film, I think during filming of Predator 2, he said that the cast members of Nightmare 5 were really unprofessional. That was mentioned in one of the extras on the Never Sleep Again documentary and at a convention, I also overheard Lisa Wilcox herself telling someone about that and how frustrated she and the other actors were, especially since making the movie so quickly wasn't easy for them either. That surprised me since Hopkins seemed like a nice enough guy in the interviews, which I told Wilcox and she told me that if he ever appeared at a convention she was attending, she probably wouldn't even speak to him. Hopkins himself has said that he doesn't remember saying that but the other cast members make a pretty good case for it and so does the fact that, while filming Predator 2, he pulled Ruben Blades out of a live interview to shoot something and said some things you can't say on TV. So, he does seem to have a habit of putting his foot in his mouth. In any case, out of Hopkins' filmography, my favorite is Predator 2, which I absolutely love and, despite what so many other people say, I think is a much better sequel than this. I've also seen The Ghost and the Darkness, which is a film that my parents love and I think is pretty good too, as well as The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, which I saw back when it premiered on cable and I thought it was interesting, albeit a bit too stylized for my tastes. Since the 2007 horror film The Reaping, with the exception of Thorne: Sleepyhead in 2010, Hopkins has mainly stuck to directing TV, working on shows like Californication and House of Lies. He does have another feature, called Race, due out in 2016.

One major compliment that I have to give Nightmare 5 is that, not only does it bring Lisa Wilcox back as Alice, but unlike Nancy Thompson and the Dream Warriors before her, she doesn't get killed off. Unfortunately, she doesn't get to fight Freddy the way she did during the climax of the previous film, as I'll get into, but at least by the end of the film, she's alive and well and raising her baby. Another major plus is that Wilcox gives another really good performance. She's been having a nice life with Dan as her boyfriend ever since she defeated Freddy and is about to graduate high school and spend a summer in Europe with Dan when she begins having nightmares that suggest Freddy might be coming back. Dan tries to put her mind at ease but her fears are confirmed when she gets pulled into a nightmare and sees Freddy come back to life in front of her and, even worse, he manages to kill Dan. On top of that, Alice learns that she's pregnant with Dan's child. So, she's going through a major whirlwind of emotions here, trying to convince her friends of Freddy's existence, fearing that they'll be his next victims (which they are), grieving the loss of Dan (that scene where she's crying over it in the kitchen by herself is really heartbreaking), and, ultimately, trying to save her unborn son from being corrupted by Freddy. Her being a determined mother-to-be is the best thing about Alice's characterization here. She feels that her son is a part of both of her and Dan and she'll be damned if she's going to let Freddy turn him into a monster like him or let Dan's parents take him away from her. That's a great moment when she tells Dan's parents, after the mother threatens legal action and says that they have a claim to "it," she tells them, "He's not a thing! He's part of me, and I'm not giving him to you or anyone else!" The idea of aborting the baby in order to keep Freddy from using his dreams to claim more victims is briefly brought up but Alice naturally shuts that down, not wanting to even think about that. Unfortunately, while her portrayal is solid and likable, Alice doesn't get to do much fighting back against Freddy except for a couple of moments where she impales him with various objects. You'd think that, after how skilled she became at the end of the previous film, she would really put that to good use to defeat this monster who's threatening her child but all she does during the climax is purge Freddy from her body and struggle with him, while Amanda Krueger and Jacob are the ones who ultimately defeat him. That's disappointing, as is that ending on the whole, but, again, at least they didn't kill Alice off, which I can live with.

Alice may survive her return appearance but I can't say the same for Dan (Danny Hassel), which is a shame because I thought he was a really likable guy in the previous film and I feel the same here. He really cares about Alice, comforting her about her fears of Freddy coming back, and is looking forward to spending a summer in Europe with her, which never happens, unfortunately. You also learn that he has some rather overbearing parents (something of a theme with this film), especially his father, who was not at all happy when Dan blows off a promising football career to go spend the summer with Alice, but the film doesn't go any deeper with it than Freddy making Dan hear his mother ranting about him over his truck radio. It's also a shame that Dan doesn't live long enough to find out that he and Alice are going to have a child because I have a feeling that he would have been very supportive of her and would have made a great father; as it stands, the only interaction "Dan" has with Jacob, other than Freddy feeding his soul to the fetus (a really unsettling idea, when you stop and think about it), is near the end of the film when Freddy disguises himself as him to fool him into coming to him. One good thing, though, is that if he had to go, at least he went out in a very memorable way since the motorcycle scene is undoubtedly one of the film's best setpieces.

When it comes to the new batch of teenagers in the film (which only consists of three), my favorite is Mark (Joe Seely), the comic book geek. Like Sheila in the last movie, I think he's maybe a little too overly nerdy in the way he looks and talks but I do like him because he seems like a guy you'd want to hang out with. I also like that he starts off as kind of a laid back, jokey person who makes comments such as, "There he goes, the fastest man on three legs," when Dan rushes to meet up with Alice and, like Yvonne and Greta, doesn't really believe Alice when she tells them about Freddy, but after Greta is killed, he begins to take things a lot more seriously. You learn that his infatuation with Greta was more than just a lustful crush but rather that he actually cared about her and wants to know everything he can about Freddy in case Alice's story about him did have something to do with what happened to her. He soon learns firsthand that Freddy is very real when he falls asleep and finds himself in the Elm Street house, with Alice having transport herself into the dream to save him. From there, he's determined to help Alice find a way to stop Freddy, digging up everything he can on both him and what happened to his mother in order to find her so she can stop him. He's the one who brings up the option of maybe aborting the baby but when Alice says that's the last thing she wants to do, I like how comforts her and says, "Alright, we'll find some other way." And even though he doesn't say anything in this scene, I like the look he gives Dan's parents after they try to convince Alice to let them take the baby and she yells at them for it. In the end, Mark may not be the deepest character (it's hinted that his father is an obnoxious asshole but they don't go anywhere with it) but he is a likable one and I was sorry that he got killed (his death scene is a lame one, too), even though I do like that he tried to fight back against Freddy after he saw him seemingly torturing Greta.

While she doesn't have a lot of screentime before she gets killed, I do like Greta (Erika Anderson). She seems like a nice enough girl who cares a lot about her friends and also happens to be really good-looking. Even though she teases Mark, saying that she's not going to go out with him anytime soon, you do get a sense that she does have some affection for him, like in the scene at the pool party where Mark gets disgusted by a guy cutting his hand open when a beer bottle breaks and she puts her hand over his eyes, teasing him about how that grosses him out even though he draws some really violent comics. She's also a character that I feel rather sorry for her since she has an overbearing mother who's trying to push her to be a model, always getting onto her about her weight and such, and won't even give her a chance to grieve for Dan's death when it interferes with a fancy dinner party she's having. And even though the premise and makeup effects look downright stupid, I find her death scene, where Freddy force-feeds to the point where her face becomes bloated, to be rather mean-spirited, especially right before she dies when she starts crying and he mocks her by patting her on the back and saying, "Poor baby. There." I don't know if this really was her or if it was a vision that Freddy came up with just to mess with Mark but also I feel bad during that moment in his dream where he sees Freddy torturing Greta by slurping up her innards and when she falls and her head breaks like a porcelain doll (a callback to something that happened earlier), she cries. Again, it feels mean-spirited and she cries like a poor child who's been hurt by physically and emotionally (if I were Mark, I would have snapped after seeing that too). I guess I'm just a big softy but that whole aspect of her character really gets to me.

For a good long while, I really didn't like Yvonne (Kelly Jo Minter, who would go on to be in Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs), the only one of the teenagers to survive with Alice. I could understand that she thought the stuff that Alice was talking about sounded completely nuts and I also didn't blame her for being irritated when Alice made her get the doctor to give her an ultrasound for something that sounds just as crazy, which could endanger her job as a hospital volunteer, but some of the stuff she says to Alice is downright mean, like when she very hatefully asks Alice why she doesn't just take off somewhere. Her disbelief of Alice's stories about Freddy also leads her to do some bitchy things, like smacking the research material that Mark has compiled out of his hands when she storms out of Alice's room after a fight, as well as bluntly telling Alice to quit acting like a crazy person. Again, you can understand why she doesn't believe Alice but still, her reactions are very frustrating at times, especially since you know Alice is right. However, now I can say that I don't outright hate Yvonne since, despite what she does, it comes out of her being concerned for both her friend and her baby, with her worrying what's going to become of them if Alice doesn't stop talking about this insane stuff. And, like Mark, once she falls asleep and gets attacked by Freddy, barely escaping, she does whatever she can to help Alice stop him, finding Amanda's earthly remains so her spirit can help defeat him.

People seem to have mixed feelings about Jacob (Whit Hertford), the physical embodiment of Alice's unborn child, mainly because of the way he looks. He does have a strange look to his face, with his eyes being a bit on the bulgy side (he looks the exact same way nowadays, except with a beard), and while I wouldn't go as far as to call him ugly, it is hard to ignore. However, acting-wise, I think the kid does just fine. He has a haunted, sad look to his expression whenever he shows up and when he appears to his mother for the first time right after Dan's death in order to make sure she's okay, he has an empathetic feel to his performance which I find endearing. The second time you see him, he's hurt because he thinks his mother doesn't want him and the reason he feels that way is because Freddy told him that, which is quite sad to think that he would tell such a horrible lie to an innocent, vulnerable kid (but, Freddy has always preyed on innocence, so it's not surprising). Eventually, Alice is able to get Jacob to come back over to her side away from Freddy, with Amanda later telling him to use the energy that he's given him through the souls of his victims against him. That's how Freddy is ultimately defeated here but, unfortunately, it doesn't look nearly as cool as it sounds; in fact, it looks really stupid, as we'll see. Jacob also tells Alice that Freddy has been hiding within her this whole time, prompting her to permanently purge him from her, which leads to Freddy's defeat. Once he is defeated, Jacob turns back into an infant (I guess we're supposed to assume that Freddy's influence made his spiritual form grow into a young kid) and becomes one with Alice again, being born in reality months after the film's story.

One of my favorite parts of the cast is Nicholas Mele's second performance as Alice's father. In the previous film, he was an unlikable, verbally-abusive alcoholic who was horrible to his kids but began to realize how awful he was being after Rick's death. Here, he's sobered up, has been attending AA meetings, and is now a great father to Alice. He watched her graduation ceremony from the sidelines because he didn't want to embarrass her by making the others comment on how "the drunk" showed up but she makes him join in, getting him into a group photo. While he is rather shocked when he finds out that Alice is pregnant, he's not at all ashamed of or disappointed in her and is supportive, saying that he hopes the kid will be a boy since he feels it'd be nice to hear a little boy playing in the house again. His best moment is when Dan's parents come over to the house and tell Alice that they want to adopt the baby as their own. When Alice becomes defensive, telling them that they're not taking her baby, and Mrs. Jordan says that the courts might not agree with her, her father says, "But I do, and I've heard enough of this crap. You think you can just walk into my house and threaten my daughter?" I really like that moment because it perfectly illustrates what a great turn-around he's been through since we first met him. Unfortunately, like the previous film, he unintentionally makes things more difficult for Alice when he makes her come home with him after Mark is killed, forcing Yvonne to find Amanda's resting place by herself while Alice deals with Freddy in the dream. It all works out, though, and at the end of the movie, you get to see him being a nice, playful grandfather to baby Jacob. Some may not like how he still doesn't know about Freddy (although, to be fair, he never says in either of these films that he doesn't believe in him and in the previous one, he said something that hinted that he may have some idea about it) but in the end, it doesn't matter since he's now the dad that Alice always needed.

In keeping with the theme of the parents in this film, save for Alice's dad, being overbearing, Dan's parents (Valorie Armstrong and Burr DeBenning) come across as really pressuring towards their son, especially his father, who tries to push him into a promising sports career. The both of them seem to be a little leery towards Alice when they see her with Dan at the graduation ceremony, feeling that she may interfering with a promising future that he could have, and you hear from Dan that his father went ballistic when he told him about his plans to spend the summer in Europe with Alice instead of taking the opportunity set before him when a coach takes interest in him. During the dream leading up to his death, Dan hears his mother saying some really bad things about both him and Alice over his truck's radio, and while this is something that Freddy comes up with simply to screw with him, it's likely that this is an exaggerated version of how she genuinely feels. And even though they've suffered a great loss, it's not easy to feel bad for them when they show up and more or less threaten to take Alice's baby away from her, saying that they have a legitimate claim to him as if he's a piece of property. To be fair, though, it's the mother who seems intent upon this, while Mr. Jordan at one point tries to tell her that this was probably a bad idea and tells Alice that the reason they're there is because they got a call from the doctor who performed the ultrasound on her, saying that she seemed rather upset and delusional. In any case, I can't help but feel that they might be as overbearing towards Jacob as they were to Dan if they were to adopt him and so, it's a good thing that they don't end up with him. The last time you see them, Mrs. Jordan is upset over what Alice said to them and I would hope that part of her tears might be because she feels bad for what she just did but I have my doubts.

This film is trying to be much darker in both its story and its visuals, with the very Gothic look to the environments in the dream sequences and such, but, as hard as it is for me to say this, the major reason why it doesn't work as effectively as it could is because of Freddy. In the previous film, while his jokes did start to wear thin by the end, the more light-hearted portrayal of him there worked with the style and tone that Renny Harlin was going for but here, it works against the film. When you're trying to tell a story about Freddy doing something as ghastly as using an unborn child's dreams to claim more victims and corrupt him so he can live on through him, even going as far as to lie to him about his mother not wanting him, it doesn't mesh well with sequences where he's dressed up as a chef and is stuffing a woman's face with food, rolling on a skateboard, and turning into Super Freddy in a comic book-inspired dream. Plus, he doesn't have any really good lines in this film; instead, we get a number of lame ones like, "It's a boy!", "Bon appetit, bitch," and, "Faster than a bastard maniac, more powerful than a loco-madman, it's Super Freddy!" Dan's death scene is one instance where the jokes really get overused, with Freddy saying one corny thing after the other, like, "This boy feels the need for speed! Fuel injection! Power drive! Fast lane!" Another is during Greta's death scene where, after "Bon appetit, bitch," he says, "Second helpings," and, "You are what you eat." It gets to the point where I actually am like, "Freddy, shut up." (Alice even says that to him in one scene!) That ultimately leads to the notion that he's not taking anything seriously, which is a big mistake considering how horrific his ultimate plan is. The only time he seems genuinely menacing when Amanda appears after his resurrection and she threatens to take back his life, with him growling and saying, "We'll see, bitch. We'll just see." If he'd acted like that throughout more of the film, and if we had gotten some scenes where we see him filling Jacob's head with the lies about his mother not wanting him, he may have been much more effective in this kind of story but, as it is, it feels like he belongs in a completely different movie.

Not only is Freddy's characterization not good but I've never cared for the way he looks in this film either. I don't like the makeup design in the next film either but I would say that this is my least favorite of the makeups that Robert Englund wore. David Miller, who created the original Freddy makeup, returned to the series after not having been involved since that first film, going on to work on movies like Night of the Comet, Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, Cocoon, and Night of the Creeps, but I wish that they had just gotten Kevin Yagher back again because the makeups that Miller creates have never felt as moist and organic as those he did, especially when you see them. Miller has said that the idea behind Freddy's look here was to make it look more aged than it had before and while you can definitely see that in the texture of the flesh and whatnot, it's not an appealing look to me. It looks pretty hokey and silly to me. Also, what is going on with his left arm after he comes back to life? They never explain why it's so elongated, including hand, or why the fingers are sagging down, and while it is striking when you see it in silhouette, it's so funky when you see it up close. It just looks as if something's wrong and it disappears after that first scene anyway, so it was pointless despite whatever the idea behind it was. Finally, I've always thought that his glove looked a little more menacing here than it did in the previous one, which is surprising given that I've learned that it's the exact same one. They must have either made some subtle modifications to it or it must be due to the different ways in which it was lit because it's felt more threatening to me, especially in that scene where he extends his hand to Jacob, prompting him to hold it, and when he scrapes the knives along the wall after he comes back to life.

The use of Amanda Krueger (Beatrice Boepple) in this film makes some sense given how we're talking about birth this time around and that he brings her soul back to literally be reborn through her but the way she's used is rather convoluted, especially if you've seen Dream Warriors. Here, you find out that her remains were not buried at the grave you saw at the end of that film but rather that they've been in the tower at the asylum where she worked (which looks nothing like Westin Hills now, I might add) for years, with her soul needing to be freed from that earthly prison so she could defeat Freddy. But, if that's the case, then why was she able to appear to Neil in Dream Warriors? Was she only able to tell him how to defeat Freddy instead of doing it herself because she was stuck in an earthly prison? And again, if that is the case, why was she able to wander around wherever she pleased before whereas here, she's stuck in the tower when Freddy slams the door on her after he's used her to be reborn and is only able to escape when Yvonne finds her remains? I originally wondered how Freddy was even able to orchestrate his own rebirth but I guess that once Jacob was conceived, his spirit was able to use his dreams to set in motion the events that led to it, which is also how he brought his mother's soul into the dream and why she's a young woman here instead of an eldery one like she was in the third film since this was her age when she originally gave birth to him. It's convoluted as all get-out, I know, and I'm probably pulling a lot of this stuff out of thin air but that's how I'm able to explain some of this, although I'm still not sure how to explain the discrepancies between how Amanda functions here and how she did back in Dream Warriors. As I've been saying, with A Nightmare on Elm Street, it's best not to overthink things and, problems aside, I do like the idea of making her a bigger part of the story and how she is determined to stop her evil son, whom she calls an abomination, going as far as to tell Jacob how to do it and holding him within her while he's trying to claw his way out at the end, but the continuity errors I've mentioned still make me scratch my head when I think about them.

There's a lot of other untapped potential in this story besides what I've already mentioned. For instance, there's that one brief moment where Mark brings up the option of aborting the baby to really ensure that Freddy won't be able to use his dreams to get more victims. Alice immediately casts that aside when it's brought up but I think it would have been interesting if she had considered it for a bit since, think about the decision she would have to make: does she save her friends' lives by killing her unborn son or does she keep him alive but risk her friends' lives in the process? I'm glad that she decided not to abort the baby for the very reasons she stated and I would have wanted her to ultimately make that decision in this scenario as well but I think having that conflict on her part would have given the film some much needed dramatic weight. What's more, the minute it's brought up and she considers it, you could have that be when Freddy starts to tell Jacob that his mother doesn't want him and, as a result, have him really turn against her, forcing her to have to fight to convince him that she does really want him. Heck, have him disguise himself as Dan whenever he talks to Jacob to really confuse the kid and have Alice be confused as well as to why Dan would tell their son, leading her to realize that it's Freddy in disguise and having to convince Jacob of that. That would be more interesting than Jacob just trusting everything that a creep like Freddy says and it would also lead to a great moment of realization when he sees who he's really been talking to all along and is horrified by it. Besides the abortion issue, you could also have Alice really having to deal with the threat of Jacob being taken away from her, which she says could very well happen if she doesn't deal with Freddy soon. You could have Dan's parents going to social services or even to the cops after that disastrous meeting with Alice and have them try to make the authorities think that she isn't fit to raise a child and could potentially harm him, either intentionally or unintentionally, and have the doctor who first contacted them back their claims up. That could be even more fuel for Freddy to get Jacob on his side: have him tell Jacob that his mother is considering giving him up to someone else and leave out how Alice told Dan's parents that he's not a piece of property but is a part of her that she's not giving up to anyone. Again, a lot of good story potential that could have made for a tougher, more interesting struggle for Alice but is only brought up once and never followed up on.

As with the two previous films, I have to give a lot of credit to the production designer because the look and art direction of the movie is one of its strongest qualities. As I've said, the movie is going for a much darker, more Gothic visual style to go along with the more serious story that it's trying to tell. In fact, it's interesting that this came out the same summer as Tim Burton's Batman because the look of the film is straight out of a Burton movie, with the mental asylum looking more like a creepy, Gothic church, especially when you see it rundown in reality (it does remind me of the cathedral where the climax of Batman takes place), the abundance of creepy rooms shot in low, amber light, and all of the long, dark hallways with lots of shadows. The room where Amanda gives birth to Freddy looks like the last place you'd want to have your baby (which is why it's perfect for him) and the place where all of the crazed inmates were kept, which is just a dungy, claustrophobic pit with a spiral staircase leading out of it, looks the way Amanda Krueger described it back in Nightmare 3: purgatory, fashioned by the hands of men. The most elaborate visual in the film, which is the room with staircases twisting and turning and going upside down in spots, is pretty impressive due to the visual effects used to enhance it, and for some reason, I like the dungeon that acts as a sauna. I don't know if it's because I've never seen something like that before or if I just like the idea of an enclosed space filled with bubbling water or what but that set has some strange appeal to me. The Elm Street house and the church where Alice defeated Freddy at the end of the previous film are much darker in look than they were before, the dining table where Greta's mother is having a dinner party in her death scene becomes more noticeably twisted when the dream begins, and the demonic baby carriage that you see throughout the movie, which was used most prominently in the teaser trailer, fits in well with the atmosphere. Unfortunately, as well-designed as the film is for the most part, there are some downsides to its visual style. One is what I've already mentioned: its effectiveness is severely hampered by how silly Freddy is acting and it really makes you wish that the script had tailored his characterization more to the tone of the piece. Another is that, when compared to the elaborate and colorful sets we got in the last movie, a lot of the ones here feel very bland and aren't as appealing to the eye, adding to a sense of fatigue about the film since there are a number of slow spots throughout it. And finally, the biggest fail art direction-wise is the set for Mark's demise, which is meant to look like a black and white comic book with him being the only color element there but it just looks pathetic, nothing more than a monochrome version of his father's warehouse and home. I know they had a limited budget but that could have looked a whole lot better.

Like Nightmare 4, a number of different people handled the various makeup effects but, while I think that film has the best work the series has ever seen, it's much more hit and miss here (mostly miss). David Miller not only did the Freddy makeup here but he was also behind the Freddy baby and the scene where he comes back to life. The latter looks pretty good but I've always thought the Freddy baby just looked stupid. The puppeteering on it isn't bad and the thing does kind of look like Robert Englund but its over-sized head, big bug-eyes, and fetus-shaped body with glistening, peach skin has always made me think, "Really?" It also doesn't help that when it's trying to turn back into the adult Freddy, it makes this horrible noise that makes me want to literally yell, "Shut the fuck up!" I'm guessing that Miller also did the Freddy-like makeup for Whit Hertford when Jacob tricks Freddy into thinking he wants to be his kid before he kills him and, like the Freddy baby, it just looks silly when you put it on that kid's already odd-looking face. R. Christopher Biggs handled one of the film's best effects sequences, which is when Dan becomes fused with the motorcycle he's driving and ends up more machine than human. Those various effects of the tubes going into his face, the wires moving under the flesh of his hands, and his flesh getting stripped off to the point where he's basically skeleton all look really, really good (unfortunately, the MPAA made them cut some of it out and that footage has never been put back in on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases) and the mechanical effects with the motorcycle, particularly the talking Freddy face made up of wires that he sees on it, is also cool-looking. The effects for Greta's death, which were by Todd Masters, on the other hand, have to be the worst in the film. While I find the actual death to be affecting and mean-spirited, that effect of Greta's cheeks stuffed with food is just gross (and not in a good way) and stupid-looking. Plus, the MPAA again didn't help matters by making them cut some shots that showed that Freddy was making her eat her own internal organs, with it coming out where you don't know what it is he's shoving into her mouth, especially when you saw a doll on a plate and you don't ever see her eat that. And I do even need to say anything about the visuals of the Phantom Prowler and Super Freddy (the latter of which is Michael Bailey Smith dubbed over by Englund)? The former looks okay to me but the latter is so dumb and uncreative in both look and concept that I just roll my eyes. There are a couple of effects at the end of the film, though, that are interesting. KNB did the effect of Alice purging Freddy from within herself, which is quite impressive as you see him literally tear away from her body, with their flesh and body parts starting out intertwined before they become more separate, with Freddy hanging onto her while his limbs are still in her. Freddy's death scene, which I think KNB also handled, is little more suspect. The idea is that Jacob unleashes the power of the souls that Freddy has fed him onto him, causing them to go right through Freddy and tear his infant version out of him. That looks good, with the screaming heads of Dan, Greta, and Mark tearing through his back and pulling the baby Freddy out but the way it starts, with Jacob shooting them out of his mouth on a long rope of some purple-colored material, makes it look as if he puked him to death! Needless to say, that hampers the impact of what the scene is meant to represent and makes it hard to take seriously.

The mechanical and visual effects are also of varying qualities but I must say that, regardless, they were pushing what they could do on a low budget with the technology available to them at the time. One that pops up several times in the film is a model called "the womb with a fetal view" that was created by Rick Lazzarini and is seen in a lot of detail when Alice has an ultrasound done. It's a pretty well-done model, with the fetus and umbilical cord looking real enough and the effects of Freddy's face on the wall of the womb and the souls going through the umbilical cord down to the fetus looking pretty impressive. You also sometimes see a shot of one of Freddy's victims either falling down into the "abyss" leading to the womb or hanging over it, most notably when Dan is killed and the background behind Alice suddenly becomes a vision of him falling down there while he yells for her. While the blue screen there is a bit obvious, what's being projected looks quite good. One moment where the matting doesn't look that great is during the diving board scene with Yvonne. In that wide-shot where the front section of the board curls up towards after turning into big, stone claws, the effect is painfully obvious, although the practical effects used for the close-ups aren't that bad. A simple but good use of blue screen is when Alice is laying down on the bed and the background is completely black but as she enters the dream, the environment appears behind her. As I said up above, the effects used to create the Freddy motorcycle, especially the face that appears on it in front of Dan, look good all-around. There's a lot of animation in the film, both stop-motion and hand-drawn, and, again, the quality varies from one effect to the other. The stop-motion of the food in Alice's refrigerator become moldy and rotten may not be the most realistic but it's an interesting visual, as is when you see an animated drawing of Mark appear on a drawing of the Elm Street house when he falls asleep and when Alice becomes enveloped in this glowing, blue light as she gets pulled into the vision of what Freddy is doing to her baby. The most impressive visual effect in the film to me is when you see Mark get pulled into a comic book, leading into his death scene. That shot of him going from a flesh-and-blood actor to a two-dimensional, animated drawing that gets sucked into the comic in something of a vacuum is truly a sight to behold and must have been a nightmare to get right, so I have to give the effects guys major kudos for that one. One that I have more mixed feelings about is Mark's actual death, which is when he gets turned into a paper cutout and Freddy hacks him up. Again, I appreciate the effort that went into the animation of the cutout's movements and expressions as he gets shredded, which can't have been easy to pull off, but it's hardly one of the series' best deaths and the effect ultimately leaves something to be desired, although I do like the shot of the color spilling out of him and onto the floor like blood as well as the matting of him into the scene with Robert Englund. The animation of the spiders that Freddy's limbs turn into when he gets ripped apart by the inmates near the end of the film is by far the worst example of it in this film; those animations don't mesh well with the real ones you see in the following shots at all. Amanda's skeleton becoming an apparition and then disappearing looks fine but the last, very impressive, major effect of the film is that upside-down, topsy-turvy room that Freddy chases Alice and Jacob. That is done very well, with some very clever opticals and editing used to make it a disorienting but memorable scene.

After the opening credits, which features a suggestive, darkly lit montage of Alice and Dan having sex, Alice gets out of bed to take a shower. Everything seems perfectly normal at first as she stands there underneath the water but a menacing tracking shot outside hints that that's not the case. The drain at her feet begins to bubble, spewing out a nasty-looking, brown-yellow gunk that doesn't take long to get her attention. Bending down after a particularly violent spurt, Alice sticks her hand down the drain to try to unclog it but another blast of gunk hits her hand. She sticks her hand back down in there but, despite some suggestive shots from within the drain, nothing else happens and she stands back up. Suddenly, the water pressure from the shower-head becomes much more intense, hitting her in the face and prompting her to cover her eyes. She tries to turn it off but that doesn't work and there's more gunk coming up through the drain. Water begins spitting out of the wall behind the tiles and when she again tries to turn faucet handles, water spews out from behind them until one comes off altogether, knocking her against the wall. Alice tries to get out of the shower as it begins filling up, with shower-heading blowing open and the wall beginning to buckle from the pressure, but the door won't open. It isn't long before the shower becomes completely filled with water and Alice smacks her hand against the door, trying to force it open. Eventually, it does come open, but instead of falling out into the bathroom, she falls through a suspended wall of water into a dark hallway. A metal door slams shut behind her and Alice gets to her feet and slowly walks down the hallway, naked and dripping wet. Hearing voices and then shadows from a room on the other end of the hallway, Alice slowly walks towards it, suddenly dressed in a nun's habit as she pass from the darkness and into the light at one spot. The room up ahead is crawling with insane madmen (one of whom is Robert Englund out of makeup) who shamble about, muttering to themselves and laughing crazily. On a walkway up above, an asylum attendant is counting the number of inmates when his partner tries to hurry him up. He says that he'll make him lose count and he goes back to doing so, as Alice wanders into the room amongst the inmates. That's when she looks down at the name-tag on her habit and sees that it reads, AMANDA KRUEGER. The other attendant reassures his buddy that all 100 inmates are there and tells him to come on, which he reluctantly does. Alice yells for them to wait and tries to make it to the stairs that lead to the door but they slam it shut, with the door she came through doing the same. Everything grows eerily quiet as the inmates all turn their attention to her, causing her to back up in fear. They all then crowd in around her and cover her. In a dissolve, Alice is back in her bed, screaming and thrashing, with Dan waking her up and asking if she's alright. Alice sits up and tries to compose herself... when the inmate played by Englund suddenly appears in Dan's place and attacks, flinging her down against the bed. Alice pushes back against him and he disappears, with a camera pull back revealing that she's by herself. In the next shot, Alice almost contemplates not taking a shower after that but starts the water running anyway.

After the high school graduation ceremony, Alice walks off to go to work at the diner but when she walks through a park filled with playing kids, she hears the last thing she ever wanted to hear again: "One, two, Freddy's coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door." Sure enough, when she looks through the bars of a jungle gym to her right, she sees those girls playing jump-rope while singing that song. The scene suddenly turns from late afternoon to dark as Alice follows the kids into the nearby woods. She comes upon one girl in a clearing who finishes the song but with a different last lyric: "Nine, ten, he's back again." Walking out into the clearing, the shadows of the trees stretch across the ground and Alice finds herself facing a nun standing on a stone stairway. The nun turns and walks up the stairs and Alice follows her, with a wide-shot revealing the Gothic, creepy insane asylum in all its glory. Following the nun through the double-doors, Alice turns a corner and heads to her left down a T-junction, walking for a bit and looking at the creepy design of the hallways. She sees a demonic baby carriage roll past a door at the other end of the hall, stopping at the foot of some stairs. Seeing the nun, Alice heads up those stairs, getting around the carriage in a way that she doesn't seem to understand with how she glances back down at it, but when she gets to the top, she suddenly drops. In a cut, she's being rolled through some doors on a gurney, now wearing the clothes a patient would wear. Alice covers her ears and screams from the deafening sounds around her as she's wheeled into a delivery room, with a bunch of attendants and a doctor holding her down, assuring her that there's nothing to be afraid of. Alice then sits up and a slow camera pan around those watching reveal her suddenly among them, with Amanda Krueger having actually taken her place on the gurney. Amanda begs Alice for help, telling her not to let "him" do this, as the doctor explains to her that her infant is backwarda and that she's going to have to turn it around. Labor is then induced and Amanda pushes the baby out, with the doctor and the nun assisting him looking horrified at what's just been delivered. As the still unseen baby cries hideously, the nun tries to assure Amanda that it's one of God's creatures but she tells her that the thing is anything but. Amanda reaches for it but it squirms out of the nun's arms and drops to the floor, turning to look at Alice as you finally get a look at it. It rushes past her and out the doors behind her, with Alice, after a bit of hesitation, following it out of the suddenly deserted delivery room.

Walking through the doors, Alice finds herself in the church where she defeated Freddy before. Looking under the seats for the evil baby, Alice sees it crawling towards Freddy's discarded clothes at the head of the room. Realizing what's about to happen, Alice runs towards the baby in an attempt to stop it, when it begins making this horrible screeching sound, shaking the entire place, rocking the arches, causing the floorboards to buckle upwards, and shattering the stained glass window at the front of the church. Alice almost reaches the baby when the section of floor she's on arches up and throws her back, while the baby crawls into the clothes. The floor continues buckling and the section where the baby is rises up into the air as its body begins stretching and growing into the clothes. Alice futilely tries to reach the altar but is unable to do with all of the chaos going on, with the ceiling falling through and the altar continuing to rise up towards it. The silhouetted, full-grown figure of Freddy stands up, groaning, as the window behind him shatters and blows him forward, the altar falling with him, as Alice falls too. Things quickly get quiet as Alice gets up and walks backwards, hearing a click as Freddy puts his hand into his glove on the ground, followed by a loud, metallic screech as he scrapes the knives along the wall. Alice looks behind her, trying to find the source of the sound, when she slowly turns back around and sees Freddy, standing on the pedestal as he puts his hat on and declares, "It's a boy!" Horrified, Alice tells him that he can't come back because she locked the door on him. Stalking her amongst the seats, Freddy sneaks up behind her and tells her, "But I found the key," putting his hand on her stomach for emphasis. Freddy then laughs evilly but stops short when the doors open and Amanda appears, telling him that his birth was a curse on humanity, as he backs up and hisses. Amanda says that she will take his life back but he disappears in a cloud of smoke, telling her, "We'll see, bitch. We'll just see." Amanda tells Alice that she must be released from her earthly prison but before she can explain the details, the doors close on her and Freddy's voice tells Alice that she'll never find her. Alice runs through the doors to find herself in the diner where she works, out of the dream and now four hours overdo according to her very angry co-worker.

Alice calls Dan at the pool party and tells him what happened, with Dan telling her to wait at the diner for him. Speeding down the road in his truck, he turns on the radio and a DJ, who sounds like a bad Tim Curry impersonator, opens the phone-line up. After nodding off, Dan is shocked to hear the sound of his mother's voice refer to him as her, "wayward, ex-son" and an, "ungrateful, unmanageable dickweed," while Alice gets called a, "bimbo, slut, whore" for seducing him. Confused, Dan then hears Freddy say, "If I were you, lady, I'd kill the ungrateful piggy," as some mechanized versions of his knives slash into the radio. Dan is then restrained to the seat by a number of seatbelts that appear out of nowhere, the truck skidding around the road in the process and eventually going down a hill as he tries to get free. The gas pedal suddenly turns by itself and Dan's foot is forced to push it to the floorboard, with Freddy saying, "Put your pedal to the metal, Dan!" Dan tries to grab the stick but it moves out of his reach, as the truck smashes through bushes on the hillside and ends up another road down below, driving into incoming traffic. Dan again tries to grab the stick as cars swerve out of the truck's way, when he sees Freddy sitting across from, working another wheel and stick. He guzzles down the champagne that Dan had bought for himself and Alice but then spits it on the dashboard, which sizzles as if it were acid, and says, "Bad year, Dan!" He then pours the acidic champagne onto his right shoulder and lets it burn through his arm. He tears it off himself and shoves it up to the ceiling, burning through it. Freddy tells Dan to buckle up as they appear to head straight for an incoming car. Dan grabs the now demonic-looking stick and tries to stop, blowing the tires out and sending him flying through the windshield, landing back at the now deserted pool. Hearing the phone in the office ringing, Dan rushes to the door and tries to get in but it's locked and he runs back outside. His truck is there but he no longer has the keys for it and, frustrated, he smacks the door when he notices a parked motorcycle next to it with the key still in the ignition. He gets on it and speeds back down the road.

Dan pushes the motorcycle as fast as it can go, whizzing between cars on the highway, when wires suddenly curl around on the right handle and stick into his knuckles. He screams in pain as his hand becomes attached to the handle, the motorcycle weaving amongst more cars, as more wires begin forming something on the bike's speedometer in front of him and Freddy yells, "Yee-haw!" A Freddy-like face forms out of the wires and says, "This boy feels the need for speed," which is how his dad described to the football coach earlier. A mechanical, clawed hand jams into Dan's side, with Freddy saying, "Gotcha!", as more wires pour out of the bike and other mechanical parts attach themselves to Dan. Freddy yells, "Fuel injection!" as a part attaches itself to Dan's back and tubes jam into the sides of his face. The wires go further up his arms and the force of the speed he's going at rips his flesh off until he's basically a skeleton driving the cycle. Freddy then tells him, "Hey, Danny, better not dream and drive!" Dan then looks down at the Freddy face and looks back up at some oncoming headlights heading right for him. The scene cuts back to Alice working at the diner, when the background behind her turns into a vision of Dan screaming for her while getting sucked down an abyss. Alice yells for him as Dan, having woken back in his truck, is unable to avoid an oncoming freighter truck and hits its front. Alice runs outside of the diner to see the crash-site, with Dan's truck in flames in front of the 18-wheeler. As she runs to the front of the truck, a figure that looks identical to Freddy jumps out of the cab and grabs Alice but it turns out to be the truck-driver, his face covered in blood,  who yells that Dan came out of nowhere. Getting away from him, Alice runs to the front of the truck and sees Dan lying inside his burning one. Suddenly, he comes to life and speaks in Freddy's voice, "Hi, Alice. Wanna make babies?" He then laughs as Alice faints in shock.

Following that and Alice's first, brief visit by Jacob in her hospital room after learning that she's pregnant, the next nightmare happens the following night when Greta's mother is throwing a fancy dinner party. After becoming angry with her mother when she tries to make her show some gratitude for a promising modeling career that's being offered to her despite the fact that one of her friends died the day before, and ignoring a comment about Dan not being someone special, Greta nods off and appears to awaken when she's offered a fruit platter. When she refuses it, everyone at the table appears shocked and her mother insists that she eat something, with Greta saying how she's the one who's always on her back about her weight. Her mother says that dieting is so they can eat at important social events like this and Greta responds, "Tell you what, why don't I just eat the whole goddamn tray, go throw up, and come back for seconds, alright?!" Freddy then makes his inevitable appearance, dressed as a chef and rolling in a food tray, while Greta is now in a demonic baby-chair that he closes on her. After telling her, "Bon appetit, bitch," Freddy holds up a doll on a tray (he says, "Fillet de Barbie," but it's not a Barbie doll), and Greta's mother insists on nothing but the best for her as Freddy shoves some food into her mouth. Greta spits that out but, in the next cut, her cheeks are literally bulging with food while Freddy continues forcing more in there, all the while making wise-cracks as the dinner guests laugh at what's going on. Soon, Greta is starting to cry and Freddy mocks sympathy, putting his arms around her, her head on his shoulder, and patting her on the back, before jerking her around. In reality, Greta sits up and begins choking, while in the dream, Freddy maneuvers her around as everyone keeps laughing. In a cut back to Alice's house, she's putting some fruit into the refrigerator when everything in there instantly becomes rotten and spoiled, as well as getting some gruesome additions like some eyeballs in a bowl. Backing up, Alice is startled when Greta appears out of the inside of the door, screaming for her. Alice grabs her arms and tries to pull her out, yelling for her dad for help but he doesn't hear any of this. Freddy then lunges out of the inside of the refrigerator, grabs Greta, and pulls the door shut, with a note appearing on the front that reads, DIE, BITCH! Back at the party, Greta continues chocking and drops dead onto the table, while Alice cautiously opens the fridge back up to reveal that everything's back to normal inside, with her father in the next room asking how dinner's coming.

When Alice stays with Mark to talk to him about what happened to Greta and also plans to tell him the full story about Freddy, he ends up falling asleep with his headphones on when she goes off to make some coffee. Coming back in to his comic studio and living space, she sees a drawing of the Elm Street house on his desk and sees an animated caricature of Mark walking towards it. Attempting to stop him, she hastily draws a figure meant to be her in front of the house and then concentrates, putting herself in his dream as the house's door closes. In a single movement of the camera, we see that she now is outside of the house and she walks through the door. Calling for Mark down the hallway to the left of the stairs, Alice walking up them when she hears Mark yell for help in the next room. She walks in the direction of the sound and in the next room, she finds Mark hanging over a hellish, pulsating, fleshy pit (the tunnel leading to her womb) by the edge of it. It takes some work on his part but he manages to grab her hand and she pulls him up out of the pit. She says that they need to get out and she runs for the door while Mark watches the pit seal up. Alice gets the door open and she tells Mark to come on but when he walks towards her, it's in a dazed, stumbling kind of way. Looking at his hands, he sees bleeding cuts on the palms and falls backwards, groaning, "Oh, shit," and disappearing when he hits the floor, leaving the dream. After he disappears, Alice walks back into the room, seeing Jacob standing there. He sadly says hello to her and the door then slams shut behind her, startling her. They then talk for a bit, with Jacob mentioning that he's been having bad dreams and when she asks if the house is where he lives, Jacob says that he's just waiting for someone. When Alice says that maybe they should go look for his mother, Jacob says that she doesn't want him around. She says that she's sure that his mother's very worried about him, as she would be. Jacob suddenly snaps at her, saying that he likes Alice and wants to stay with her, then asking why she doesn't like him. Alice asks who told him that and Jacob says, "My friend with the funny hand." Alice then tries to get Jacob to leave with her but Jacob says, "I have to go now. He's calling me," and walks out of the room and up the stairs. Alice chases after him but when she runs up to the top of the stairs and goes through a door, she finds herself back in Mark's room. Bandaging up his cut hands, Alice explains to Mark that Freddy is doing something to her baby and Mark tells her to get Yvonne to get the doctor to check the baby out, while he digs up some more info on Freddy.

A brief scene follows where Yvonne reluctantly gets the doctor to perform an ultrasound on Alice, who does inform Alice that unborn babies do, in fact, dream, spending up to 70% of a day in a dream state and even longer as it matures. The doctor becomes rather perplexed when Alice lets on that she's trying to see if her baby is having nightmares but goes ahead with the ultrasound, listening to the fetus' hearbeat. Looking at the ultrasound, Alice is initially happy but, as the scene goes on, her smile fades as she notices that her baby looks like it's thrashing around and the screen is getting instances of static across it. The static becomes more and more violent as she continues to watch the screen and Alice is then pulled into a vision of her baby in the womb. After watching her baby for a bit, Alice then sees Freddy's face on the wall of the womb, asking if she sees any family resemblance. Dan and Greta's souls are then seen descending down through the umbilical cord and into the fetus, with Freddy explaining, "Soul food for my boy." Alice yells for Freddy not to touch him as the fetus' eyes snap open after being "fed." She then snaps back into reality and says aloud, "What's he doing to my baby?" The doctor tries to reassure that her baby, despite being a little large for this stage, is perfectly fine but Alice foolishly tells Yvonne what she saw in front of him, prompting him to call Dan's parents on the telephone after Yvonne takes Alice out.

After Mark tells Alice about how he found out that Amanda Krueger hung herself but it was never proven 100% because they never found the body and her grave at the cemetery is only a vacant plot. Realizing that they have to find her earthly prison to release her soul so she can defeat Freddy, Alice decides to allow herself to fall asleep so she can look for her while Mark watches over her in his room/studio. At the same time, Yvonne goes to the pool to relax in the jacuzzi there. While Alice searches for Amanda in the dream, Mark keeps himself awake by reading his comic books, glancing up at her every now and then to make sure she's okay. In the dream, Alice comes upon a staircase leading to a metal wall with a portion of it that's been sealed up with bricks. Back at the pool, Yvonne gets out of the jacuzzi and walks to the diving board, with a high camera view showing Freddy's knives scrape along a metal bar. Appearing to get the feeling that she's not alone, Yvonne looks around before climbing on up to the diving board. She gets ready to dive when the platform starts rocking back and forth, the front edge suddenly turning into stone and cracking to form large claws that curl up towards her. Screaming, Yvonne stumbles backwards and grabs onto the handle-bar, which has now become fleshy and breaks off. Another claw curls around from the back of the board and Yvonne, with nowhere else to go, runs and jumps off the platform towards the pool. Freddy can be heard cackling as she falls towards the pool, which turns into the floor of a dungeon with a puddle in the center. Yvonne goes right through the puddle and falls vertically into a room with bubbling, sauna-like water in it. She gets her head above the surface but is suddenly pulled back under. At that moment, Alice notices a door across from her open and Freddy then says, "Let's rock and roll!" She's suddenly pinned against the wall and rolls across it through the door, finding herself in the same room. She grabs a chain as she's flung in and is able to use it drop softly into the water, from which Freddy emerges across from her, spitting water out as he does. He stands up in the water and Alice tells him that she knows what he's up to. Freddy says, "I thought I was up to, uh... Yvonne!", pulling Yvonne screaming out from under the water. Alice then grabs a pool-skimmer and tells Freddy to shut up, putting the handle through his mouth and out the back of his head, impaling him against a steaming pipe on the backwall. He pulls it out of his mouth and lunges at Alice and Yvonne as they run out the door but he stops short at the door and slinks back in, closing it. Alice explains to Yvonne, who now knows that she's not crazy, that Freddy's scared of Amanda and that they have to find her.

Back in his room, Mark is still looking through his comics when he comes across one called Nightmare From Hell. Looking through it, he sees a number of illustrations that mirror the events of what's happened, with the comic stopping on a page that has a drawing of himself looking at the comic. A light suddenly comes out of the comic and Mark screams for Alice as he's turned into an illustration and sucked into it. Mark then finds himself in a monochrome version of the warehouse and climbs atop one of the shelves to get a better look at his surroundings, when Freddy shows up nearby and slashes a tube. When he starts heading towards him, slashing another object as he does, Mark quickly jumps down and runs for it through the aisles until he comes across a dead-end. Freddy then jumps around the corner on a skateboard and rolls towards him, slashing everything to his right as Mark puts his arms up, bracing himself for it... when Freddy suddenly vanishes right before he touches him. All of the shelves that Freddy cut suddenly collapse in front of Mark, who manages to keep from getting crushed by staying where he is. As the dust settles, Mark feels blood drip onto his hair and when he wipes it and sees what it is, he turns around and looks up, seeing Greta as a life-size porcelain doll with a bloody stomach being held from behind by Freddy. She begs Mark to help her, as Freddy quips, "Is she delicious or am I crazy?", scooping up some of her insides with his knives. As Mark yells for him to leave Greta alone, Freddy pushes her down off the shelf, her body breaking to reveal more blood. Freddy jumps down behind Mark and laughs cruelly while he, furious at what he just did and hearing Greta sob, swings around while simultaneously turning into the comic book character the Phantom Prowler. Pointing two handguns at Freddy, he tells him, "Time to die, you scar-faced, limp dick!", shooting him repeatedly full of holes (which spit what looks like confetti) and knocking him backwards until he falls against the pile of broken shelves behind him. Lowering his guns, Mark walks towards Freddy, who plays dead for a bit before laughing and getting to his feet, turning into Super Freedy, now with a muscular physique, a cape, and a jagged stripe across his shirt. Mark shoots at him again but the bullets now do nothing as he walks towards him, reciting that dumb Super Freddy line before getting up to him and swiping him. In a cut, Freddy is back to normal but Mark is now a paper cut-out with a big hole in his right side. Freddy jokes, "Told ya comic books was bad for ya!" as the color drains out of Mark and he then proceeds to slice him to pieces, with the whole place coming down as, back in reality, Mark's bloody hand falls onto a comic on the floor and the now finished Nightmare From Hell comic is across from him, depicting what we just saw. Alice wakes up and sees what's happened, while Yvonne wakes up back in the jacuzzi and quickly gets out.

When Yvonne arrives at the warehouse, Alice tells her what happened and, realizing that Amanda must be in the asylum's tower since that's where she was when Freddy used Yvonne to distract her, she tells her to the actual tower and find her remains. Alice's father forces her to come home with him, ensuring that Yvonne will have to do this by herself. Driving to the asylum, Yvonne heads inside and searches for a way to the tower, while at her home, Alice falls asleep and enters the dream version of the place. While Alice wanders around, trying to draw Freddy out by yelling for him, Yvonne finds the same stairs that Alice did in the dream and picks up a bar as she heads up them. Yvonne reaches the bricked in section at the top while Alice, who couldn't get Freddy to show himself by declaring that she's not going to let him corrupt Jacob, finds the stairs in the dream and yells, "If you won't talk to me, maybe you'd like to talk to Amanda!" That gets Freddy's attention and he appears in one of the nearby halls. Meanwhile, Yvonne manages to knock one of the bricks out of the wall, revealing a room behind it. In the dream, Freddy stalks and chases Alice through the hallways but he loses her and stops when he hears the cackling of the inmates in the room at the end of the hall. Apparently frightened by this, he's about to head back down the hall when Alice charges behind him with that demonic baby carriage and impales him through the back with the spikes on its front. She rolls him all the way to the door and dumps him down the stairs leading to the pit with the inmates. Getting up, Freddy finds himself cornered by the inmates, who quickly surround and descend onto him, literally tearing him apart as Alice watches from above. She yells, "Good night, asshole!", feeling that he's been defeated, but his limbs turns dozens of spiders when they hit the floor, some of which crawl onto Alice's jacket, prompting her to rip it off and stomp at them. Alice then hears a kid giggling nearby and Freddy telling Jacob that he's his real friend. She walks down a nearby hall towards the topsy-turvy room where they are, with upside-down stairs going upwards, upside down lights, and such. When she enters the room, Jacob tells his mother to meet his friend, with Freddy making a joke about her attempt to kill him. He then makes Jacob hold his gloved hand, which actually frightens the kid and he looks back at his mother. Alice assures Jacob that he won't hurt them because he needs them both but Freddy says that he now does have them both. As that baby carriage heads up one of the flights of stairs, Alice tells Jacob that it's time to go home and the kid heads towards her.

What follows is a very confusing chase that is hard to describe in detail because of all the different directions the characters are running in. Freddy tries to get Jacob with his glove at one point and then appears hanging upside down above him. Dan then suddenly appears, walking through the doors of the diner Alice works at and telling his son that it's alright, that he should come with him. Alice is confused but when Dan walks directly beneath Jacob and flexes his right hand the way Freddy does with his glove, she realizes that it's really him and tells Jacob that it's not his father. The kid runs for it, with Freddy almost getting him but, to his chagrin, Jacob and Alice are about to reach each other. Grumbling, "Kids... always a disappointment," he drops his disguise. Alice and Jacob reunite in the center of the room and Alice is then surprised when Freddy disappears. Jacob tells Alice that Freddy is hiding inside her, which is how he found him in the first place. Alice then decides to purge Freddy from within her for good and begins straining, with her voice suddenly becoming distorted and her face taking on his burns. Freddy's head then literally peels away from hers and once he's completely free, he tells Alice that now they can really get to know each other and begins putting his limbs through her body, his left arm going through her back and coming around to her neck, one of his legs coming out of the back of her own, his right hand clawing out of her left arm, and his other leg coming out of her back. Meanwhile, in the real world, Yvonne finally breaks through the brick wall into the room and sees a white-clad figure in there with its back turned to her. Walking up to the figure, Yvonne puts her hand on its shoulder and its head turns to reveal a skull. The skull then becomes the apparition of Amanda Krueger, who thanks Yvonne and disappears into thin air, leaving nothing behind but her white habit. Arriving into the dream, Amanda sees Alice and Freddy struggling with each other and tells Jacob that only he can help his mother. While attacking Alice, Freddy is distracted when he hears Jacob tell him, in a raspy voice, to leave Alice and when he looks at him, he now has burn marks on his face like him. He tells Freddy that he wants to learn stuff from him now and Freddy, slurping Alice on the face, tosses her aside and walks up to Jacob. Amanda then tells Jacob to unleash the power Freddy has given him and, telling him that school's out, shoots a long, thick bar of purplish gunk out of his mouth and into Freddy's chest. Jacob falls and Alice watches as the souls of Dan, Greta, and Mark burst out through his back and pull him across the floor, until the strain literally tears the infant Freddy out of him. Alice then sees that Jacob has reverted back to an infant as well and picks him up, while Amanda does the same with the baby Freddy before he can crawl away and forces him to disappear back into her womb. Baby Jacob then disappears back inside of Alice as well and she watches as Amanda struggles back up the steps. Amanda tells Alice to go and when she walks through the door at the top, Freddy's hand claws out of her, trying to escape, as Amanda throws up door after door, which he smashes, until a final metal one appears to hold him. The film ends on a scene some time later when Alice has had Jacob and she, her father, and Yvonne are having a picnic with the baby in the park... when the camera pulls back to reveal those girl playing jump-rope while humming the nursery rhyme.

I have mixed feelings about the score by Jay Ferguson because, like the film itself, it swings back and forth from being rather dark and eerie to downright silly and stupid. There are a number of subtle, ethereal pieces throughout the score, often when someone's nodding off to sleep or in the dreams in some instances, like early on when Alice wanders through the park and ends up in a dream, that I really like, and the same goes for this bell-like noise that's the first thing you hear during the opening credits, some eerie vocalizing voices here and there, and some distant, religious singing you sometimes hear when Amanda Krueger is brought up. That's all good stuff but there are other bits of the score that are just plain dumb, with the most notable ones being this, "Di, di, di," sound that you hear when Dan drives off on the motorcycle and a similar-sounding piece when Freddy chases Mark on the scateboard. The music that plays during the big scenes is either forgettable, like when Dan's driving the truck, or over the top and stupid, such as this crappy, "heroic" music when Mark turns into the Phantom Prowler. This film also doesn't make much use of the original Elm Street theme; you hear it through the nursery rhyme that's actually sung only a couple of times at the beginning and in a very overblown version when Freddy is resurrected and when he turns into Super Freddy. As for the song on the soundtrack, the only one I really remember is this rap song called Let's Go by Kool Moe Dee that plays over the ending credits. That song... just, wow. That guy can rap better than I ever could (I was especially impressed with all of the alliterative L-words he came up with in a row) and it is memorable, but I have no clue what a rap song where a guy verbally punishes some loser who challenged him to a rapping battle he couldn't hope to win has to do with anything. Yeah, some of the songs in Nightmare 4 didn't feel like they fit but, one, I like them a lot more than anything here, and two, the majority of them still did, especially that Ready for Freddy song, as silly as it was. Like the movie itself, I don't know about this music.

While I don't think it's the absolute worst entry in the series, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is definitely one of its lowest points, with or without the "5." The story has potential that is never taken advantage of, the darker tone and look is constantly marred by Freddy being goofier than ever and very ridiculous dream scenes, the new characters are likable but are generally not given much to play, some of the makeup and visual effects are severely lacking, the finale could have been a lot better, the quality of the music is uneven, and the film, overall, suffers from being very hastily developed and pushed into production. There are some good notes to the film, though, like Lisa Wilcox's performance and the fact that Alice isn't killed off, the other actors play their parts well, especially Nicholas Mele returning as Alice's father, the dark, Gothic production design is well done, if maybe a bit bland when compared to that of the previous film, there are some good sequences like the motorcycle bit, there are very well done effects along with the not so good ones, and some parts of the score do sound good. It's a very uneven movie overall and while I can't quite decide which side outweighs the other, I can say for sure that I'm not a fan of this one and that it's the first Nightmare on Elm Street that I can't, in good conscience, recommend to a newcomer. But, regardless, I feel that in the next film, things got a lot worse for the series before they got better.

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