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A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 (1988)
 
   
 Directed by: Renny Harlin
 Starring: Robert Englund/Freddy
Lisa Wilcox/Alice
Andras Jones/Rick
Tuesday Knight/Kristen
 
RATING

PLOT-CRUNCH:


Freddy (Englund) comes back to life via dog urine and hops back on the slaughter bandwagon. But this time he faces his most challenging foe...The Dream Master???
  

THE LOWDOWN:


Robert Englund (Freddy) is first billed here and rightly so: he is the star. Dream Master finishes off what Dream Warriors started by giving Freddy the spotlight. This is the MTV Nightmare sequel. Springwood looks like a town straight out of the 50’s but with lots of bright colors, the directing is very flashy, the soundtrack bombards us with pop/rock songs and Freddy is as scary as an MTV host. Freddy has twice as many one-liners than he had in Dream Warriors, without a doubt this is his movie.

This flick is all about style over substance. I mean half of it doesn’t make any sense. How the hell can dog urine resurrect Freddy? How can Alice collect her friend’s strength when they pass away? I know she inherited Kristen’s gift but Kristen never collected shite! How can Alice burst a window with her scream in the real world? How can Freddy leave his claw mark on the lockers when he hasn’t been resurrected yet? How did Dan and Alice wind up in the truck accident? I mean she was asleep at her house and he was waiting for her at the diner. They’re whole meeting was a dream. I know these things don’t mean much, I know its just a movie but hey, this is my job.

The end fight between Alice and Freddy is ok but man with the budget they had they could have given Lisa Wilcox more martial arts lesson instead of having that stuntman in a wig pop in for the kool kicks. Kind of ruined it for me. Another thing is the way Freddy is defeated, what a let down, I still don’t get it. I’m sure Freddy’s seen himself in a mirror before, he’s not that ugly!

The flick also does another fatal mistake by dispatching of the remaining Dream Warriors way too easily, what was Part 3 for? At least have them die with dignity!

Now don’t get me wrong, they’re some things to like here. The strength of the film definitely lies in the hands of it’s main protagonist: Alice’s (Wilcox) growth throughout the film is very interesting, she’s without a doubt one of the more developed character to grace Elm Street. In my book she makes the film cause she gives us somebody to root for. The flick also looks very slick, moves swiftly and Freddy is pretty funny (love the pizza scene). One murder sequence stands out (bug girl), the cast of teens is very likeable and the pop/rock songs are good. But where are the scares? Not here.
  
    

ACTING:


Robert Englund (Freddy) spits those one-liners with class, he should consider a stand up career. Lisa Wilcox (Alice) does good and interprets all the stages Alice goes through with heart and credibility. Andras Jones (Rick) rocks, he’s got goofy charm but he’s no Bruce Lee. Tuesday Knight (Kristen) does fine as Patricia Arquette’s successor but at one point she smokes a cigarette she didn’t even light. Brooke Theiss (Debbie) does what she has to do, looks great in tights and has the most memorable death sequence. Danny Hassel (Dan) lets his hair do most of the acting…great acting. Ken Sagoes (Kincaid) and Rodney Eastman (Joey) return long enough to die pathetic deaths. Brooke Bundy (Elaine Parker) also returns to give another one of her classic "on delay" line…fun
 

GORE:


The film’s highlight is Brooke Theiss turning into a coach roach, gooey fun times. Apart from that, not much.
   

T & A:


A naked girl inside a water bed (Hope Marie Carlton) showing her tatas.
   

DIRECTING:


I felt that Harlin tried to cover up the weak script with extra layers of gloss: crazy angles, wild lighting (lots of green), slow motion and fluid camera movements. Harlin doesn’t hold back and earns that Die Hard 2 gig.
   

SOUNDTRACK:


Tuesday Knight sings the opening credit song (good stuff) and pop rock songs from: Vinnie Vincent, Fat Boys etc.
   

BOTTOM LINE:


This sequel was the biggest Elm Street earner (over 49 million$$). It raked in the cash and pleased the masses. But I know a few horror fans (me included) who felt betrayed and cheated. I’ve seen "Hunter" episodes scarier than this flick. This fourth installment is a pleasant, funny and easy viewing but it doesn’t deliver any of the goods I was looking for: Horror, fear, scares and intelligence. At least Freddy got to rap with the Fat Boys (funny video).
 

BULL'S EYE:


A cut out scene: Alice’s father’s head (held by Freddy) come through a wall.

Brooke Theiss (Debbie) co-starred with Heather Langenkamp in the sitcom: Just The Ten Of Us.

The Arrow interviews Lisa Wilcox here

The Arrow interviews Andras Jones here

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The Way The Arrow Points...

   
 I’d BUTCHER my family to see this again
 HANG me but I dug it a lot
 An ok way to KILL two hours
 Just sling an ARROW in my head and let me die in peace

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