Alice is basically on even terms with Freddy, and her powers are equal to his.
By Marc Shapiro and Michael Gingold
Nightmare on Elm Street movies have been conspicuous for their ability to portray teens and supporting characters as real, multidimensional people, rather than cardboard cutouts with the word victim stamped on their foreheads. Past Nightmare films have introduced the world to the talents of Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Robert Rusler and Tuesday Knight. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child continues that policy by displaying some new kids and one dedicated mother to Nightmare on Elm Street audiences.
Making a return visit to Elm Street after kicking Freddy’s butt in Nightmare 4 is actress Lisa Wilcox as Dream Master Alice. In this outing, Alice is pregnant and fighting Freddy for the soul of her unborn child. Less wimpy and more confident than in Nightmare 4, Wilcox claims Alice has grown up.
“My character has definitely changed between Nightmare 4 and this film,” says Wilcox. “In Nightmare 5, Alice has a sense of confidence and outrage that makes her almost a madwoman. What makes Alice different from the previous Nightmare women is that she is basically on even terms with Freddy, and her powers are equal to his.”
Lisa Wilcox’s acting credits include recurring roles in the soap operas General Hospital and the television series Falcon Crest. She has also appeared in episodes of Hotel, McGyver and It’s a Living. “Alice is in control,” says Wilcox of her best-known character. “And I like the idea that she is willing to put her life on the line for the ones she loves.”
Rejoining Wilcox is actor Danny Hassel in the role of Dan. If you think Dan took his lumps in Nightmare 4, you’ve got to feel for Hassel who doesn’t get off easy in the latest sequel.
“I get to die twice in this one,” says Hassel. “First in a dream and then for real. I’ve spent a lot of time wearing prosthetics in Nightmare 5. There’s the motorcycle bit in the dream sequence and then my real death in the truck. But at least they just let me die in this one rather than beating the hell out of me.”
Hassel, a veteran of episodic TV, sees some differences in the character of Dan this time out. “He’s a bit more willing to commit to Alice and he’s more willing to do his own thing. I’d say that Dan has more going for him in this film.”
Beatrice Boepple portrays the pivotal role of Amanda Krueger, the mother of Freddy. It is a part the actress did a great deal of preparing for.
“In playing Amanda Krueger, I felt it was important to get the point across that Amanda loves Freddy in the purest sense of the word,” Boepple offers. “She’s not proud of him but she loves him and I felt it was important to the history of Freddy Krueger to have someone somewhere who really cares about him.”
Some of Boepple’s preparation consisted of being around Robert Englund and peering into Freddy’s dark eyes. “The first day I looked at him, I thought ‘yuck!’ But after a while, I would look at Freddy and just sort of feel sorry for him,” she recalls.
“The big challenge in playing Amanda was balancing the feeling of guilt in not destroying him at birth, with the mother love and the pain of having to destroy him now before his pure evil is unleashed on the world.”
She jumped through her diving board-turned-Freddy claw. She survived a dip in his jacuzzi from hell. Yvonne is made of strong stuff. So is the actress who plays her, Kelly Jo Minter.
“Yvonne is probably the strongest kid in the bunch,” Minter declares. “She’s levelheaded, skeptical and a real tough cookie. Which is the main reason why she’s still alive at the end of the movie.”
Minter, who stumbled into acting while holding down a full-time job as a grip, has played parts in the movies Mask, The Principal, Summer School and The Lost Boys. The actress knows her way around an acting job and, in the case of Nightmare 5, was not above asking for and getting a few changes in Yvonne’s makeup.
“Yvonne was originally this nice black Cosby kid who was going to medical school,” Minter reveals. “I suggested that the character might play better as this normal, unremarkable girl who just wanted to be a diver and who lives in a neighborhood where everybody is being killed.”
Mark Grey’s death at Freddy’s claw while trapped in a black-and-white comic book world is one of the highlights of this latest trip down Elm Street. Joe Seely, the actor who plays Mark, enjoyed his character before Freddy turned him into paper and made a doily out of him.
“Mark’s an interesting fellow who goes through quite a few changes,” says Seely. “First, he’s this withdrawn kid who’s not comfortable with people. Then he becomes caught up in Alice’s problem and gets up a real head of steam.”
Seely, who has appeared in the films Shag, The Iron Triangle and Tough Guys, gives Freddy one hell of a battle in the aforementioned dream battle.
“It’s wild,” Seely enthuses. “Freddy draws me into this world and chases me on a skateboard. I turn into a comic book hero called the Phantom Prowler and blast holes in Freddy. Things seem to be going Mark’s way. Until Freddy turns me into paper. And… well, you know the rest.”