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Friday, August 01, 2014

The Year of Freddy Fear teams up with Bad Movie Month to see if Freddy's Dead

Welcome to this year's edition of Bad Movie Month as well as the latest installment of The Year of Freddy Fear, where two worlds collide in order to bring you a set of Sorry Sequels that far from double your movie going pleasure.

When the sixth Nightmare On Elm Street film, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, was released in 1991, the main tag line was "they saved the best for last!", the first of many signs that this was a clunker. Rachel Talalay made her directing debut here and as she was a production assistant on some of the earlier NOES films, you'd think she would have a nice handle on all things Freddy yet sadly, that was not the case.

The story begins several years after Dream Child(no reference to that or any of the other previous films are made beyond a Johnny Depp cameo) and Freddy has pretty much wiped out the town of Springfield. There are no kids and the few remaining adults left are wandering around like it's their own private insane asylum. One would think that after a certain point, families would've caught on to the whole "my kids are being killed in their dreams" deal and moved en mass but no!

Anyhow, there seems to be one teenager left and he happens to have no memory and no name,how convenient! He does know about Freddy,of course, and is sent out over the town's border in order to "fetch" Krueger some new victims-the mythos set up for this film is flimsier than a dollar store box of tissues here:

Once Nameless Boy reaches the outside world, he's sent off to a home for troubled teens run by Maggie(Lisa Zane), who goes with him back to Springfield to find out who he is.

Along for the ride are a trio of promising trouble makers eager to escape;Carlos the hearing impaired jokester, Tracy the angry girl who rather conveniently is  learning dream therapy techniques from counselor Yaphett Kotto(who must of had bills to pay to be part of this mess) and stoner Spencer.

Naturally, very little help is available from the wacky grown-ups left behind,including Roseanne and Tom Arnold making their own cameo appearance that reminds you of just how bad the last season of Roseanne's TV show was. The pack of wayward teens find their way to that special house of Freddy and fall prey to the lame nightmares that await them. The weakest dream death trap goes to Spencer, who winds up in a video game that admittedly has better graphics than the official NOES game:

Eventually, it's revealed that Nameless Boy(whose name happens to be Johnny) was allowed to live long enough to find Freddy's daughter and yep, that honor belongs to Maggie.

Freddy then hitches a ride with his long lost little girl to set up a new slaughter shop elsewhere. This is actually a good idea and could have made for a decent scare fest but the entire treatment given to both the characters and story is so Saturday morning cartoonish in nature that it basically insults the intelligence of the target audience.

Granted, NOES films aren't high end material but even the least of them offers some fearful food for thought. This one, however, is mostly gruesome set-ups for Freddy one liners and poorly done at that:

Maggie does have a final showdown with dear old dad,thanks to using 3D glasses that help her get into his mind in order to drag him out into the real world.

 The 3D gimmick back then wasn't as big or as advanced as it has become today and trust me when I say that it doesn't hold up well  with or without the glasses.

Other than having a woman defeat Freddy plus the infamous house, most of the tropes developed for this series are ignored or barely alluded to. Freddy's back story(with Alice Cooper cameo, talk about Love Boat casting,sheesh!) is a patchwork mess that adds a new motive for his postmortem murder spree; revenge upon the authorities for taking his child away from him.

 Given that he killed her mom for interfering with his "special work", that was a sane decision and probably the last one made in Springfield,judging from the look of things!

 Robert Englund has said that this is one of his least favorite films in the series and I can see why. It enhances all of the worst traits of the character by making him into a killer clown and the laziness of the script has nothing worthy to give to the devoted fans of the series, except a montage of classic NOES kills during the end credits.

 When I re-watched the documentary Never Sleep Again recently, I recall director Talalay saying how they used a number of gags that were cut out of previous films(such as the Wicked Witch of the West bit) and how the crew seemed to have fun wrapping up the whole shebang. Well, this may have been a fun after party for you guys but for the rest of us, this was a true nightmare.

Fortunately, this was not the "final" nightmare as Wes Craven put his last word on the series with New Nightmare(which we will showcase this fall). In the meanwhile, stay tuned to Bad Movie Month as next week offers two sorry sequels for your enjoyment and check in with The Year of Freddy Fear in September, as we go back to school with Jack Brooks, Monster Slayer. Finally, I leave you with perhaps the only terrifying aspect of Freddy's Dead-the official Goo Goo Dolls music video( watch if you dare!):

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