Schlocktoberfest XI – Day 21: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master


A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)


*Spoilers Throughout*


What‘s This About: The three survivors from the previous sequel; Kristen, Kincaid and Joey are seemingly living normal lives after the defeat of Freddy but Hollywood needs more money so a dog pisses on Freddy‘s bones and brings him back to life. Kristen unwillingly uses her dream summoning powers to bring in more children for Freddy to terrorize. There‘s a rap song that explains all this.

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • So after the classic 3rd Freddy installment, they decided to ape the success of it by also starting the movie with a dream quote. But this time it’s from the bible. One that is well, lacking in poignancy.
  • And imagine if a Friday the 13th movie opened with a bible or Shakespeare quote? It’s very pretentious for a slasher movie.
  • However, the late 80s pop song during the opening credits “Nightmare“ sung by one of the stars Tuesday Knight (Tuesday Knightmare!) is perfect for this movie.
  • More aping with the opening credits with a montage of something artistic involving the nightmare house and the kids singing the infamous rhyme. Well if it worked the first time…
  • A new Kristen since Patricia Arquette moved up the genre ladder.
  • What was the last movie Renny Harlin directed?
  • I get that the boiler room is integral to Freddy’s backstory and sure it’s scary but with all the infinite imaginative possibilities in a dreams, why do they always go back to the same ol’ stuff?
  • So after the events in Part 3, Joey, Kincaid and Kristen all get released from the mental institution and just live normal lives again? Sounds about right.
  • Alice‘s wardrobe is criticized by her dad and she couldn‘t be wearing more clothes. I really don‘t have a clue what her dad‘s point is other than to be the biggest dick of a father in movie history.
  • If it‘s “avoid all contact day“ with your dad, why is Rick coming out of the window directly underneath the kitchen door where his dad is? Couldn’t he go out another window on the opposite side of the house?
  • I highly doubt this punk rock chick takes trigonometry. And is close friends with the homely and nebbish Alice and nerdy Sheila. 

Yup. Birds of a feather all right.

  • Dan Jordan? Great name.
  • So Deb, the punk rock chick, failed to do her trig homework because she watched Dynasty instead. The punk rocker is a huge Joan Collins fan.
  • “Hey needle-dick, I bet you’re the only male in this school suffering with penis-envy.“ Kinda a lame insult no? Especially to an, ahem, African-American high school football player.
  • This Kristen is actually better looking than Patricia Arquette. Just saying.
  • Kincaid blames Kristen for the fact that she “summoned” Kincaid’s dog into her dream that bit her. But she didn’t actually summon the dog—why would she anyway? 
  • Rick, Kristen’s boyfriend and Alice’s brother, says that Kincaid and Joey are “spooky.” Was he being racist? Perhaps.
  • Could they get a scrawnier actor to be the “martial arts“ kid? Rick looks like he weighs 98 pounds soaking wet.
  • What is this song?! It‘s kinda terrible. Its lyrics are driving me insane.
  • This is one awful family. The father was already established as a dick. In this scene he apologizes for being home late. But his kids still give him shit about it. He‘s a single father and working to put food on the table; give him a break.
  • But then when Alice gives him a bowl of salad he complains about it. I take it back, he’s a major asshole.
  • So Alice is a huge day dreamer. That‘s not the same thing as having nightmares or deep sleep dreaming. I understand what they were thinking with the concept but it‘s completely silly. It also means absolutely nothing to anything that happens in the rest off the movie.
  • So Freddy‘s dead as established at the end of 3. But somehow Jason (haha) Kincaid’s dog brings Freddy back to life by pissing fire on Freddy‘s grave. But really my point is if Freddy‘s actually dead then how is Kincaid or his dog brought into a nightmare that Freddy has zero power for? He‘s supposed to be be the one who brings the nightmares to these kids right? I guess they‘re having bad dreams thus giving Freddy more and more power I suppose but again, how and why does this involve the dog? Did the spirit of Freddy control the dog‘s nightmare?

  • Like Freddy has some power to bring the kids into a nightmare but he stills someone to help him come back to life? Bringing Freddy back to life accidentally makes more sense.
  • If Jason the dog dug up the ground to reveal Freddy’s bones, then why is it barking angrily at the sight of said bones like it senses they are evil and running away? I always assumed the dog was acting on Freddy’s behalf to help him come back to life but now I’m thinking this was a mistake and Jason just smelled the bones and wanted to dig them up to chew on.
  • Great scene of Freddy coming back from the dead though. The effects are great.
  • The shot of Freddy saying “you shouldn’t have buried me, I‘m not dead“ always bothered me since I was a kid because his Goddamned lips don‘t move when he says it. Plus the line is stupid.
  • OK I can understand Kincaid being afraid of Freddy in Part 3 since he had zero clue who this burned man with a glove with knives as fingers was in his dreams but now after he knows he‘s defeatable and vulnerable, Kincaid should not be that afraid of him as he used to be. Plus isn’t he still a Dream Warrior and has super-strength in the dreams? This film totally doesn’t give a fuck about Kincaid and Joey.
  • They don’t even give Kincaid a decent kill. Freddy just stabs him in the belly.
  • Sweet! Sidaris babe Hope Marie Carlton makes a cameo as a topless girl in Joey‘s waterbed. Not on the water bed but in the actual water of the water bed. Like a beautiful mermaid. Ahhhh. Then of course Freddy ruins it.
  • How did Joey get in the water bed in reality? How can Freddy make this sort of thing happen? Kill Joey in his dream—sure. But have him in an implausible scenario that no one can do in real life and it looks ridiculous.
  • “How do you know so much about dreams?” “Well when it’s all you have you sort of become an expert.” Huh?
  • Why does Freddy disguise himself as a female nurse? Robert Englund probably just wanted a drag scene for once in his illustrious career.
  • I can get that both Deb and Alice both work at the neighborhood diner together. But why does Alice wear normal street clothes and Deb wears a diner uniform from the 50s?
  • How is the Nancy/Freddy house still standing in that state? It‘s in a beautiful neighborhood where every other house is nice. That‘s got be driving the property value down significantly. If I was a neighbor I‘d just burn it down.
  • Kristen rushes Rick out of the diner because it’s getting too late to get Freddy. Don’t they have all the time they need unless they fall asleep? Not sure how time is a factor.
  • “Now I lay me down to sleep, the master of dreams my soul to keep.“ That’s so dumb! It doesn’t even make sense.
  • Glad they brought back Kristen‘s mom in this one to say “andele!“ In her usual annoying manner.
  • Haha. Kirsten’s mom tells her to get away from that house after she drove up. But after saying “andele“ a few times she just gets back in her car and leaves. She wasn‘t there to pick Kristen up or anything but just happened to drive past that shitty house on Elm Street and berated her daughter in front of her friends on a day that her two close friends died.
  • Why would Kristen‘s mom drug her with sleeping pills during dinner and then complain about her not eating? Nuts.
  • This was the first Elm Street movie to try to make Freddy funny or charming. Last movie he said some funny things to his victims but they were sarcastic in nature. But this one he was using puns and pretending to be a nurse or a shark. He even wears sunglasses on a beach which looks ridiculous. At least he didn’t say “Surf’s Up” or “Hang Ten” or something dumb like that.

  • Again with the Freddy house and boiler room. Does it really mean so much to kill these kids there?
  • So Kristen was the final of the original Elm Street kids whose folks had a hand in Freddy’s death. That makes sense and I’m glad the movie makes a mention of this because as the movies go on, it would be ridiculous to have that many people involved with his death. Kristen accidentally summoning Alice into her dream and “meeting” Freddy is a sane and logical way to have him terrorize more kids.
  • He then gives Alice a postcard which says “Greetings From Hell.“ I guess when I was a kid Freddy always seemed cool and funny but he was so much better when he was more sinister and nastier.
  • Hahaha! Nancy, Nancy‘s dad, Kincaid and Kristen are all buried in the same cemetery right next to each other.
  • Rick sure is taking the death of his girlfriend rather well.
  • I can kinda see some nerd in high school making a device that emits ultra-high sound waves. But making one out-of-the-blue for her friend just because she hates bugs is suspending a lot of disbelief.
  • Alice somehow got Kristen‘s cigarettes. Why? Because she absorbed Kristen’s dream powers. And vices apparently. And somehow physically conjured up cigarettes without her knowing she did. What? Kristen didn’t even have the cigarettes on her in her nightmare.
  • I am at a complete loss what mechanical/animal creature that Sheila is fighting off in her nightmare. I’m also baffled that Alice and Sheila can’t get out of their desk/chairs because Freddy magically made a small barrier on the open side of the desks. Why can’t they try to stand up and climb over?!
  • Freddy sucks the air out of Sheila making it look like her asthma attack killed her in real life, which is great since I prefer he make the kids’ deaths look like accidents but like Deb says, who dies from an asthma attack?
  • How are high school kids, ones that lost 4 students due to sudden and unexpected deaths, still hang out at the local diner? It’s devastating that one young kid dies but 4. The last one died in class! The whole school should be in serious mourning right now. But now some are still eating disco fries and greasy burgers. Life moves on I suppose.
  • And they‘re going to drive-ins?! Is this movie set in 1962?!
  • Hey professor Shaye, maybe having a lesson regarding dreams is a bit insensitive right now?
  • And what is the deal about this made up Dream Master anyway?! Coming up with some sort of cockamamie philosophy lesson about a supposed theory of a Dream Master to justify the title of the movie is absurd. And how is this important for a high school class?

  • According to imdb trivia, Rick supposedly has a fear of elevators and that’s why he’s having a nightmare in one. But either that scene describing his fear or whatever was cut or only in the script so it just looks like a cool and interesting nightmare scenario. I mean, a nightmare doesn’t always need to make sense for it to terrify the sleeper. These movies never really utilize the randomness or fantasy aspect of dreams and always tie a nightmare to an aspect of their personality. Rick is kung fu fighting Freddy because we saw he practices martial arts. So what? 99% of my dreams make zero sense. They’re not even accurate—if I dream about my house it’s not even my real house. Point is, they could make up anything they want but choose to personalize these nightmares too much.
  • Why does the Kung Fu fight scene take place in what looks like a swanky 1970s love pad for a drug dealer?
  • If Freddy could be invisible in someone’s dream, why doesn’t he do that each and every time?
  • As cool as it looks that the windows shatter after Alice screams NO after her brother dies, it just doesn’t make sense.
  • It’s amazing that the actor who plays the very “funny” Rick never had a career past this point.
  • Alright, after 5 kids die in a span of a week don‘t you think some high level police or even the FBI would get involved? These movies always have multiple deaths or murders in a small town involving kids and it‘s always just up to those surviving kids to solve the issue.
  • OK, we get it punk chick, you like working out. Every scene she‘s in its mentioned that she works out.
  • I just looked up that work out chick on imdb because she seemed familiar to me and she too was on Just The Ten Of Us with Heather Langencamp. That show had 2 Elm Street kids? Weird. (Three if you count a girl extra on a bus in Part 2)
  • I was just going to ask if there was a point to Alice absorbing the personalities or quirks from her dead friends but now Alice knows Martial Arts from her brother. I guess she’s super smart now after Sheila died?
  • Who works out to Sinéad O‘Connor music?
  • Alice is dreaming of going to the movies. Fine. But she even buys soda and popcorn. Why? There’s no way she’s this dumb not to realize she’s dreaming.
  • Hahaha. Alice casually mentioned earlier that one of her greatest fears was being a waitress all her life and lo and behold, Freddy makes Alice a customer at the same diner and the waitress taking her order is an older and sad Alice. TERRIFYING!
  • The souls of the kids as meatballs on the pizza are a great effect and I always liked it but when was the last time to ordered a pizza at a diner? Freddy could’ve made them silver dollar pancakes and that would make more sense. or sunny side up eggs. They could’ve been the Matzoh Balls in Matzoh Ball soup if you didn’t want to do breakfast food.
  • I actually would’ve loved it if after Freddy eats meatball Rick he said “Mamma Mia that’s a spicy meatball!”

  • I like the plot point that Freddy is only using Alice’s new summoning powers from Kristen to get more kids to kill. But couldn’t he have just used Kristen for that?
  • So how exactly did Debbie fall asleep during her bench presses?!
  • Debbie killed a roach in the beginning of the flick so now of course she becomes a roach in her nightmare. What would Freddy do if someone didn’t have a fear to exploit? Oh wait, that’s what he did in the first movie!
  • I have to admit that the roach motel death is kinda fun. I especially love how much bug blood and guts spill out when Freddy squeezes the box. Hilarious.
  • Having Alice and Dan in a car accident by Alice ramming a tree when she thought it was Freddy makes great sense but I’m pretty sure that’s how he kills Dan in the next flick.
  • Why is Alice suiting up in a montage? I know she has to fight Freddy but what does wearing a leather jacket and studded belts do to give her an advantage? And she equips the ultra-high sound wave device. Did she think that would help? It turns out it does help her but it was just a lucky guess.
  • Freddy is spinning a tube that Alice and Dan are trying to walk in like it’s a freaking carnival attraction. Of course Freddy spins it so out of control that they struggle. I managed to easily get out of this same predicament SUPER DRUNK during Brian and my vacation to Oktoberfest!
  • Is the finale really just Alice fighting Freddy in hand-to-hand combat? I didn’t much care that this was the case when I was 11 but it‘s really bugging me now. They couldn’t think of a better, clever way to fight and defeat him?
  • Freddy taunts Alice by saying “You got their powers…I got their souls, c’mon!” Not sure what point he’s making other than stating facts. What does having their souls do to give him an edge over her having their powers?
  • And powers is kinda a stretch. I mean what powers did Sheila or Deb have? Her brother at least had karate skills but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they had powers. Especially after what the last film established that simple and normal kids could have superpowers in their dreams if they focused hard enough.
  • And we already saw that Freddy can become invisible which is no match for any power Alice can think of at this point.
  • Oh so she somehow pulled out an electrical wire without killing herself and somehow plugged it into the ultra-high sound wave device which somehow burned a hole about a size of a basketball in Freddy‘s chest all the way through. The dumbest aspect is we see Freddy‘s heart beating but it‘s where his live should be. Idiot Renny Harlin thinks the heart is under the rib cage.
  • And I thought that device emitted ultra high sound waves. Alice made it become a laser gun.
  • So the rest of the Dream Master rhyme is “In the reflection by my side, evil will see itself and it shall die.“ Alice then shows Freddy his reflection and all the souls on his body fight their way out of his body. But Freddy has been shown around mirrors before with no ill effect. So what gives?! And I‘m sure Alice didn‘t attempt to kill him again with a mirror in Part 5.
  • And why would this particular nightmare have about 8 little girls show up to help Alice remember the rest of that nonsensical rhyme?!
  • I read that Linnea Quigley is a soul in Freddy‘s body on imdb and without a shred of doubt it was the one that shows her boobs. I can recognize those tits anywhere!

  • Alice sure is chipper after all those deaths. Sure she defeated Freddy but the pain of losing 4 of her closest friends and her brother must still sting. But she got the good looking boyfriend now so all‘s good.
  • All these movies tease the return of Freddy in someway. In Part 3, the paper mâché house Kristen made had a light go in but no one in the movie saw it. Alice sees Freddy’s reflection in a water fountain until Dan’s coin makes it disappear as it ripples. It would’ve been way better if she thought it was Freddy but it turned out to be a red and green flag waving in the distance that casted the reflection so it wasn’t so obvious that he’s not really dead. A little subtlety would’ve been nice.
  • They‘re ending the movie with that Sinéad O‘Connor song again? I can understand if it had to do with dreams or something but it conceptually doesn‘t fit at all. It‘s not even a morose or atmospheric song. It‘s basically a happy love song.
  • Oh god. One of the Freddy rap songs are playing now. I totally forgot that both Will Smith and the Fat Boys wrote rap songs about Freddy. Sure he was vastly popular but wow that‘s never happened before to a horror franchise. And nothing speaks horror like a late 80s novelty rap song amiright? If only Pinhead had one.
  • The last song is actually way worse with an over the top ballad called “Don’t Be Afraid of Your Dreams” by power pop group Go West and it fits even less than the other 2 dumb songs.
  • Such a shame really. This was 1988. The absolute zenith of pop metal or Hair metal if you will and just last film they had Dokken basically do the soundtrack, are you telling me they couldn’t get another hair metal band for this one but would rather have Sinéad O’Connor and The Fat Boys? Even Winger would’ve been more appropriate for a horror flick in 1988. Terrible decision making.
  • HOWEVER, nothing in the Elm Street canon is worse than the COVID-19 pandemic PSA starring some of the has-beens and never-were‘s from the franchise. I just found this on youtube and I‘m just shaking my head in disbelief.

Was it Entertaining:

Final Thoughts: The Elm Street franchise was full-steam ahead at this point and pretty urn pointing its own currency and of course the dumb and lackluster ideas came with it. This sequel was released just over a year since the 3rd installment and there‘s no way they gave themselves enough time to flesh out some new good ideas. The franchise was also in a very saturated and over-exposed genre and keeping up with other tired horror franchises didn‘t help either. However, I was 11 in 1988 and couldn‘t be happier as a horror movie fan. I still remember seeing Dream Master in theatres (which may have been my first ever horror movie seen in the theatre if you don‘t count Supergirl). I still have a soft spot for Dream Master enough not to call it out as a terrible flick, although compared to Part 3 and the original, it‘s lacking in a lot of areas. The music, like I mentioned could‘ve been a lot better for its time as well. I still enjoyed it for what it was but unfortunately I know that Dream Master was the turning point of making Freddy the ‘anti-hero‘ more due to his popularity. This one wasn‘t totally cheesy but introduced some of the kitsch and silliness that was more apparent in the later 2 sequels. 

Score: 7 Fat Boys (out of 10)


4 thoughts on “Schlocktoberfest XI – Day 21: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

  1. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest XI – Day 25: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare | Hard Ticket to Home Video

  2. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest XI – Day 28: The Last House on the Left | Hard Ticket to Home Video

  3. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest XI: The Recap Kills | Hard Ticket to Home Video

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