Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

I may have been slightly concussed while writing the review for A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. But, there is no confusion or fogginess in regards to this travesty of a movie. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare is a terrible film. It’s quite possibly the worst movie I’ve seen this year, and that’s saying something, considering I seek out bad movies. Billed as having “Saved the Best for Last,” this was the film meant to send the character of Freddy Krueger out with a bang — a grand finale that audiences would remember for all time.

That’s bullshit, of course. There hadn’t been an Elm Street movie yet that failed to turn a profit, and producer Robert Shaye doesn’t seem like the kind of person to let easy money sit on a shelf. Even this godawful flick managed to almost quadruple its production budget in box office receipts. Final Nightmare is just b-movie salesmanship.

And, boy, is this a b-movie. Viewers will realize right away how doomed this film is, as the first we see of Freddy (Robert Englund, of course), he’s dressed as a witch and riding a broom in a scene imitating the tornado sequence of The Wizard of Oz. Oh no, is this a black comedy?

Director Rachel Talalay must have thought so, as her interpretation of the Elm Street canon was to introduce 1960s Batman-levels of camp. I was waiting for the Riddler to make an appearance at any moment.

There is a plot, and its execution was just as dumb.

Besides all the killing he did in the previous films, it turns out that Freddie has torn a swathe through the children of Sherwood, Ohio (before this movie, it was never all that clear that Elm Street was in small town America and not just tucked away in the San Fernando Valley). His murderous deeds were so extensive that there are no Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare movie posterchildren left in Sherwood, and all remaining adults wander around like dementia patients, hoping in vain that someday children will return and bless their lives.

Meanwhile, in a nearby town, John Doe (Shon Greenblatt), a teenager suffering amnesia, is taken to a group home where counselor Maggie Burroughs (Lisa Zane) will try to help him recover his memory. John Doe, of course, is being stalked by Freddy, and, by extension, the other teens at the home, Tracy, Carlos, and Spencer (Lezlie Dean, Ricky Dean Logan, and Breckin Meyer).

All roads lead back to Sherwood, and it is there that the final battle against Freddy must be fought. The big twist is that, somewhere in Sherwood, is evidence that Freddy had a kid back in the day, who is alive. Knead the story around like dough, and eventually Freddy is dispatched, just like it says in the title.

I don’t know if there’s a good movie to be made from Michael De Luca’s screenplay. What I do know is that the final product is almost unwatchable. Freddy is a slapstick moron, the film oozes cheapness, and there isn’t a likable character in the cast. The only decent performances came from Yaphet Kotto, who was slumming it, and Breckin Meyer, who was 16-years old at the time of filming. Lisa Zane’s performance was so bad that she has been awarded membership into the Shitty Movie Sundays Wet Paper Bag Club for Hopeless Performers, and Deane and Logan weren’t that far behind.

I hated watching this movie. All the joy of the previous entries, even the ones I didn’t like, were excised by Talalay’s lack of storytelling skill and poor sense of humor. This was her first effort in the director’s chair, and she has since gone on to a long and successful career directing in television. She has done so despite this wretched piece of shit being in her CV. That’s the only impressive thing about this movie.

Don’t waste your time, folks. Even fans of the franchise might want to skip this one. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, falls way down the Index, into the land of dark thumbnails and unwatchable, bottom feeding dreck, displacing The Human Centipede at #332. Stay away.

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