December 6, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

In Honor Of Friday The 13th, Let's Talk About Nightmare On Elm Street

Johnny Depp is not the only one owes his career to Freddy.
Johnny Depp is not the only one owes his career to Freddy.

Actually, we’ll also look at Friday, but I had to lead with that Brad Pitt picture.  As for it’s caption, I assume most of us know that before he decided to purposely derail his own career (according to Watson), Johnny Depp was a big bloody stain in the first, and by far best, Nightmare on Elm Street movie.


But back on point (editor’s note: Jimmy, you have a point?  This just seems like filler so you don’t have to wash Watson’s car), do you remember that there was a Nightmare TV series called Freddy’s Nightmare’s that ran from 1988 to 1990?  Probably not, and for good reason, it was horrible.  The biggest issue with such a series was that it really had nothing to do with the movies, and usually only featured Robert Englund as Freddy Kruger in a Tales From The Crypt-esque hosting capacity.

The biggest problem facing the show was “we have a hard enough time coming up with a plot and ridiculous ways for Freddy to kill people in a movie every few years, how are we going to do this every week?”  “Uh…boss?”  “Yes Watson?”  “What if Freddy wasn’t actually in the show?”  “By God, that’s just crazy enough to work!!!”  And that’s what happened.  (Thanks Watson.)  A Nightmare on Elm Street show…while it often times took place on Elm Street…without it’s main character and draw.  Needless to say, it didn’t go over well.

Perhaps that is harsh.  It did well enough to last two seasons and 44 episodes.  And they did try to incorporate Freddy on occasion.  Notably in the pilot episode which they probably used to trick broadcasters and investors as it was the only episode that featured an hour long story (all other episodes featured two interlocking stories) and was full out movie prequel.

As for the lead image in this post, that’s one Mr. Angelina Jolie making an appearance in the series, prior to his breakout role in Thelma & Louise in 1991.  (Pitt also guest starred on an episode of 21 Jump Street to swap Freddy stories with Depp in 1988.)

If you are still interested in the show, good luck finding it.  There are a limited number of episodes that were released on VHS and DVD (check the discount bins) and US syndication seems to be minimal, if not…duh duh daaaaaaah…dead.  (editor’s note: *groan*)

And as promised, and since this is Friday the 13th, Mr. Voorhees had a series of his own.  Do you remember that one?  It preceded the Nightmare series, debuting in 1987 and running (seriously???) three seasons until 1990.  But this tie-in was even worse.  Jason never appears in an episode and it has nothing to do with him, his mother or Crystal Lake.  Admittedly, producer Frank Mancuso Jr. used the name for the series with the sole purpose of drawing in viewers.

Originally, the series was to be titled The 13th Hour, but producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. thought this would turn away viewers and instead took the name Friday the 13th to deliberately draw in audiences. Despite this title, the series has no story connections to the film series of the same name, as Jason Voorhees does not make an appearance, nor does any character connected to the films. In the United Kingdom it was listed on TV schedules as Fridays Curse, though when going to advertisement breaks on ITV it would show as Friday the 13th: The series.

Seriously, they didn’t even try.  Here’s the premise of the show:

Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki, and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store… and with it, the curse. Now they must get everything back and the real terror begins.

Now, in fairness, an actual Friday show would have much the same problems as the Nightmare show.  Coming up with a weekly “plot” and “slaughterfest”.  Made even more complicated by the fact that Jason, while inventive, would not have the door open for the more fantastical nightmare deaths that the Freddy team could come up with.  They also would not have the option of using Jason in the same way as the Freddy show, as a narrator.

".........." - the opening monolouge to all 72 episodes.
“……….” – the opening monologue to all 72 episodes.

The show, no matter how much of it’s audience it owed to the non-appearance of Jason, actually did surprisingly well.  The first season finished second in syndication in the male 18- to 49-year-old demographic to only Star Trek: The Next Generation.  And if you are interested in checking it out, it seems to be more accessible than Nightmare.  Still airing regularly in syndication and all three seasons have been released on DVD.

Have a safe Friday and try not to walk under any ladders, break any mirrors, kick any black cats, live on Elm Street or have promiscuous sex at Crystal Lake.  P.S. Watson, wash your own car.