Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE
WRITERS: Story by Rachel Talalay
Screenplay by Michael De Luca
DIRECTOR: Rachel Talalay
STARRING: Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger
Lisa Zane as Maggie
Shon Greenblatt as John
Lezlie Deane as Tracy
Ricky Dean Logan as Carlos
Breckin Meyer as Spencer
Yaphet Koto as Doc
QUICK CUT: While one man seeks to escape the prison he has been trapped in, another seeks his memories, and a desparate family connection. How will these two people cross paths, and what will it mean for the small town of Springwood?
John - The final child of Springwood, with no memory of who he is, where he’s from, or anything. He’s got a nagging sense of danger, and a quest to find his lineage, but beyond that, nothing.
Maggie - A doctor working at a youth shelter, trying to help troubled kids with their problems, and get them back into society.
Tracy - An abused teen who takes no shit, and loves learning new ways to kick ass.
Spencer - A stoner who’s rich dad is fed up with his acting up, and sends him to the youth shelter to get straightened out.
Carlos - Another abused teen, who lost his hearing when his mother took a q-tip to his ears with much vigor.
Freddy - They’ve dialed him back a tad from a full cartoon, but he’s still kinda goofy. You know the deal here.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! It is once again Fredbruary, and we are up to the sixth Elm Street movie, Freddy's Dead! I know this movie has its detractors, but it's one I've always been a fan of. However, I have not seen it in many years, so let's see how things hold up.
The movie begins with some text explaining this is ten years from now (which is now almost 20 years ago) and how all the kids of Springwood have been mysteriously murdered, and the remaining adults have gone mad.
From there, we watch as "John" who is a John Doe throughout the movie, and never any other name, is trying to leave on a jet plane. He hopes he won’t be back again. He's not having a good time though, because he saw a man on the wing of the plane, and he eventually gets sucked out, because this is an Elm Street movie, and fuck logic.
We experience multiple levels of dreams, as the kid keeps waking up, and let me tell ya. With falling houses, flying through the air, ripping apart planes...Freddy has sure upped his budgets for nightmares.
After falling down the longest hill ever, John gets a bus ticket out of town, but surprise! Freddy's driving. Fred slams on the breaks, the kid goes flying so hard he breaks through night into day. He conks his head on a rock, and gets amnesia for the rest of his life.
He eventually wakes up, and starts walking to the nearest not Spingwood town, where we find ourselves at a youth shelter.
And this as good a time as any to discuss the aesthetic of this movie. With all the kids of Springwood dead, and the rest of the film being run down, this is best described as a post apocalyptic Elm Street movie, and I dig that.
We get introduced to the troubled kids who are gonna be killed off, and their doctor, Maggie. They bring in John who's been wandering the streets, and she gives him an evaluation. Which is tough, when he has no memories.
John does his best to stay awake, but that trick never works. And meanwhile, Maggie has a dream of being chased by her dad, whose face we never see. Gee. Who could it be. I wonder.
Our amnesiac hero follows a little girl in his dreams through the Krueger house, and no one notices him walking up invisible steps in the real world. What happens when there's a hall in the dream, but a wall in the real world?
John tells Maggie about his dream, they realise their dreams are connected, and head to Springwood. The doctor hopes the trip will spark some memories to return. I hope they spark any plot to happen.
After nearly running down a dream, they discover they have three stowaways in the back. Good thing so we didn’t our canon fodder behind.
They arrive in Springwood, and Maggie tells the stowaways to get back in the van and drive back to the shelter, leaving her and John to do whatever.
Maggie and John explore the town fair, noting there's no kids. Everything is super weird, and the visiting kids get mobbed by the adults, wanting to keep them and pet them and name them George.
The trio of stowaways attempt to leave, but no matter what they do, all roads lead back to Springwood. Which doesn't make sense since they're awake, but sigh.
Meanwhile, Maggie and John head to the school to see who's ringing the bells. They find teachers teaching empty classes, and one of them starts talking about Freddy.
They see a wall of dead children articles and photos, and John declares, "Freddy got them!" except he doesn't really know Freddy? And then they realise Freddy had a kid!! when they should be asking, "Wait, who's Freddy??"
Back with the trio, they give up searching for the road out, and decide, hey! Let's stay in this abandoned house, because what's the worst that could happen??
Carlos goes off and finds a bed, dozes off, and has a nightmare about his abusive mother. Until she becomes Freddy, who shoves an extra large qtip into his head, and slices off his ear.
It's a pretty great use of sound, or lack thereof, emphasising the music and Carlos' heartbeat and breathing. Also it's a blast watching Freddy hootin' and a-hollerin' in the background, but can't be heard.
Freddy gives Carlos back his hearing aid, and it burrows into Carlos' skull, amping up the sound to head exploding levels. Freddy eventually does the kid in by dropping a bunch of pins and other tortures, making his head do exactly that from the enhanced sound.
Over in the main plot, John and Maggie visit the orphanage to find out about Fred's kid. Which really gets them nowhere, because everyone in the town has lost it.
Tracy arrives to pick the two of them up, to get their help looking for Carlos. In fairness, it's not like he can hear you calling for him.
Meanwhile, Vince is getting high and watching Fred TV. And this is as good a time as any to address Freddy. With the man shaped portal through the night, his scampering around, and the silliness here, he is very much a cartoon. I don't HATE it, but it does become very goofy at times.
The worst is easily controlling Spencer like he's in a video game. The hopping, the movements, the bad sound effects. So, so silly.
John decides to go in and try and save Spencer, getting cold cocked by Tracy to send him into the dream world.
Spencer gets dead though, and Freddy absorbs his soul. The kids try and fight, but Maggie is getting concerned so she wakes up Tracy, and they carry John out to try and escape the town.
John suddenly wakes up back in his bed, and oh nooooo, the movie reset!
He realises he is still in dreams, and vows that nothing is going to get him off his bed, and he's going to stay where it's safe.
Ahahaha, until it catches on fire.
Freddy shows up and tells John that he's not his kid, and he only let John live, so he could bring back Freddy's REAL child, a daughter. Maggie. Gasp. Surprise. And she will enable him to leap out of the town and infect the world.
The survivors return to the shelter, and no one seems to remember any of the dead kids, or the John Doe, or anything. Yeah sure, why not?
Oh, Doc Yaphet Koto remembers them, because he knows about dreams and has conditioned his mind. Yeah sure, fine.
Maggie dozes off, and dreams of finding her father's workshop, confronting Freddy, and he spills the beans on the plot. How he was a bastard in life, hurt his wife, the town took his kid away, so he got revenge by killing THEIR kids. Which led to the town setting him on fire, and you've seen the series from here.
But meanwhile, Tracy is falling into her own nightmare, and confronting her abusive dad. Geeze, there's a theme here, isn't there?
She beats the everloving SHIT out of NotDaddy with a metal coffee pot, and I really appreciate a moment of female empowerment. If you're gonna go down this icky route of abuse, you better own it.
Before Freddy can do her in though, Tracy shoves her arms over some open flames to have the pain wake her up. Uhh, most people do pinching, but fine.
Fred shows up to try and kill Doc, but the guy came prepared with a bat. Freddy tries to use some kung fu moves, but gets a righteous vengeance beatdown.
And while we're here, Freddy reveals he was empowered by dream demons, foreshadowed earlier, and that's how he can do what he does. Also why he keeps getting stronger with each death.
Doc wakes up, having grabbed a piece of Christmas sweater, and knows they can't hurt him in the dreams. However, if they can just get him out in the real world, they'd have a chance.
They send Maggie in to confront her father, and give her a pair of 3D glasses for the gimmick...er, so she can see the truth of things, instead of Freddy's trickery.
Maggie enters the dream, and Freddy's mind, and it's a pretty trippy, wonderful sequence. And it's pretty effective even without 3D glasses.
She stumbles through Freddy's memories, and we get a travelogue of how horrible he is, playing a mouse xylophone, and oh wah, his dad abused him. Cool motive, still murder.
We also meet Freddy's adopted father, and look, I know everyone has made this joke already, and I don't care so...
Maggie actually manages to grab ahold of her dad, and while giving him a big hug, she drags him into the real world. Our band of heroes arm up in the shelter's confiscated weapons locker, and go on the hunt, following Maggie’s lead.
She finds her dad sobbing on the floor, and he tries to tell his sad sack story, draw her close, and stabby her. But Maggie doesn't buy it, and Freddy eats more bat, getting his glove knocked off. The best stuff here is, Robert Englund finally gets some good scenes without makeup, and some range he can play with.
They fight for a bit, Freddy trying to get his glove back, while also trying to convince her to put it on and accept her destiny to rule the galaxy as father and daughter.
He does eventually get his mittens back, but Tracy tosses every weapon she can to Maggie, which she uses to pin the killer to the nearest wall.
She uses the glove, disembowels dear ol' dad, and Tracy tosses one last toy, Chekov's pipe bomb. Maggie crams it into Krueger’s chest, it goes boom, and ends the threat of Freddy.
And we get no release. He blows up, "Freddy's dead!" AND CREDITS! It's a very sudden, sharp ending. I do love that the credits at least play over Freddy's greatest hits, that's kinda cool. Especially if this HAD been the final film.
Video: Absolutely rock solid. Looks good, everything is sharp, and colourful. The only complaint is, the set design feels like sets. Nothing feels quite real.
Audio: Very good, with the aforementioned standout scene messing with Carlos.
Sound Bite: “EVERY town has an Elm Street!!”
Body Count: This is the biggest disappointment, for me. I’m not a gore hound, but the lack of dead bodies really highlights the lack of characters, and small nature of this movie, in my opinion.
1 - 35:30 minutes in, and Carlos' head explodes from too much sound.
2 - Spencer dies in a video game
3 - John plummets and goes splat.
4 - Freddy go boom, and is now dead forever!
Best Corpse: Carlos wins out, with a great head explosion.
Blood Type - C+: Some blood here and there, but mostly good effects give this a passing grade, barely.
Drink Up! Every time Freddy says bitch.
Video Nasties: A gruesome scene of Freddy very pointedly rattling off all the times he’s been killed before.
Movie Review: Well, I asked if this movie holds up, and for me, yes it does. I really like the plot, I like how in the ‘final’ movie, we get a look back at the origins, Freddy gets some depth, and the story is pretty good. I like the idea of, once Freddy has killed all the kids, he needs to find a way out, into the next generation. The 3D gimmicks in the end are poor and laughable at times, obvious at others, but they’re okay and don’t detract completely from the plot. Aside from Freddy being too silly, I think this is a solid enough entry in the series, if not the best. Three out of five power gloves.
Entertainment Value: I have a little less fun with this one than others, as the silliness detracts from my enjoyment. But the added depth to Freddy, the fun plot, and exploring backstory work for me. The problem with the movie is it feels so small. Three out of five dingy vans.