Nightmare on Elm Street the Series (Did you order up a slice of Ham?)
If there’s one thing you can count on in media, and this is something that may be even more prevalent today, it’s that they will run a thing into the ground if you give them a chance. That said, the odds of you seeing, say, Rob Zombie’s Halloween action figures marketed towards children are probably pretty low. No Michael Myers with rocket launching action, nor will there be a Cabin in the Woods playset. Perhaps parents now are more easily outraged, or maybe the movies are more intense. All I know is, I had a talking Freddy Kreuger doll growing up. So if they thought kids would buy it, they would make it. And it wasn’t just in merchandise, they also tried to parlay Freddy into almost-Prime-Time!
Many connoisseurs are aware, but some are not, that Freddy had his own television series, called Freddy’s Nightmares. It ran for two seasons, from 1988 to 1990 in syndication. For me, personally, it had the auspicious 1 AM to 2 AM time slot. In spite of being quite the scaredy-cat growing up, I still ended up watching it a lot in my formative years. What do you think a show called Freddy’s Nightmares would entail; an endless stream of teenagers being murdered by everybody’s favorite horribly burned child molester right? Incorrect! While Freddy was the focus of the first episode and had appearances in a few subsequent ones, he was mostly on bumper duty, doing some ridiculous gags or waxing philosophical about the episodes.
The show, for the most part, was in the style of ‘Tales from the Crypt’ or ‘Twilight Zone’. The binding element being that they all took place in the town of Springwood where Elm Street is located. Imagine what the property value in that town must be like? The hour long show would tell a story and would sometimes have a second story branch off from it. The content was, suffice to say, a lot less graphic than the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. There were many episodes that, without the intro and the bumpers, had nothing to tie them to Freddy at all.
The first season of the show definitely had a little more of a sense of morose from Freddy. In the second season, he was nearly up to Freddy’s Dead levels of pure comedy relief. The stories themselves ranged from interesting to pretty good. One episode in particular that I recall from my childhood was “Safe Sex” where a nerd tried to hit on a goth chick who was in love with Freddy. I mainly remember it for a line delivered by the nerd’s best friend. ‘That girl is bad news at six AND eleven’. The basis of the story is that Freddy is cockblocking for Caitlyn (the goth chick) and by cockblocking, I mean he apparently got used to her unyielding love and threatens to kill her if she goes out with a guy.
I will say that the non-Freddy episodes could easily be confused for the aforementioned shows because they fail to stand out very much. Some are more dramatic than they are scary. That sounds like they’re bad, but honestly the saviour, and this is especially true in the second season, is Freddy being hilarious. For example, there’s an episode about a bank heist that follows a man about to be released from prison after giving up his partner for a reduced sentence. Cut to Freddy and his cellmate Gus as Freddy drops the soap and beckons his new pal to pick it up. Freddy is an iconic character, and if you’re a fan of his, then chances are you’ll really enjoy the show in spite of the some of the slower episodes that pop up in the run. There are also a few noteworthy actors who ran through Springwood, including Lori Petty and Brad Pitt.
Unfortunately, this is another series that hasn’t seen a DVD release. The first three episodes were released in the UK on DVD, but that was it. You’ll have to scour the internet if you want to catch the show. Though honestly, some kind folks on YouTube have put up a lot of the best stuff. Despite being seemingly an afterthought in the ‘Nightmare’ history, the show is witty and at moments is even quite good. Consult google for some episodes, and here’s Freddy playing guitar.