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Film / A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

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"It's a boy!"

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is the fifth Nightmare on Elm Street film, released in the year 1989.

Because his mother's restless spirit is still trapped in the land of the living, Freddy Krueger "finds the key" to return to the teens' dreamscapes. As if that wasn't enough, he also decides to enter the real world by possessing Alice's baby, who is yet to be born, feeding him the souls of those whom he has killed.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Greta's mother Racine, who is downright unsympathetic to the fact that her daughter has lost close friends. During Greta's death scene it appears as though she's violently choking, yet her mother and the people at the dinner party all simply stare at her. It isn't until she falls face first into her salad, dead, that her mother and the party-goers check if she's alright.
    • Also, Alice's pediatrician, who responds to her problems with Freddy (which he naturally sees as mental problems) by calling Dan's parents instead of Alice's own father, however troubled he is. They immediately talk custody takeover, which had to make Dan roll over a few more times in his grave.
  • Alien Geometries: The last battle is set in an Escher-like dreamscape, which is a Call-Back comprised of all the previous nightmare settings, including 1428 Elm Street and the boiler room.
  • And Show It to You: A non-heart example. During Greta's nightmare Krueger cuts out a chunk of her stomach to show that he's been making her eat her own organs.
  • Arch-Enemy: The film presents Alice as Freddy's biggest one, mainly because she was too powerful for him to control as the Dream Master, and his empty threats, murdering her boyfriend and friends and taunts seem to be his pathetic way of expressing his hatred of her. She is the only enemy of his in the series he gets genuinely pissed off over and loses his sick sense of humor when they throw down, and the only one capable of pushing his Berserk Button, reducing him to outright growling like a feral animal.
  • Assimilation Backfire: This is how Freddy dies. He's absorbed the souls of three of Alice's friends, and a vision of his mother spurs them on to tear him apart from the inside.
  • Autocannibalism: The uncut version of the movie reveals that the stuff Freddy is force feeding Greta is her own innards.
  • Badass Boast: Freddy gives one after turning into his "super mode":
    Freddy: Faster than a bastard maniac, more powerful than a loco-madman, it's Super-Freddy!
  • Big Damn Heroes: Amanda Krueger's spirit, after being freed by Yvonne, arrives just in time to save the day, banishing Freddy back inside herself.
  • Big Good: Amanda Krueger is framed as this with Alice as The Hero. Freddy spends the entire movie dreading Amanda's presence, since she was used as his portal back into the dreamworld it means she can seal him away again.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alice, with the help of her unborn son Jacob, Yvonne, the souls of Dan, Greta, Mark and the spirit of Amanda Krueger are able to defeat Freddy and his plans rather spectacularly. The souls of Dan, Greta and Mark are freed from Freddy's reach in the process, and Amanda Krueger absorbs Freddy inside herself, urging Alice to flee with Jacob. Unfortunately as the dream world closes Freddy's claws can be seen bursting out of his mother's abdomen, still struggling with her to escape. Months later while Alice is with her father and Yvonne in the park with newly born Jacob, the eerie children singing his tune and playing jump rope are seen in the distance.
  • Body Horror: Lots. Dan is fused with a motorcycle, Greta is force fed until her cheeks swell up to a grotesque size from her vomit and we then find out Krueger is carving out her organs and feeding them to her, and then much later Krueger begins to emerge out of Alice's body in a horrifying fusion of the two. What makes it worse in this installment is that the souls of Freddy's victims retain their body horror after death; even as disembodied spirits, Dan is still a hideous mechanical fusion, while Greta retains her horrifically swollen cheeks.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Greta does to her mother twice, once awake and again in the dream world before she dies. Both times are about Racine's smothering attitude about Greta's weight and Dan's death.
  • Cassandra Truth: Yvonne is the only one of Alice's friends who doesn't believe her about Freddy... until Freddy comes after Yvonne and Alice bails her out.
  • Child by Rape: This film depicts the circumstances of Freddy's conception; his mother trapped in an insane asylum and raped repeatedly by the 100 maniacs within, as first stated in the third film.
  • Clock Tower: Amanda's body is hidden inside the Westin Hills clock tower.
  • Creepy Child: Jacob gradually turns into one due to Freddy's influence.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • This is probably one of the least comedic movies in the series, and has some absolutely mean deaths. Weirdly enough the movie while it definitely seems to be trying to go back to the more serious roots of the first one, still has scenes of Freddy constantly spouting one liners and even has a comic book death scene for one of its characters.
    • There's also the added angle of humiliation Freddy includes in the death sequences. He makes Dan listen to his mother call him an ungrateful bastard, Greta is killed while dream versions of her mother and the party guests laugh at her, and Mark is forced to watch Freddy torture Greta before seemingly killing her again.
    • The movie doesn't even bother to pretend that Freddy's defeat has killed him. Whereas every other movie gave a modicum of hope that he'd been destroyed, this one cemented he can only be locked away. And this time, his mother's spirit is forced to house him as he desperately tries to break free, leaving Amanda Krueger to spend her afterlife in constant agony from fighting against her son.
  • Deadly Bath: Played with as well. Alice is taking a shower when it turns out she's dreaming and the shower cabin starts filling up with water. She jumps out through a portal that just appears, but it's to lead her to something more dangerous.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Mark enters a black and white dreamscape when he is sucked into a comic book.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • Freddy tries it again, this time to an unborn child.
    • He briefly possesses Dan's corpse to taunt Alice.
      Freddy: Hi Alice, want to make babies?
  • Dirty Coward: Freddy is clearly terrified of his mother, and even refuses to pursue Alice and Yvonne at one point because of it. During the climax, Alice even outright calls him a coward for not facing her or Amanda, which turns out to be his Berserk Button.
  • Driven to Suicide: It's revealed that back when Freddy had been freed because of the technicality, his mother Amanda killed herself.
  • Dr. Jerk: Alice's own doctor seems patient and considerate, but the moment she leaves the room he calls Dan's parents and informs them Alice is having "paranoid delusions" which spurs the Jordans to threatening a custody battle.
  • Education Parents: Dan's parents had this attitude regarding his college career. Freddy uses this in Dan's death dream when Dan hears his mom calling him an ungrateful bastard for getting seduced by Alice.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The recurring ghost children of the series are seen before the end credits roll.
  • Enemy Without: Alice finds out that Freddy has been hiding inside her, she challenges him to come out. Which he does.
  • Empty Swimming Pool Dive: When Yvonne does her swimming pool dives at night, Freddy attacks her by turning the swimming platform into a giant hand to crush her. She jumps off the platform to escape, but the pool morphs into an empty one in mid-jump.
  • Evil Is Petty: Freddy frequently goes out of his way to taunt Alice by flaunting his kills in front of her and just plain harassing her when he can. However, this seems to be because he genuinely hates her and is actually unable to really do anything to her because if he does, he could end up hurting Jacob.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Yvonne discovering Amanda Kruger's corpse.
  • Fainting: Mark in a dream faints when he sees blood on his hands. Alice does this when Freddy possesses Dan's corpse and mocks her.
  • Fetus Terrible:
    • Freddy's aim is to turn Jacob into this, feeding the fetus souls to strengthen it, presumably intending to either make the baby into his agent, or possess it.
    • In a nightmarish flashback to Freddy's own birth, he's depicted as one of these himself.
      Nun: Sister, this is one of God's creatures. Take solace in that.
      Amanda: That is no creature of God!
  • Final Girl: Alice Johnson. Unlike Nancy and Kristen, she survives throughout the entire movie.
  • Force Feeding: Freddy force feeds Greta to death.
  • Gargle Blaster: In Dan's nightmare, Freddy drinks a bottle of wine, and promptly spits it out onto the dashboard, which dissolves it on contact. Freddy proceeds to use it to melt off his right arm to use as a seatbelt.
    Freddy: Bad year, Dan!
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Played with. Mark suggests Alice could terminate her pregnancy to stop Freddy, but Alice decides not to because she's seen and interacted with Jacob's soul within her dreams. The idea of abortion isn't condemned, but Alice feels it's not the right course to take if it means destroying Jacob.
  • Good Parents: Dennis Johnson Took a Level in Kindness and sobered up for his and Alice's sake. He firmly stands by Alice, and even though he doesn't believe in Freddy, does what he can to help. Also, Mark's dad seems to be a pretty decent person, compared to Dan's parents who are loving but too controlling, and Greta's Stage Mom.
  • Hate Sink:
    • The movie makes an attempt to play up Freddy's joking persona as more grotesque and despicable than comedic by juxtaposing it with some of the meanest murders in the franchise of some of its most sympathetic and well developed characters. Considering he was originally conceived as a Hate Sink before the sequels put him through Villain Decay, this feels like a move to reverse said Villain Decay while still keeping his hammier characteristics.
    • In stark contrast to how kind and likable Greta Gibson was, her mother Racine is utterly detestable without becoming an outright villain due to what a controlling, condescending, and patronizing woman she is. The only hint at a kinder side she might have is her horror when Greta drops dead at the dinner table.
  • Hidden Depths: Greta Gibson is a beautiful rich girl who dreams of becoming a model. That said, she is incredibly kind and sweet, being friends with kids who don't share her level of social standing and she never holds her wealth over their heads. She even happens to love Mark, but neither are brave enough to admit. The scene of her mourning Dan's death demonstrates how deeply Greta cares about her friends.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Freddy is defeated by the same power he has been planting on Jacob.
    • Freddy's sadistic desire to toy with Alice also led to his own destruction. If he killed Yvonne when he had a chance, Alice would've lost the only crucial ally she had left and Amanda would've never been freed.
  • Identical Grandfather: In Alice's dream of how Amanda Krueger was raped, one of the 100 maniacs looks exactly like pre-death Freddy, and is played by Robert Englund as well. Before Alice is assaulted by the maniacs, a shot briefly lingers on his face, hinting that this is in fact Freddy's biological father. It's also hinted that this is actually Freddy himself in disguise, although why he would take on the guise of his father is unclear.
  • Immune to Bullets: The one time guns are used on Freddy they just knock him down. Seconds later, they become completely useless when Freddy upgrades to Super Freddy.
  • Ironic Echo: At the beginning, Yvonne asks Alice if Dan's been "keeping her up all night" (ie, sneaking into her room to have sex). At the end, she asks the same question, but in an entirely different context (ie, does his death still haunt you?)
  • It Came from the Fridge: After Greta has been force-fed to death in her dream, we cut to Alice going to fetch her father a drink in the fridge. When she opens it, the food rots in front of her eyes (and an eyeball even shows up on them) before her dead friend suddenly bursts out of the fridge, only to be dragged back inside by Freddy Krueger. The fridge closes, is opened again, and everything is back to normal. For added insult, when the fridge closes, there's a test on the fridge door with the words "Die Bitch" written on it. It's held by a Freddy magnet.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: What ultimately pisses Alice off while dealing with Dan's parents is when Mrs. Jordan refers to Jacob as "it."
    Mrs. Jordan: Oh please, we have a legitimate claim to it!
    Alice: He's not a thing! And I'm not letting you or anyone else have him!
  • I Want My Mommy!: A non-comedic example similar to the first two movies. In Greta's dream, she desperately screams for her mother as Freddy chokes her to death while the dream version of Racine just laughs at her. The real Racine isn't much help either, as she only stares at Greta in concerned confusion as Greta is clearly choking to death.
  • Lack of Empathy: Greta learns Dan is dead. Racine chides her about getting enough sleep because "We don't want any circles under our beautiful eyes!" She won't cut Greta any slack the next day at the dinner party, thinking Greta should put her mourning on hold just because they're entertaining.
  • Mama Bear: Alice Johnson. She refused to let Freddy use her unborn child as a means to continuing murdering innocents, and she refused to abort Jacob just to stop Freddy because she's felt him inside her and considers Jacob a part of her and Dan. Even before she knew the truth about him she demonstrated concern for Jacob's well being, and told him that she cared about him.
  • Mister Seahorse: One of the posters for the film shows Freddy being pregnant.
  • My Beloved Smother: Racine Gibson, Greta's mom, which is mixed in with Stage Mom. She chastises Greta for almost trying Mark's lollipop like Greta was a five year old, and has to be held back by Mark and Yvonne's dads so she can stand with her friends for the photo. Racine's babying treatment is reflected in the way Freddy traps Greta in a grotesque high chair and turns her dress into a giant diaper during her nightmare.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Dan's parents really don't seem proud of themselves after they threaten to sue Alice for custody of Jacob. It gives a sense they're not doing it to be assholes, but because they're still trying to process Dan's death.
  • Never Found the Body: It is revealed that Amanda Krueger killed herself, and her body wasn't found.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Mark is the most supportive of Alice's friends, and while he doesn't believe in Freddy's existence off the bat, after Greta's death he tells Yvonne that if there is the chance Alice is right and something supernatural is going on, he wants to know. Even when he snaps at Yvonne he immediately apologizes for it. When Mark asks if Alice has considered terminating the pregnancy to stop Freddy, and Alice says no, Mark supports her decision and assures her they'll figure out something else.
    • Greta is from a rich family and indulged, but other than the idea that her mother is rich and she wants to be a model, she never gives off a vibe that she really cares about money or fame. She quietly mourns Dan's death the night it occurs and is disgusted at her mother's callousness. Even though she doesn't believe Freddy is real, rather than tell Alice she's crazy, she assures Alice she's in her corner.
      Greta: The bottom line Alice, is that if anyone is out to get you, supernatural or otherwise, they're gonna have to go through us first.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: During the climax of the film, Alice goes off on a rant against Freddy, outright calling him a coward for not facing her or Amanda. It cuts to Freddy looking absolutely pissed, and he starts stalking after Alice, growling in fury.
  • Now I Know What to Name Him: Alice decides to name her baby Jacob, after he introduced himself as that in her dreams. He himself picked that name from her subconscious, because she has always loved that name.
  • Obsessed with Food: Greta's mother is obsessed with food in the sense she is obsessed with micromanaging every single thing Greta eats, to the point she'll chastise Greta like a toddler for daring to even consider trying a piece of candy.
  • Oh, Crap!: Freddy's reaction when he comes face to face with his "fathers" and is torn apart. The look is permanently etched on his face during the course of the finale as his plans backfire and his victims close in on and take him down.
  • Only Sane Man: Subverted. Yvonne thinks she's this when Alice and Mark both start focusing on ways to beat Freddy, and assumes that stress is making them act crazy. The moment she realizes Freddy is real, her help proves so crucial if it hadn't been for her finding Amanda Krueger, Alice and Jacob would've lost.
  • Papa Wolf: Dennis Johnson does not appreciate it when Dan's parents threaten to bring Alice to court to gain custody of their grandchild.
    Alice: You're not taking my baby!
    Mrs. Jordan: Well the courts might not agree with you.
    Dennis: Well I do, and I've had enough of this crap! You think you can just come into my house and threaten my daughter?
  • Parental Neglect: Racine Gibson pretty much lived in her own little world. When Greta is being offered a modeling job at a dinner party and she is pretty much uninterested due to a lack of sleep and the fact that she's still reeling from the death of one of her friends, we get this little scene:
    Racine: Greta, you're being offered the opportunity of a lifetime. I think you should show a little gratitude?
    Greta: One of my friends died yesterday, mother. Do you mind if I take a few minutes off to remember him?
    Racine: But we're at a party, dear.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Bruce Dickinson wrote the film's theme, "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter" (later recorded by his main band).
  • Rotoscoping: How Mark is sucked into a comic-book dreamscape.
  • Sadist: Freddy is at his absolute meanest since the original movie, and probably even worse. The smaller cast and amount of kills means Freddy spends more time torturing and abusing the souls he's already gained instead of adding more to his collection. Juxtaposed with his barrage of jokes as he mutilates Dan and Greta, it serves as a much-needed reminder that Freddy is a complete monster.
  • Scenery Porn: Emphasis is put on the shift towards Gothic architecture and the dark, dreamy atmosphere.
  • Sex Signals Death: Dan dies because of this, though notably, Alice is spared.
  • Shower Scene: After having sex with Dan, Alice hits the shower. Then it turns out that she is dreaming about it, and almost drowns.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Alice learns of her pregnancy right after Dan's death.
  • Spiders Are Scary: When Freddy is torn apart, his bodyparts turn into spiders.
  • Stage Mom: Racine Gibson's entire character is built around controlling Greta and trying to live vicariously through any potential she has as a future model.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Dan, who barely survived the previous film, dies early on in this one.
  • Super Mode: Freddy, toying with Mark, plays dead before levelling up in the guise of Super Freddy!
  • Take My Hand!: Alice finds Mark dangling over a pit, and tries to help him up.
  • Targeted to Hurt the Hero: Greta's death is used to motivate Mark into believing Alice's claims about Freddy targeting them. Freddy even tortures Greta's soul in front of Mark to get a reaction out of him.
  • Teleport Spam: A scene has Freddy essentially "flickering" down a hallway after Alice has pushed his Berserk Button, pursuing her in a fury.
  • This Cannot Be!: Alice's reaction when she witnesses Freddy's return in the church:
    Alice: You can't come back! I locked the door on you!
    Freddy: But I found the key.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Alice's dad has gotten his act together since the last movie, going to Alcoholics Anonymous and repairing their relationship. Part of this is due to how Alice's brother Rick was one of Freddy's victims.
  • Tragic Hero: Amanda Krueger in life was a poor nun who suffered horrific sexual abuse at the hands of a bunch of maniacs, and was later forced to have a child she didn't want. Haunted by her abuse and what her son turned into, Amanda later hung herself after Freddy was let off on that technicality. In death, Amanda's unable to properly move on due to her suicide and has tried to do what she can to mitigate the carnage Freddy unleashes. She eventually has to seal Freddy back inside of her, but the last of the two is of Freddy trying to escape as she screams in agony while holding him back.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Dan's fatal nightmare is him being fused to the motorcycle he is riding, and dying in a car crash in real life.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Everything about Racine Gibson screams this trope, especially during the dinner party. Her entourage of guests are smarmy and sleazy and the way the room's decorated in garish late 80s/early 90s architecture makes it clear the woman has money. She condescends to Greta and eagerly approves of one guest talking about her "Perfect body" as he leers at Greta like a perv, seeing absolutely nothing wrong with this if it means Greta's future in the modeling business is secure. One has to wonder if Greta turned out as a Nice Girl simply because Racine was so haughty and vain it disgusted her.
  • Vanity License Plate: Freddy's bike in Dan Jordan's dying dream has a plate which says "FREDDY".
  • Villainous Breakdown: Freddy has an epic extended one over the course of the finale, as his plans blow up in his face, and he gets his ass kicked verbally and physically by Alice, Jacob, Amanda and the souls of his victims.
  • Weight Woe: Greta's mother is constantly "slapping her wrist" about her weight and what she eats, although this trope was toned down from the script, where Greta was more afraid of what junk food and eating too much would do to her skin and body while in the finished film she's just worried about Racine giving her crap.
  • Younger Than They Look: Invoked. Racine Gibson says people always mistake her and Greta for sisters, despite the fact that Racine has clearly had cosmetic surgery and wears short, dyed red hair.