Freddy's Nightmares [TV Series] (1988)

Run Time - 60 min.  |  
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Inspired by the excessively gruesome and highly profitable Nightmare on Elm Street movie series, this weekly hour-long anthology debuted in syndication under the title A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series, though it was popularly known as Freddy's Nightmares--and beginning with its second season, Freddy's Nightmares it officially became. Wearing his familiar demonic facial makeup, Robert Englund repeated his screen role as Freddy Krueger, who in the original movies had been a serial killer in the cozy little town of Springwood before the local citizens ganged up on him and burned his body to a cinder. This of course was not the end of Freddy, who returned in the form of a "dream demon", invading the subconsciences of the local teenagers and driving them to madness, murder or sudden death. Beyond his grotesque facial features, Freddy's trademarks included his floppy hat and his "special" glove, which substituted long, sharp razors for fingernails. In the TV version, Freddy was still up to his old tricks, albeit on a less horrific (and censorable) level than in the films. Some of the episodes found Freddy stirring up terrible nightmares that came true and wreaked havoc upon the life of the dreamer. In other stories, Freddy was merely the host, narrating a tale of terror in which he was not otherwise involved. Each 60-minute episode was comprised of two thematically related half-hour playlets, which could be rebroadcast in a 30-minute format if the local station so desired. During its first season on the air, Freddy's Nightmares was frequently seen in a late-afternoon timeslot, sparking protests from pressure groups who complained that the show was altogether too frightening for the kids who happened to tune in (the same "kids", by the way, who'd been eagerly buying tickets for the Nightmare theatrical films!) In response, several stations rescheduled the series to a later hour, while the producers hastily issued the reassuring disclaimed that "No one under the age of 18 will be murdered on this show." Seen today, Freddy's Nightmares seems a model of decorum compared to the gory excesses of such films as Saw, its "nightmarish" aspects tempered by decent production values, good acting, and a delightful strain of self-deprecating humor. The 44-episode Freddy's Nightmares debuted in most American TV markets in October of 1988.