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Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Quarter-Century of Krueger: Alice, Sweet Alice

"I have a place in my heart for all of the different characters I have played and there is a story or two behind each. The character of Alice in the Nightmare films is still one of my favorites. Alice was me in grade school and me when I 'blossomed' in college. From weak to strong, from day dreamer to realist." - Lisa Wilcox

With all due respect to BJ-C and her kick-ass Women of the Week over at Day of the Woman, in this particular installment of QCK, I'm taking a look at my personal favorite Elm Street final girl, and one of horror's most overlooked final girls in general: Lisa Wilcox, a.k.a. Alice Johnson.

Ironically, although I find her the most interesting (not to mention attractive) of all the NOES heroines, she debuted in my least favorite movie in the series, The Dream Master. Yet she proved so popular with fans--and the film itself made so much bank--that the character was brought back for the fifth and most underrated entry in the series, The Dream Child.

The strongest female character in the series, Alice is revealed to be the equal counterpart of Freddy, and thus the most powerful and integral of all the mortal characters in the series as well. In fact, she manages to pull off the unheard-of feat of defeating Krueger and surviving in not one, but two Elm Street flicks (take that, Heather Langenkamp!). So beloved was the character that there was a certain element of the fan base that was outraged when her storyline was abandoned and she did not show up in the sixth Nightmare episode, Freddy's Dead.

Although quite memorable in both of her appearances, Lisa--whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the Chiller Theatre convention some years back--has never done any other work that rivaled them.

While still a student at UCLA, she made her acting "debut" as a "Wendy's girl" in an early '80s commercial for the fast food chain. Her first major film role came in the 1984 sexploitation flick Gimme an F, for which she took off a quarter from school. She had a brief recurring role on the '80s prime time soap Knots Landing, and a one-time appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation that is still remembered by hardcore Trekkies. Her most high-profile non-Nightmare work might very well be her turn as Florence Henderson in a 2000 TV movie on the Brady Bunch. Needless to say, to her fans she will always be known first and foremost as Alice.

These days, Lisa and her Dream Master co-star Tuesday Knight are the owners of Toe Brights, a wholesale jewelry supplier which has been featured in major women's magazines, and counts among its celebrity customers the likes of Drew Barrymore, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Even as recently as 2002, fans continued to clamor for Wilcox to reprise her role in Freddy vs. Jason, which some hoped would finally resolve her unfinished storyline. Alas, with the impending Elm Street reboot, it seems that we will never again see Lisa appear onscreen as Alice again.


Anonymous said...

I liked Alice, too. Isn't it funny, but to me, all the odd numbered Elm Street's kicked ass while the even numbered ones were the weakest.

fleshtheworld said...

I love Alice. Both side of Alice.

I love watching the part where she changes character. I want to thank the beautiful Lisa Wilcox :) for bringing Alice out.

"Fucken A" - best part.

B-Sol said...

That's my favorite part too, with the great '80s new wave song, "Anything, Anything"

Michael said...

O.K. Nobody asked me but...Alice was a big mistake for the Nightmare franchise. The bolstering of Alice's dream power had the adverse effect of turning Freddy into a total pussy. This is a soul so black that it was assumedly commandeered by some mysterious demonic agents of suffering and chaos, allowing it or him unlimited power in the dream world, and since we all know that what happens in the dream happens in real life...well, that's more power than even the most literal Bible worshippers grant Satan. Freddy should never have appeared afraid of Alice as he does in part 5. A few carnival tricks (kung-fu, gymnastics, the ability to yell really loud, superior test-taking abilities) could never stop a creature of dream and shadow with the ability to tear that otherwise impermeable veil of the unconscious and leave the physical reality on the other side utterly slashed and bleeding. Alice's strengths were gained by chance rather than trial and even within the most distorted dream-logic, Freddy could have gored her with ease and relish. That said the real fault of Nightmares 4/5 lies not in their silly re-re-reboot of the mythology or the increasingly gimmicky dream sequences or even the unfunny one-liners. It was the loss of the best actor ever to star in a Nightmare on Elm St film, (with maybe the the exception of Mr. Depp) Patricia Arquette. I can only assume that had they not killed Kirsten off in the first half, we may have been spared the horrible miscasting of Tuesday Knight whose appearance was the biggest disappointment for this dream child of the entire series. Had to get that off my chest.

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