“Freddy’s Dead” is what you would call absolute zero for the franchise and god help me if it isn’t one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures. This is the film that my dad took my brother and I to decades ago and we experienced it in its full 3D glory, loving every single solitary second of it. This is the moment when Freddy Krueger finally dropped all pretense and became a demonic Scud Farkus, a clown prince of the dream world who resorted to cartoon tricks and treats to murder his victims rather than revel in the evil of it all. It’s a shame too because this is technically the final entry in the series and rather than play to the Craven crowds and deliver us a helping of frightening Freddy, we’re instead given funny Freddy. I use the term funny loosely, of course.
Freddy is an absolute joke resorting to sight gags and Tex Avery lunacy to get the job done and seems to rn out of ideas as the film progresses. What better than to bring the lore full circle and completely delve in to the origins of Freddy Krueger than with “Freddy’s Dead”? It completes the work accomplished by “Dream Child” and “Dream Master” by revealing the full story of Krueger while exploring a branch of new Elm Street kids, one of whom happens to be the daughter of the fedora wearing demon himself. Most of the film is played for laughs rather than scares and differs wildly from the previous segments as Freddy becomes basically the main character and is used to move the film along from one creatively staged kill to the other, rather than focusing on the story.
Everything about how to kill Krueger is thrown out the window, all the allusions toward his mortality, all of the mysticism and religious tools are gone in favor of mere hack and slash tedium that ends in a stick of dynamite a la Chuck Jones. It’s a shame that such a powerful and interesting character like Freddy Krueger is reduced to simple Wile E. Coyote physics to be stopped, as much of the film is void of the atmosphere presented within the previous series installments with a hazy mood that fails to muster up any chills or spooks. At the end of the day, “Freddy’s Dead” is the official end to the series and a film that is so bad it’s absolutely good, and I’ll watch it any time with a giddy smile. Turning Freddy in to the clown prince of pranks once and for all, “Freddy’s Dead” is an admitted guilty pleasure and one that delivers the corn ball gags by the dozens. For forgiving horror buffs willing to let it slide, “Freddy’s Dead” is a tolerable and occasionally entertaining final entry of the series.