These Halloween Spectaculars don’t usually involve big names in horror, as I feel like they can overshadow the spirit of the season. But I’ll make an exception today, and bring out everyone’s favorite dream walking demon, Freddy Krueger. Mr. Krueger and I don’t have much history, though I was very critical of his use of language, once upon a time.
In the late 80’s/early 90’s horror anthology shows were all the rage. We had new versions of The Outer Limits and Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, Monsters and Friday the 13th: The Series. That last one had nothing to do with Jason Voorhees, which never really sat well with people. The folks at New Line decided not to make the same mistake, and trotted out Freddy’s Nightmares, an anthology series hosted by Freddy Kruger himself. They were also smart enough to do a Halloween episode, something all horror shows should do, and to occasionally let their icon star in an episode.
Here’s your link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT-8SfWse0g
We begin with a delightfully dated title sequence, which summarizes Freddy’s creation in about 5 seconds. The rest of the time is spent listening to Freddy laugh, watching disembodied heads scream and enjoying terrible special effects. This episode apparently focuses on Law & Order SVU’s Olivia Benson and her time at college. Her time at college, where she wore ridiculous looking glasses.
She’s attempting to study, but the rest of the people she lives with are having quite the party. She’s interrupted by her friend Mark, who bungles his way through a faux home invasion. Mark is wearing a Jason mask at the time, possibly a dig at Friday the 13th, Freddy’s rival series at the time.
Mark tries to convince her to come down and join the party, but Olivia is far too focused on studying. It’s also briefly discussed that she isn’t afraid of anything, something that will serve her well years later on the mean streets on New York, and while working with Ice T. She gets fed up with Mark and leaves, only to run into her friend Gary on her way out. Gary is able to convince her to stay at the party and try to have some fun. I bet it was his snazzy Napoleon costume that convinced her.
Following a brief discussion with some guy about how he enjoys watching women naked, Olivia decides to head to her school’s medical building to study after all. That’s a largely paraphrased account of what happened, but it’s no less creepy in real time. Olivia arrives and has a chat with Ernie, the guard on duty. Ernie is also a big supporter of Halloween, as it’s a holiday Springwood takes very seriously. Ernie then recounts the story of Freddy Krueger, the famous murderer of innocent children. You know, as opposed to all those children who deserve to die. It’s a really awkward way to jam in Freddy’s origin, as it never really connects why Freddy’s demise makes Halloween so important to Springwood. But it gets Freddy involved in our story and keeps it moving, so I’ll let it slide.
Ernie leaves Olivia to her work, which centers on studying cadavers. Obviously you can see why she was in such a rush to study. Olivia amuses herself by cracking a few jokes and showing that she’s much more personable when she’s alone with dead bodies than she is around other people. She also playfully names the cadaver she’s studying “Freddy.” Surely nothing could go wrong.
Seeing the message carved into the cadaver, Olivia quickly leaves the room and goes to fetch Ernie. While she’s gone, our guest of honor arrives.
Of course, once Olivia and Ernie return, Krueger is gone and the cadaver has returned to normal. Ernie decides to keep Olivia company while she works, showing a complete lack of respect for the job he’s paid to do. Who knows what kind of psychopath could just waltz into the building while he’s away from his post? It’s just irresponsible. Luckily, he’s quickly grossed out by the cadaver, and leaves the room. Shortly there after, Olivia daydreams while washing her hands, bringing up some repressed memories of her grandmother forcefully washing her hands when she was a child. Apparently she touched some filthy young boys. She comes back from her daydreaming to find her hands covered in blood, but before she can figure out why, the cadaver sits up, revealing itself to be her grandmother.
Olivia screams and back away, right into Mark, who has inexplicably arrived. Mark tries his best to console her, but is soon distracted by a noise that only he can hear. After he leaves to investigate, Olivia somehow ends up with a pumpkin mask stuck on her face.
She realizes it was a hallucination and snaps out of it, the goes looking for Mark. She instead stumbles upon a skeleton, set up by Mark, who really doesn’t belong around anyone in a fragile mental state. Mark tries to tell Olivia about the Springwood tradition of Halloween pranks, but unfortunately the skeleton comes to life and gouges out his eyes before he can continue.
Of course this is the Freddy Krueger universe, so the whole thing turns out to be a dream. Freddy is such a tease. Olivia wakes up in the room with the cadaver, and quickly flees….only to run into Mark. Come on, he’s a much better character when his eyes are being poked out! Why can’t you let me have that? Fed up, Olivia leaves the medical center, and Mark lays into her about how little fun she is. She finally relents and lets him lead her to a random house where they creepily peek in the windows.
Inside, Olivia sees herself and Mark, making out on a couch. Inside Olivia is worried that her grandmother will soon arrive, which she does, immediately calling Olivia a filthy whore, who will never be clean. Inside Mark sneaks away, because in any reality he’s a huge pansy. Inside Olivia meanwhile tell her grandmother that she’s not normal and that she hates her. Her grandmother then has a heart attack and dies. I hope you’re happy with yourself, Olivia. Outside Olivia has a nervous breakdown and run instead, remarking that she now knows how to save her grandmother, explaining why she’s always studied so hard. Remarkably, Grandma’s corpse reanimates and once again calls her a whore, but it’s quickly revealed that it’s just Freddy Kruger in disguise.
Olivia once again runs away, all while rambling that she didn’t kill her grandmother and it wasn’t her fault. Outside she again runs into Mark, who seems quite proud of her that she’s faced her fears. He’s so proud in fact, that he tells her she doesn’t need him anymore and promptly disappears.
Freddy appears again, just to laugh at Olivia, before we’re moved back into the real world. There, we find Olivia talking to the pumpkin mask, begging Mark not to leave her alone. Eventually, everyone who was at the party at the beginning of the episode arrives to try and console her. This includes the creepy dude that likes to watch women get naked, who seems to be getting aroused at the thought of studying the now completely insane Olivia. Our episode concludes with Freddy laughing about a poor girl crushed by love. Rod Serling he isn’t.
The cool thing about Freddy’s Nightmares is that the episodes often involved two stories, set amongst the same cast of characters. That’s true for this episode as well, and I’ll cover second half on Monday. As for this episode, I think it’s a good one, especially if you’re a Freddy fan. It’s essentially a quick, less gruesome version of one of his films, appropriate for television. The acting is hit and misses, but this show was notorious for that. Robert Englund doesn’t come cheap, so you’ve just got to hope the no name actor you hire can one day become Brad Pitt or something. Overall though Freddy’s Nightmares was a solid anthology series, but a lot of that comes from their ability to do a Freddy Kruger story whenever they want. Monsters can’t compete with that.