Director: Rachel Talalay
Writer: Michael De Luca
Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Shon Greenblatt, Lezlie Deane, Yaphet Kotto
Seven years after the release of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, the series came to a close with Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. It was the directorial debut of Rachel Talalay who had worked previously on the series as a producer. The idea this time around was to bring more humour into the series as Talalay thought this was missing from the previous entry, while at the same time bringing the whole story to a close.
Set ten years in the future, with almost every child and teenager in Springwood now dead at Freddy’s (Robert Englund) hand. The last remaining teenager (Shon Greenblatt) is trying to leave the town, only to face Freddy in a dream and end up with a head injury that causes him to have amnesia. He’s taken to a shelter, where Maggie Burroughs (Lisa Zane) tries to uncover the mystery of who he is and takes him back to Springwood where the adults are now experiencing mass hysteria.
The film starts with the ‘primetime’ quote from Freddy Krueger written on screen. In previous entries they try, unsuccessfully, to recapture the one-liners from Dream Warrior, so this time they just go straight out and quote them. It’s not the only bit that’s recycled from an early entry, with the plan to defeat Freddy by dragging him out of the dreamworld, again. What makes this one different is the amount of time spent getting to know the main characters, as well as a new look at Freddy’s backstory. This time it’s revealed that Freddy had a child before he was murdered and part of the mystery is discovering who that child is, although it’s pretty obvious early on.
Comedy becomes the focus, instead of scares, with Freddy mimicking the wicked witch from Wizard of Oz, taking someone into a game world and using a ‘power glove’ on them. It’s a fast paced good time, and takes the comedy of the previous entries up to a new level. Some of it does come across as cheesy, but it works for the most part. It makes the film feel a lot more alive than number five did.
One of the big influences on this entry was Twin Peaks which was airing while the production was starting. The offbeat and unusual Lynchian world can be felt in Springwood, where the adults are all imagining that the children are still around them. It’s just a little more over the top than Twin Peaks was. The other influence was the cameos in Cry Baby which Talalay had worked on as a producer just beforehand. Throughout the film you can spot Johnny Depp (who made his debut in the first film) Roseanne Barr, and even Alice Cooper. It adds to the fun-time atmosphere of the film with you spotting people as the appear.
While Freddy’s Dead isn’t the best entry to the series, it is a hell of a lot better than the previous two entries. Instead of just following the same basic plot it tries something different. The comedy doesn’t always work, and there’s not an actually scary moment to be found, but it adds to Freddy’s past and is really entertaining to watch.
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I’m impressed that you pushed through the whole series. I gave up after the first one that disappointed me. Glad it ended on a higher note!
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Thank you. I’m a big horror fan, so feel like I have to watch everything once I’ve started a series, although I did enjoy most of the Elm Street ones. Currently suffering through the Friday the 13th series which is a hell of a lot worse than Elm Street. Only one more to go.
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