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


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Facepalm time yet?

“A facepalm (sometimes also face-palm or face palm) is the physical gesture of placing one’s hand flat across one’s face or lowering one’s face into one’s hand or hands. The gesture is found in many cultures as a display of frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, shock, surprise or sarcasm.” (Wikipedia). Yes, the facepalm: the action I begin to give after watching A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master. It’s not that the movie itself is terrible, but this is the film where you begin to notice the lighter tones and corny decline in the series. That being said, there are things I actually like about it.

The “dream warriors” are indeed back in the fourth film, though Patricia Arquette was replaced with Tuesday Knight. You know what that means? It means that they are still the last of the Elm Street children and that it’s not over yet. One problem, Freddy was given a proper religious burial last time, sure to kill him, right? Wrong, death can’t kill death, and Freddy is back to finish off the kids. However, Alice (Lisa Wilcox) shows up into the mix as the “dream master”. Her special ability apparently is to steal the other kids’ abilities after they die. She must use this to defeat Freddy once and for all…again.

Wow. I wish this was a joke, you guys, but it’s not. The way they explain Freddy’s miraculous return to the dream world goes a little like this: He is freed by dog pee. You heard me right. Dog pee. Picture this if you will, one of the dream warriors from the third film is sent to Freddy’s burial spot in the junk yard. His dog was also pulled into the dream as well, sniffing the place where Freddy was laid to rest. What does the dog do? Pee on it, the pee bursts into flame, the Earth rips apart, and suddenly Freddy’s bones reattach, muscle tissue appears, and boom. Freddy’s back. I’m really sorry, but that was quite possibly the stupidest thing I have ever seen.

Welcome to the world of Freddy puns. Yes, we get our first real glimpse into the rapid decline in the Elm Street series. First up is a lighter tone, which isn’t terrible, considering how bad the future of the series becomes. Freddy can be seen making countless puns which may have been funnier in a different light, but Freddy is supposed to be a conniving, cold, dark, hateful killer…why take the time out of your day to think up puns? Let me guess – to make the audience laugh…during a horror? I am really confused right now.

Okay, so what do I actually like about this film? Theoretically, the dream master. Again they changed the plot and one-upped the previous film in regards to how things are changed. Last film had a league of super dreams, this one had one mega-powerful person with an increasing amount of abilities. The other film, the kids just had these powers, we actually got to see a transformation in this film, which is actually decently cool. So in regards to main characters, the series seems to be following a distinct pattern. 1 – Multiple characters, 2 – Single character 3 – Multiple characters 4 – Single character. Taking that into consideration, I’m glad that they still kept the dreaming element in this one, unlike the second, which removed it almost completely. Yeah, we pretty much had Freddy forcing a kid to work with him again (just like the 2nd), but I’m telling you…everything is always a little better if they keep the dreams in there.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master showed the evolution of dark to light in the series more distinctively. Freddy is cracking jokes, so we aren’t as susceptible to fearing sleep as we would be in former films in the series. From my recollection…it only gets worse from here.


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

  1. I should watch this one again. Don’t remember it all too well. From what you describe in your review there are some things to like so I feel it’s worth a re-visit. Thanks, man!


    1. In theory, yes, but it doesn’t have much punch as the others. It kind of flies by as a very forgettable movie. I mean…in theory it’s interesting. Reality suffers a little


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