Horror Movie Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)


This movie couldn’t fail as soon as I saw the opening credits & Screaming Mad George came up as the special effects creator. If you don’t know of this guy… Google his work. He is a genius & has made many a bad movie better just with his effects.

Our 3 survivors of the Dream Warriors movie, Kristen (played by a different actor), Kincaid & Joey have all been released from the hospital & are getting on with their lives. They all go to the same school where Kristen has a new group of friends who will totally not die…

We have Alice who is a bit of a daydreamer, Sheila the asthmatic brainy kid, Debbie who is afraid of bugs & Alice’s brother Rick who likes martial arts. All of this is established nice & early so we can start to imagine the ways in which Freddy can kill them.

…but Freddy’s is dead & buried, right?

Nightmare 4

Well Kirsten just can’t seem to get him out of her head & constantly dreams of Freddy’s house dragging Kincaid & Joey in with her. They are obviously not happy about this & warn her about stirring him up with these actions.

It ends up with Kincaid & his pet dog bringing Freddy back. Kirsten, not wanting to dream, stays awake. Kincaid dreams of the junkyard where Freddy’s remains are buried. We get a pretty awesome & gruesome Freddy regenerating scene (blame the dog) before he kills Kincaid.

Junkyard

Freddy then goes after Joey who is still super-horny & meets his end at the hands of a naked chick (Freddy) swimming inside his waterbed. The kids an idiot but the effect is intense & makes for a great find for his mother in the morning.

Freddy & Joey

Kirsten freaks out when she sees that Kincaid & Joey aren’t at school & ends up falling & knocking herself out where she has a close encounter with Freddy in the school nurses office (also Robert Englund in drag is one of the more amusing Nightmare scenes I’ve seen).

Rob in drag

Kirsten confides in Alice, Rick & new guy, Dan (who Alice fancies) about Freddy. Later, drugged by her mother Kirsten ends up being killed by Freddy but not before she drags Alice into her dream & gives her the power she possessed. Bringing Alice in was exactly what Freddy wants as now he can terrorise a new group of kids.

Alice steps up as the star of the movie now alongside Freddy who continues killing in inventive ways while Alice sets about collecting her dead friend’s dream abilities like their Pokémon cards.

Alice

Freddy getting top billing on the cast list should be a sign of just who is now the real star of these movies & no-one can hold a candle to him throughout. The wise-cracking murderer is on fine form here & the variety in deaths is just amazing. Seriously…the effects on show are better than I’ve ever seen with the cockroach scene standing out & living long in the memory…not for the squeamish though.

Cockroach Gif

The plot is a little contrived & it is far too easy for Freddy to come this time. The idea of Alice collecting all of her dead friend’s dream abilities might have been a nice enough idea but resulted in some seriously cheesy moments. The idea is that she doesn’t just absorb their ability but part of their personality & has to play up to this as the movie goes on. She’s a good actor but suddenly being able to do karate because her brother seemed a tad silly even by this movies standard.

Fight

The film’s ending premise is that Freddy & Alice will face off…him with the combined powers of the collected souls (amazing looking effect on his body) & her with the combined dream abilities. It could have made for an exciting battle but instead becomes nothing more than a fist fight with some of the worst sound effects & it gets really messy at the end.

It’s a puzzling final few scenes but the excellent effects will distract you from the nonsensical parts of the story.

Faces

Alice stands tall at the end alongside Dan & Freddy is defeated yet again but as always a final scene at the end reminds you that he will always come back.

Hell

The acting is good, the gore is good, the effects are amazing but the story is weak. This is a better Nightmare on Elm Street movie than you might first think it is. Worth seeing just for some of the incredible deaths scenes.


A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
  • 7/10
    The Final Score - 7/10
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