October 9, 1988, as the anticipation mounted, I grabbed a blank VHS tape (for those younger readers, it’s what we had before DVD’s and DVR’s) slapped a blank label on that bad boy, then proceeded to neatly write FREDDY’S NIGHTMARES on it, yes in all caps.
Just as I slid that bulky bastard of a tape in the VCR and hit record, it started, and in the next 45 minutes and 32 seconds, I was lost in Freddy bliss.
No More Mr. Nice Guy was the pilot episode of Freddy’s Nightmares, a series based on the hugely successful A Nightmare On Elm Street film series launched in 1984 (by writer/director Wes Craven). The series launched just after (about a month and a half) the successful opening of A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
Directed by horror master Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Salem’s Lot, Poltergeist) and written by Michael De Luca, David Ehrman, and Rhet Topham, the pilot follows the exploits of Freddy Krueger before he turns into the man of all our dreams.
Back in 1988, the episode was a horror fanboy’s wet dream. Featuring one of the hottest horror directors, Robert Englund as Freddy before the menacing Freddy makeup, and a chance to see the origins of this iconic character.
The show did a great job painting the story of Freddy’s origins better than any of the films did, especially FREDDY’S DEAD, the absolute worst film in the series. Being a TV show as well as being a low budget TV show, the episode had amazing amount of production value, including a stunt burn, and a new cool Freddy glove with some menacing dental attachments.
Hooper did a fantastic job introducing new characters and allowing us to get to know them within the short 45 minutes. The choice to keep Englund’s face in shadow, pre-burn as Freddy, was a perfect decision. The cast was on par with Ian Patrick Williams playing Lieutenant Timothy Blocker and Gry Park and Hili Park as his twin daughters, who are being terrorized by Freddy before and after his death.
For a true ‘Nightmare’ and horror fan, this was a great entry into the ‘Nightmare’ mythology. It was a time where my Freddy fan-boy ass got to see him on a weekly basis without paying for a ticket. I would eventually end up burning out the tape from watching these shows over and over again.
It’s unfortunate that the series is unavailable on DVD in the U.S. But if you search hard enough on the internet, like I did, the entire series is waiting for you to revisit it, or to discover it.
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