FREDDYS DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE
By the point of Freddy's Dead, the place that Wes Cravens original creation has ended up is one of unbelievable silliness. You almost think that this entry is seeking to kill the character off, as much by announcing it is the final chapter, as by turning him as a bad joke. Robert Englunds yelling and badass posturing is so ludicrous the film has no more substance than a cartoon he is like a Wile E. Coyote with a bad-tempered case of constipation. It is hard to believe how absurd some scenes get like the character who gets trapped in a videogame in his dream while externally he ends up being pogo-sticked around the walls of a house; or the scene where Freddy replaces a deaf characters hearing aid with a sound-amplifying one that then causes his head to explode when Freddy drops a handful of nails. The cameos from Roseanne Barr (who appears for about three seconds as a mother desperate for children), Barrs then real-life husband Tom Arnold, Alice Cooper (as Freddys father) and Johnny Depp (who made his film debut as one of victims in the first film and here parodies his famous anti-drug commercials) further destroy any seriousness.
The film disobeys its own rules of dream and reality with such frequent disregard as to become meaningless. And by the point of the admittedly amusing way of telling the audience when to put their 3D glasses on for the final sequence that journeys inside Freddys brain they are supposed to be Lisa Zanes way of knowing when shes in the dream state seriousness is a lost cause. Director Rachel Talalay clearly sees the film as a giant cartoon and treats it with appropriate campiness, but such an approach only emphasizes the questionable taste of the exercise. The film raises a number of serious and disturbing issues incest, parental abuse and the deaf only to treat them with an camp attitude that borders on the offensive. The opticals and effects sequences particularly the cruddy climactic 3D sequence are far below the seriess usual standards. Moreover, this time Robert Englunds makeup looks like one of the mass-produced slip-on Freddy masks.
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare was the directorial debut of Rachel Talalay. Talalay began as a production assistant working for John Waters and on various films at Roger Cormans New World Studios. She was production manager on the first two Elm Street films, then graduated to producer with the third A Nightmare on Elm Street III: The Dream Warriors (1987) and produced the next two entries in the series before making her debut as director here. She would go onto direct the equally awful virtual serial killer film Ghost in the Machine (1993) and the amiable comic-book adaptation of Tank Girl (1995). All her work as director subsequent to this has been in television, including episode of Doctor Who (2005 ), although she did produce the likable The Borrowers (1997) and also direct an adaptation of The Wind in the Willows (2006) for the BBC.
The other Elm Street films are: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street Part II: Freddys Revenge (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street III: The Dream Warriors (1987), A Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master (1988), A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), Wes Cravens New Nightmare (1994) and Freddy vs. Jason (2003). A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) was a remake of the original.