A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s TV show, Freddy’s Nightmares, retold Freddy’s origin in the pilot, completely retconning it in the process. While still very popular today, Freddy Krueger and the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise absolutely ruled the 1980s. Despite being a child murderer, Freddy became a pop culture icon, with his burnt face plastered on just about every conceivable type of tie-in product. Among these were a ridiculously hard NES video game in which the player battled Freddy, and a short-lived A Nightmare on Elm Street TV series.
Freddy’s Nightmares debuted in syndication back in 1988, not long after A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 played in theaters. Instead of focusing entirely on Freddy (Robert Englund), Freddy’s Nightmares used the dream stalker as a Tales from the Crypt-esque host. Freddy would introduce horror stories about the residents of Springwood, and then add a quip about them after the end. However, on a few select occasions, Freddy himself was the villain of the episode, which unsurprisingly, made things much more interesting than usual.
One of these instances came in the Freddy’s Nightmares pilot episode, entitled “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” The episode (directed by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s Tobe Hooper) is a retelling of Freddy’s origin story, as told in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street film. Oddly though, it completely ignores the non-Freddy characters from the films, choosing to go its own way.
As any fan of the Nightmare on Elm Street films is aware, Marge Thompson recounts Freddy’s origin to Nancy in the original, revealing that Freddy was a serial killer that preyed on children who eventually got caught. Unfortunately, “someone forgot to sign the search warrant in the right place,” leading to Freddy’s release on a technicality. Marge and Donald Thompson, along with other Springwood parents, then tracked down Freddy to his boiler room and burned him alive. For whatever reason though, both major and minor changes are made to this story in Freddy’s Nightmares’ pilot.
First off, Freddy is released in this version due to not properly being read his Miranda Rights. Freddy is then simply allowed to walk out of the courtroom in one assumes is a not at all realistic development, and immediately sets out to start killing again. However, none of the other established characters from the Elm Street movies are present here. Instead the blame for Freddy’s release is put on a Lt. Blocker, who wasn’t thinking clearly because Freddy’s next intended victims were his twin daughters Lisa and Merit. The locals want to hunt down Freddy, but Blocker warns them off vigilante justice.
Later, Freddy attempts to kill Blocker’s daughters, but is stopped before he can do so, fleeing back to his boiler room lair. Blocker and the mob both follow him there, but in a truly bizarre addition to the A Nightmare on Elm Street mythos, Freddy begins taunting his assailants, and Blocker in particular. He also seems fully confident he’ll return after death, despite Freddy’s “dream demon” benefactors not becoming canon until 1991’s Freddy’s Dead. Freddy then just stands there and allows himself to be covered in gasoline and lit on fire. As one does. By the end of the episode, a now dream-stalking Freddy has killed Blocker, and will later target his daughters again in the sequel episode “Sister’s Keeper.”
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