To celebrate Women in Horror Month, I will be highlighting some of my favorite undersung female characters in horror films each day this month. These posts will contain some spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movies mentioned do yourself a solid and check them out before reading all the way through.
Today I’m celebrating Yvonne Miller from 1989’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. I am an unabashed defender of this often-maligned sequel, and I think one of the most unfortunate parts of the flack it receives is obscuring this amazing secondary/survivor character. As great as Alice is for a final girl let’s face it – Yvonne is the one that actually saves the day in this movie.
Let’s just go over all the things we know about Yvonne: she is a newly minted high school graduate, a diver who practices “two hours a day six days a week”, AND she works at the local hospital. Just confirming all those details tired me out, but Yvonne is not just a tireless do gooder – she also knows how to party. She has VIP access to the pool she practices in 12 hours a week, and uses her keys to help throw a huge graduation pool party. Complete with her high diving into a group of students who have to frantically swim away that results in everyone literally clapping.
Yvonne plays the skeptical but caring friend which is a tough character to play in a later-franchise sequel where the audience knows darn well Alice is right about a supernatural slasher being after them. But Yvonne, like many characters before and after her, is really the person most of us would be in this situation. It is perfectly reasonable to assume her friend Alice is going through a painful trauma and using the idea of a dream killer to work through her boyfriend’s untimely death.
But once Yvonne has a trademark Freddy experience that Alice manages to stop before he can kill her, Yvonne has a genuine change of heart where she agrees to do whatever it takes to help Alice. And like a committee meeting where you make one small suggestion and somehow you are in charge of the toughest part of a project, Yvonne is tasked with finding Amanda Krueger’s final earthly resting place to free her soul so she can battle Freddy or something (these movies get weird okay!?).
Yvonne charges into this Gothic painting where the time is always spook-a-clock…
…and has to run around this haunted af place looking for a dead nun’s body. She finally breaks though a wall, and finds the spirit of Amanda Krueger who is like “Boo! I’m a skeleton!” but also “thank you!” and she disappears to go fight Freddy. So I’m not saying Yvonne is the actual hero of the film…but yes that is actually what I’m saying.
And at the end she is basically a second mom the Alice’s child.
Like I said, I think Yvonne is undersung because so many people dislike this sequel, but I do think she’s a great survivor character who really doesn’t get the credit she deserves for fighting Freddy the smart way by siccing his mother on him.
Hats off to you Yvonne, and hope you take a vacation soon!