I'm really fond of Fred. It all started one night when my mom fell asleep with the TV on and my brother and I caught our first glimpse of A Nightmare on Elm Street. We sat there -- eyes glazed over and too scared to talk, but we were hooked. For the next several years, Freddy invaded our lives and not just our dreams. Fangoria magazines, Freddy costumes, the dreaded glove with gray, plastic finger-knives and flimsy brown fabric (I think we went through at least five gloves) and whatever else we could get our hands on.
Growing up Freddy wasn't cheap, but the allure of his sinister voice and pizza face kept us coming back for more. Throughout the years there were some cuckoo products and marketing strategies to promote the five-fingered fiend, some of which you can check out after the jump. Until we can determine if Samuel Bayer's Nightmare on Elm Street remake is a complete disaster or not, enjoy this little stroll down Elm Street.
Freddy's Greatest Hits
The year before future movie star Will Smith recorded Nightmare on My Street under the DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince moniker, RiC Records made an attempt hop on the Elm Street bandwagon by releasing Freddy's Greatest Hits -- making the nine tracks available on record and cassette. Robert Englund didn't actually sing any of the tracks, but he did lend his commentary to several of the songs. As you might imagine, the prevailing theme of the record was dreaming and/or sleeping and several of the tracks were covers of actual songs like Do the Freddy, which was a cover of a 1965 tune by Freddie and the Dreamers. Other covers included In the Midnight Hour and All I Have to Do Is Dream. The songs are a combination of haunted house, late 80's/early 90's rock ballads and a little New Wave. Yeah, it's pretty awful but it has a certain je ne sais quoi.
Freddy's Nighmares TV Series
The 80's hosted a series of TV horror anthologies including Lorimar Television's Freddy's Nightmares. Freddy played the delightful Crypt Keeper-like host and was featured in a few of the actual plot lines but since he was relegated to bit player status the ratings suffered and the show only lasted two seasons. The series took place in the fictitious town of Springwood, Ohio on Elm Street, where different characters and different storylines were featured each week. The pilot episode was directed by Tobe Hooper and some of the featured actors included then unknowns like Brad Pitt, Mariska Hargitay and Robin Antin. Freddy's Nightmares has not yet been released on DVD in the US and Canada, but Warner Home Video did issue a VHS which is now out of print. You can catch some of the old episodes on Chiller TV -- the next batch is airing on Tuesday, March 23.
Freddy Phone Fun
There's nothing wrong with children calling a 1-900 number and paying to talk to a child molester/murderer, is there? Marketing execs didn't think so and everyone's favorite crispy critter, Freddy, was part of the celebrity 1-900 number trend -- a strange and shameless way to cash in every child's hope that said celebrity's scripted message was actually meant for them. My brother and I called several times, until my mom saw the phone bill and blocked 1-900 phone calls.
Freddy and Nintendo
Does anyone else remember how ridiculous the Elm Street Nintendo game was? Your only defense in this side-scroller against snakes, bats and spiders (why are they there again?) is your fists. Yes, you punch everything. The object of the game is to recover Freddy's scattered bones (some impossible to find and all shaped like dog biscuits) and bury them in consecrated ground while navigating your way through pixel-reality and a dream world. The video review below says it all, but it's NSFW.
Freddy and The Fat Boys
I know I've already covered some of Freddy's musical career, but I had to include this video Robert Englund made with the Brooklyn hip-hop trio, The Fat Boys. The group was approached to record the song and video, Are You Ready for Freddy, which became the theme of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. The whole story behind the video is that Prince Markie Dee stands to inherit a house from his Uncle Fredrick ("He's from a part of my family we never mention.") after staying in the house for one night. Markie Dee brings along the other two Fat Boys who spend the night running around the house (in striped sweaters no less) getting the crap scared out of them by Freddy who eventually chases them out.
Freddy is a Doll
1989 was the year of Freddy the talking doll. Just pull the string on his back and your friendly neighborhood child molester utters sweet nothings in your ear like, "Let's be friends!" and "Welcome to Elm Street!" This is odd because he was usually saying things in the movies like, "I said where's the f*cking bourbon?!" and "Wanna suck face?"
Freddy Plays Games
I remember the 1989 board game, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Freddy Game had a lot of pieces, but I don't actually remember playing it. Players use cards to make up a story that moves them through Freddy's house and they try to find him before he hunts them down. Trick is, one of the players is really Freddy. Along the way you collect weapons and special cards that help you out.
Freddy to the Maxx
Matchbox put out a Freddy Krueger doll in 1989 that seems to have been inspired in part by A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge and the film's main character, Jesse Walsh. The Maxx FX Freddy doll was part of a series of horror dolls (Dracula, Alien, Frankenstein) where "regular" dolls were transformed into horror monsters by using various costumes and other nifty parts. Parents liked them more than some of the other toys because their children were more or less playing with a doll dressed like Freddy vs. playing with Freddy himself. Oh, and there was no Ken Doll crotch bulge.
Freddy Fright Squirter
Just look at the pictures. Need I say more?