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

“Dream Child” is admittedly one of my favorite of the Nightmare sequels. While it doesn’t do much to further the lore like “Dream Master,” either, it does strike me as something of an entertaining installment in the series. Even years after watching it on network television time and time again, it still holds up very well to scrutiny. The premise is actually very creative this time around. Though it’s still a cheap excuse to keep the series moving, it’s quite innovative. Freddy has been revived once again and this is through the dreams of Alice. He revives his mother who gives birth to Freddy yet again, and Freddy is able to take on his true form as an adult. He knows something Alice doesn’t.

Through the discovery of her newfound pregnancy, Freddy plans to be reborn in to reality through the advent of Alice’s child (Whit Hertford) and he won’t stop until he gets his wish as baby Freddy to stalk children without boundaries once more. “Dream Child” admittedly has a nostalgic hold on me. Back before the days of cable television, my only resort was network television and edited horror movies and “Dream Child” played almost around the clock every single day. One of the fun aspects of the film is Freddy’s devolution in to the demonic trickster many would come to be discontented with, but here he’s fairly restrained until the second half of the picture. His kills are much more creative this time around and he manages to storm the gates with some memorable fatalities that cements him as a bonafide icon tackling the controversial issue of abortion.

Which may be much too heavy handed for certain horror audiences when all is said and done. However the questions inevitably arise: If Alice aborts her impending birth, can she stop Freddy once and for all? Will she be haunted by her unborn baby until the end of her days? Is she a killer just like Freddy if she aborts her unborn baby? Or will Freddy allow the child to merge with him and form an unstoppable force of evil? Meanwhile Freddy gets creative by force feeding one victim, transforming another in to a living motorcycle, and–in my personal favorite death– takes on one character in their dream world as a living comic book. As an aspiring artist in my youth I found that latter death to be most appealing as I could only imagine what form Freddy could take in my own sub-conscious as a comic book artist.

Sadly, the lore is further mixed up and muddled through more loopholes that manage to break the rules. Is Freddy possessing the child or merely inhabiting its spirit? If he could do this before why hasn’t he figured it out until now? Would Freddy be reborn through this child, or would it be another form of evil? “Dream Child” is a heavy handed bit of horror but one I hold near and dear to my heart mainly because this is a childhood favorite through and through. At the end of the day while it does little to progress the mythos, it’s still an enjoyable entry in to the series that entertains consistently. It doesn’t do much to progress the mythos, but “The Dream Child” is a nostalgia trip for me with some of the most pleasing storylines with utterly memorable fatalities that Freddy takes great zeal in doling out to his victims. I enjoy it.