Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare [retro review]

“I’ll get you my pretty… and your little soul, too!”

The Scoop: 1991 R, directed by Rachel Talalay and starring Robert Englund, Breckin Meyer, and Lisa Zane

Tagline: Born November 2nd 1984… Dies September 1991

Summary Capsule: Freddy’s offspring is the only thing that can kill him for good, but not bloody likely.

Justin’s Rating: Going 65 in reverse down a one-way street during rush hour

Justin’s Review: There’s something so odiously forebearing when, during the opening credits, they throw a quote onto the screen from a PREVIOUS Nightmare on Elm Street (part 3 to be precise). What kind of horror movie quotes, and therefore rips off, its predecessor?

And don’t get me started on the whole premise, which is… well… it’s kind of vague. Springwood (the town the Nightmare movies are set in, and is supposedly in the midwest — although there are palm trees in the first five movies) is now the source of the horror, no longer limited to the Elm Street house.

There’s a John Doe guy who gets kicked out of Springwood thanks to Freddy and a very long intro sequence. He’s supposedly the last of the Elm St, or for that matter, the Springwood children. They’re all gone. So much for the victories of the previous films! There’s a lot of other kids in a rundown psychiatric hospital (gee, we’ve never been here before). In fact, the whole opening half hour is so confusing that it plays like one of the lesser episodes of the X-Files. Sure, I know they’re just trying to create a mystery and add something more substantial to the Freddy legend, but it just makes no sense. Are we in the present? Are we (as it says in the opening credits) 10 years in the future? How did Freddy manage to wipe out an entire town?

It actually had me craving the familiar and traditional Nightmare storyline. As a character stated, “It’s like Twin Peaks!” Yeah, that and every other deserted town/demon children story ever told. Twilight Zone meets Village of the Damned, indeed. At least don’t try to put this wretched film in the same leagues as Twin Peaks.

On to casting, which is about as textbook as they get. There’s an eclectic group of teenagers, each with their own unique attribute, easily designed so that they could be referred to in the script as “The boy with the hearing aid”, “The girl who’s tough and kickboxes”, “The guy who can’t remember his past”, and “The dude with the weird nose who just starred in Road Trip“. The mere presence of Tom and Roseanne Arnold alone is enough to doom this film to the utter abyss.

By this sixth installment, all the original concepts that launched the Nightmare series to a step above the rest are gone. There’s some vague utterings about not falling asleep, but staying awake doesn’t seem to hold off Freddy anymore. There’s no longer any reason for Freddy’s resurrection as there is for a logical death. Even Freddy’s primary motive for revenge — to kill all the kids of the parents that killed him — was gone by the beginning of the fourth movie. Why does he keep killing? Even undead serial killers have to retire sometime. Freddy’s scars even look more asthetically pleasing than a scarred visage should be.

Although we’re given a glimpse into Fred Krueger’s past, it’s just that — glimpses — that could have been much more interested had they been fleshed out into their own film. Freddy’s Dead is a bomb if I ever saw one for many, many reasons (not the least of which is the reliance upon the 3D glasses and the end segment, which is lost when transfered to film… as if it was great to start with). The director of this “last” Nightmare installment is some ditzy chick (I watched her interview at the end of the film, the lady sounds like someone is plugging her nose the entire time). The male vs. female implications of part 6 is mind-boggling, and enough to make us crave for the basics once more.

Kyle’s Rating: This one is like Nightmare on Elm Street meets Police Academy

Kyle’s Review: You know, I have no doubt (albeit no firsthand knowledge) that there truly are asylums and halfway houses and whatnot that did (and continue to) look like dilapidated slums, full of trash and human refuse. But by this point they’re so over-utilized as shocking settings in movies that they’re totally laughable. It’s like the zoo setting for the bad guy’s hangout in Police Academy 2, but at least that one was meant for laughs.

The more of this movie that plays, the worse it gets. It’s cool that that’s Travis from Clueless doing the troubled young teen thing, but all the “young” people have mental problems of the mainstream movie variety. So it’s nothing that solving one or two outstanding questions won’t fix. And as gonzo as it was to have characters in earlier crappy installments get over the loss of umpteen best friends and family to create perfect new lives in a matter of months, it’s completely unbelievable to have people not care at all that they find themselves in a town void of all children and full of spatial distortions and psychotic adults. What is this, Detroit?

Is Lisa Zane hot? I beeeeeeeeeeeelieve so . . . I’m still trying to figure that one out.

This movie is absolutely atrocious. Horribly unattractive lead characters, idiotic situations (as opposed to bizarre ones), and a story that must be the product of dropouts eating bad Chinese takeout. I mean, as poor as I thought Part 4 and Part 5 were, I might conceivably watch them again. I never want to see Freddy’s Dead ever again.

I mean, what is going on? Things are disjointed, the movie sets are colored like a five-year-old went crazy with a new box of Crayolas, and it’s mentally painful to watch this movie. I can not believe that this was made. It’s one thing when new sequels to the Return of the Living Dead go straight to the Sci-Fi Channel and are totally awful, because it seems like they were designed to be awful in a spoofy kind of way. Like someone was in on the joke, you know?

This is completely awful, with the added weight that it was considered good enough for a theatrical release. There’s no coolness of Freddy jumping around slashing people; there is simply very offensive ugliness related to the backgrounds of these troubled kids. Yuck. This is one of those movies that I urge you not to see, no matter what. If I can prevent one person from seeing, I’ll feel vindicated.

Hugging makes Freddy MAD!

Intermission!

  • The film sound cuts out when the kid’s hearing aid is removed
  • Johnny Depp has a small cameo in a TV commercial… Depp was also in Nightmare 1.
  • Alice Cooper as Freddy’s abusive pimp father.
  • Rosanne and Tom Arnold as the childless couple.
  • Mike Campbell wrote in about the time-line in this movie: “Freddy didn’t take 10 years to wipe out the children of Springwood. He took 18. The second was took place 5 years after the first one. The third was a year after the second (Nancy mentions Freddy almost killed her 6 years ago). The fourth was was a year after the 3rd. Kristen, Joey, and Kincaid are still present. The fifth was at least 9 months after the fourth, since the two survivors had a baby. Then it’s ten years to Freddy’s dead. So 5+1+1+1+10=18.”
  • In the last portion of the movie, from the point at which the lead female puts on the special glasses, to the time at which she takes them off, was originally filmed entirely in 3-D. The effect was removed for video release.
  • Breckin Meyer’s first theatrical role.
  • Is It Worth Staying Through End Credits? The end credits feature clips from all six Nightmare films and the last scene gives Freddy’s birth and death date.

Groovy Quotes

Freddy Krueger: No screamin’ while the bus is in motion!

Freddy Krueger: I’ll get you my pretty… and your little soul, too!

Freddy Krueger: [Laughs] Every town has an Elm Street!

Young Freddy: You wanna know the secret of pain? If you just stop feeling it, you can start using it.

Freddy Krueger: [playing a video game and watching a character get hit] Now I’m playing with power!

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare [retro review] « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

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