A Nightmare on Elm Street 4

Posted on: August/1/1988 12:01 AM

Guess who’s back?
By Marc Shapiro

Published in Fangoria #76.

A hound from hell tinkles fire onto Freddy’s grave for a bizarre resurrection in the latest foray into dreamland, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.

Directed by Renny (Prison) Harlin from a Ken and Jim Wheat script, the film continues the storyline of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. After the aforementioned blazing urination, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund, natch) returns, via the dream route, to dispose of the three surviving Elm Street kids, Kincaid (Ken Sagoes), Joey (Rodney Eastman) and Kristen (Tuesday Knight).

Freddy’s game plan, however, is interrupted by the appearance of a supernatural force for good called the Dream Master. This white hat presence, whose key of control resides with a girl named Alice (Lisa Wilcox), soon engages Freddy in a titanic battle between the forces of good and evil. The Dream Master, filmed at various Los Angeles locations, is budgeted in the $4–5 million range.

“With this film, the series is beginning to turn away from Freddy as the central element and toward the relationship between dreams and reality,” explains New Line Cinema spokesman Mike De Luca. “What is of major importance in this film is how Freddy’s dreams affect people. This movie is kind of like our ALIENS. It’s going to be quite a battle.”

Aiding and abetting this war is an all-star FX lineup that includes Steve (Dead Heat) Johnson, Chris (Critters 2) Biggs, Peter (The Serpent and the Rainbow) Chesney and the ever-faithful Kevin Yagher handling Freddy’s facial rot.

“The FX in this movie will take on a more surreal Eraserhead quality,” claims De Luca. “There will be more of a mind game quality than in previous Nightmare films—more dreamlike and less of a gross-out.”

Nightmare 4 will not be the only dose of Krueger audiences will receive this year. The weekly anthology television series Freddy’s Nightmares will debut in October. Still, New Line is taking great pains not to spread the great gloved one too thin.

“We’ve been very conscious of not overexposing the character, which is why he’s basically kept in a host capacity on the television show,” De Luca insists. “On the series, we will play around with his form. One week he might appear as a red and green billboard; another week he might be pulsing out of a wall. The series will have a lot of sardonic humor.”

De Luca refuses to disclose the final outcome of the good vs. evil tussle in Nightmare 4, but he does indicate that Freddy Krueger will be around for an already projected fifth outing. “He’s finally put all the Elm Street kids to rest and has achieved a level of power that will allow him to go after anybody. One of the bits of dialogue in the film pretty much sums up the potential of future films. In it, Freddy turns slowly toward the camera and says, ‘Now nobody sleeps!'”

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master opens August 26. Pleasant dreams.