Our dreams can be the best entertainment, a pseudo-coherent narrative, inspired by the events of the day, the food you ate, or whatever else is plaguing your mind. The realm of Freddy Krueger showed its potential on the big screen, but for the longest time, his home antics were only reserved for V.H.S. In 1988, the success of the franchise inspired a creepy T.V. anthology. One that broadcasted live from the depths of the Subconscious in Freddy’s Nightmares.
The short-lived show offers a familiar format, much like Tales from the Darkside, Tales from the Crypt, Monsters, et cetera. An unrelated story that has an extraordinary conclusion, featuring everyday suburbanites facing their desires, or receiving their comeuppance. Such as a woman who loves game shows a little too much, or a teen who doesn’t want to be held down by the perceived plainness of Springwood. Each of the episodes, is a self-contained trip in the utmost sense, adopting dreamlike imagery and threats. One by one, the residents of Springwood will learn the nightmare of Freddy and their own lives.
Kicking things off with a bang, audiences now get another “canonical” depiction of Kruger’s demise, with this episode itself having the honour of Tobe Hooper at the directing helm. While those events do factor in a handful of episodes, Having Freddy Krueger occasionally appear as a Crypt Keeper-esque master of scaramonies works well. He often takes a back seat for the majority of episodes, but is unafraid to give the smaller screen a taste of his wit or wrath when required. Despite the limited framework of T.V. compared to the big Hollywood films, the vibrant colours of the settings do pop, especially on the V.H.S. transfers that give the whole experience a delightful retro aesthetic. One that you’d think would be more of a selling point today, retaining the signature style that helped propel the film.
Teens are no longer the primary target for Freddy, as the smaller screen has given rise to the trans-dimensional killer to torment a wider age bracket. With his reduced role here, Robert Englund gratuitously returns, meaning that Krueger isn’t played by an impersonator, and he still keeps the killer charm. You can spot some other famous faces here too, as even Brad Pitt has a medium-sized role in one of Freddy’s Nightmares. Lar Park Lincoln follows up her fight with Jason here too. While Anthology veteran, Lori Petty, gets to star in arguably the best episode, Killer Instinct, a tale of a high schooler’s quest for vengeance. There is something in the water of Springwood, and it makes for compelling horror.
A horror anthology with Freddy Krueger at the helm is a smart idea, especially considering the heavy competition and the built-in brand recognition that his disfigured visage has over audiences. The anthology follows the Your-Millage-May-Vary rule that is present in all of its kin, and recent efforts to digitise the tapes and keep them on a streaming service or at least around. If you like horror, and economical, but imaginative morality plays, Freddy now more than ever, seems willing to see his Nightmares.
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