In October of 1984, in West Germany, at the Hof International Film Festival, writer and director, Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” an iconic film of the horror genre, was first screened. The original film would be the catalyst that would launch a franchise that consisted of six sequels, and a crossover movie between Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger and “Friday the 13th’s” Jason Voorhees. Additionally, four years after the original film premiered, the forty-four episode television series, “Freddy’s Nightmares,” had its original air date on October 9, 1988. The pilot episode, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” was directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and written by three time Oscar nominee Michael De Luca (Moneyball), Emmy nominee David Ehrman (24), and Rhet Topham (976-EVIL).
The episode opens with a news anchorman (Bob Goen) giving a report on the chaotic happenings in the town of Springwood, Ohio. The anchorman speaks for a brief time, and after experiencing signal disruption, Freddy appears. He informs the viewer that they have nothing to fear. This time, Freddy is replaying his own nightmare. The scene shifts back to the same reporter, who is now standing outside the Springwood Municipal Courthouse, where the pre-trial hearing of accused killer, Freddy Krueger is being held. Springwood prosecutor, Mr. Deeks (William Frankfather) is presenting a slideshow of all of Krueger’s victims, as Krueger sits and watches from inside a bullet proof glass enclosure. When Deeks finishes his presentation, the judge (Gwen E. Davis) asks Krueger’s defense attorney (Steven Reisch) if he has any motions to make. When Krueger’s attorney speaks, he asks that the case be dismissed. As it turns out, the arresting officer, Lt. Timothy Blocker (Ian Patrick Williams), failed to read Krueger his Miranda rights. The judge has no choice, but to grant the defense’s motion for a dismissal. Freddy has his handcuffs and shackles removed, and is escorted from the courthouse by officers. (As an aside: Bob Goen, amongst other things he has done in his career, replaced John Tesh as co-host of Entertainment Tonight on May 30, 1996, where he worked until 2004).
Krueger being set free is something which raises the ire of Deeks and people in the courthouse, many of whom, for example, the mother of one of the victims (Alba Francesca) wants justice at any cost. She is not alone in that sentiment. Deeks, who states that he believes in the law and giving a person a fair trial, feels that the law failed the town of Springwood. He asks the victims’ family members to join him in hunting down Krueger, and making sure he pays for his crimes; they all agree. The angry contingent tracks Krueger down to the boiler room of an abandoned building. When they confront him, they set him on fire, something which was talked about in the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” but never shown to viewers. If that were the end of the episode, a viewer might think that, given the circumstances, justice was served, but there is still time left. (As an aside: In addition to hearing voices in his head, when the camera shows the point-of-view through Freddy’s eyes, he sees things in infrared, and what he is looking at appears to him in a distorted manner).
Trivia buffs take note: The box office success of “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master,” which grossed approximately 49 million dollars, was the convincing factor that led to the decision by producers to move forward with the television series. “Freddy’s Nightmares,” which was aired from 1988 through 1990, featured a number of actors and actresses that would go on to become well known in the film and television industry. Chief among them, but not limited to, were: Golden Globe winner, Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds); Emmy winner, Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights); Golden Globe winner, Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit); and Lori Petty (Orange is the New Black). Furthermore, not counting cameo appearances made by Robert Englund in “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge,” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master,” the pilot episode is the first appearance of Freddy Krueger before he was burned.
Who will live and who will die at Freddy Krueger’s knife-gloved fingers? What manner of tortures will he inflict on those who have taken the law into their own hands? I watched the majority of the episodes as the El Rey Network was airing them over the past year. The shows range from the mediocre to good, depending on the story and the acting, although, no matter the episode, Robert Englund is always fun to watch, and the pilot episode is no exception.