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Nightmare On Elm Street 5: Why Dan's Gory Motorcycle Death Was Cut

Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child’s best death scene was cut to pieces by the MPAA, depriving viewers of the chance to see Dan become one with his bike in a brutal fashion. The Nightmare On Elm Street series began adding supernatural flair to the slasher formula in 1984 when Wes Craven’s original movie was released. However, dream demon Freddy Krueger had spent two movies offing teen victims before the series truly started taking advantage of its unique premise.

In fairness to Craven’s original, A Nightmare On Elm Street featured some memorably inventive and - in the case of Johnny Depp's Glen - undeniably gory deaths. However, it was 1987’s Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors that saw the series lean into the idea that Freddy could distort the dreams of individual victims and turns their demises into a specific, personal hell. Unfortunately for viewers, shortly after the franchise started taking this route, movie censors cracked down on screen violence.

Related: Candyman Just Made Its Urban Legend More Like Freddy Krueger

For example, the fifth film originally featured a truly inventive and gruesome end for one character that was cut down to a corny joke in the finished film. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is far from the best sequel, but it did feature some creative death sequences; in its original cut, that is. The wildly nasty motorcycle sequence, which saw Dan fused into his beloved bike by Freddy, was trimmed thanks to the MPAA’s crackdown on horror movies. However, the original plan for A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child was much grosser, as the existing director’s cut proves.

American viewers only saw a heavily-edited version of the Tetsuo-style body horror extravaganza, with Dan being killed by his motorbike during a dream while Freddy taunts him with terrible speed puns. However, in the full unedited scene, Dan’s bare leg is explicitly punctured by his bike’s inner workings, his body is torn asunder by the unspooling spokes, and his face is slowly torn off as he becomes fused to the bike, screaming all the while. Bizarrely, audiences did still get a glimpse of his surprisingly cool, H.R. Giger-inspired final form in the edited cut oThe Dream Child, but the hardcore David Cronenberg-style body horror that got him to that point was largely excised.

The scene is one of many ambitious death sequences filmmakers were forced to cut for censors or budgetary reasons. For example, the preceding movie’s infamous karate dojo death was a cheap way for the director to kill off a character after the sequel’s budget ran out. This was after the more impressive planned death scene (a decapitation via elevator) proved prohibitively expensive. However, while that demise was at least not filmed (meaning there was no superior alternative for viewers), Dan’s motorbike death was filmed and later heavily re-cut, meaning fans lost out on some amazing missing Nightmare on Elm Street special effects work. Luckily, the unedited A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child scene is now widely available for devotees of the franchise to view - provided they can stomach the spectacle, that is.

More: Why Freddys Nightmares Has Never Been Given A Full Home Video Release

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