It’s odd how in the world of horror where it seems as if anything and everything gets a DVD and Blu-Ray release, it’s been Freddy’s Nightmares that if you’re lucky two to four episodes are somehow available. With the nostalgia for the 1980s and successful of a cash cow Freddy Krueger was and still is for fans, a Freddy’s Nightmares release would be easily available.
Now, if the series premiere is the peak of the show’s quality….maybe there’s a reason people want Freddy’s Nightmares to stay buried in some boiler room in Hollywood, although I can’t imagine the show ever being far worse than Tales From The Darkside when it got quite generic and lazy.
The pilot episode titled No More Mr. Nice Guy directed by the great Tobe Hooper is all about Freddy Krueger and what led up to him being burned alive by the town. Now when I think about it I find it odd Krueger prefers presenting himself as the burned up corpse in dreams rather than who he was before the flames. I guess the charred flesh is more intimidating to horny teens when dishing out macabre one liners.
One thing I found odd about this episode is how they didn’t seem to know how to present Freddy Krueger before his demise and immortal status. The first half of the episode with human Freddy just seemed amateurish and uninspired which is odd since years later, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare really nailed the human Freddy while that movie fails in nearly every other area.
The first half of this episode is as bad as you could imagine but the second half seems to possess more energy once the show gets to work with the dream logic Freddy Krueger everybody knows. That, or I just got accustomed to how over the top and cheesy the show is.
If you think I’m being too hard on Freddy’s Nightmares, let me talk to you about the chicken wing eating cop towards the beginning.
There’s a cop watching the home of the police chief after Freddy Krueger is out on the run once more. He’s standing outside eating when Krueger appears and ends his life with his homemade glove. As you can imagine, it’s one god awful horror trope as everything slows down and the camera focuses on the cop’s horrified face, reminiscent of when Pennywise morphs into a giant dog and attacks the mental asylum guard in the miniseries version of It.
As if that isn’t awful enough, the camera then cuts to a plate of chicken on the ground as “blood” rains down upon it that looks as if someone is squirting ketchup down onto the plate.
For all its faults, Freddy’s Nightmares is a fascinating time capsule of a show. I enjoyed watching the height of 80s cheese, the style of watching something that felt like it snuck its way onto cable television at the stroke of midnight. There’s psychotic things taking place like a man squeezing a coffee cup and crushing it in his bare hand. There’s dramatic overacting from people who you can tell were the lead of a Shakespeare play in their Midwestern town with lines such as “The law is on vacation.”
And of course, the score for this show is a Steve Vai like high pitched guitar solo during action scenes.
If you’re a fan of the genre or in need of seeing a great example of 1980s cheese, Freddy’s Nightmares is worth a view.