In Circles of Joy with “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master”

Credit: Horror Syndicate

“How’s this for a wet dream?”

I am showing the early signs of Freddy obsession. Each successive Elm Street feels like the next layer on top of a nightmarish red and green cake. Each level more precarious (and caloric) but still delicious, hot and wet, straight out of the boiler room.

Which is to say: I had a blast with Dream Master. The fourth in the franchise adheres to Hallmark’s popular philosophy: you can never have enough red and green on screen. Not showing the same signs of decline or fatigue that Jason and Michael weathered, this franchise continues to surprise and delight me.

There are so many standout sequences and ingenious set pieces on display — the waterbed, Freddy Jaws on the beach, the mirror, the soul pizza, the dream loop (“He got us in circles.”). The arm rip and the fucking cockroach! The practical FX here are in my sweet spot, and they hold up. I would be overjoyed to make a movie that looks like this one.

I’d love to have seen more Patricia Arquette as Kristen Parker, but I dug Tuesday Knight. Passing the dreamweaving baton to Alice worked quite well — the idea that she gained the powers of her friends after their death was not only a way to feel empowered in grief, but clever. A great and necessary way to build up a new protagonist for the next two films.

Since watching Dream Warriors last year, I literally gained a friend and life coach who is named Kirsten Parker, just one letter away from the late Dream Master herself. Kirsten literally helps me organize my dreams. Did I manifest / dream up someone based on a movie? Or does that mean I’m in her dream? Does that mean Freddy has me?

All Elm Street films are streaming on HBO Max.

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Andrew Greene

Andrew Greene

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A writer & traveler when his cat allows, located in glittering Glendale, CA.