By 1989 the slasher era had, for the most part, died. Gone were the days of crappy “massacre” films. What was left? D-rated sequels to the popular slashers of the early 1980s. By 1989, Jason had been to the screen 8 times, Michael Myers, 5 times and Freddy with 4 times, now was a good time to have Freddy back for his fifth time. In 1989 there was Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and of course A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. Why not? The Dream Master was the highest grossing Nightmare film out of the original 4, so why not make yet another sequel?
Again, they spent little to no time working out any problems in the script. All they knew was to have a group of teenagers killed off by Freddy, who cares about the details of the script? This movie includes those survivors of the last film (which I always like). We find Alice (Wilcox) finally with her dream man Dan (Hassel) as they are about to graduate. But Freddy is still around and this time he needs to be reborn. Alice witnesses Freddy’s odd birth, and finally he is back. He begins to kill people, but this time he is able to kill people without Alice dragging people into her dreams, they are killed while she is still awake, which she can’t figure out why. Well, Dan is killed and she discovers she is pregnant with his child. The child is dreaming and that is causing the dreams to help Freddy kill.
This film is down there with Freddy’s Revenge and Freddy’s Dead. Simply because it seems that the script was written over a weekend. And again, I go back to the first film, since when has Freddy needed help getting into people’s dreams? I never really understood this. I got it in Dream Warriors it simply gave him more victims at the time, but I never got the idea that he couldn’t get into other people’s dreams. Was he only allowed to kill off the children of the people who killed him? And if that is the case what’s up with Freddy’s Dead and Freddy vs. Jason? Anyway, it’s always enjoyable to see characters from a previous film back for another one. Also, Lisa Wilcox is actually a good actress and it’s nice to see her character get developed more.
Something else to bring up is the rebirth. Why is this in here? Freddy has never needed to be reborn, so why all of a sudden now? It feels to me that they used this as a metaphor to the later pregnancy announcement. Also, audiences knew it was called The Dream Child and the teaser trailer showed a very grotesque, gothic looking stroller that had Freddy’s arm pop out of at the end. So maybe people were expecting some kind of crazy Freddy birth or something. Regardless, it seems very out of place and pointless.
Something they had started a while back but I still liked to see is that Freddy kills people either by their biggest fear or by something they enjoy a bit too much. For example, Greta (Anderson) has an eating complex, so she is killed by being force fed until she chokes. Mark (Seely) loves to draw comic books, so he is killed in a comic book world. However, I did not care to see Alice’s unborn child come to her and tell her things about Freddy. First off, she is still in her first trimester yet the child she sees is like 5 or 6 years old in the dream world. Freddy is trying to coax an unreal, representation of Alice’s unborn child into his world. It makes no sense to me, if Freddy had won did that mean that when the child was born it would be Freddy? Or that she would miscarry? I didn’t really understand what would have happened if he had won the fight.
Anyway, with all these quips, the movie failed. It made only $22 million, a very sad take in, seeing how the previous film made double that. So, it seemed to most people that Freddy was most likely gone, just as Jason and Michael died at the box office that same year, it seemed very likely that the slasher era had finally died for good. But, that was not the case, Jason, Michael and Freddy would be back again in the 1990s.