TEN SOMEWHAT ADEQUATE SEQUELS : PART NINE
Why it's better?
Well, it's better than part one, cause... well, just cause.
NOES is kinda unique to other horror franchises (at least in its first four installments). Unlike the F13s or Texas Chainsaws, the mythology, setting, scope, and tone varies in the first half of the series. More specifically, the first one is a 'dream demon' story, & the second is a tale of possession. Also, the first is a 'fuck you' to overprivileged white kids, & the third just kicks em while they're down.
And the fourth wraps the elements of all three into one. But in a good way. Dream Master is more or less part one all over again - but better. Better, like, Renny-Harlin-is-better-than-Wes-Craven kinda better; less abstract (in good ways), more tightly constructed. Granted, neither of them illustrate the cerebral characteristics & existential horror of nightmares, but, at least Renny knows action. It's less of a rehashing kinda thing, & more of a polishing kinda thing. & I don't mean the Platinum Dunes brand of polish.
Yes, Freddy was jokey/scary in all the movies (his scariest in 2 & 7, jokiest in 5 & 6). Part 4 is the medium. He is the 'most Freddy' in Dream Master. While it's not my favorite of the series, if someone were to ask 'what's a NOES movie like,' or, 'who's Freddy Krueger,' I'd show them 4.
Not surprisingly, if you look at all Nightmare merchandise & publicity, the images of Freddy are usually taken from 4. Hell, my own tattoo is from 4.
Freddy and the Elm Street series are so specifically 1980s, & Dream Master has it cranked to 11. Sure, in the hair, fashion, & dialogue. But it's also noteworthy to point out that it has one of the best rock soundtracks ever - if not the best. Any Time Life 80s compilation pales in comparison. Seriously.
Why it's worse?
Ok, it's kinda rehashy. If it were an actual 'reimagining' deal, it could be forgiven.
But, I can only assume this was due to casting. Had Patricia come back for Kristen - or even if Tuesday Knight had carried it out to the end - I'm sure the movie would have taken different directions. Kristen's 'powers' from Dream Warriors was the (seemingly last minute) hook to carry on through part 4, thus making a bit of 'torch-passing' a major plot point. So, ultimately, Lisa Wilcox carries on the Kristen role - figuratively - which merely creates the illusion of change. That I didn't fall for.
"Swish! Killed a fish"