A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4:
The Dream Master
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Renny Harlin
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on Characters 
by Wes Craven
Starring Robert Englund
Lisa Wilcox
Andras Jones
Tuesday Knight
Ken Sagoes
Rodney Eastman
Brooke Theiss
Toy Newkirk
Danny Hassel
Music by John Easdale
Craig Safan
Cinematography Steven Fierberg
Edited by Michael N. Knue
Jack Turner
Chuck Weiss
Heron Communications
Smart Egg Pictures
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s)
  • August 19, 1988 (1988-08-19)
Running time 93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $13 million[1]
Box office $49,369,899

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is a 1988 American slasher fantasy film and the fourth film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series. The film was directed by Renny Harlin, stars Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox and Danny Hassel. It is the sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and is followed by A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.

The film was released on August 19th, 1988 to generally mixed to positive reviews, grossing over $49.3 million domestically, making it the highest grossing horror film at domestic box office released in the 1980s, and the most financially successful film in the franchise until the release of Freddy vs. Jason.


Kristen (Tuesday Knight), Joey (Rodney Eastman), and Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) have been released from the Westin Hills Asylum and are now living normal lives and attending high school. Kristen has managed to make some new friends: Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox), a young, bright girl and a frequent daydreamer; Sheila Kopecky (Toy Newkirk), a brainy, quiet girl with asthma; and Debbie Stevens (Brooke Theiss), a tough girl who hates bugs. She has also found herself a boyfriend, Rick (Andras Jones), a martial arts enthusiast who is also Alice's brother.

Kristen begins to sense that Freddy might not be dead, and angers Kincaid and Joey when she pulls them into a dream of Freddy's old house, but they explain the boiler is cold and empty and Freddy is not going to come back. Kincaid's dog Jason suddenly bites Kristen and they all wake up with evidence of the bite reflecting in the real world, but still the boys don't believe he's coming back. The next night, Kincaid wakes up in the salvage yard where Freddy's bones were buried in the previous film and witnesses as Jason innocently causes Freddy's resurrection. Freddy stalks Kincaid through the yard who fights back by sending cars down on top of him. But Freddy rebounds and traps Kincaid before brutally stabbing him in the stomach, killing him. Meanwhile, Joey falls asleep on his waterbed and is tricked into thinking a supermodel is swimming in it before Freddy emerges and stabs him, drowning him to be discovered by his mother the next day. Kristen is accidentally knocked unconscious when she panics, seeing Joey and Kincaid didn't show up at school and has an encounter with Freddy before being woken by the school nurse at the last minute. She tells Rick, Alice and Dan Jordan; a friend of Ricks whom Alice has a crush on, about Freddy's legend and Alice remembers an old nursery rhyme which is a key in controlling one's dreams.

Kristen's mother, Elaine, secretly gives her sleeping pills and she escapes to her bedroom where she falls asleep. In her dream, she is at a beach and has a small conversation with a girl making a sand castle. Freddy pops up from beneath the sand, and Kristen tries to run away but runs into quicksand, and while she is desperately trying to get out, Freddy approaches her and pushes her under the quicksand with his foot. She tries to assert control of her dream, but Freddy destroys the illusion. He forces Kristen to call Alice into her dream, opening up the ability for him to claim other children not from Elm Street. He then throws Kristen into his boiler where she is burned alive in front of Alice's eyes. Before dying, Kristen passes on her powers to Alice, which unintentionally pass through Freddy first. After waking she and Rick go to Kristen's house and find her burning in her room, which devastates them both. The next day, Alice falls asleep in class and accidentally pulls Sheila into her dream as a victim for Freddy but evidence points to an asthma attack after he sucks the oxygen out of her lungs in the nightmare. Rick begins to believe her, but the next day he falls asleep and is drawn into a martial arts-inspired dream. He fights off Freddy, but Freddy cheats and kills him. Alice learns with each death, she gains aspects of her friends' personalities and abilities as well as their dream powers while Freddy collects their souls. She, Dan and Debbie plan an attack on Freddy, but Mr. Johnson keeps Alice in and she falls asleep, inadvertently giving Debbie to him. As Freddy stalks her, Alice and Dan, both caught in a dream, loop the same events again and again before they catch on. Giving Freddy time to turn Debbie into a cockroach and crushing her in a roach motel. Alice tries to run Freddy down in Dan's truck, but she hits a tree in reality and Dan is sent to the emergency room.

As Dan is attacked by Krueger after being put under, Alice joins him and they try to escape, but Freddy's injuries to Dan reflect in the real world and the doctors pull him out of his dream. Now alone, Alice faces Freddy with her dream powers, but is outmatched by his experience and immortality. She finally remembers the Dream Master rhyme and turns Freddy's own reflection back at him, allowing his collected souls to revolt and literally tear him apart. Now a husk, Freddy's clothes fall lifelessly to the floor as Alice stands victorious.

Some time later, Dan and Alice are dating and both are getting their lives back to normal. As they approach a wishing fountain, Alice thinks she sees Freddy's reflection in the water, which fades as Dan's coin strikes it. They then walk off together.



Box office[edit]

Released on August 19th, 1988 on 1,765 theatres in North America, on the first weekend, the film ranked No.1 grossing $12,883,403, this was the highest opening of the franchise until the release of Freddy vs. Jason. On the second weekend, the film still ranked No.1, grossing $6,989,358. It also sat the first place on the third weekend, then sets No.2, No.4 and No.6 in the next three weeks, until it finally dropped out from the Top 10 list as No.11 on the seventh weekend. The film eventually grossed $49,369,899 at domestic box office, it is the 19th highest grossing film of 1988, the highest grossing horror film at domestic box office in 1980s, the highest grossing Nightmare on Elm Street film until Freddy vs. Jason's release in 2003. It is currently the third highest grossing Nightmare on Elm Street film.


A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master received generally mixed reviews from the critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 56% approval rating with an average rating of 5.2/10 based on 27 reviews. Lisa Wilcox was praised for her performance of the new primary protagonist Alice Johnson. Robert Englund's portrayal of Freddy Krueger was critically acclaimed, and received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Despite mixed reviews, in his memoir Hollywood Monster: A Walk Down Elm Street with the Man of Your Dreams, published by Pocket Books on October 13, 2009, Robert Englund considered The Dream Master as his favorite film in the series.

In an interview posted on Nightmare on Elm Street Companion, Lisa Wilcox gave the film a positive review: "...It had a great story, funny Freddy lines, not too gruesome and a cast that worked really well together." Wes Craven, the creator of the franchise and the director of the first film, also give the film a positive comment in the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, he says: "...I think Renny Harlin is a gifted director, he did so much that the other directors cannot do..."


1990 Saturn Awards
Fantasporto Awards 1989
  • International Fantasy Film Award for Best Film – Renny Harlin (Nomination)
9th Golden Raspberry Awards
Catalonian International Film Festival
  • Best Special Effects (Won)
  • Best Film (Nomination)
Young Artist Awards
  • Teenage Choice for Best Horror Motion Picture (Won)
  • Best Young Actor in a Horror or Mystery Motion Picture – Rodney Eastman (Nomination)
  • Best Young Actor in a Horror or Mystery Motion Picture – Andras Jones (Nomination)
  • Best Young Actress in a Horror or Mystery Motion Picture – Brooke Theiss (Nomination)


A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released 1988
Genre Rock, New Wave, synthpop
Label Chrysalis
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]
  1. "Nightmare" – Tuesday Knight (Played at the opening credits)
  2. "Love Kills" – Vinnie Vincent Invasion (Played in the jukebox, after hearing about Joey and Kincaid's death)
  3. "Angel" – Love/Hate
  4. "Don't Be Afraid of Your Dreams" – Go West (Played over the end credits. A sped up, more rock-like instrumental version is heard playing when Alice prepares for her final battle with Freddy)
  5. "Back to the Wall" – Divinyls (Played while Kristen is driving to Rick and Alice's house)
  6. "Anything, Anything (I'll Give You)" – Dramarama (Played during Rick and later Alice's martial arts training montages)
  7. "Are You Ready for Freddy" – The Fat Boys (Played over the end credits)
  8. "Fatal Charm" – Billy Idol (Played during Joey's final nightmare)
  9. "Pride and Joy" – Joe Lamont (Played on the jukebox while Debbie serves Dan)
  10. "Rebuilding the Big House" – Nick Gilder
  11. "Therapist" – Vigil
  12. "Under the Night Stars" – Sea Hags
  13. "Standing Over You" – The Angels
  14. "I Want Your (Hands on Me)" – Sinéad O'Connor (Played during Debbie's death & end credits)
  15. "In the Flesh" – Blondie (Played on the jukebox when Dan comes to the diner to talk to Alice about Freddy)
Music score by Craig Safan
  1. "Kirsten's Haunted Dream"
  2. "Freddy's Back"
  3. "Kincaid Killed in Junkyard"
  4. "Joey's Wet Dream"
  5. "Drugged to Death"
  6. "Alice Lured Into Dream"
  7. "Rick's Kung-Fu Death"
  8. "Freddy's Pizza Restaurant"
  9. "Debbie Checks In/Time Circles"
  10. "Sheila Sucks Face"
  11. "Theater Madness"
  12. "Freddy's Calliope"
  13. "Alice Battles Freddy"
  14. "Corpus Krueger"

Music videos[edit]

With the popularity of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, many songs on the soundtrack had music videos:

  • The Fat Boys featuring Robert Englund performing "Are You Ready for Freddy" showing one of the Fat Boys inheriting the Elm Street house and staying the night in order to complete the inheritance, even including Freddy rapping and audio of Heather Langenkamp's famous line "don't fall asleep" from the original film. This video can be found on bonus disc, The Nightmare Series Encyclopedia, from the The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection, released by New Line Platinum Series, on September 21st, 1999.
  • Vinnie Vincent Invasion performing "Love Kills", a music video featuring scenes from The Dream Master. It is not featured on any DVD release, possibly due to rights issues, and the music clip played in the film almost seems to be turned down, as it is extremely quiet.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master". the-numbers.com. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-22. 
  2. ^ link

External links[edit]