Having survived Freddy Krueger’s (Robert Englund) assault in A Nightmare on Elm St. 4: The Dream Master (1988) , Alice (Lisa Wilcox) and Dan (Dan Hassel) are graduating with their new friends (read: cannon fodder) and have put all of that unpleasantness behind them. Unfortunately, Freddy has other plans and has figured out a way to return through Alice and Dan’s unborn child!
In interviews, director Stephen Hopkins explained that by number 4, the powers that be at New Line Cinema decided that Freddy Krueger had become too comical and that this installment should be a return to the darker tone of the original film. I only bring this up to point out how miserably Hopkins and Co. failed in that endeavor.
This is the weakest film of the series, which is not a surprise considering that Freddy is at his weakest. His facial make-up design makes him look bad, even for him. Combine that with the odd, over-long limbs, a random wetsuit sweater, and “Super Freddy” - you have a recipe for disaster.
Hopkins bucks quite a few trends in 80s horror from starting the film with a sex scene to having “Art-House-y” chalk opening credits and not making his film scary. Though there is some truly bizarre, memorable imagery to be found such as the recreation of the circumstances surrounding Freddy’s conception and Alice willing Freddy out of her body. Trust me, it looks just as weird as it sounds.
This installment “boasts” one of the lower bodycounts of the entire series. However, though the quantity is low, the quality is quite high. Hopkins makes full use of the reality or lack there of in the series creating some of the most bizarre death scenes. Take Dan’s death. After being thrown out of his truck, Dan gets on a motorcycle to race to Alice’s rescue. However, along the way, Freddy merges Dan’s body with his motorcycle a la David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983) . Alice’s comic book reading friend, Mark (Joe Seeley) finds himself the only thing in color in an entirely black and white world and bravely tries to kill “Super Freddy” before being turned into a two-dimensional drawing and shredded. Meanwhile, hopeful model Greta (Erika Anderson) is force-fed her own innards in a binge gone horribly wrong.
These sequences are immensely creative, which feel wasted amidst such a lackluster story. For all of Hopkins’ efforts, it's a goofy, scareless affair which has no real identify other than being “the boring one.”