A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master 1988 ★★★

Picking up after Dream Warriors, The Dream Master suffered at the time from critical comparison to Chuck Russell's entry. Taken on its own merits Harlin's entry should be considered one of the better sequels and introduces Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox), one of the series best kick-ass heroines, and has an exciting climax.

This entry sees initially downtrodden Alice (drunken father, unhappy home and school life) take on the powers of Freddie's victims, becoming the Dream Master. The more Freddie terrorises Alice, the more she fights back, giving the film a pleasingly feminist flavour. Freddie is at perhaps his most gleefully sadistic in this film, the "roach motel" sequence being a surrealistically gruesome highlight for the entire series.

It's far from perfect, the narrative suffers from having to tie up plot threads from number three. Freddie is resurrected Hammer style by a hellhound pissing fire on his buried remains in a bizarre sequence that makes little sense even on this franchises' terms. The screenplay, which has L.A. Confidential writer Brian Helgeland contributing, does take some time to kick into gear, but when it does it builds to an exciting climax. The film also features a none more eighties soundtrack, but it should be said that there is a special circle of hell reserved for whoever had the idea to have Kruger rap.

Harlin brings energy and invention, and seems to get Freddie far better than many. This is one of the best looking of the series with exaggerated comic book lighting used to striking effect.

Best Freddie kiss off line is "How's this for a wet dream?"

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