Halloween Marathon: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

In the last Nightmare on Elm Street, we said our goodbyes to the series in a pretty mediocre way, in my opinion.  Some of you have recommended strongly that this next one also going back to Wes Craven as the director for the New Nightmare is a strong entry.  I’d like to believe that it really can’t go any lower than that last one.  I’m going to trust that this one is a good one especially since, the few Wes Craven movies that I’ve seen have been pretty good.

Here we go! 🙂

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

wes craven's new nightmare

Director & Writer: Wes Craven

Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Miko Hughes, David Newsom, Wes Craven, Tracy Middendorf

A demonic force has chosen Freddy Krueger as its portal to the real world. Can Heather play the part of Nancy one last time and trap the evil trying to enter our world?-IMDB

Wow! Now we’re talking! Wes Craven’s New Nightmare had me at the edge of my seat the whole time.  For one, what absolutely works is the set-up of the story and the premise of how Freddy is properly reintroduced into the real world. Making him not just a fictional character in movies but one that can come to life in reality adds to the scares. With that said, all the actors in the first part comes back as their real selves to play in this one adding to the authenticity.  We never see the real Freddy except till the end and even then, he’s portrayed in a much scarier way. All this works absolutely fantastic to create the perfect atmosphere that just makes us wonder when he’ll show up, what is real or not, and whether he will be reach his goal.  Its all in the dark especially since, the revival of his character is in hand with Wes Craven’s ability to bring his story to life.

wes craven's new nightmare

Another thing is that, while there was probably one or two parts paying tribute to the first movie that started up this Nightmare on Elm Street series and might even fall a little in the campy area, the whole feeling of this series has shifted in this one.  Its a new take.  Freddy is a nightmare.  He can get you in your sleep and he’s found a way to be a part of what some kids would consider a nightmare that adults might think is just an overhyped imagination.  Except we all know it isn’t, we just don’t know when we’ll see the extent of his powers now.  However, it does take back from what happened in the past few movies and deduct it completely to a figment of the imagination of all the writers involved where Freddy’s character is imaginary and his existence is based on being a part of a story that traps him in one.  The moment we don’t have one to trap him in one, he is let loose and he can come into the real world. Reason why, he is double the fright this time.

wes craven's new nightmare

On top of that, while Freddy is more scary and we still debate in the first part whether he is real or not because it is still a movie character, Heather Langenkamp has a son here and this little boy is super great at looking like he is possessed or lack of sleep or scared or just having the effect that something is going to turn incredibly wrong. At the same time, we see Freddy’s primary target is the little boy, Dylan.  In this sense, we turn this horrific character into something like a boogeyman (is this how you spell it?).  He hides under the bed, his stuffed dinosaur protects him, he is scared to sleep.  Its those nostalgic naive fear of the night feelings (I guess I still have them) that pop up from scenes like that for me.

wes craven's new nightmare

While A Nightmare on Elm Street is what started this off and has a good thing going, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare will undoubtedly be the best in this franchise for me. For the first time, it felt like I was watching a horror movie.  I was tense and nervous and really worried about the characters.  It made me a little scared to go to bed at night in fear. An effective horror movie that has great atmosphere, builds Freddy up and gives us the impression that this isn’t fiction but reality is just a thought away.

Have you seen Wes Craven’s New Nightmare? What did you think of it? 

Halloween Marathon: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

Seems like this Halloween marathon is almost fully the highlight series.  We’re now at the 6th and supposedly final installment.  But we know that isn’t the case 😉

Before we do head into the review, I’d like to say that I had to rearrange my schedule a little for the marathon. It may not be fully horror movies but we’re adding a book review and some full reviews of podcasts I did over at That Moment In.  I’ll link it appropriately when those reviews come up.  I realize that time is scarce and with other priorities and even though I’m on track with the Halloween marathon, I tend to run out of time to do life things, you know.  It just happens so I have alternatives and this is one of those cases.  I am working on watching a few more movies to hopefully get more variety in this movie marathon.  I’m hoping it’ll work out but just a little update on how this marathon is going as I plan it out.  One thing I do promise, this highlight series, A Nightmare on Elm Street is going to be fully reviewed.  All movies accounted for by October 31st 😉

Let’s check it out!

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

freddy's dead final nightmare

Director: Rachel Talalay

Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Shon Greenblatt, Lezlie Deane, Ricky Dean Logan, Breckin Meyer, Yaphet Kotto

Freddy Krueger returns once again to haunt both the dreams of his daughter and Springwood’s last surviving teenager.-IMDB

 I made it through this one.  That is an accomplishment in itself.  Freddy’s Dead felt so long! It was only 96 minutes and it felt like an eternity to reach the end.  I started dozing off in the last 20 minutes or so but no, I refuse to watch this again.  Freddy 2 was boring for many reasons but this one takes the cake so far at being the worst in the series as of now.  I’m not sure any of the other ones could be worse.  I honestly don’t.

Why was it bad? What did I not like? I know you’re all dying to know.  Maybe not…but bear with me, okay? This is supposed to be a review.  I promise you that by the end I’ll have something good to say about this.  It was a complete failure.

freddy's dead final nightmare

First things first, what happened to Freddy? What happened to the tone of the movie? In 10 years after the last event (or I think that is what it said), there was only one teen left in Springwood and this is how the story works out.  Its a complete mess in the sense that we never really know when its real and fake.  Was that the supposed effect we were to feel? The building of characters here are so many that they don’t even have time to focus on anything.  But, I’m jumping around right now. Freddy turns into a joker.  He isn’t funny, not sadistic, not crazy, not impactful, just plain boring.  It seems like after a whole turn of events, Freddy is going back to nothing.

freddy's dead final nightmare

While they try really hard to give the kills a little something different, it just feels campy but in a really bad and ridiculous way.  Honestly, this one is a complete mess.  The biggest reason that nothing makes sense. Next part is scene example.  If you haven’t seen this, skip to the end of the spoiler to continue.  **SPOILER** The guy here who is the surviving teen escapes but gets caught in this recurring dream where Freddy has him trapped in the house on Elm Street over and over again and every time he makes and escape, it doesn’t make sense.  Like, the house crashes downward and his character would have a follow through motion where he goes sideways out the window.  Excuse me, but that isn’t how physics works.  You don’t drop downwards and the impact makes you go sideways. That’s just one example. Another one was where he falls down and hits his head on a rock and when he wakes up, the blood he shed from his forehead is on the other side of the rock where he didn’t hit.   **SPOILER ENDS**  It might just oversights on scenes but its just sloppy work.  At this point, its like they don’t care. Sometimes, I wonder if it is deliberate to re-emphasize on the campy slasher genre that its been. Still, this one is really nonsensical.

freddy's dead final nightmare

But, I told you that I’d tell you something good and we’re at that part. Freddy’s Dead has one good feature that kind of redeems it a little, but doesn’t at the same time.  What it does well is that it still ties in to the Freddy and Springwood and how he’s killing the teens.  What works even more is the fact that they built on top of the backstory we’ve known and now we get the reason of why he chose to kill the kids of the parents who murdered him as revenge instead of say, killing the surviving parents to dealt him the pain in the first place. This is where we bring in his daughter and ties it all up. While that does work, the story itself is so choppy and meaningless that its hard to feel engaged and that is where it has its downfall mostly.

Overall, Freddy’s Dead/Part 6 is lacking and unengaging to watch.  Its easily one of the lesser installments in this series so far.  Freddy isn’t fun to watch, his kills are not either.  While the premise and backstory for Freddy adds a little positive, the pacing and nonsensical approach made it feel double the length that it actually was.  Its definitely not a great way to end such an iconic franchise, if it actually was the end.

Have you seen Freddy’s Dead? What did you think?

Halloween Marathon: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master (1988)

Moving right along in Part 4 of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, we have Dream Master.  The last part really renewed my hopes with where this series could be heading.  Funny part in all this is that every movie so far is helmed by a different director and it makes me wonder the different direction and view each has had for it.  This one is no different of course, so the adventures are yet unknown as well. Still, I remain a lot more optimistic and a little excited!

Let’s check it out! 🙂

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master (1988)

a nightmare on elm street 4 dream master

Director: Renny Harlin

Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Tuesday Knight, Andras Jones, Rodney Eastman, Ken Sagoes, Brooke Theiss

Freddy Krueger returns once again to terrorize the dreams of the remaining Dream Warriors, as well as those of a young woman who may know the way to defeat him for good.-IMDB

 Yet another director taking over this series and I have to say that I’m liking how its having this continuity factor added in.  It makes Freddy into a villain that differentiates from Jason or Michael because we now know that he has a goal.  His mission to revenge continues in this one a few years after the previous movie and he is out after being revived to kill the remaining Dream Warriors. I have to say that Renny Harlin is  a pretty good director.  At least, my expectations raised when I did a little research and realized that he helmed one of my personal favorite creature features, Deep Blue Sea.  That movie is just all sorts of fun and this one follows quite the same feeling actually.  However, this one does get a little repetitive and in turn made it feel slightly lengthy by the end.

a nightmare on elm street 4 dream master

One of the main things with this one is that, we start it with the last 3 remaining Dream Warriors.  They are in high school and trying their best to move on with their lives.  At least, the two guys, Joey and Kincaide are but Kristen, now sadly not Patricia Arquette anymore but taken over by a girl called Tuesday Knight, constantly pull them back into the dream sequence with Freddy and suspects that they aren’t done with him.  I guess when you think about Freddy too much, he finds a way to come back.  Except this time, Kristen’s own abilities aren’t enough for Freddy except her boyfriend’s sister, Alice seems to have her own little way to master her dreams.  The fun part is that he now twists it around and somewhat uses Alice to get his new victims.  Only deal is, Tuesday Knight’s Karen is a really not so great.  She could definitely scream but that acting was pretty meh. While Alice (played by Lisa Wilcox) may be a decent actress and had an intriguing character arch but I’m still deciding whether it was peculiar in a good or bad way.

a nightmare on elm street 4 dream master

There are some pretty fun tropes used to move the story at the end.  It creates a bit of good confusion because it adds a quirky spin to the events until the characters themselves pull out and figure out what they have become.  At the same time, part of what makes Freddy’s character a fun slasher is the way he murders his victims.  He’s always been able to get into their illusions and imagination via their dreams and take control of their dream sequence.  This time, he takes it to a new level that made me quite impressed.  The only issue is that the kills were so frequent that he felt like in one movie, he was trying to catch up to his kill count that the other slasher series would’ve amounted to at this point in their series.  It was frequent and turned a little meaningless and while the movie isn’t a lot longer than its predecessors, it started feeling a little boring and used.

a nightmare on elm street 4 dream master

Overall, this fourth installment of A Nightmare of Elm Street called Dream Master takes it up a level by continuing where the previous one left off and adding upon it.  It also gives Freddy a more vengeful and resilient to death side.  His kill count increases and it does have some unique fun tropes that are added here. While it loses steam somewhere near the end, it is still a fairly enjoyable addition to the series.

Have you seen Part 4 of A Nightmare on Elm Street/Dream Master? What do you think?

Halloween Marathon: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

After a little break with Lake Placid, we’re jumping right back into A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 called Dream Warriors.  The husband says that this one is step up at least from the second one.  I need that a lot.  Honestly, this serious is missing a little.  The first one set up a good premise and Freddy is a capable slasher villain but he honestly hasn’t been used very well.  Crossing my fingers that he’ll be used better in this one!

Let’s check it out!

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

a nightmare on elm street 3 dream warriors

Director: Chuck Russell

Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Craig Wasson, Robert Englund, Ken Sagoes, Rodney Eastman, Jennifer Rubin, Bradley Gregg, Laurence Fishburne

Survivors of undead serial killer Freddy Krueger – who stalks his victims in their dreams – learn to take control of their own dreams in order to fight back.-IMDB

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3 is called Dream Warriors.  Much different from Part 2, this was not a snoozefest and had a lot of fun to offer.  Finally, we dive further into Freddy Krueger’s back story.  We get an idea of how he can possibly be defeated.  At the same time, we’re following the concept of how he wants to revenge the children of those who murdered him in such a brutal way.  He haunts these kids nightmares when they are all sent to a psychiatric hospital.  At the same time, we get back the first movie’s main character to keep the continuity in the storyline which helps to boost the story quite a bit.

a nightmare on elm street 3 dream warriors

Talking about the cast, after the first one offers up an extremely young Johnny Depp, Part 3 offers up two cast members that resonate to today.  The first being our main leading young lady Kristen, played by Patricia Arquette and second is playing the hospital attendant, Max by Laurence Fishburne.  How about that, eh? Both a very good actors and it was very much a surprise especially for Patricia Arquette that she started her career in a scream queen role.  Maybe it doesn’t qualify her since I don’t know her filmography extensively but she did do a whole lot of screaming in this one and very much expectedly so. Joining along their crew are some unfamiliar faces but familiar names that I didn’t go into too much detail researching.  However, Heather Langenkamp does come back to assume her role as Nancy Thompson after six years from the events in the first movie.  Together, they collect their dreaming abilities and Kristen’s special ability to try to defeat Freddy Krueger.  In this whole situation, the kills were unique and despite the still campy effects, they were able to keep it still pretty fun.  At certain points, I even felt a little tense about the situation.

a nightmare on elm street 3 dream warriors

What does deserve a special mention is that Freddy Krueger’s character has a very menacing role here.  While it does give us a possiblity that he can be defeated, he manages to get some kills in and still manipulate the situation to his favor despite some of them being able to channel powers of their own in their dream sequences.  It makes for a very intriguing take and a little fun while this time, adding back more gore and blood.  He now can understand everyone’s fears and passions and really build on something more geared towards the character.  Sure, it still has a bit of funkiness at times but there are some downright spine-tingling deaths that occur. Finally, it feels like his character is put to good use.

a nightmare on elm street 3 dream warriors

Overall, Part 3 Dream Warriors truly seems to define where I’d like A Nightmare on Elm Street to head to.  I did enjoy the first but this one adds on some fun with a little more back story.  It helps create a stimulating plot with a very menacing and sly Freddy Krueger and even manages to tie in some former characters to add in some continuity. All these aspects adds together into a sequel that I like.

Now for Part 4 tomorrow….

Did you see Dream Warriors? What did you think?

Halloween Marathon: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

Moving right along with the next movie in this year’s highlight Halloween series, I’m going to take a look at A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge.  I’m a little lukewarm with the first of the series but let’s stay optimistic for the second one.  What could they do with Freddy Kreuger? A very nice concept for a villain and slasher flick character but somehow still lacks the scares I’m looking for because of the campy aspect.

Let’s go!

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 Freddy's Revenge

Director: Jack Sholder

Cast: Robert Englund, Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler, Clu Gulager, Hope Lange

A teenage boy is haunted in his dreams by Freddy Krueger who is out to possess him to continue his murdering in the real world.-IMDB

It took me two times to get through A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2.  I don’t know if its because I’ve been incredibly tired due to all the wedding planning or not but its been a little nuts to say the least when I planned this in advance.  Whatever the reason is, the second time I still dozed off for a little portion but I’ve realized that its the pacing of this movie that doesn’t work so well for me.  Freddy’s Revenge lacks something that the first one had that kept we watching.  I’m not sure if its the cast or the characters or just the story isn’t compelling enough.  Maybe its just so predictable.  Funny part is, in all the campy glory it carries, I appreciated that the most in this one because everything else wasn’t able to keep me into the movie long enough.  Let’s just say, by the middle part, I couldn’t help but want to fall asleep when I shouldn’t want to especially because of what Freddy Kreuger’s character is all about.

Freddy's Revenge

The initial feeling of Freddy’s Revenge is that its weird.  The main character Jesse, played by Mark Patton feels particularly incoherent right from the first scene.  He seems like a guy that isn’t quite a loner but in the first sequences he is portrayed that way.  His dad is on his back about moving to the new house and then he gets tempted into killing for Freddy Kreuger eventually.  Except it doesn’t make sense because he sees a strange man next to fire and pulling out hands with claws or something and he doesn’t even question it.  Something about how the characters react probably had to do with how I didn’t feel very intrigued.  It can’t be because they already think they are in a dream.  On that note, the dream world and real world sequence is very much meshed together here.  Maybe I’m confused since I did doze off but it seemed like a lot of times, it was confusing to follow what was going on.

Freddy's Revenge

Its funny to say that even Freddy Kreuger didn’t have the effect I wanted him to have.  I don’t like to compare to other series but while Halloween and Friday the 13th had its low moments, their slasher villains, be it Michael Myers or Jason, they still shone with who they were supposed to be.  Freddy in this one seemed to lose the meaning of why we feared him because of a flawed story.

Freddy's Revenge

Although not much of a boost, the character I did like the best was Lisa (Kim Myers) who played the girl that the main character Jesse liked.  She was pretty fun and had a lot more to offer in terms of thrills than anyone else.  Her character was one I wanted to make it through all this.  She was smart and made up for a lot of the lacking aspects in this story.

With that said, more negatives than positives in this one, I’m going to end this little write up and keep going with the series.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that its going to be better than this one.

What did you think of Part 2 of A Nightmare on Elm Street?