Category Archives: Sequels

Class of ’44 (1973)

class-of-44

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Hermie goes to college.

In this sequel to Summer of ’42 Hermie (Gary Grimes) and Oscy (Jerry Houser) graduate from high school and begin attending college while their friend Benjy (Oliver Conant) joins the army and goes off to war. Hermie takes part in a wide range of college adventures including starting up a relationship with headstrong budding feminist Julie (Deborah Winters) as well as learning to cope with the untimely death of his father.

As sequels go this one is unnecessary. The story in the first one had a perfect slice-of-life plot that needed no further exploration of the characters. Everybody seems out-of-place here as we keep expecting to hear the background noise of the crashing ocean waves, which was a strong element from the first film as well as an explanation as to what ever happened to Dorothy who never gets mentioned even in passing.

The boys look too young to be attending college particularly Hermie who still resembles a pre-teen not quite out of puberty while Benjy is seen only briefly at the beginning and then essentially forgotten. The scenes dealing with the death of Hermie’s father aren’t particularly compelling because in the first film the father was never shown or mentioned, so it seems like a story arch thrown in for cheap emotional dramatics and nothing more.

Unlike the first film this script by Herman Raucher is not based on any actual events in his life and comes off more like a broad generalization of what can happen to just about any student who attends college with the particular time period of the 1940’s not carrying much weight. The plot is episodic and not story driven, but there are still several enjoyable scenes including one where Hermi and Oscy and several other boys try to cram themselves inside a phone booth as part of a fraternity initiation.

The performances are good and I enjoyed seeing Hermie grow into a mature young man as well as William Atherton as a snotty fraternity brother in a part he seemed born to play. Winters though steals it as a headstrong young lady who shows shades of insecurity at the most unexpected times.

The production values are an improvement and the story has a nice comedy/drama blend. Those that attended college may take to it better, but overall it’s a generic excursion that leaves one with a flat feeling when it’s over.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: April 10, 1973

Runtime: 1Hour 34Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Paul Bogart

Studio: Warner Brothers

Available: DVD (Warner Archive), Amazon Video

Mad Max 2 (1981)

mad max road warrior 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 10 out of 10

4-Word Review: A battle for gas.

Years after a nuclear holocaust has depleted the planet former rogue cop Max (Mel Gibson) travels the scorched countryside looking for food and fuel. He meets up with a pilot (Bruce Spence) who guides him to an oil refinery that is under attack by a gang of marauders led by Lord Humungus (Kjell Nilsson). Max agrees to help out those trapped inside by driving a tanker truck carrying the fuel out of the refinery and through the makeshift gauntlet, but even he wasn’t prepared for the relentless and violent attack that awaits him.

The film is such a massive improvement over the first installment that viewers could just skip that one and go straight to this as it is far more polished and comes off like an epic while the first seemed more like a rough draft done by amateurs looking to get their feet wet. All the problems that I had with the first one get smoothed out here including a good intro that helps explain how the characters got to where they are. Dean Semler’s widescreen photography of the vast, flat desert landscape is outstanding and the violence is far more graphic, although significant portions of it were trimmed to achieve the R-rating, but it still realistically replicates the savage nature of the desperate characters living in a lawless land and willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want.

The vehicle chase at the end is one of the best ever filmed. The editing is quick with no ill-advised slow motion sequences or annoying cutaway or close-ups. The action happens just like it would in real-life where everything is split-second. The good guys don’t miraculously avoid injury or death either and in fact there’s enough bloodshed from both sides that you begin to wonder if anyone will make it, which creates far more authentic tension than most action pics. Yet what I really liked was that there were no irritating computerized effects. The vehicles used are all real with expert stunt driving and incredible stunt work that rates as some of the most dangerous ever to be tried on film.

mad max road warrior 2

The only minor letdown is the fact that Gibson’s character no longer has that clean-cut, choirboy image and is now more of the moody, clichéd loner dressed in a getup that doesn’t look much different than the bad guys. The first film had more of an interesting contrast, but here he at least gets partnered with a dog, which the producers managed to save from being euthanized, and a feral boy (Emil Minty) who has a nice ability to throw a mean metal boomerang.

Many critics at the time considered this to be the best action flick to have come out of the ‘80s, but I’d consider this to be quite possibly the best action movie ever made! Absolutely everything clicks from the first shot to the last and remains intense, exciting and gripping even after repeated viewings. However, watching it on the small screen will not do it justice and only broadcasting it in the cinema or a very large screen HD TV will do.

mad max road warrior 3

mad max road warrior 4

My Rating: 10 out of 10

Alternate Title: The Road Warrior

Released: December 24, 1981

Runtime: 1Hour 35Minutes

Rated R

Director: George Miller

Studio: Warner Brothers

Available: DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube

National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)

european vacation

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: The Griswolds tour Europe.

After winning a trip to Europe Clark (Chevy Chase) and his family set out to see the sights. First they go to London and France and then Germany only to end up in Italy where they get involved with a couple of thieves. Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) also becomes an international porn star when stolen video of her singing naked in the shower gets shown at the local adult theaters.

Although John Hughes is credited as the co-writer he had nothing to do with the script and the majority of blame for this mess goes to Robert Klane. Klane burst onto the scene during the early ‘70’s with the brilliant Where’s Poppa that deserves to go down into the annals of all-time original comedy, but his output since then has proved to be mediocre and the uninspired humor here is no exception. The comedy in the first installment was solely focused on all the amusing elements that can occur when a family takes a trip, but here gags of any kind get thrown in with much of them being crude and pointless.

The performers who play Rusty and Audrey are poor replacements to the ones in the first film. Anthony Michael Hall was asked to reprise his role, but decided to commit to doing Weird Science instead. After he bowed out it was decided to then cast a new person in the Audrey role as well, but the presence of the teens here is not as fun. In the first film they were portrayed as being the sensible ones, which made for an amusing contrast to the more child-like Clark, but here they are straddled with the generic issues of the everyday teen, which isn’t funny or interesting and includes Audrey dealing with an eating disorder and having a nightmare where she stuffs her face full of junk food, which is gross.

There is also a potpourri of recognizable character actors who appear briefly in bit parts and include : Eric Idle, John Astin, Paul Bartel, Robbie Coltrane, Moon Unit Zappa and Victor Lanoux all of whom get wasted to the point where I was surprised they even agreed to appear unless they just really needed the money. The side-story dealing with the Griwolds and some thieves is dumb and looks to have been written in simply to pad the running time.

Chase himself has gone on record to state that he dislikes this film and it’s easy to see why. The on-location shooting is nice, but everything else falls horribly flat. In fact the only funny gag in the whole thing is when Clark gets trapped in a London roundabout and is unable to make a left turn, which forces him to drive in circles for hours, which apparently isn’t such an uncommon occurrence.

european vacation 2

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: July 26, 1985

Runtime: 1Hour 35Minutes

Rated PG-13

Director: Amy Heckerling

Studio: Warner Brothers

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube

Fletch Lives (1989)

fletch lives

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Reporter inherits a mansion.

Fletch (Chevy Chase) who writes for a Los Angeles newspaper under the byline of Jane Doe, receives to his surprise an inheritance of an old southern mansion. He immediately travels to the place while quitting his job in the process. The building is in bad shape, but he finds that he is receiving a generous offer to sell it, which makes him curious. Instead of taking the offer he does some research and finds that the property is a dumping ground for dangerous chemicals and that people are more than happy to murder him and others in order to keep them quiet about it.

The first film was based on a novel by George Macdonald, but this story was written directly for the big screen and the mystery is uninspired and obvious. Chase’s detached persona and acerbic wit gets put to a real test here. One scene has him discovering that the woman who he has just spent the night with is now dead, but he shows no shocked reaction at all making him seem almost inhuman. He then decides to smart-off to the police when they arrive to investigate even though any sane/half-way intelligent person would realize that would just get them into even more trouble, which it justifiably does here.

The character also has an unrealistically massive-sized ego especially in regards to his job and the arrogant way that he deals with his boss (Richard Libertini) acting almost like he is above the rules and can come and go whenever he pleases without having to answer to anyone. Now this behavior to some extent could be more justified if he was writing under his own name and had a large fan following, but to the readers he is just ‘Jane Doe’ and for all they know he is a woman instead of a man. In either case he could easily be replaced by another reporter writing under the same byline and no one would notice or care, which makes his entitled attitude completely out-of-line and one that should have gotten him fired long ago.

There is also no explanation to what happened to the Gail character, which was played by Dana Wheeler-Nicholson. The first film ended with the two of them supposedly falling-in-love, but in this film she has completely disappeared. Now the first installment came out 4 years earlier and a lot of relationships don’t last that long, so it’s possible that they simply broke-up and moved-on, which is fine. However, in this movie her character gets replaced by one who looks just like her (Julianne Phillips) and she falls-in-love with Fletch in much the same way making the plotline seem highly formulaic and like they are simply replacing one blue-eyed, blonde bimbo with another.

The humor is generic and juvenile although I’m ashamed to say I did find myself chuckling at some of it. The best moment is a take-off on The Song of the South that comes complete with animation and by far the film’s one and only inspired moment.

The action sequences are flat. In the first film there was an exciting car chase, which was passable, but here we get treated to a motorcycle chase that goes completely off the believability meter by having Fletch do stunts that no one with limited driving experience would try nor survive.

The supporting cast is wasted especially Hal Holbrook in a part that is completely beneath his talents. However, I did get a kick out of R. Lee Ermey. He gained a major cult following from his performance as a tough sergeant in Full Metal Jacket and gets cast here as a TV-evangelist, which I found interesting.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: March 17, 1989

Runtime: 1Hour 35Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Michael Ritchie

Studio: Universal

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube

Ghostbusters II (1989)

ghostbusters 3

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 2 out of 10

4-Word Review: Called back into action.

It’s been 5 years since our team of Ghostbusters (Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd) saved New York City from impending ghostly doom only to be thanked by getting sued for all the damage they created in the process, which promptly sent them out of business. Now though there are signs of an even worse attack from the supernatural in the form of an ectoplasmic river underneath New York, which is being strengthened by all of the negative energy from the citizens that live there. Can our team of heroes put on their uniforms once more and save the city from yet another ghostly attack while also coming to the aid of Dana (Sigourney Weaver) who finds that an ancient sorcerer (Wilhelm Von Homburg) is trying to possess her newborn child?

The premise pretty much starts the film out on bad footing and it’s never able to recover. The idea that they’d be driven out of business by a barrage of lawsuits didn’t make much sense to me. The ghosts that were terrorizing Dana’s apartment building in the first film were witnessed by thousands of spectators as they stood outside on the ground and watched the three men drive them away, so they should’ve been viewed as heroes and those that tried to sue them would’ve been vilified. Besides it was the mayor (David Margulies) who gave them the permission to do whatever they needed to do to take the ghosts out, so if anyone was to be a target for the lawsuits it would’ve been his office and the city. What is even worse is that after the first 40 minutes the story eventually goes back to the original premise where the team becomes popular again and their services are in-demand, so why couldn’t the film simply started from that point as it makes the entire first act come off like a complete waste of time otherwise.

Although it’s great to see Janet Margolin, who plays a prosecuting attorney, in her last film appearance, the court room scenes are static and not right for this type of genre. The ghosts are not scary or frightening like they were in the first one either and instead come off as cartoonish and boring.

Murray gets pigeonholed in a dull routine where he spends most of the time trying to desperately rekindle his romance with Dana, which isn’t interesting. Ramis and Aykroyd seemed more intent on stealing back some of Murray’s thunder by not having him come along on a few of their missions including a long segment where they discover the evil river underneath the city, which is just not as funny without Murray there.

Weaver pretty much just goes through the motions in a part that really does not allow her much to do. I was also confused as to why she had been a musician in the first film, but in this one she had strangely crossed over into being a painter. Rick Moranis and Annie Potts are equally wasted and forced into a makeshift romance simply because the writers didn’t know what else to do with them.

William Atherton, who was so good at playing the prissy, arrogant heavy in the first film, gets sorely missed. Kurt Fuller tries to take up his slack, but he is not as effective. Former wrestler von Homburg plays the evil sorcerer, but his voice ended up being dubbed by Max von Sydow, which made me wonder why they didn’t just cast him in the villainess role to begin with since he was the far better actor.

Just about all the jokes fall flat and the climactic finish which features an animated Statue of Liberty is really lame. The story is never able to gain any traction or momentum, doesn’t add any new or interesting angle to the theme and should’ve been trashed before it was even made.

My Rating: June 16, 1989

Runtime: 1Hour 48Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Ivan Reitman

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Available: DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, Amazon Instant Video

Big Top Pee-Wee (1988)

big top pee wee

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 2 out of 10

4-Word Review: Pee-Wee joins the circus.

Pee-Wee (Paul Reubens) is now living the quiet life of a farmer. He’s not too popular with the older townsfolk of the neighboring small town where he resides, but manages to find friends with the circus that blows in after a violent storm. Although he is currently engaged to Winnie (Penelope Ann Miller), who is the beautiful local schoolteacher, he soon finds himself entranced with the trapeze artist Gine (Valeria Golino), which causes a great deal of conflict especially after Winnie finds out about it.

I’m not exactly sure why Tim Burton wasn’t brought in to direct this sequel and it could have something to do with the fact that a different studio produced it, but his vision is noticeably missed. Randal Kleiser has directed some good movies of his own, but never anything is this type of genre. It was Burton’s direction and not Pee-Wee’s persona, which is rather one-dimensional and can only be amusing in small doses, that made the first film the success that it was.  Burton infused a lot of garishly colorful sets, oddball characters that complemented Pee-Wees’, and a surreal storyline that all helped to make it strangely intriguing and funny, but here we get none of that.

Instead it is a contrived and conventional storyline that goes nowhere and just isn’t original enough to be worth catching. The first half comes off as disjointed and makes little sense. Pee-Wee seems to have gone back into time as the people in the town where he lives all wear clothes and drive cars that look that they are from the 1940’s, but with no explanation for why that is. The presence of the circus is equally stupid as it seems to have quite literally ‘blown in’ with the storm and into Pee-Wee’s backyard.

The film really gets boring when it focuses on the romantic subplot, which is what takes up the film’s whole second half. One big issue is why would two really beautiful women find this man-child attractive to begin with? A much funnier scenario that would’ve kept more with the bizarreness of the character would be for him to have a romance with one of the sideshow freaks at the circus like the bearded lady, or even the Siamese twins, which could’ve been played up to an even funnier level by having both twins in-love with him and compete for his affections, or having one in-love with him while the other couldn’t stand him.

In either case the film is just not weird enough to be entertaining and it also leans towards the formulaic by having most of its humor aimed at the kiddie crown, which the first one had thankfully avoided. A definite letdown when compared to the first one.

My Rating: 2 out of 10

Released: July 22, 1988

Runtime: 1Hour 26Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Randal Kleiser

Studio: Paramount

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube

Harrad Summer (1974)

harrad summer

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Bringing sexual liberation home.

The school year is over and now the students of Harrad, which is the college that teaches and promotes open sexuality, go home for the summer and put what they’ve learned into action in their everyday lives. Like in the first film this sequel focuses on just four of the students who find that their parents and friends are not as broad minded as they are, which causes friction in not only their relations with them, but with each other as well.

This film for the most part works surprisingly well. Director Steven Hilliard Stern takes more of a playful approach to the material and mixes in some funny moments that overall are quite entertaining. The wide variety of locales elevates the stagnant feeling that the first one had and it also manages to address a wider variety of issues.

The story is broken up into three segments with each one focusing on the student’s home lives as they visit each of their parents for 2-weeks at a time as a group. The first part, which deals with Stanley’s (Robert Reiser) folks isn’t too interesting and is fortunately pretty brief. The visit to Harry’s (Richard Doran) is the most comical and the film’s highlight while Stanley’s conflicts with Sheila’s (Laurie Walters) father (Walter Brooke) during their visit to her folks seem contrived and pointless. The film never manages to get to Beth’s (Victoria Thompson) parents, which is probably just as well.

The film’s biggest drawback is that neither Don Johnson nor Bruno Kirby, who were so good in the first film, reprises their roles here and their absence is sorely missed as  Reiser and Doran don’t have the same acting talents and are quite weak in comparison. Thompson, who was blonde in the first film, now has, with no explanation, jet black hair, which makes her look exactly like her sister and fellow actress Hilary Thompson. Also, Emmaline Henry, who was best known for playing Mrs. Bellows in the ‘60s show ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ replaces Tippi Hedren who was unavailable for the sequel and James Whitmore’s role gets taken out completely.

The supporting cast is what gives the film its spark. Comedian Marty Allen, whose hair looks like the ultimate bird’s nest and usually gets more attention than his comic ability, is fun as a drunken party guest. However, Pearl Shear, who plays his wife, is the real scene stealer as an overweight middle-aged woman, who in Mrs. Roper-like fashion, eagerly wants to get involved with the kids and their new found sexual liberation and even takes part in a nudist session with them.

Bill Dana, famous for creating the Jose Jimenez character, is quite good as well playing Harry’s staunchly conservative father who can’t deal with the open sexuality of the younger generation only to surprisingly come around to it at the very end. He also gets the film’s best line when after denying to Harry that he ever had any affairs finally admits “Maybe I did a couple (women) in Vegas and a few in Cleveland, but what else is there to do in Cleveland.”

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Alternate Title: Love All Summer

Released: August 6, 1974

Runtime: 1Hour 43Minutes

Rated R

Director: Steven Hilliard Stern

Studio: Cinerama Releasing Corporation

Available: DVD

The Jewel of the Nile (1985)

jewel of the nile

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Searching for a jewel.

In this sequel to Romancing the Stone Jack (Michael Douglas) and Joan (Kathleen Turner) are living the easy life on a yacht, but are bored and looking for some adventure. Joan is given the opportunity to write a book about a visiting sheik named Omar (Spiros Focas) and travels to the Middle East to learn more about him. There she finds that he has sinister intentions and simply using her to be a part of his scheme, which compells her to try and expose him, but first she must escape from his clutches. Jack and Ralph (Danny DeVito) team up to help her along with a prince named Jewel (Avner Eisenberg) and together the four find themselves in one wild predicament after another.

Although this film did not do as well in the box office as its predecessor I still ended up enjoying it and felt in a lot of ways it was better. It has a bigger budget and slickly handled direction. The humor is more consistent and edgy and Jack and Joan share a love/hate relationship that is more entertaining than the Harlequin romance novel that the first one became while the on-location shooting that was done mainly in Morocco has some genuinely breathtaking scenery.

The scene in which the three get into a fighter jet plane and use it to tear up a village while still remaining on the ground is the film’s highlight. Their escape from Omar while climbing on a very steep rocky cliff is exciting and watching DeVito get sat on by a donkey is quite funny.

DeVito’s character is used much more here and his on-screen moments are one of the best things about the movie. Focas as the evil sheik is okay and at the very least is a more dynamic bad guy than the ones that were used in the first film. Holland Taylor as Joan’s snarky agent is the only one whose presence gets wasted and she ends having what amounts to only a few minutes of screen time making me wonder why she even bothered to appear at all.

The biggest drawback, like with the first film, is with the plot itself. The concept is too broad and the set-up rather convoluted making me both confused and ambivalent at the same time. It improves by the middle to be mildly interesting and has enough comedy and action to keep afloat, but the 105 minute runtime is too long for the bubblegum material and stretches the climactic sequence past its peak until it becomes derivative and overdone.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: December 11, 1985

Runtime: 1Hour 45Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Lewis Teague

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix streaming, YouTube

The New Interns (1964)

the new interns

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: More interns more drama.

It’s another year and time for a new set of young interns to infiltrate the New North Hospital.  Lew (Dean Jones) and Gloria (Stefanie Powers) who became engaged at the end of the first film are now married, but Lew is diagnosed as being sterile and the couple cannot have children, which causes a strain on their marriage.  The caustic Tony (George Segal) who used to be a gang member on the streets and has worked his way up to being an intern looks to leave his troubled past far behind only to have his new girlfriend Nancy (Inger Stevens) attacked and raped by his former gang member friends, which sends him on a one man mission for revenge.

Although the film goes on a bit too long and isn’t quite as compelling as the first one I still felt it was an improvement.  The stories and themes are grittier and don’t have the fluffy or formulaic romance angle. The fact that the interns are housed in a rundown condemned building in order to save on costs allows for some amusing moments as the tenants must make due with all sorts of quirks that come with the old building. There is also a rather startling scene showing an actual baby coming out of the womb who is not crying or breathing  and the doctors attempts to revive it, which is both disconcerting and vivid.

The only story thread that doesn’t work is the rape one. The biggest issue here being that Nancy flirts and even jokes with Tony while she is in the hospital and only a few hours after being attacked, which seemed highly unrealistic as is her acting like the whole incident was ‘no big deal’ and they should just move on from it and not bother to catch the perpetrators. Then a couple of days later she attends a party and something there subtly reminds her of the incident, which sends her into an irreversible catatonic state, which seemed too extreme in the other way. However, Tony’s confrontation with the rapist inside the hospital and his later operation on him to save is life is good.

Segal is impressive. He played so many touch feely lead roles during the 70’s that he acquired almost a benign persona, but here his character is quite brash and acerbic and his confrontations with the equally acerbic Dr. Riccio (Telly Savalas) are fun. Stevens is also quite good as his love interest and it is a shame that she ended up killing herself in 1970 just as it seemed that her film career was ready to take off.

As with the first film one can spot a lot of up-and-coming stars including Barbara Eden, Dawn Wells, George Furth, Marianna Hill, and Adam Williams. One can also spot Bob Crane very briefly during a wild party segment. There is also Sue Ann Langdon as a drug addicted prostitute who speaks in a hip lingo and fakes paralysis simply to get some drugs that will satisfy her fix. This also a unique chance to see Jimmy Mathers the younger brother of Jerry famous for starring in ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and who looks just like him.

A few actors reprise their roles from the first one including Savalas who appears here completely bald even though in the first one he had hair. Powers is effective as the opinionated and stubborn Gloria a woman unhappy that she can’t have a baby and unwilling to accept adoption as the answer. Kaye Stevens reprises her Didi character and takes part in a funny vaudeville act. There is also Michael Callan reappearing as Alec who in the first film ended up having a nervous breakdown, but no mention of that here. The part where he dresses up as a woman to get into the girl’s dorm and his ‘conversation’ with his therapist offer some added levity.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: June 1, 1964

Runtime: 2Hours 3Minutes

Not Rated

Director: John Rich

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Not available at this time.

New Nightmare (1994)

wes cravens new nightmare

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 1 out of 10

4-Word Review: Freddy versus Heather Langenkamp

It’s been 10 years since the original Nightmare on Elm Street was released and actress Heather Langenkamp who played Nancy in the original is now have nightmares about Freddy and receiving strange phone calls. After talking with director Wes Craven, who is working on a new script in the series, the two surmise that some evil entity is using the character of Freddy Krueger as a portal to enter into the real world and it is up to Heather to once again play the character of Nancy in order to stop him.

The film is high on concept, but low on effective delivery. For one thing the film doesn’t go far enough with its original idea. The evil entity should not have been portrayed as just being Freddy all over again, but something much scarier and over-the-top. In my mind it would have been more interesting having Robert Englund being the one to have to go up against his own character instead of Langenkamp.  Despite the initial novelty of seeing the actors playing themselves the whole thing ends up devolving back into a rehashing of the same old formula.

The film is also overlong. It introduces its first act and then seems to take forever to get to the second one. There are too many gimmicks during the first hour including several scenes where a character, mostly Langenkamp, wakes up out of a nightmare only to find that she is in another one. The dream within a dream thing becomes confusing and irritating. The logic is threadbare, poorly thought out and many times a stretch.

The scares or I should say the attempted scares are pretty minor and not too prevalent particularly during the first hour. A lot of them are just stuff that is redone from the earlier films. When Heather’s husband starts falling asleep while driving home and then attacked by Freddy while on the road is very similar to the Dan character having the same type of attack while riding on his motorcycle in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 and there it was much more creative.  When Heather’s friend Julie (Tracy Middendorf) has her body pushed up the walls of a hospital room and then on the ceiling while being slashed is exactly what happened to the Amanda Wyss character in the first film, but there it was creepy while here it is tacky. The same thing with Heather running up some steps in the climactic sequence only to have the stairs turn into mush just like what happened to her in the original.

The film uses computerized effects that only help to make things more overblown. When Heather’s son Dylan (Miko Hughes) races onto a busy highway and into oncoming traffic it is obvious his body was matted onto another screen and the scene reminded me too much of the Mel Gibson character doing the same thing in Lethal Weapon. The gothic castle-like setting that makes up the finale has an unimaginative Mazes and Monsters feel to it. The Freddy character has also lost his zing. I thought the character was supposed to have been someone suffering from burns, but here it looks like someone who has been skinned and very obviously a mask worn by an actor.

Hughes as the young Dylan character makes up the majority of the screen time. The kid is alright, but started to remind me of Danny Lloyd from The Shining especially when he tried to put on an evil possessed voice, which sounded very similar to Lloyd saying ‘redrum, redrum’.

The idea that this is supposedly a fresh perspective to the series is just an ill- advised gimmick that drapes what has become a very tired, mechanical formula that should have been put to rest. Out of all the sequels I consider this one to be the weakest.

My Rating: 1 out of 10

Released: October 14, 1994

Runtime: 1Hour 52Minutes

Rated R

Director: Wes Craven

Studio: New Line Cinema

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video