Saturday, October 10, 2009

Film Review: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 6: FREDDY'S DEAD (1991, Rachel Talalay)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 96 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Robert Englund, Yaphet Kotto, Johnny Depp, Breckin Meyer, Ricky Dean Logan, Roseanne, Tom Arnold, Alice Cooper.
Tag-line: "Born November 2nd 1984...Dies September 1991."
Best one-liner: "What's with kids today, huh? No respect."

There are a lot of simple, little pleasures in life that you don't expect; that you're just not prepared for. Yaphet Kotto beating the shit out of Freddy Krueger with a ball bat is one of them.

Probably one of the most cathartic things ever committed to celluloid.

FREDDY'S DEAD, the 6th NIGHTMARE, realizes that parts 3, 4 and 5 put the series into a one-liner inundated tailspin which could simply not be bested. Like, what do we do now, use fifteen one-liners to kill one kid? It's just not feasible. So the film, under the guise of being the "final" installment, decides to come full circle, by slyly referencing every other film in the series, trying to make it ABOUT something (childhood abuse and trauma), by making it even MORE ridiculous (WIZARD OF OZ and Nintendo sequences), inserting celebrity cameos (Alice Cooper as Freddy's foster father,

Rosanne and Tom Arnold, among others), and by making it visually 'pop' perhaps more than any other installment. And it works! Sort of.

This installment is never less than a class act.

Obviously, by this point there's been too many Freddy toys, board games, bedsheets, and novelty albums to duplicate the serious terror of the original. So this is probably as good as it could have gotten. The references to other Freddy movies are subtle and clever: Johnny Depp in a parody of "this is your brain on drugs" PSAs (1),

towel-snapping in the butt (2), a dream warrior group home (3), a karate/kung fu-trained kid (4), emphasis on Freddy's child- "It's NOT a boy" (5), and that's just scratching the surface.

Freddy's got the Power Glove,

"Now I'm playin' with power!"

hei's doin' cartwheels, and politically incorrectly kills a deaf kid via nails on a chalkboard and a hearing aid.

I guess 1991 was still before the current era of political correctness?

Robert Englund is having a fucking blast.

It starts with a Nietzsche quote alongside a Freddy one and ends with a couple of eye-rolling, limp one-liners and a montage of the best scenes from all six films. A proper end to the series that it had evolved into, and a great way to wipe the slate clean for Wes Craven's NEW NIGHTMARE...

-Sean Gill

2009 Halloween Countdown

31. PROM NIGHT (1980, Paul Lynch)
30. PHENOMENA (1985, Dario Argento)
29. HOUSE OF WAX (1953, André de Toth)
28. SILENT RAGE (1982, Michael Miller)
27. BASKET CASE (1982, Frank Henenlotter)
26. THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983, Douglas McKeown)
25. PELTS (2006, Dario Argento)
24. ANGEL HEART (1987, Alan Parker)
23. KILLER WORKOUT (1986, David A. Prior)
22. FREDDY'S DEAD (1991, Rachel Talalay)

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