Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) has finally whittled Springwood’s teenage population down to one. He gives the kid amnesia and sends him to the next town to bring his estranged daughter Maggie (Lisa Zane) to her old home. Freddy then travels in her memory (don’t ask) back to the youth shelter where she works so that he can continue murdering kids there. (“Every town has an Elm Street!”) In the end, Maggie gets help from a hippie dream therapist (Yaphet Kotto) who gives her the tools necessary (3-D glasses) to destroy Freddy once and for all.
They said it was the “Final Nightmare” (yeah right) but I have to hand it to New Line for pulling out all the stops to at least make you think it was the last one. There’s a cool flashback showing Freddy’s prototype gloves, a decent 3-D sequence (nowhere near as good as Friday the 13th Part 3-D though) and even some celebrity cameos (Johnny Depp, Roseanne and Tom Arnold, and Alice Cooper) too. With all of these ingredients, it certainly felt like they were giving him a send-off.
If you can’t already tell, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare features everything but the kitchen sink. It’s that kind of attitude that I like about this movie. Of course, this approach also makes the film uneven as all get out.
First thing is first, Englund plays Freddy in game show host mode. It’s probably his worst portrayal of the character but since this was intended to be Freddy’s fond farewell, I guess you can’t complain about him being the life of the party. Let’s face it, you know not to expect anything remotely “scary” from Freddy in this flick when he shows up four minutes into the movie dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West and saying, “I’ll get you my pretty… and your little soul too!”
On the other hand, the dream sequences are top notch in this one. My favorite was when Freddy put the dude from Garfield into a video game. When the other kids disconnect Freddy’s controller, he uses “The Power Glove” to kill the guy. Yes, I know this is stupid as Hell but you have to remember that I first saw this movie at the age of 13 when two things consumed my life: Nintendo and Elm Street movies. To me, this scene was the pinnacle of the series at the time. Watching it now, it’s cheesy as the Kraft factory, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make me feel like I’m 13 again.
There’s also a cool dream scene where a deaf kid gets a giant Q-Tip shoved in his ear. Then Freddy gives him another hearing aid that over amplifies his hearing so that when Freddy scratches his razor nails on the chalkboard, it makes his head explode. (“Nice hearing from ya, Carlos!”)
Of course, there is plenty of dumb shit here too. I think the lamest part was when the kid’s parachute broke. As he’s falling, we see Freddy pushing a bed of spikes out into the middle of the road Wile E. Coyote style. I don’t know what was stupider, the Looney Tunes aspect of the scene, or the fact that Freddy makes a winded sounding “Phew” after pushing the spikes. What the Hell was that about? I mean The Dream Demons gave him all this infinite power to conjure up horrifying imagery to torment teens in their dreams but he gets winded from pushing this little bed of spikes?
Oh yeah, I neglected to mention The Dream Demons. Freddy’s Dead breaks the Horror Movie Sequel Rule of adding an idiotic back story to its killer. Apparently these slimy little fuckers (they look like turds with faces) gave Freddy his power just before the parents burned him alive. While I liked seeing the flashback of the townsfolk torching Freddy, the Dream Demon crap is pretty weak and adds to the film’s needlessly silly tone.
I still laughed though. I have a little rule that states that an unintended laugh is as good as an intended one. From the “Damn, that was pretty funny” laugh to the “What the fuck were they smoking when they made this shit” laugh, Freddy’s Dead delivers on both counts.
Example: At one point, a kid gets hit by a bus driven by Freddy who says, “No screaming while the bus is in motion!” Lamesville, right? Still I chuckled because it was so bad. Then later in the flick Freddy battles a kickboxing broad and he says, “Kung Fu this bitch!” Now that is genuinely funny. I laughed a lot during this movie, more than most comedies. Laughter is such a precious commodity that we can’t be too judgmental when something makes us laugh without meaning to.
The 3-D sequence is OK. Nothing spectacular or anything, but I liked it. Bad 3-D is better than no 3-D at all and this 3-D is slightly better than average. Although the 3-D sequence only takes up the last ten minutes or so of the flick, it still hurtles its fair of shit out of the screen like:
- 3-D Hand
- 3-D Dream Demon Statues
- 3-D Razor
- 3-D Molotov Cocktail
- 3-D Arsenal
- 3-D Knife
- 3-D Spiked Bat
- 3-D Freddy Glove (naturally)
- 3-D Arrow
- 3-D Pipe Bomb
- 3-D Exploding Freddy Head
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare is goofy and juvenile but it delivers what you want in a Freddy movie, namely teenagers getting killed and Freddy saying funny shit afterwards. I don’t even hate it for lying to me about being the “Final” one either. I mean Freddy even says during the film that, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but nothing will ever kill me!” That should’ve been your clue that he’d be back.
Special Note: It had to happen sooner or later. After watching four Elm Street movies in a row, I finally had a dream about Freddy last night. I hesitate to use the word “nightmare” because it wasn’t scary. I was on my mom’s deck looking into her swimming pool and then Freddy suddenly burst through the lattice work and said “Boo” and knocked me into the pool. That’s when I woke up. I think the dream would’ve been a lot cooler though if Freddy had said something funny like “No lifeguard on duty!” but whatever.
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