Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
By: J.R. McNamara on September 17, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English Subtitles. 86 minutes
The Movie
Director: Rachel Talalay
Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Shon Greenblatt, Lezlie Deane, Ricky Dean Logan, Breckin Meyer, Yaphet Kotto
Screenplay: Michael De Luca
Music: Brian May
Tagline: "Born November 2nd 1984...Dies September 1991"
Country: USA
Straight off the bat I have to provide some information to those who are not completely 'horror savvy': when a horror franchise has the word 'Final' in the title used as though it is suggesting this is the last instalment of a series (as in this title or, for example Friday the 13th 4: The Final Chapter) there are usually at least 2 more adventures of that franchise on their way, so don't be fooled. This has been a horror public service announcement for Digital Retribution.

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare is quite simply the bastard child of 100 marketing and advertising gurus. Freddy, at this point, was no longer a cinematic villain who had a decent following of fans who loved him. He was now a toy, a TV star, a record artist, a game, a comic… oh, and the star of a movie to financially support those ventures. Even the supporting characters (who were no longer protagonists to Freddy's antagonist, they were just stereotypical models to be destroyed) are taken from templates of popular characters from the earlier movies, Carlos is a cookie cutter combo of Rod and Glen, but with a disability ala Will and Joey from part 3, Tracy is a amalgam of Kristin and Taryn from the same episode, and Spencer is just there as a druggo comic relief, which every teen ensemble horror or comedy of the time seemed to have.

This was Talalay's 'preferred' script after another which told of Jacob, Alice's child from A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child fighting the Fred-ster as an adult, along side dream versions of the warriors from Part 3 was rejected. If this was the preferred script, the other must have been a steaming shovel full of shit, because this film is tripe. The only good parts of this film are those which show Freddy's stereotypical serial killer origin, from being teased at school and torturing animals, to being abused by a drunken father (played with relish by Alice Cooper), to his attempt at a normal life which falls apart when his wife finds out about his awful secret past-time.

Freddy's Dead is set just ever so slightly in the future and has John Doe (Shon Greenblat), the last child of Springwood , persistently being tormented by dream demon Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). Freddy's torture is such that it makes John not even aware of who he is, or when a dream ends or starts. Eventually, Krueger expels John from Springfireld, in the hope he shall return with fresh souls for him to consume. John eventually finds himself at a shelter for wayward kids, run by a man known as 'Doc' (a clearly bored Yaphett Kotto). One of Doc's in-house psychologists, Maggie (Lisa Zane) decides to take John back to Springwood to see if he recognizes anything, unaware that three of the home's charges, the deaf Carlos (Ricky Dean Logan), the permanently stoned Spencer (Breckin Meyer) and the butch psycho girl Tracy (Lezlie Deane) are hiding in the home's bus, waiting to make an escape. What Maggie doesn't realize, but the viewer of the film certainly will, is that the dreams which haunt her, link her to Springwood as well…but why….and does anyone still give a damn?

The 3D elements towards the end of the film are presented here in their 2D form, which is preferable as it doesn't disrupt the flow of the movie, although the ham-fisted way of showing the cinema viewer when to put them on is not just horrid, but plain out stupid. Tragically as this 2D sequence still uses the 3D film stock, a lot of the shots of things flying towards the camera are nonsensical, and with some of the most underwhelming special effects you will ever be subject to, and changes what should have been a horrifying journey into a psycho's psyche, into sideshow huckstership. To add insult to injury, this Freddy make-up has to be the worst of the entire series: like a craptacular combination of The Wizard of Oz's Wicked Witch of the West (which he parodies in this film far too efficiently) and a half-set Crème Caramel.

This film really is terrible, and there are two real victims: Freddy himself, and that was of his own popularity and you, the poor viewer who sat through it.
This film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement and is a clear and clean transfer.
The audio on this disc is an adequate Dolby 5.1, nothing spectacular, but just efficient.
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.

There is also the twelve minute 3D segment, in 3D. I tried several pairs of 3D glasses from different DVD 3D movies, and found none of them to be particularly successful.

There are four documentary vignettes on this disc:

Rachael's Dream has interviews with director Rachael Talalay and star Robert Englund, and discusses the origins of Talalay's vision of the film, which included the 'great' idea of using cameos, and going for a David Lynch/Twin Peaks vibe.

Hell Raiser has Clive Barker briefly talk about the difficulty in making multi-sequeled villains still scary, or even relevant.

86'D gives us Robert Shaye attempting to justify Freddy's poor sequels, and the ridiculous case of 'jumping the shark' with using 3D elements in the film.

3d Demise has Talalay and SPFX dude John Carl Buechler explain the difficulties of shooting 3D, and more interesting has Talalay show she is none to pleased with the final result of this film.
The Verdict
This film is the cinematic equivalent of a shit sandwich, hold the bread. Barely making any sense, this film is tragically forgettable and daft…what a way to end a great franchise. Here lies Freddy Krueger, lest we forget, left this world not with a bang, but with a whimper….
Movie Score
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