Title: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Dir.: Stephen Hopkins
Producer(s): Robert Shaye, Rupert Harvey
Writer(s): Leslie Bohem
Company: New Line Cinema
Starring: Lisa Wilcox, Robert Englund, Kelly Jo Minter, Erika Anderson, Danny Hassel, Whit Hertford, and Joe Seely
This one I’d say is probably the more ambitious of the MTV Era Freddy…
I’m saying that as I’m thinking of the dream sequences, how creative they are on a scale of graphic and I don’t mean content but graphic art. I think a huge part of that comes from the director who was/is very much into comic books, comic art, graphic novels, etc., and it shows.
This is also one of the more darker tone Freddy films (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dream Warriors, New Nightmare) as well. I mean, the idea of taking advantage of an already sensitive situation (i.e. pregnancy) and looking to be reborn to come back into the real world. That’s fucking messed up.
The 5th installment in the ANOES franchise, Dream Child, follows Alice (Wilcox, from Dream Master) graduating from high school and becoming pregnant with child with late Dan (Danny Hassel, Dream Master) and diving deeper into the Freddy lore (i.e., “bastard son of a 100 maniacs”, Amanda Krueger) and his plans on using Alice and Alice’s unborn child to come into the real world.
The film also has a blue filter over its entirety which is an interesting fact and decision to make within the franchise. A franchise that thrives off of its harsh lighting, bold colors, and special effects, the blue filter does make it unique. Ironically the images chosen were chosen YEARS ago prior to actually finding this fact and looking at various screen captures, it’s right there. It does cast the film in a cooler tone, even if it looks warm. And what I also enjoy is even in the shadows, if you look hard enough, there are moments of red and green colors shown together.
There’s an obvious nod to comic book and comic art, pop art and if you know your artists, MC Escher influence/inspiration. Pop art was started in the mid-late 50s and really grew into popularity in the 60s with Roy Litchenstein, Andy Warhol and others at the helm and of course, comic art/comic books began its life early in the 18th Century Japan but for popularity, the 1930s, showing up in newspapers. MC Escher, a Dutch artist, mostly did lithographs and woodcuts. But we know him for his illustrations with symmetry, illusions, reflections, etc., and it’s seen in the film in the longer dream sequence of Alice, chasing her son, in an endless maze of stairs, inspired by “Relativity”. This is also an inspiration in the 80s cult film, Labyrinth.
The kills are creative; a character is killed in the one thing he loved, comic books. Also, there’s Super Freddy… it sounds stupid, looks kind of wonky but effective. There’s a lot about Dream Child that is effective and for me, it’s the more practical effect, art context that we don’t get in the previous films and none after. Perhaps little bits here and there but nothing where different forms of art are a part of the production.
Dream Child is a different film, it is a part of the “Dream” series in that it has its continuity from Dream Warriors to this one, some references to the original and if you want a little bit of MTV-esque Freddy but a more serious, darker tone, this is a great mix of both.
Sadly, when we get to Freddy’s Dead, that mix is unbalanced.