In the fifth A Nightmare on Elm Street, Alice has survived her first encounter with Freddy Krueger, as seen in part 4, but she continues to have nightmares. When friends begin dying off, she’s convinced that Freddy is back. And when she discovers that she is pregnant, she suspects that Freddy is trying to get to her through her unborn child.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child boasts some of the best special effects sequences in the entire series. One of my favorite Magical Maniac kills remains Dan’s transformation from star athlete into the love child of Darth Vader and a Honda Marauder. No less impressive are a squealing baby Freddy, compete with burn scars and Face-Hugger-like speed and agility, and a beauty queen so literally full of herself that her cheeks swell and her throat seizes up.
And remember, this is all pre-CGI.
An Escher-maze sequence near the end is interesting, but more effective in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth—of course, Nightmare 5 gets extra points for a complete lack of David Bowie’s horrible crotch.
Still, The Dream Child isn’t perfect; it might contain one of my favorite Freddy kills, but also includes one of my least favorite. Mark isn’t a bad character, and the scene in which he climbs into a black and white comic book—à la the Aha video for Take on Me—is pretty cool. My problem begins when Mark turns into his own lame creation, The Phantom Creeper (now that sounds like a name for a dead pedophile), and Freddy becomes . . . sigh . . . Super Freddy. And this, after Freddy has rolled into the scene on a skateboard.
It’s not just that the scene is dated and a clumsy attempt at being “hip,” it’s that Skater Freddy and ’Roid Freddy are examples of the franchise not so slowly becoming a parody of itself, every kill preceded and followed by a one liner.
Overall, though, The Dream Child is better than it has any right to be, given that it’s a fifth installment. I appreciate the backstory here, showing us what had only been hinted at in parts 3 and 4. Rather than simply string a few effects-heavy kills together, the filmmakers actually add to the Freddy mythos, fleshing it out and giving it some depth (at least by Slasher film standards).
Not one of the best, but certainly worth a watch.
Length: 89 min