Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Welcome to Wonderland...Alice

Nancy (Heath Langenkamp) may have been a problem for Freddy Krueger, but Alice (Lisa Wilcox) was his literal antithesis. Introduced in Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1987), Alice is a shy daydreamer with little to no personality of her own. After being given, Dream Warrior Kristen’s (Tuesday Knight) ability to pull people into her dreams, Alice begins to take other dreamers' powers as they die. She also seems to borrow parts of their personality as well. Late in the film, a new piece of Elm Street mythology is presented. Freddy Krueger isn’t just a ghostly child murderer, he’s also the guardian of the gateway of bad dreams. Alice is his opposite, the guardian of the gateway to good dreams.

It is at this point in the series, that it begins to veer away from horror and towards something more like dark fantasy. There are still plenty of gross-out gags and a little bit of actual horror. We move a long way from Nancy’s improvised booby-traps to straight-up kung-fu battles, sonic weapons, and super-heroic elements. All of the big slasher franchises were showing some fatigue at this point and filmmakers were sprinkling in new elements to keep them fresh, Jason was fighting a psychic, Michael had a mysterious figure show up as his ally, and Freddy Krueger now had an arch-nemesis who was he equal. Temporarily invigorating, but was it good for the series in the long term?

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