Monday, April 26, 2010

Elm Street Week Day 4: The One with the Baby

Ah, another day...another Nightmare.  This time we will be looking at Part 5, a dark and gothic little entry that tried (perhaps too late) to return Freddy to his darker roots and concludes the little trilogy that began with Part 3.  The nightmares were shot in dark, 'James Cameron' blues and hues of sickly yellows and browns and featured particularly gruesome ends for their characters (without being overly bloody).  Freddy was still jokey, but he's a bit more mean-spirited like in Part 3 and his very appearance inspires dread...rather than cheers and whoops.  Also, Freddy's plan is a bit more icky this time out...using the dreams of an unborn child to bring himself back to life and start anew.  Part 5 always gets a very bad rap...often lumped together with the worst of the series and I've never understood why.  It advances the story once again into something a little different, and it tries to make the whole affair dark and spooky again.  I honestly think that that is what the fans reject, since audiences were really starting to love the fun 'anti-hero' Freddy from Parts 3 and 4, and Part 5 (like Alien 3 following Aliens) sucks the fun out of what came before. Also annoying to fans (because even they don't get what really is important to this series) is the fact that there are only 3 kills in this film as opposed to the large numbers in the last one.  Well, I'd better stop yapping and get to talking about the actual movie...so let's take a little snooze and explore A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.

Freddy has been dead and gone for a whole year and Alice Johnson and her boyfriend Dan Jordan are readjusted to normal life...and apparently shagging like rabbits.  Yes friends, mousy Alice from the last film has gotten hot thanks to killing Freddy and is quite fond of making love with her hot boyfriend...which is where we find them at the start of the film.  Following this, Alice begins having strange nightmares again and...while they don't feature Freddy...they are very vivid and she isn't able to control them.  The following day, she finds herself in a dream (despite not having gone to sleep) and witnesses the rebirth of Freddy Krueger through the memory of his real mother.  Soon after, Freddy kills Dan and several of Alice's new friends, and Alice begins seeing a little boy named Jacob in her new dreams.  It turns out that Freddy's return has been brought about by the conception of her own unborn child...whom Jacob represents in the dreams.  She has passed her dream-jumping power to the baby and Freddy is using him to get to her friends.  Alice must now find a way to stop Krueger from controlling her unborn son, who is being fed the souls of Freddy's victims and is becoming more and more like Freddy.

Part 5 has a lot of things going for it...it has some of the best production design yet, likable teen actors that you really don't want to see get killed, and the clever addition of Freddy going after an unborn child.  The fetus idea makes sense, as unborn children spend most of their time in the womb sleeping and dreaming which would make one an easy target for Mr. Krueger.  The idea was going to be used for the first sequel, but assistant producer Sara Risher was pregnant at the time and was highly uncomfortable with the concept...so it got saved for a later time.  Coming hot off the success of Part 4, this entry was very different in tone and look and audiences didn't take to it.  In fact, audiences were already beginning to grow tired of Freddy's antics...as Part 5 didn't make nearly as much at the box office as Part 4 did.  Perhaps this is why they chose to kill Freddy off in the next installment.  I've never really understood the hate this movie gets, seeing as it does many things that the other more popular entries do, and does them well.  A lot of people simply state that it was getting to be "too much" by the time this one came out.  Things like Baby Freddy, were too much...the gothic atmosphere was too much...Freddy's jokes were too much...and so on.  I think another one of the reasons people hate on Part 5 is that, villains messing with children (babies in particular) just makes people uncomfortable on a gut level.  They also are put off by the 'sickly looking' visuals of the film.  I mean, some scenes have a palette of serious 'baby shit' yellow...and given how much this film deals with 'inner bodily functions'...that also makes people uncomfortable.  But like I said, this one is one of my favorites simply because it gets back to the darkness of the first few films (as much as others might say otherwise) and I actually feel some suspense for the characters in this...unlike in Part 4.  I dunno, I guess I just see things differently.  I only hope that more people revisit Part 5 and find something to like in it because like all the Nightmare films...it has more layers than people give it credit for.

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