I’m still working on my Joe Dante wrap-up but I figured I might as well get back to the regular posting now that I’m a little less busy.
Over at Very Aware, Matthew is continuing with his directors. Check out his post on Rob Zombie.
Finally made it to my Women Directors! First up is another installment in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, the 6th film Freddy’s Dead, directed by Rachel Talalay.
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, 1991. Dir. Rachel Talalay, Written by Michael De Luca. Starring Robert Englund, Lisa Zane.
So guys, I know this movie isn’t good. I know people hate it. I’m really glad I missed the whole 3D thing because I’m pretty sure I would have hated that too. But I did miss the 3D and honestly, I didn’t hate this movie. I maybe even kind of liked it.
It’s so dumb! Freddy kills Breckin Meyer in a weird 8-bit video game! What is that?! This movie has Breckin Meyer. Awesome.
Anyway, so Freddy’s Dead is set sometime 10 years in the future (which I guess would mean 2001) and all of the children of Springwood are dead. All except for one who mysteriously appears in another town at a shelter for troubled youth. He has no memory of who he is or where he’s come from. He just knows he can’t fall asleep. If he falls asleep, he won’t be waking up again.
The shelter is run by the well meaning Maggie and populated by a gang of misfits intent on escape. When Maggie decides to take John Doe back to Springwood in an attempt to jog his memory, the mystery of what is haunting the town only deepens. One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…
I don’t know, the premise itself isn’t terrible but man does this story take some weird turns. I get that this series is all about nightmares and dreams and the nature of reality. But in this version of Freddy, he’s turned into a demon creature (an idea followed through on in New Nightmare) granted power by… the dream demons? Or something? I’m not really sure what those were and I can’t really get behind that part. The idea as presented was pretty silly and the effects were… not that good.
I know one of the big complaints of this film is how Freddy has devolved into lame jokes and bad effects. And I get that. There are a lot of lame jokes here, right from the opening and Freddy riding a broomstick pretending to be the Wicked Witch of the West. Or East. One of those wicked witches. He also gets his ass kicked a lot. This movie borrows heavily from Dream Warriors, the concept of controlling dreams, fighting him. He’s not vulnerable per se but he sure does fall down a whole lot.
And yet. I didn’t hate the video game sequence. Or the bizarre Wizard of Oz reference. The Twilight Zone beginning was pretty cool. I enjoyed Robert Englund with his mask off. The character is kind of a waste, but it was also cool to see Parker from Alien (Yaphet Kotto) in a small role.
I guess I have to admit that I mostly liked the silliness. Maybe it’s just because I watched New Nightmare and was disappointed by the lack of insane dream sequences, but I liked the craziness. I missed them.
Most importantly, this movie made me want to watch more Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Don’t hate me, but after watching this one, I would actually be open to more sequels. Not the remake, wasn’t so much in love with that, but just straight up sequels. More insane, horrifying dreams, maybe better effects…
I don’t know. The more Nightmare on Elm street movies I watch, the more the series appeals to me. I like these movies. And I could see liking more of them. If they were done right. Which, unfortunately, I don’t know if that’s a thing that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Maybe it’s time I revisit Freddy vs. Jason… I haven’t watched that in a while. I remember thinking it was okay but I’ve seen a lot more of Freddy since then.
Freddy’s Dead is Rachel Talalay’s first film as a director (She previously worked as a producer. With John Waters! Which makes total sense). Personally I think it’s a solid directorial debut and with the context of John Waters and her later films (Tank Girl!), I think what we’re seeing here makes total sense. There’s a bizarre, zany energy and I think that’s what I like so much about this movie. How weird it is. As much as people may hate it, it still feels like a Nightmare on Elm Street movie. Or maybe just A Nightmare on Elm Street’s drunk cousin. Either way, I was entertained.
P.S. By a little less busy I mean I’m posting this in between working on three different things. I’ve been at my computer since 2 PM (it’s almost 1 AM my time), minus the 1 1/2 hour break for Freddy’s Dead. Maybe I should go to sleep now. Except…
Nine, ten, never sleep again…
I’m going to try and finish my post about Joe Dante tomorrow. Promise.