A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

Considering that no more Elm Street children remain, Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox, NOES 4) becomes puzzled at how Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Dead & Buried, New Nightmare) is gaining access to her once again. At the mysterious appearance of Amanda Kruger (Beatrice Boepple), Freddy’s mother, Alice attempts to find an answer when she discovers that she is pregnant.

    Tagline: Now Freddy’s a daddy, he’s killing for two.

    Directing:
    • Stephen Hopkins

    Writing:
    • Wes Craven
    • Leslie Bohem
    • John Skipp

Release Date: 1989-08-11
  • Country: USA
  • Language: english
  • Runtime: 89
  • Budget: $8.000.000
  • Revenue: $22.168.359

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Wes Craven

Writer (characters)

John Skipp

Writer (story)

Craig Spector

Writer (story)

Leslie Bohem

Writer (story and screenplay)

Sara Risher

Executive producer

Jon Turtle

Executive producer

Peter Levy

Cinematography

Chuck Weiss

Film Editing

Gregory Nicotero

Makeup Department (special makeup effects artist)/Special Effects

Howard Berger

Makeup Department (special makeup effects artist)/Special Effects

Robert Kurtzman

Makeup Department (special makeup effects artist)/Special Effects

David B. Miller

Makeup Department/Special Effects

Nedra Hainey

Makeup Department

Kathryn Fenton

Makeup Department

Lynne K. Eagan

Makeup Department

R. Christopher Biggs

Makeup Department/Special Effects

Brian Wade

Makeup Department (uncredited)

Louis Lazzara

Makeup Department (uncredited)

David Beneke

Special Effects

Gino Acevedo

Special Effects

Ryan Effner

Special Effects

Barry Crane

Special Effects

Mitchell J. Coughlin

Special Effects

Helen Cohen

Special Effects

Yancy Calzada

Special Effects

Camille Calvet

Special Effects

Theresa Burkett

Special Effects

Bryan Blair

Special Effects

Doug Beswick

Special Effects

Paul Berg

Special Effects

Lynette Eklund

Special Effects/Visual Effects (uncredited)

Adam Jones

Special Effects

Bradford Johnson

Special Effects

Robyn Jacobs

Special Effects

Mecki Heussen

Special Effects

Mark Garbarino

Special Effects

Thomas Floutz

Special Effects

Earl Ellis

Special Effects

Mike Elizalde

Special Effects

David Mesloh

Special Effects

Mike Measimer

Special Effects

Bud McGrew

Special Effects

Todd Masters

Special Effects

Robert J. Marino

Special Effects

Mark Maitre

Special Effects

Rick Lazzarini

Special Effects

Dave Nelson

Special Effects

Lisa Rocco

Special Effects

Mike J. Regan

Special Effects

Joe Reader

Special Effects

Ted Rae

Special Effects/Visual Effects

Jon Curtis Price

Special Effects

Ron Pipes

Special Effects

Scott Oshita

Special Effects

James Rohland

Special Effects

William Russell (II)

Special Effects

Candace Van Woerkom

Special Effects

Mark Tavares

Special Effects

F. Lee Stone

Special Effects

Mark Sisson

Special Effects

Brian Simpson

Special Effects

Shannon Shea

Special Effects

Stacie Sharp

Special Effects

Andy Schoneberg

Special Effects

Steve Wang

Special Effects

Chuck Williams (II)

Special Effects

Greg Aronowitz

Special Effects (uncredited)

Brannon Wright

Special Effects

George Wong

Special Effects

Richard Miranda

Special Effects (uncredited)

Sandy Collora

Special Effects (uncredited)

Michael Burnett

Special Effects (uncredited)

Roland Blancaflor

Special Effects (uncredited)

A.J. Workman

Special Effects (uncredited)

Tommy Williamson

Special Effects (uncredited)

Don Waller

Special Effects (uncredited)/Visual Effects (uncredited)

Anthony Simonaitis

Special Effects (uncredited)

Alan Munro

Visual Effects (uncredited)

Jeff Matakovich

Visual Effects

Peter Kuran

Visual Effects

Tom Gleason

Visual Effects

Jammie Friday

Visual Effects

Robert D. Bailey

Visual Effects

Chris Dawson

Visual Effects (uncredited)

Jim Aupperle

Visual Effects (uncredited)

Jo Martin

Visual Effects (uncredited)

Robert Stromberg

Visual Effects (uncredited)

Kristine Peterson

First assistant director

Terence J. Edwards

Second assistant director

Allen Kupetsky

Third assistant director

Richard Murken

Additional third assistant director

Randy Dudley

First assistant director: second unit

Jackie Dragon

Second assistant director: second unit

David Cass Jr.

First assistant director: third unit

Bernadette Tanchauco

Second assistant director: third unit

Robert Englund

Freddy Krueger

Lisa Wilcox

Alice Johnson

Erika Anderson

Greta Gibson

Michael Ashton

Gurney Orderly

Danny Hassel

Dan Jordan

Nicholas Mele

Dennis Johnson

Joe Seely

Mark Gray

Burr DeBenning

Mr. Jordan

Beatrice Boepple

Amanda Krueger

Noble Craig

Merging Freddy

E.R. Davies

Delivery Doctor

Will Egan

Semi-Truck Driver

Stacey Elliott

Girl in Locker

Jake Jacobs

Trendy Guest

Annie Lamaje

Elm Street Kid

Gerry Loew

Orderly #1

Kara Marie

Baby Jacob

Roxanne Mayweather

Delivery Nurse

Don Maxwell

Coach Ostrow

Marc Siegler

Thirty-Something

Pat Sturges

Racine Gibson

Ron Armstrong

Hot Seat Band Member

Ted Nugent

Hot Seat Band Member

Rudy Sarzo

Hot Seat Band Member

Jill Adler

Dinner Guest (uncredited)

Victor A. Haddox

Asylum Inmate (uncredited)

James Vallo

Paramedic (uncredited)

Eric Singer

Hot Seat Band Member
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  • Prefatory note: Rumor has it that only half of Leslie Bohem’s (Dante’s Peak) script for A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child was retained and that William Wisher (The Terminator, The 13th Warrior, Exorcist: The Beginning) and David Schow (The Crow) did rewrites before Michael De Luca (In the Mouth of Madness, Freddy’s Dead) polished the work. With this in mind, considering Bohem, John Skipp, and Craig Spector appear in the credits (the latter two’s efforts were expunged entirely), I was initially hesitant to cite Bohem as the man behind the quill, but after having watched NOES 5’s successor, the screenwriting disaster referred to as Freddy’s Dead, written entirely by Luca, I am now comfortable with issuing Bohem his due credit. My main contention with the A Nightmare on Elm Street (NOES) series is that a large majority (those not directed by Wes Craven) are poorly thought out. Of course, when exploitation is the impetus for creation, one can’t expect engaging sequels one right after another as we had during the Golden Age of Hollywood, i.e. Universal’s monsters. Aside from one major oversight and a handful of missed opportunities, Bohen does an admirable job in giving birth to a succinct, atmospheric script which engages his audience as he alludes and incorporates past works involving the subconscious, including those of Giger, Buñuel, Lynch, Larry Cohen, Lewis Carroll, Escher, and Magritte, in an eerie, yet fascinating, manner. As with most installments in the Freddy franchise, NOES 5 suffers from a major thematic flaw. Alice and company quickly deduce that Freddy is gaining access to them via her unborn child’s dreams (the father being a former Elm Streetian). Now, I’m aware I’m knit picking here but for anyone who complains that horror is given a bad rap, you cannot permit sinful screenwriting oversights to pass unabated. With Bohem’s work we now have a fetus who, without any external experience, is envisioning and articulating images of his mother and her friends. Anyone who’s taken Psych 101 or Introduction to Philosophy knows the rules of empiricism and that the child’s slate would still be blank in this regard. Bohen then precedes, as does Renny Harlin’s NOES 4, without any explanation as to how Freddy came back into existence after his previous demise. Sadly, Bohem doesn’t seem to be able to polish his work as Craven does. For example, Mark Gray (Joe Seely) opens a comic book titled “Nightmare from Hell,” at the top of which bears the company insignia “KC.” Craven would have seized the opportunity, as he did in his naming of the television station in the original, KRGR, to place a coyly appropriate “FK” on the comic’s cover. Also, parroting the painful deference in NOES 4, Bohen treads familiar territory back to NOES 2 by setting a scene at a pool party. Furthermore, the character of Mark as the outcast artist, all too closely mimics the role of William Stanton, the Wizard Master, in NOES 3. Other oversights include a drastic character shift, almost as great as Kincaid’s from NOES 3 to 4, in the figure of Alice’s father (Nicholas Mele, I am Sam) as he is transformed from the short tempered, humorless, verbally abusive father in NOES 4 to the patient, humble, respective paterfamilias contending (to an exceptionally successful degree) with his alcoholism. (Bohem takes the time to have fun with the minor topic in that when Alice quizzes her father upon how his last AA meeting went, he responds, “Sobering.”) Lastly, and perhaps the only stylistic motif which is present throughout the series, is the inconsistent foreshadowing of Freddy via color during the film. However, director Stephen Hopkins (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Predator 2) does away with red and solely uses green as Kruger’s signature hue (which compliments Chuck Russell lone use of the former in NOES 3). Nonetheless, Bohem and Hopkins proceed with an intriguing opening sequence involving a vague, surreal lovemaking scene shot through a blue gel. We are thus greeted with the insinuation that the film is going to take us in directions we haven’t been before. The bizarre, Lynchian atmosphere is surprisingly maintained throughout as Hopkins returns to the legacy of Freddy as outlined in NOES 3 as Bohem uses the story of the Bastard of a Hundred Maniacs as a segue to the character of Amanda Kruger, Freddy’s mother, who compliments pregnant Alice (nightmarish vaginal canals in appropriate tow). We watch alongside Alice as we flashback to Freddy’s nightmarish delivery, echoing in its entity Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive. Dan Jordon’s (Danny Hassel) biomechanical motorcycle death is eye candy for anyone who likes H. R. Giger and especially Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo. Thomas O’Conor is to be applauded as set designer for aiding to the ethereal atmosphere, even during real time events. Moments before Greta Gibson’s (Erika Anderson) demise, we see situated on the table at her mother’s social gathering (a shadow in tone as well as atmosphere of Luis Buñuel’s films) a rather disturbing gray cake in the shape of a horse. Also, visible in Alice’s room, is a plant stand comprised of a human torso. Interestingly, we have a sequence where Alice goes to retrieve Mark from dreamland as the two return without having been confronted by Freddy. The non sequitur nature of the subconscious is thus paralleled in the characters’ seemingly nonsensical, unharmed, descent into Kruger’s world. This is only surmounted by the film’s climax, evidence that the screenwriter did his homework (unlike his predecessors) in which Alice, true to her literary heritage, chases her child, Jacob (Whit Hertford, Jurassic Park, Poltergeist II), through a labyrinth of Escher staircases before finding herself entwined with Freddy, creating an image reminiscent of René Magritte’s Gigantic Days. Bottom line, only someone who was sure of himself as a screenwriter would have the courage to posit a caricature of a malicious demon without the fear of losing the character’s essence. As such, Bohem’s comic book rendition of Kruger as Super Freddy was delightful and a topper to the entire production. In relation to the previous films and the potency and control of their scripts, if this appeared in any version of NOES other than this one I would merely pass it over as happenstance coincidence. However, considering Bohem handles his script excessively well given the material, I found it sadistically entertaining and ironic when Alice’s boyfriend, Dan, succumbs to vehicular homicide after he survived a near fatal automobile accident in NOES 4. Also of arbitrary interest, I revel in the fact that, for the first time, the number in the title has been dropped. Apparently even the people behind Freddy have lost count. Leslie Bohem submitted an entertaining, atmospherically sound script which, aside from a few oversights, allowed Stephen Hopkins to make one of the more rewarding works in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. By downplaying the more superficial and trite aspects of the Kruger mythology, while incorporating and focusing upon more intriguing material, the film, for what it attempts to do, succeeds, which is more than I can say for most installments in the Freddy anthology. Conversation piece: NOES 5 was heavily edited as several scenes of extended, gruesome gore were severed in order to avoid an X-rating.

    Published Full Review
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