Archive for Series

Nightmare on Elm Street the Series (Did you order up a slice of Ham?)

Posted in Scott's Horror Corner, Updates with tags , on December 29, 2012 by splatterpictures

Freddys_NightmaresIf 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.

Another (Who is Dead?)

Posted in Horror Showcase, Updates with tags , , , on June 22, 2012 by splatterpictures

If horror is one of the great loves in life, anime would be my secret mistress I cheat on horror with ever now and again. In fact it was anime that got me back in to horror after being generally uninterested in it for nearly a decade. It was anime and going to conventions for anime that introduced me to Sushi Typhoon and obscure J-horror titles that I never would have known about. One of the benefits of animation from Japan is not only the visual style that appeals to me but the twisted gore and hyper sexuality that more often than not goes hand in hand with the genre. For something a little different I’m not going to talk about a movie but rather a series; this series is called Another.

Another is based of a 2009 mystery horror novel written by Yukito Ayatsuji. It was later adapted into a Manga series (Japanese comic) and a 12 episode Anime that ran from January to march of 2012. This isn’t really a bizarre trend in Japan. Many series are developed from Manga or regular novels. In recent years thanks mostly to the internet it has become increasingly more accessible to anyone who has an interest in finding such materials. Japan has answered this massive worldwide interest in Anime by desperately adapting everything they can think of into various series. Honestly the amount out there now is staggering and grows year by year.

The story of Another revolves around a legend that says 26 years ago a popular high school student died. The entire class was grieving until one day a random student jumped up and said they could see their dead friend alive and well sitting at their desk. Slowly the rest of the class started to act like this student hadn’t died at all. They say that at the end of the year- during the class photo- they could even see the deathly image of the student smiling with their classmates. The following year something tragic happened and every since the class has been cursed.

We cut to the year 1998 and  a young man named Kōichi who transfers from the big city of Tokyo to the small town of Yomiyama. Before he is able to join the local high-school he has a sudden medical emergency when his lung collapses which forces him to miss the first three weeks of school. While there he meets a small group of classmates from room 3-3 which is where he is to be placed for the year. They act somewhat suspicious but never really allude to why. They ask him several questions like if he had ever been to the town before but after he explains that this is his first visit they leave.

On one of his last days in the hospital; Kōichi is in an elevator where he suddenly meets a small girl named Mei with an eye patch. Mei,is carrying a creepy ball jointed doll and is apparently going to visit the morgue. When Kōichi eventually makes it to class he is amazed to see that this strange girl is a fellow classmate but the odd thing is nobody seems to act like she exists.

One of the major benefits of this series is that it’s a mere twelve episodes to get the entire story. It’s long enough to really flesh out the characters and their motivations as well as really push the mystery surrounding this alleged curse on class 3-3. It’s defiantly a slow burn like a lot of Japanese horror but I think that’s what made it so effective. I went in to this series with no previous knowledge of the source material and the plot just kept me guessing right until the very end.

The kills are fantastic and wonderfully gory. I won’t give too much away but essentially imagine this series as kind of a final destination scenario. Students and their families are subjected to a random series of events that lead up to their grizzly deaths. I’ve always loved the Rube Gold Machine approach to killing off characters. The last few episodes are a friggin’ bloodbath.

Beyond the gory ends of the hapless students the story really focuses on how we connect with people. Bonds that seem unbreakable can easily be tested when your life or the lives of others are put at risk. It’s interesting to see how certain characters that you do grow to know would change after they become desperate.  It also shines a light on the strength it takes to make decisions that -on the one hand- would save lives but, on the other come at an immense personal cost.

Some of the problems with the series are not so much from the storyline but the fact that it’s an anime. There is a “beach” episode. Before I get in to the episode I’d like to explain first that the “beach” episode is a thing not exclusive to this series or even ten series. The thing that it is cannot really be explained. It’s like “the baseball episode” or the “volleyball” episode. These things exist in anime for a lot of reasons. Usually to break up the series with a light-hearted self contained story with ample amounts of fan service and or comedy. Why not just take all the main characters and put them in bathing suits. It usually serves no purpose and when I started watching the episode (I believe it was episode 9) I rolled my eyes pretty hard. I was pleasantly surprised however when the “beach” episode ended in a healthy dose of sadness that moves the plot forward.

Another thing that really bothered me was how the entire plot could have been unraveled if the students, or anyone in the town was just upfront about the circumstances of class 3-3 especially considering Kōichi missed the first three weeks due to illness. Again this is something that is uniquely Japanese. It’s very common when dealing with superstition or death that you simply “do not speak of it”. It can be frustrating as an audience to watch. Lastly, I don’t feel as though they went in to detail enough about the big plot twist at the end. I love a good mystery but part of the fun for me is trying to figure it out before the big reveal. While some evidence they present is purposefully misleading the last part I really feel was totally out in left field. Maybe there were more clues to it in the original source material.

For fans of J-horror or anime or any combination of the two;Another is a series that you just can’t miss. For new comers to Horror Anime in particular I think it’s an excellent series to get acquainted with. It has a lot of familiar elements prevalent in Japanese animation speckled in there with a little Whispering Corridors and a healthy dose of Final Destination. The series length of twelve episodes is also pretty painless and the plot will keep you wondering just who is dead?

The series isn’t available in the west yet or even on DVD but your old pal the internet has got you covered. I found it sub-titled in about 30 seconds on Google. Check it out.

ALSO Random Dance Sequence