A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
By: J.R. McNamara on September 6, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 86 minutes
The Movie
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Erika Anderson, Valorie Armstrong, Michael Ashton, Beatrice Boepple
Screenplay: Leslie Bohem
Music: Jay Ferguson
Tagline: "It's A Boy!"
Country: USA
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is the last part in the Freddy Krueger 'Dream Trilogy', which also involved characters and ideas from Part 3: The Dream Warriors and Part 4: The Dream Master. This film was directed by Stephen Hopkins, who next delivered Predator 2, but was also the director of the abysmal car wreck known as the Lost in Space movie, from an idea by writing team Skipp and Spector, who were the editors of the wonderful Romero 'Dead' anthology book, The Book of the Dead. Their ideas were then developed into a screenplay by Leslie Bohem, who delivered the wonderful Lance Henrickson/Brion James piece House 3 (aka The Horrorshow).

With that sort of cred, you think this film would have been an absolute horror movie winner, but it goes to show no matter how much money you spend on great ingredients, you can still end up with a great big, maggot infested, steaming hot turd… this one is called A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.

This film opens with a look into Freddy Krueger's origins, specifically his conception, as young ingénue nun Amanda Krueger is trapped in an asylum over a weekend and is repeatedly beaten and raped by the insane dwellers within; surely a child of such violence could only be the demon known as Freddy! In the previous film, Alice (Lisa Wilcox) had beaten Freddy, and he was now unable to affect her and her dreams, but now pregnant to boyfriend and soon to be corpse Dan (Danny Hassel), Freddy has found a new way to infiltrate her life: through the dreams of her unborn child, who is represented in the dream environment as a boy known as Jacob (played by unsung Horror legend Whitby Hertford: he was in this, Jurassic Park, Mikey and the modern day takes of both The Addams Family and The Munsters). Why does Freddy want to haunt this child though? Maybe he can possess the boy, and in the ultimate vengeance, Alice's offspring will become the ultimate evil that she has been able to overcome. As he kills them, Freddy feeds this unborn child the souls of her new friends so that he will become as Freddy is, but will Alice be able to overcome Freddy's new plan? Maybe not by herself, but the spirit of his long dead mother may be her salvation…

The biggest problem with this film is that it is obviously been put together by the marketing department: find out what's cool, and appeal to those kids. Skateboarding was in at this time, so one of the characters was a skateboarder… and the noticeable appearance of piles of Marvel comics… was this due to the fact that Freddy had a Nightmare on Elm Street'magazine coming out? Surely not?! Of course this is nothing new in cinema, the preceding movie was a little 'pop culture' orientated, but this one was so much more blatant, and the kids really were nothing more than the shoes their stereotypical feet were filling.

One of my favourite things about this release though, is the blurb on the back of the DVD about the film, taken from a review from Newsweek: 'Freddy's 5th is a symphony of screams'. I would suggest it is more a cacophony of crap, or an orchestration of the less than ordinary.
This film is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement, and is a nice, crisp and clean transfer, free from any artifacts.
Dolby 2.0 or 5.1 options are provided. The sound on this one is particularly great, and your surround will get a decent workout. It should be noted that this soundtrack featured some great tracks, such as Bruce Dickinson's (from Iron Maiden) Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter' and W.A.S.P.'s 'Savage'… tragically it also featured a track by Samantha Fox, but is still worth picking up if you like either eighties 'hair' metal or eighties rap.
Extra Features
There are several features on this disc:

The original trailer for the film.

The 'Jump to a Nightmare' trick where you can just watch each nightmare individually, without the storyline screwing up the gory enjoyment.

Like the other discs their a few documentary vignettes that all seem to be taken from a bigger, more complete Nightmare on Elm Street documentary:

Womb Raiders – Director Hopkins, producer Rachael Talalay and authors John Skipp and Craig Spector discuss their initial ideas about the film, and where the script ideas, that were eventually dumped, came from.

A Slight Miscalculations is a discussion about how to make a horror movie with an over-exposed villain. Hopkins and SPFX guy, Alan Monroe discuss.

The Sticky Floor is an amusing anecdote about candy glass and hot weather, and how the two don't mix. Robert Englund, Monroe and SPFX hombre David Miller talk about this and other SPFX aspects.

Takes the Stairs has Hopkins discuss the influence of M. C. Escher and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari on this film.

Hopkins Directs is some BTS footage of Hopkins and England on the set.

The real gems on this disc though, are the appearance of two long, and thankfully forgotten pieces of 'Freddy-enalia' in the film clips for both The Fat Boys' 'Are You Ready For Freddy', which features Mr Krueger rapping, and Whodini's 'Anyway I Gotta Swing It', which has the 'Freddy Krueger dancers'… truly the lowest point of the franchise.
The Verdict
Really, this was the beginning of the end for Freddy. The bloody body count factor of the previous movies had been replaced by obviously edited 'softer' death sequences that were too busy being clever and ironic to supply any sort of shock at all, and the Freddy make up was making him look more and more like a melted wax figure than a burnt murderer, which would evolve again in the next film to look more like the Wicked Witch of the West. It's still Freddy though, but only just!
Movie Score
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