The Johnny Depp Archive

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

Starring: Robert Englund, Johnny Depp, Lisa Zane, Schon Greenblatt, Breckin Meyer, Lezlie Deane, Ricky Dean Logan

Directed by: Rachel Talalay

Rating: 1 2 and a half

This is your brain... Johnny Depp, aka Oprah Noodlemanta, makes his blink and you'll miss it appearance in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare

Ah Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. Aka A Nightmare on Elm Street 6: Freddy's Dead, as it was rechristened after Wes Craven resurrected the woolly-jumpered one in his pre-Scream postmodern dry run, Wes Craven's New Nightmare). Aka Freddy in 3D. No, you didn't misread that.

Okay, to bill this as a Johnny Depp movie is a little rich - he appears for a split second and delivers a sum total of 14 words before being bashed over the head by Freddy - although in those 14 words (and his billing as Oprah Noodlemantra) he manages not only to pay homage to his early beginnings in the first Freddy film, but also to send up his current hypocritical role as 21 Jump Street anti-drugs campaigner. Hohum. But this, of course, is not Johnny's film; it's Robert Englund's.

Robert Englund is the ultimate '80s anti-hero Freddy Krueger

With his battered hat, ravaged face and inexhaustible stock of sick one-liners, Freddy Krueger is the horror icon for my generation. He was also the last of the great horror anti-heroes, each step he trod in the footsteps of Leatherface, Michael Myers, Jason et al taking him further away from the shadowy realms of fear and deeper into the dodgy ground of lovable cartoon comedy roguedom. By 1991, his day was over. It was time to kill off Freddy for good.

Freddy 6 begins with a typical Elm Street set up: a messed up teenager, suffering from amnesia and plagued by nightmares of a sinister, wisecracking, knife-wielding killer, pitches up at a homeless shelter for disturbed kids, run by well-meaning adults with emotional baggage of their own. A newspaper article in his pocket leads a posse of kids plus concerned psychiatrist Maggie on a pilgrimage back to Springwood, now entirely devoid of children and populated by unhinged, 1950s throwbacks, driven crazy with no young 'uns to care for. 'We're in Twin Peaks here,' one of the kids mutters (in case the presence of, of all people, Roseanne hasn't alerted you to the fact that this is the early '90s). No kiddo, it's worse that that: you're trapped in the freaky grip of Freddy's imagination. And he's fast running out of ideas.

And so cue the surreal, nightmarish moments, which is, after all, why we love the Freddy films - but it has to be said, it does all fall a little flat. From the familiar desperation of getting lost in the same four streets while trying to follow an ever-expanding map to the hilariously sick videogame sequence, as Freddy controls the token stoner kid with an archaic looking Nintendo, each set piece provides the perfect opportunity for our deranged psycho killer to revel in carnival cruelty, capering like a demented goblin as heads explode and blood gushes freely, but none of it is what you'd call shocking, let alone actually scary.

And then we get the pop psychology bit. While the first Nightmare on Elm Street film may have had something genuine to convey about dreams and reality and the shadowy half conscious spaces in between, by the time we get to number 6, there's really not much left to say. Dreams are scary, they can spill out into the real world and hurt us. Next! And so instead we get to take a trip down Freddy's memory, and who else should we meet down there but Alice Cooper, masquerading as the young Krueger's evil stepdad? Now that explains a lot.

Don your 3D glasses for the disappointing climax to Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare RIP Freddy - dead but not forgotten. Well, not actually dead...

I missed this outing at the cinema, but do remember hiring the video, which came complete with the wee cardboard green and red glasses. Sadly there are no 3D glasses attached to the DVD re-release, which is probably why the 3D scenes are disappointingly ungreen and red - just full of objects unconvincingly heading right atcha at every available opportunity. Perhaps this is why the 'final destruction' of cinema's best loved monster since Frankenstein's seems so deplorably unclimactic. 'Freddy's dead!' Maggie exclaims, as if delivering a long awaited punchline. And then it's all over. Talk about going out with a whimper, not a bang. So long Freddy, be seeing ya. in our dreams.

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