04 August 2011


Twelve Things about Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare

12. After seeing this, I was certain I wouldn't want to write a Twelve Things post about it. Freddy's Dead is just that bad.

Three weeks later, it has a Twelve Things post! =P There's a very good disturbing reason for this, so keep reading if you want to get to it.

11. Since I wasn't sure whether to start with something the movie gets wrong or something the movie gets right, I decided to go with something it gets wrong and right at the same time: the "expansion" of Elm Street.

First, some background . . . Note that Freddy has been able to feed on "fresh meat" since A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (See my Twelve Things post!), but even then he could only go after targets in a certain area--which this movie identifies as the town of Springwood. Apparently, there have been countless "offscreen" kills in between this installment and the previous one, ANoES5: The Dream Child (Yes, I have another Twelve Things post!!!), and as a consequence, all of Springwood has run out of young people. And well, Freddy doesn't prey on the old and senile. He's got standards, you know. =P

10. Anyway, what I think the movie gets right is the idea that every town should have an Elm Street--which the part of your mind that understands archetypes knows every town already does.

What I think the movie gets wrong is the reinvention of Springwood (which will never have the same ring as "Elm Street") as an aging dystopia--something we have a lot of these days, twenty years after this movie came out, now that I think about it. For Springwood's tragedy was never overzealous contraception or abortion. You can't have conflict between children and parents if you don't have children and become a parent.

9. On the other hand, the idea that an overzealous Freddy has completely culled his pool of prospective victims all on his own has potential I've never considered before. (Seriously, what would this guy do in a world with absolutely no teenagers and only adults too old to reproduce???)

8. Another thing I really, really liked about this movie?

I screamed with joy when I saw "Glen" again.
And then Freddy killed him . . . again.
(LOL . . .)

7. It's followed immediately by what I hated the most about this movie.

There's just no way to defend something like this . . .
unless, of course, you're "tripping out."
(Oh, was that the point? Dang!)

6. My favourite "Elm Street Kid" here is Tracy--which is no surprise. Spencer gets an embarrassing death, Carlos gets hardly any backstory, and John Doe is shockingly impossible to have any sympathy for. But Tracy is more than the default choice.

When we meet her, we learn that she has just beaten up a boy who found her pretty and tried to chat her up. Her first big scene after that shows her taking out some serious rage on a punching bag. There is more tension and horror in her own dream memory of her childhood than in all the cartoonish scare sequences combined; she could have carried this movie alongside Freddy himself, if the writers had only given her relationship with her father a bit more thought. (Hint, hint!)

5. Speaking of fathers, Alice Cooper has a great cameo here as Freddy's foster father.

4. Now for something that's a mix of the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.

In The Dream Child, we see the franchise grow up as an Elm Street Kid becomes a parent herself and learns that her awful Elm Street Parent dad is actually pretty cool. We also behold the Elm Street Child Murderer himself in a whole new light as an Elm Street (Unborn) Child. So there was no other way the franchise could have gone after that but where it does here.

I don't think anyone was surprised back in 1991 to learn that Freddy was the original Elm Street Parent. =)

3. Yes, he has a child in this one--a twist that is handled so badly that I don't even want to bitch about it. But it also leads us to one strangely beautiful moment that I'd like to honour, because Freddy's Dead is all about the contradictions, you know?

2. For that moment is what finally pushed me over the edge and got me to write this post when I didn't even like the movie.

There's a scene when the child finally remembers all those repressed memories about being Freddy Krueger's kid, then turns around and sees Freddy standing there, just staring back. At that point, both the child and the viewers are in the same position: seeing Freddy as he really is for the first time. We thought we knew him; we didn't until now.

And the composition of that frame in which we see Freddy clearly at last . . . the slouchy, arrogant tilt of his head, the burning stare in his eyes, the realisation that he planned all of this so that you would get to that point . . . it's diabolically sexy, I tell you.

1. I couldn't find a screencap of it, but you'll see it at the end of this clip from the credits of Freddy's Dead. There are many wonderful moments from all six films in the series here. Getting to it was my favourite part of the whole viewing experience, for obvious reasons, but I think it would still be so even if the rest of this movie rocked.

Freddy Krueger, PUA of Horror.
Practitioner of Game since 1984.

Image Source: Freddy's Dead poster


Jenny said...

Man, I would love to rip apart...er...watch a movie with you. I haven't had the pleasure of seeing any Freddy movies. Tsk, tsk.

lisa :) said...

I think my biggest question is, did anyone really believe that this would be the final NoES movie?? ;)

Enbrethiliel said...


Jenny -- I always recommend the first Nightmare on Elm Street to those who just want to watch one Freddy movie and see what all the fuss is about. =) Great story; great acting; great script; great effects; great atmosphere: but if you break it down, you'll see that it's also breathtakingly simple.

Lisa -- Good question! Perhaps Wes Craven and Robert Englund blew some smoke about being tired of the franchise, but I think even they knew it wouldn't be the end. ;-)

The Mike said...

Man, I need to finally get through all these. It sounds like - as awful as the movies can be - there's some development that I'd like to see.

Gah....the horror addict is the rare breed that seeks painful viewings, isn't he? :)

The Mike said...

On the other hand, my biggest wonder about this was always to find out how they brought Depp back...and now I know. So maybe I'll resist....maybe....

Enbrethiliel said...


There is some development here. I'll give Wes Craven that. =P

Awww, so I shouldn't have spoiled Depp for you? LOL! You know, based on this cameo, I had believed Depp had a great sense of humour about his Nightmare work. Then a couple of years ago, I learned that he doesn't like to be asked about it in interviews. =/ What gives, Glen? It's like Kevin Bacon and Friday the 13th all over again.