A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

“Freddy delivers” the poster says. Pizza, or babies? It’s the latter here, as evil as obstetrician Cosby turned out to be in real life.

Freddy’s not dead in this fifth installment, so you can forget the Curtis Mayfield song. In A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child he’s sprightly and revivified.

The Springwood Slasher’s worst quipping excesses are tempered, and what you get is leaner and decidedly meaner than the predecessor, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. A welcome sign.

The opener’s gangbusters. There’s a woman in a shower, and she sees a gurgling in the drain. Instead of snaking it or calling in a reputable plumber, she reaches into the brown goo, which gurgles to the surface as a geyser. Next thing she knows, the shower is full of water and she’s gasping. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 immediately plays with the twin fears of closed spaces and drowning.  It’s a terrific updating of The Master’s Psycho scene, and sets a tone for a film that while somewhat uneven, is better than it’s been given credit for.

Alice (Lisa Wilcox) is pregnant. And having sleep issues. And the bogeyman with the striped sweater is haunting not her dreams, but those of the child she’s carrying.

Call ’em what you will…a baby…a fetus…NOES 5 asks a question that’s a bit like Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, with “do unborn babies dream?” They certainly do. Science tells us that after seven months in the womb, the rest of the time is spent in dreamland. This is by brain wave inference.

That’s as explosive and interesting a conceit as the Nightmare on Elm St series has seen, and if you’re on board with this baby, you’ll have a helluva good time.

Sure, some of the secondary characters have tertiary personalities, but that’s often par for the course for slashers.

While not reaching the transcendent heights of Dream Warriors or the first flick, this one is a surprisingly solid effort. Don’t let the 5.1 on IMDb sway you.

*** (out of 5)

[Listen to our take on The Dream Child on the Really Awful Movies Podcast]

Killer Crocodile

You know you’re in trouble when your POV killer croc title sequence is juxtaposed with the phrase, “the crocodile was created and built by _________.” Please, for the sake of whatever smidgen of suspension of disbelief we still have left, hold off until the closing credits, will ya?!

Killer Crocodile’s title (if not reputation) precedes it. As you might have guessed, it’s yet another um, killer crocodile movie with the distinction being that it’s got the best Search Engine Optimized name. And delivers on its title promise.

We meet an amorous couple in the tropics, the male half of whom must be some kind of magician as he gets high notes to come out of the bass string of his guitar as he gently plucks sweet nothings to his paramour. Within seconds she interrupts this intimate moment by doffing her top  and charging the beach like its Normandy. She frolics about, then waves, coaxing him to join her.

Next thing you know, she’s dinner.

An ecologist (who resembles Greg Sestero from The Room), his lab assistant, a local guide, a photographer (and their little dog too) are paddling through a swamp that’s apparently been poisoned by the local plant. One of them dons a bio-hazard suit and jumps into the muddy river, Geiger counter in tow, apparently to see if metal barrels clearly marked “radioactive,” are indeed so. Gotta admire their due diligence.

Radioactivity is the springboard, for, I don’t know…a thousand creature feature movies? And it’s a pretty good, if incredibly lazy conceit for screenwriters to fall back on.

From there the natural horror devolves into, “has anyone seen __________?” and the time-honored, “you don’t think something’s happened to her, do you?” Don’t worry…”

And there’s lots of speculation about why people are going missing, and washing ashore. At first the carnage is mis-attributed to a boating accident, which is extremely weird unless the coroner is a graduate of the Dr. Nick Riviera School of Medicine.

Killer Crocodile is another hilariously inept Jaws variant, this time Italian, so ergo the bonus of awkward, stilted ADR. Director “Larry Ludman” sounds suspiciously like an Alan Smithee alternative, but it’s really the pseudonym of Frabrizio De Angelis, Umberto Lenzi/Lucio Fulci collaborator, best known for the Karate Kid knock-off, Il ragazzo del kimono d’oro (The Boy with the Golden Kimono).

Chomp down on this one. It’s kinda fun. And tune into our discussion on the Really Awful Movies Podcast.

*** (out of 5)