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Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
This film was the beginning of the end for the slasher genre. At this point, Freddy was all but burnt out with no recovery in sight, at least for now.
In the sixth installment of the franchise, 10 years have passed since Part 5. Freddy has killed every child in the town. Springwood has tried to forget Freddy exists at all, if they do this then kids won't dream of him. A children's halfway house is set up in the next town over, and Freddy goes there to hunt kids in their dreams. He makes the point that every town has an Elm St. We learn the woman running the shelter, Dr. Maggie Burroughs, is actually Freddy's long-lost daughter taken from him after he killed her mother and before his murder trial. Through flash back we learn of Freddy's upbringing and abuse and the deal he made with the Dream Demons to harvest souls for them in return for immortality.
The biggest disappointments with the film are the body count, which hits three people and stops, the way too many jokes, a bad use of the power glove and the 3-D ending which is not very well done. In the original script, 15-year-old Jacob Johnson (son of the previous installment's main character, Alice Johnson) was the major character while many of the "Dream Warriors" would return to aid Jacob in defeating Freddy after he kills Alice. This idea was later trashed and rewritten into the final script. This ending would have tied it more to the first five films than the final product did. Some notable cameos include Johnny Depp,Tom Arnold, Rossanne Barr, and Alice Cooper as Freddy's abusive stepfather. Robert Englund also appears in and out of makeup as Freddy.
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Directed by Craven himself, who finally gets his chance to tell the story he originally intended for Part 3. We also get Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon back and playing themselves along with other Nightmare alumni. In "New Nightmare" (which takes place outside the film series), Wes wants to create a whole new film. Heather, who recently lost her husband, suspects Freddy is somehow alive in the real world, but it makes her seem crazy. Robert Englund believes that if a lot of people believe in Freddy then he can be made real. Heather also learns Freddy wants her son as revenge for what she did to him in Parts 1 and 3.
It's a rather weird movie, and it's a plot line that has been done before and failed. Just look at Last Action Hero with Arnold, or the dreadful Rocky and Bullwinkle movie. Making a fictional character real and bringing them into the real world from the silver screen is tough. What makes it work here is Wes Craven back in the director's chair. He knows what he is doing and it's not forced like in other films. We just accept Freddy as a real person.
Craven would have asked Johnny Depp to come on board, but thought he was too big a star by this point. Depp heard of this and in an interview stated he would have dropped everything to come work for Wes again. When Wes heard this years later he was touched by Depp's kind words.
Freddy's look in the movie was changed in this film and he appeared as though his flesh was ripped away more than burnt. His glove was no longer a glove too -- the knives were part of his fingers. This was another thing Craven always intended for the first film, but due to budget constraints at the time he had to delay the idea.
This film would be the last time we would see Freddy for several years. His only other appearance would be in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. His hand reaches up and grabs Jason's mask at the end of the movie.