Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Elm Street Week Day 5: The One Where Freddy Dies (Syke!)

Part 6 started out as a much more ambitious project with several main characters, the return of Alice and Jacob Johnson as characters, and a big subplot dealing with Freddy's past and his eventual demise.  However, like all ambitious horror sequels of that time...the budget was cut and the studio interfered in the creative process.  They also decided to add a gimmick to the mix...3D, and that meant neutering the finale even more so that they could film the scenes properly.  Sad thing is, the 3D effect didn't turn out all that great in the end and so cutting the finale down came to nothing...and the way they finally "killed" Freddy was really stupid.  Still, there's a lot to like about Part 6 if you look closely.  So here we go...day five and movie 6.  Say hello to Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.

When the film begins, an unidentified teenage male is having a nightmare where he is thrown from a plane, falls down a hill, and is then hit by a bus driven by the always funny Freddy Krueger who throws the boy out of the dream when he reaches the edge of town.  It seems that Krueger is confined to the town of Springwood and cannot venture further and he is sending this last surviving teen of Springwood out to 'fetch' something for him.  The boy, who is called John Doe for the remainder of the film because he has amnesia and cannot remember who he is, is taken into a youth shelter where he meets Maggie Burroughs who works with the kids there.  She convinces him that he needs to return to Springwood so he can find out who he is and what happened.  Also, he holds a news article that contains a watertower that she has seen in a recurring dream of her own.  Together Maggie and John journey to Springwood, with three stowaway teens (Carlos, Spencer, and Tracy) and are freaked out by the towns people's odd behavior.  There are no kids anywhere and the adults appear to all have gone crazy.  Soon, the stowaway teens succumb to sleep and are killed by ol' Fred while Maggie and Tracy survive.  Freddy then hitches a ride in Maggie's mind and she takes him to the youth shelter where he can kill a new batch of kids.  It turns out that Maggie is Freddy's long lost daughter and he needed her to release him from Springwood.  Now she must face her evil father in combat to defeat him once and for all.

As I said, part 6 has a lot going for it.  It takes an ambitious premise, like jumping 10 years into the future to see what would happen to the town if Freddy was left to continue roaming free.  Obviously, the town would be wiped clean of any children or teenagers and the adults left would be forced to either deny what had happened or cope with trying to understand the illogical truth...both of which would require some sort of psychosis.  It also asks a "What If?" on Freddy's pre-dream life.  Did he have a family?  What would have happened to them?  However, the film doesn't use any of these ideas to any real effect as it quickly becomes bogged down in more of the same.  Carlos and Spencer exist only to give Freddy a chance to have a few cook dream set pieces while John (the other death) is the only character who dies that you actually care about since we've been with him since the start.  I understand that John used to be Jacob in the original script...one of the many ideas that was lost in the rewriting and retooling process.  And they killed Freddy with a pipe bomb...after numerous supernatural deaths and much worse mishaps (like being set on fire or ripped apart), the thing that kills him is a pipe bomb.  Its just a little ridiculous...add to the fact that they ripped off the ending of part 1 as well, with Maggie pulling Freddy into the real world just like Nancy did in the first.  It really feels like they simply ran out of ideas and just needed to end the movie quickly.  Another misstep of this film is how cartoony Freddy has become.  He is literally copying whole moves from the Looney Tunes playbook, like pushing a Wile E. Coyote bed of spikes out under a falling victim and then pausing to look at the camera and pant. His puns are also the worst ever...I mean my Dad literally tells jokes like these (he loves bad puns).  However, I often find myself enjoying the first half of the film at the very least and then finishing it out of respect.  I guess I like to look at Freddy's Dead like a great 'what if' conundrum...I watch it and wonder to myself what might have been if the film had been given the budget and talent it deserved as Freddy's finale.  Tomorrow, I'm going to skip ahead to Freddy's famous heavyweight bout with another famous horror icon and save the true "best for last" on Thursday...so be ready for more Freddy!

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