There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun. Today we discuss the fifth installment of the Nightmare on Elmstreet Franchise, The Dream Child!

Today’s Key Movie:

Taking place a year after the events of The Dream Master, Alice and Dan have found themselves safe from the Hat Wearing Horror.  However, when Alice becomes Pregnant, Freddy uses her child to find a way back and begins killing again.

Starring Lisa Wilcox as Alice Johnson, Robert England as Freddy and Danny Hassel returning as Dan Jordan, this is the final entry in the ‘Dream Trilogy’ of Nightmare films.

Why this movie?

Wait a second, The Dream Trilogy?  Yep, This and the previous two films are the only films in the franchise that have a continuing story (you could technically count part one but it doesn’t fit the theme of these other three).  In fact, even the titles of these three films have the word ‘dream‘ in them giving them the unique nature of being a trilogy within an ongoing series of films. Pretty cool huh?  This one marks the last of Alice Johnson’s story while providing more history an backstory for Freddy himself.

Wrapping up the Dream Trilogy, this is one of the better sequels in the franchise that also takes a much darker tone than the previous two.  Almost returning to the visceral nature of the original, The Dream Child goes deep into the origins of Freddy Krueger that were only mentioned in The Dream Warriors.  In this one, we witness the events that created Freddy himself as the Brutal Bladed Bastard does all he can to find a way to keep killing.

As it was established in the previous film, Alice has the ability to join others and pull others into her dreams. This ability becomes a hindrance when it is her own unborn child’s dreams that are being used by Freddy and she becomes desperate to find a way to stop him from his murderous rampage.

This was yet another that I never got to see in theaters but you can bet I watched it on VHS.  Unlike the previous film, I am not sure if this was still the continuation of the ‘Freddy movies are bad’ mentality my parents had at the time or I just never got around to seeing it in the theater, regardless it was one of the most talked about films in my circle of friends and so I had to see it as soon as I could. Needless to say, I loved it and it has since held a special place in my horror collection.  That being said…

You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?

Yes, absolutely.  I really do not understand the hate for this film but maybe it’s because it’s really not meant to be watched on it’s own as it is the end of a trilogy and not a stand alone film.  Yes, there is a really creepy fetus segment that is just…well… really creepy and the ending is bat shit crazy and…ok, it’s not perfect but it makes for a good wrap up to the Dream Trilogy ending in the only way it really can.  So let’s dive in shall we?

To start with, the visuals in this are the most impressive of the series so far. It is clear that the previous films provided enough money to give this entry a significant budget and they spared no expense in making the most gruesome and detailed film that they could.  This kind of thing is known to derail sequels but it is clear that Director Stephen Hopkins has a deep love for this franchise. He seems to understand what made the previous sequels work so well and enhances that with even more intense and insane nightmare scenes to date.

The actors in this are really on target through and through.  From the teens to the parents it is abundantly clear that everyone in the film were committed to their roles  Freddy himself is far more brutal and bloodthirsty than ever before with Robert Englund diving so deeply into his role that you almost think he had been possessed by the Kiddy Killer himself. While he does play up quite a few scenes for some serious dark comedy bits, he somehow makes these moments some of the most gruesome and frightening moments in the film. Plus,  Englund not only plays Freddy in this one but also Freddy’s own father who we meet for the first time. 

I gotta ask…what’s with the plant with legs? No. It’s not a dream sequence…it’s just there…taunting us.

Now, what is a nightmare without a protagonist to attack and that is where Lisa Wilcox comes in returning as Alice Johnson. Wilcox does a tremendous job returning as Alice as she tries to figure out how Freddy is killing her friends without using Alice’s own dreams.  Teaming with her friends to fend of the nightmare, while also discovering more about Freddy’s past, Lisa carries most of the film on her own and acts as the perfect connecting character for the audience.   Frankly, I can not think of a better person for Heather Langencamp to have handed the franchise off to as Lisa fully owns her role through and through.

The story, while totally insane, somehow works even the ending, which gets really crazy with how it wraps everything up, is a segment that could only work in a late 80’s supernatural slasher flick.  I won’t get into details but it involves, Freddy, Alice, Alice’s kid and Freddy’s mom.  Yeah, you heard that right.  Freddy’s mom becomes a key character in the story, after having been featured in The Dream Warriors, setting up the events of this very film.  

Bottom line, this is the most insane of the Dream movies and, while not the best of the sequels (that has yet to come), is still not the worst…that is yet to come as well.   The Dream Child is a fantastic example of the late 80’s tendency to go to the extreme but it works and, watching it as part of a longer story and not a stand alone film, this movie is actually a delight….then there is Freddy’s Dead….which we will discuss next week.

OK, where do I get this movie?

As mentioned in the previous reviews, I recommend just getting the boxed set.  I mean, if you have watched this far it is clear you are a fan.  If you really just want this single film…I mean, it’s really not one to watch as a stand alone but...okay…you can still get it and the next one as a double feature

well, until next week….enjoy the trailer.

Late To The Game 12/24/2020

If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.

For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!

nightmare on elm street horror GIF by IFC

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