Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, A (1989)

Author: Josh G.
Submitted by: Josh G.   Date : 2008-06-25 11:39

Directed by: Stephen Hopkins
Written by: John Skipp, Craig Spector and Leslie Bohem
Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox and Danny Hassel

Reviewed by: Josh G.

Oh, The Dream Child. Such memories. I had slept over for a party at a friend of mineís thirteenth birthday. He and I were both into the two must-see horror series of the 80s. We had watched the original Friday the 13th and Jason Goes to Hell together. For the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, we had conquered Part One, Two, Three, Four, and Seven (aka, Wes Cravenís New Nightmare). It was obvious that Part Five was to come next, and what a better way to show our appreciation of the Freddy Krueger films than to showcase a sequel for all of our friends to see. This entry picked up where A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master left off. Survivor Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox) is in bed with other survivor Dan (Danny Hassel). A truly odd way to start off a formulaic sequel. Ah! But thereís the twist. This isnít just any old nightmare; itís the day Freddy returns to Elm Street. This demon may be dead, but heís found another way to get to Alice. And itís all her fault!

Alice is having nightmares again. She dreams that she is a nun being attacked by one hundred maniacs, with no one to help her. Has Freddy returned? No, itís simply a regular bad dream. With relief, Alice heads over to Springwood High School, where friends Greta (Erika Anderson), Yvonne (Kelly Jo Minter), Mark (Joe Seely), and boyfriend Dan are waiting for her. Theyíre all graduating. Itís time for a new chapter in their life, starting with summer and a little fun at the swimming pool later that night. Alice, however, finds herself in dreamland again, only this time, itís not like the last one. A woman by the name of Amanda gives birth in her dream to a monster. Itís a miniature Freddy who runs off into a church. Alice chases it, knowing the baby is actually Freddy, but she can do nothing. The scarred-face man Freddy Krueger himself is resurrected. Aliceís worst fears have come to life. Suddenly, a nun appears out of nowhere. Itís Amanda! She holds off Freddy for a few moments, allowing Alice to escape. The nun tells Alice to release her from her earthly prison; to look for her in the tower. How did Freddy find to key to returning? And what will that mean for Aliceís friends?

The Nightmare on Elm Street series isnít the perfect staple for horror fans expecting depth in plot. Sure, it has some, but thereís always loop holes or conflicting images of what the films are about. I personally find Part One, Part Two, and Part Three to be the best in the franchise. The original is...well, original. The sequel is dark, colorful, totally 80s, and graphic. Part Three has fun with the slasher cookie cutter, previous characters, and creative death sequences. Iíd go as far as to say Part Four, while not amazing and lacking in the acting department, is a truly fun movie. With Part 5: The Dream Child, we leave the creepy aroma of what made the series, and focus mainly on Freddy himself. Heís not a scary villain anymore, though heís really been missing his dark side since Part 2: Freddyís Revenge. The lame one-liners from this washed-up creeper were probably eye-rollers even back in 1989. ďItís a boooooy!Ē, ďBetter buckle up, dear.Ē, ďThis boy feels the need for speed.Ē, ďYou are what you eat!Ē, ďSoul food for my boy.Ē, and the worst, ďItís Super-Freddy!Ē. On the bright side, we receive the classic: ďBon appetit...bitch!Ē

If youíve ever wondered what Freddy Krueger would look like on a skateboard, well, hereís your ultimate wish. Now, why is this entry called The Dream Child? Well, I guess Iíll have to tell you. Dan gets Alice pregnant, presumably at the beginning of the film, since there is a long, drawn-out cut sex scene between opening credits. You see, fetus-babies do indeed dream, and although Freddy canít enter the nightmares of Alice, he can certainly go through her babyís. The baby has a special link to its parents, Alice and Dan, which will allow Freddy to get to them, and finally, get to Alice and Danís friends. Original this is, although the execution is laughable. Alice starts to see a boy around in her dreams named Jacob, which the audience can easily tell is her child in its dream state. The actor, Whit Hertford, is somehow disturbing in appearance. Heís around the age of ten by the filming of this entry because thatís how the baby thinks of itself as. However, the vocabulary he picks up is unthinkable considering the baby hasnít been around people enough to even pick-up ĎDadaí. Aside from that, you donít find yourself interested in anything the story has to offer.

If thereís one thing I really enjoyed about The Dream Child, it is the teenagers. They all seem to have some unique story behind them, something that Part 3: Dream Warriors and Part 4: The Dream Master used as well. Greta is a nice young girl with an over controlling mother who wants her to be a model. Greta just wants to be a kid, but with mommy always prowling around, making sure her image, health, and status are up to model par, thereís no way to ever let loose. Oh, the life of a photographee. Yvonne is a swimming champion, always diving and hanging out in the hot tub. Sheís also the non-believer in the group. Even though none of Aliceís friends believe in the Freddy legend until they face Krueger himself, she comes across as the most down-to-earth member of the clan. And finally, we have Mark, an artsy, comic book dork who gets ill at the sight of blood. How strange, since his comics are filled with violence. Heís also madly in love with Greta. What a twist! Itís nice to know that this time around, time was taken to develop each character, even if it resulted in less of them.

Perhaps this part can glorify with its awesome special effects? But then we remember that this is twenty years ago, and the MPAA was a crouching tiger, ready to pounce on any meaty victim coming its way forth. Two of the three death scenes (yes, a disappointment) were cut for gore and disgust. They werenít your regular slashings though. One victim is torn apart by wires running through his body, while another female is fed her own guts! The ideas are genius, and they can be seen fully intact on a Media VHS tape. Way back when, Media released many tapes of A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, most of which included the cut version that the New Line Cinema DVD has today, but some sneaky devils actually contained the entire uncut version. This also happened to another Media Video title, 1984's Silent Madness, which for the most part is the same cut, but a scene involving a head being drilled is snipped out of one tape. These tapes, just like Part 5's, are identical to each other.

Aside from containing what I believe is one of the worst death scenes in terror history, where a boy is turned into paper (what?) and cut apart, The Dream Child also has a ridiculous late 80s score job. Though I admit, that can be fun, and the opening music is perfect for setting the mood. Thereís the story involving Amanda Krueger, who hanged herself years before, but her body was never found. Somehow, someone found out that she hanged herself, we just donít know how they did. The scene with baby Krueger running up to church, crying for its resurrection, is beyond hilarious. I know itís a dream, and itís not supposed to be taken as literal, but the implication that Freddy was born burnt is too nutty to handle. This sequel was basically a showcase for dated special effects, where frightening the viewer is near to impossible, unless they are toddlers. Whether this movie was meant to be taken seriously or not, Super-Freddy, a new jaw-dropping form of Freddy as a super-villain, is one of the dumbest additions to the series ever created. Nightmare 5 can be found on a widescreen New Line DVD with a good treatment for viewing experiences in both audio and visual. However, the picture is not as crisp as the other Nightmare's, if only by a little. As a standalone flick, The Dream Child fails just as much as a Nightmare addition. With Freddy or not, garbage is still garbage, and Iím sorry to say that the unentertaining wackiness of Part 5 actually doesnít warrant a viewing. For lovers of the classics, this is a must-see. For everybody else, you know the drill. ďSchoolís out Krueger.Ē I couldnít have said it any better little Jacob. Trash it!

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