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Series / Freddy's Nightmares

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"No no no! Don't touch that dial. Here's what's on my mind tonight."
Freddy Krueger, in the show's promos

Freddy's Nightmares is a Horror Anthology Series hosted by Freddy Krueger.

Each episode features two separate stories, usually connected by the first part's supporting character who takes the role of a protagonist in the second part.

Freddy himself appears in some episodes terrorizing another Victim of the Week. Other episodes revolve around teenagers and adults who go through quite unusual dream sequences which lead them to death or insanity.

This series contains examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Variation: The first vignette of "Judy Miller, Come on Down" implies that Judy managed to win the million dollar prize on "Beat the House"... despite spending the entire show daydreaming.
  • Actor Allusion: Of course the doctor played by George Lazenby is associated with the CIA.
  • Adapted Out: None of the parents or families from the films seem to exist in this Alternate Continuity, judging by how they're never mentioned and we see all the parents who burned Freddy.
  • Adaptational Badass: While Film!Freddy's powers have never been too consistent, this version seems capable of whatever reality-warping power the segment needs. Generally, he's portrayed more as an omnipresent malevolent force rather than a mere dream demon reliant on people being afraid of him and able to be killed (at least temporarily.)
  • All Just a Dream: The series overused this to the point of inverting it. The trope was so ridiculously commonplace that the real twist was when an episode didn't turn out to be just some random character's dream/hallucination/daydream/dying dream.
  • Alternate Continuity: The circumstances of Freddy's death are completely different from what was eventually shown in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare and Freddy vs. Jason, and "It's My Party and You'll Die If I Want You To" indicates that the films are just that (films) in this timeline, as the episode ends with Freddy's friend Howard stealing and getting rich off of a script titled "A Nightmare on Elm Street".
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Due to the plot twist of "Identity Crisis"' second vignettenote , it's unclear if the first vignettenote  actually happened due to the fact that John is a major part of the second vignette's plot as Christina's friend.
    • In "Silence Is Golden" it's not made clear whether or not the mime from the second segment is the same one from the first. Since he mentions a opposition to killing. Something that the mime from the first segment (who murdered a radio host's wife and stabbed him in the throat with a rake) didn't share.
  • Anachronic Order: John Johnson and his wife Debbie are shown alive in "It's My Party and You'll Die If I Want You To" despite being killed in the last segment of "Photo Finish".
  • Artistic License – Law: In "No More Mr. Nice Guy", the technicality that got Freddy cleared of all charges was that he wasn't read his Miranda rights while he was being arrested, thus making his arrest "illegal". In Real Life, not being read your rights would make anything you say during the arrest inadmissible in court, but it wouldn't clear you of the crime(s) you're arrested for. It's especially ridiculous considering all of the evidence they found on his property (various trophies kept from his victims and the murder implements he used to kill his victims) and several eye-witness accounts of his crimes made his guilt beyond reproach.
  • Asshole Victim: Several episodes have this with their main characters.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Chopper in "Do Dreams Bleed?", who runs around Springfield at night, chopping his victims with an axe.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • Freddy never loses in his episodes.
    • In a matter of speaking, "Do Dreams Bleed?" counts: towards the end, it turns out the "Springwood Chopper" was actually Coach Gacey, not John as previously assumed... but after John kills him before he can kill Roni, the cops show up to arrest him, and Roni is too traumatized to realize what is going on.
  • Bad Humor Truck: The first episode shows that Freddy used an ice cream truck to lure in children. After he’s let out of court, the first thing he does is go and retrieve it, greeting it like an old friend.
  • Black Comedy: When Freddy Krueger appeared as the host, he would frequently use Crypt Keeper-style lines and delivery.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Starr, Annie, and Emily, respectively featured in the second half of the episode "Deadline."
  • By-the-Book Cop: The officer who arrested Freddy Krueger but forgot to sign a warrant was actually one of these, and frowned upon the idea of the parents of Springwood getting together and administering justice on Freddy themselves when the case against him was dismissed.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The opening host segment for the second vignette of "Interior Loft" sees Freddy harass (and then kill) the episode's writer.
  • The Cameo: Aside from his hosting segments and the few episodes starring him, Freddy would sometimes have a quick blink-and-miss-it appearances in the actual stories.
  • Catchphrase: The Chopper's catchphrase in "Do Dreams Bleed?" is "It's time to take your medicine!" (that medicine being an axe buried in your head).
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The protagonist of the second half of an episode was sometimes a person who had no real importance in the first half.
  • Colon Cancer: The full name of this series is Freddy's Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series.
  • Continuity Nod: The fast food restaurant Beefy Boy from the second episode appears in several subsequent ones.
  • Continuity Snarl: The pilot has the technicality that gets Freddy off changed from the search warrant not being signed to Freddy not being read his rights. Freddy's burning is also very different from how Ms. Thompson described it in the first film.
  • Daydream Surprise: When not resorting to everything being a dream, some segments would turn out to be extended daydreams had by the main characters.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: The protagonist of the first half of "Interior Loft - Later" is an artist who fakes his death to cash in on this.
  • Deadly Game: "Judy Miller, Come on Down" had its main character have a nightmare that she was in a game show, with the lives of her in-laws as the prize. They end up as empty husks filled with ants.
  • Demonic Possession: The first half of "It's My Party and You'll Die If I Want You To" has Freddy possessing a Phony Psychic.
  • Depraved Dentist: Freddy takes this role at the end of the first episode when he kills Lt. Blocker, complete with drills on his glove.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In "Freddy's Tricks and Treats," Freddy starts tormenting the main girl because she refused to believe in him.
  • Downer Ending: A lot of episodes end this way such as:
    • "No More Mr. Nice Guy": As expected from a Freddy origin story, but Freddy comes back from the dead and kills Lt. Blocker. Also, things are about to get worse for the town of Springwood, now that Freddy is a supernatural force of evil.
    • "Sister's Keeper": Merit and Lisa form a plan they think will work to defeat Freddy for good. Unfortunately for them, it doesn't work and Freddy kills Lisa. All the while he makes it look like Merit killed her, thus meaning Merit will most likely get sent to a institution or prison.
    • "A Family Affair": Paul tries to cheat death by cheating in a card game with his now deceased lover who he had an affair with. He wins the game, but as an act of punishment for him cheating, his son, who was battling a drug addiction and was attempting to go clean, dies in a drug overdose. Tellingly even Freddy in his last segment actually has a grim solemn reaction to this.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The subject of a episode "A Family Affair" which ended with an uncharacteristically grim Freddy saying "Drugs... now there's a real nightmare."
  • The Ending Changes Everything: The plot of the first vignette of "Prime Cut" involves a trio of guys going camping in the woods, accompanied by a female guide, Tracker, who one of the guys, Johnny, believes to be a vampire. Just when it starts to shape up that way, Johnny proceeds to wake up. Except he isn't camping; the actual reality is that Johnny is a business man going on a business trip, Tracker was his pilot, and they crashed into a ravine in the woods. The reason he was dreaming of vampires was because they ran out of food, and Tracker was trying to convince him they had to eat the corpses of the other two men.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: It is repeatedly shown during "Do Dreams Bleed?" that the "Springwood Chopper" likes to utter "It's time to take your medicine!" before murdering someone. So it's when Coach Gacey tells this to John before leaving the mental hospital towards the end of the second vignette that it clicks in John's head who the Chopper really is.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: "A Family Affair" infamously ends without any schtick from Freddy, just him seriously intoning, "Drugs. Now there's a real nightmare..."
  • Evil Old Folks: Marsha's grandma in "Freddy's Tricks and Treats" was an abusive, demented old bat who would rant about Marsha having to be "clean," and would frequently scrub her hands raw with scalding hot water if she ever touched a boy. She would also beat Marsha with a belt, until Marsha finally had enough and called her out on how twisted she was. Unfortunately, the old lady had a heart attack and died in front of Marsha which scarred her even more.
  • Dying Dream: Some episodes' ending.
  • Gaslighting: John in "Do Dreams Bleed?" is suffering a ton from stress, due to being expected to be an outstanding student and football star, while also struggling with having accidentally discovered one of the victims of the "Springwood Chopper". Which means, after Coach Gacey manages to get the drop on him in the dark towards the end of the first vignette, he is able to be tricked into believing he's the Chopper.
  • Giving Them the Strip: In the episode "Sister's Keeper", Freddy is attacked by twin girls, one in front to distract and one in back to attack. When she swings her bat to attack Freddy, he vanishes and his clothes drop to the floor.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Freddy. He was only directly involved in the plot of eight episodes, though a few implied he was pulling the strings behind the scenes. Examples of this include the announcer's voice changing to Freddy's in "Judy Miller, Come on Down", a character's reflection talking back to that character in Freddy's voice in "Saturday Night Special", and a Freddy nightlight appearing out of nowhere ("I didn't buy that") in "Black Tickets."
  • Hollywood Law: The circumstances around the collapse of Freddy's trial in the first film were already an example of this, but the pilot episode of this series turns the trope up to eleven, by having the entire case instantly thrown out simply because Freddy claims he wasn't read his rights when he was arrested. In real-life, any remotely competent judge would instantly dismiss Freddy's claims as hearsay unless either the arresting officer confessed to the mistake or a reliable witness confirmed Freddy's account. And even if Freddy's claim was accepted, it would only render anything that Freddy himself said following his arrest to be inadmissible; it wouldn't affect the eyewitness accounts or the material evidence that the prosecutor presented.
  • Hope Spot: In the first segment of "The End of World", Freddy temporarily gives a girl the power of changing the present through her dreams. She uses it to prevent the death of her mother, but then learns that now her father is dead instead. Freddy then takes the power away right after this revelation.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday:
    • "Freddy's Tricks and Treats" (Halloween) and "Mother's Day".
    • "The End Of The World" takes place around Christmastime.
  • Horror Host: Freddy himself, an undead serial killer, served as the host of this Genre Anthology.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: In the episode "Love Stinks", a pizza parlor using "a special ingredient" appeared. Also - "Prime Cut" and "Dust to Dust".
  • I Know Madden Kombat: In one episode, two characters involved in the Phony Psychic business perform an exorcism based on their knowledge of The Exorcist. Only problem is that the possessed woman's religion is not Christianity, but money, so they throw money on her chanting "the power of money compels you."
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Freddy, who (at least in the TV show) is never defeated by anyone.
    • Allison in the episode "Sister's Keeper" repeatedly bullies and harasses Merit and never gets any comeuppance. Neither does Lisa's boyfriend, who tries to make a pass at Merit behind Lisa's back. Granted, Lisa did find out.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • Randy Jennings, the teenager from "Dream Come True", is offhandedly mentioned to have died towards the end of the first segment of the Sequel Episode, "Dreams That Kill".
    • Inverted: Towards the end of “Mother’s Day”’s first vignette, Billy winds up falling out a first-story window and crashes in the driveway; last we see if him, he’s bleeding from the mouth and is in massive pain. At the beginning of the second vignette, we learn that Barbara, the girl next door that Billy invited over, and as such saw Billy fall, is being suspected of attempted murder. This suggests Billy got to the hospital in time.
  • Last Dance With Mary Jane: Happens in "Killer Instinct", in which a dead girl comes to see her boyfriend for the last time.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Several characters mention that Freddy always wore the same red and green sweater and brown hat.
  • Man on Fire: Freddy in the first episode, unsurprisingly, given how it was partially a retelling of how Freddy died the first time. An angry mob of parents tracked him down after he was let go (due to Lieutenant Tim Blocker failing to read him his rights), and Blocker winds up being the one to throw the match once Freddy threatens to go after his daughters. Naturally, this winds up being the worst thing he could’ve done.
  • Monster Fangirl: Caitlin from "Safe Sex" is this to Freddy, at least for a while...
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Freddy Krueger gets such a moment in the pilot episode, and then the opening credits. Once he's been set on fire, he triumphantly shouts "I'm free, I'm free!" and laughs maniacally before he dies, as though he already knew what his death would bring.
  • Nightmare Dreams: You bet!
  • Off on a Technicality: Freddy is acquitted in the first episode because the police forgot to read him his Miranda Rights.
  • Off with His Head!: Many characters meet this fate. The most notable example is "Killer Instinct" with its symbolical decapitation by a finish line.
  • Pet the Dog: "It's My Party and You'll Die If I Want You To" reveals that Freddy had one friend growing up, a socially awkward dweeb named Howard who, to this day, insists that Freddy "wasn't such a bad guy, once you got to know him". After an annoyed Freddy murders a Hollywood screenwriter who had wrote a script about him, he lets Howard steal the dead man's screenplay, even though he had just killed its writer to prevent it from getting out.
    Freddy: That afternoon, my old buddy Howard caught a flight to Hollywood, sold his screenplay, and the rest, as they say, well, the rest is history. Fame, fortune, my life story on the silver screen. If my friends could see me now. But, of course, they're all dead.
  • Pronoun Trouble: A reoccurring trend in the first half of "Heartbreak Hotel", which ultimately screws over the main character (a tabloid writer who can cause events based on his proposed headlines). "Billionaire leaves newspaper empire to reporter after he takes poison." Who took it? The billionaire, or the reporter? In fact, the stinger with Freddy makes An Aesop out of this.
    Freddy: Learn the use of the proper pronoun... or die!
  • Rewatch Bonus: The first half of "Do Dreams Bleed?" has several clues towards the reveal of Coach Gacey being the "Springwood Chopper", ranging from the subtle (Coach Gacey asking John if he recognizes the killer in his dreams) to the suspicious (Coach Gacey looking up John's address after their last talk in school), to the blatant (the conversation they have before John is taken away to the mental hospital).
    John: (confused) I'm the Chopper?
    Coach Gacey: Yes.
  • Rewriting Reality: In "Heartbreak Hotel", a tabloid writer realizes his proposed titles wind up coming true, so he creates one final one to make himself rich, but the ambiguous grammar makes it go wrong.
  • Riding the Bomb: Freddy is shown doing this in "The End of the World" after his plan for nuclear war fails.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: The first half of "Silence is Golden" sees radio DJ Rick Rude accidentally punch a mime in the face, and refuse to apologize for the act, even going so far as to demand the mime come and face him at the station (which he doesn't do) at the climax. So naturally, the second half reveals that the mime (Kip) is actually a cat-burglar on the side.
  • Sequel Episode:
    • Several, most episodes of the second season (except for "Heartbreak Hotel" and "What You Don't Know Can Kill You") are either a Sequel Episode or have one. How connected they are to one another varies.
      • "Sister's Keeper", which features Freddy haunting twin sisters who are the daughters of the cop whom Freddy killed in the very first episode: "No More Mr. Nice Guy".
      • "Dream Come True", which is about a therapist getting haunted by Freddy in the first half and a cameraman investigating kills done by Freddy has a sequel in the form of "Dreams That Kill", which is about a TV host being haunted by Freddy then a teen with the TV host's brain transplanted into him.
      • "Photo Finish" which deals with Freddy hunting down models and then federal agents investigating the murder of a family has "It's My Party and You'll Die if I Want You To", which is about a psychic being possessed by Freddy and then Freddy crashing his high school reunion.
      • "Memory Overload" which first half revolves around a drunk college professor, and second half deals with one of his students committing credit fraud for her boyfriend, has "Monkey Memories" which is about a said boyfriend, a gambling scientist thinking he is making contact with aliens and being hunted by loan sharks, and the second half dealing with a fellow scientist works with a monkey coming under fire from animal groups.
      • "Lucky Stiff" deals with a woman finding out her dead husband has won the lottery, and her efforts to kill any of those to keep the money. The plot carries on in "Easy Come, Easy Go".
      • "Bloodlines" and "Do You Know Where Your Kids Are" deal with a girl who may or may not be the Antichrist.
      • "Prime Cut" deals with people stuck in a canyon and forced to resort to cannibalism has "Dust To Dust" deal with the cannibals contracting a disease from a test subject.
      • "Welcome to Springwood" and "Funhouse" all deal with people moving into houses in Springwood, united by the Turk, the moving man.
      • "Silence is Golden" features a disc jockey in its first half being plagued by a mime, then said mime being haunted by victims of his burglary. This is followed by "A Family Affair" where the mime's girlfriend become a homewrecker for a family.
      • "Prisoner of Love" and "Life Sentence" take place at the same prison. With the warden playing a part in both episodes.
  • Serial Killer:
    • Freddy himself, naturally.
    • The Chopper from "Do Dreams Bleed?".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The first episode title ("No More Mr. Nice Guy") is one to Alice Cooper.
    • In "Freddy's Tricks and Treats", Mark tries to pull off a scary prank while wearing a hockey mask.
    • A Gumby commercial plays in the episode "The End Of The World." Gumby is later seen melting as a character dreams of a nuclear war. (This may count as a Company Cross ReferenceGumby reruns were being distributed at the time by Lorimar-Telepictures, which also co-produced this show.)
    • In one episode, characters attempt to imitate The Exorcist, and in the same one, there is a Brick Joke about a Hollywood producer who think his house is haunted by the The Three Stooges.
  • Showing Off the New Body: A con-artist medium gets trapped in a trance by Freddy during one of her schemes and he takes control of her body. He immediately strips her body down to her underwear, taunts her about it, and then spends the rest of the episode strutting around like that.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror book series had a lot in common with the show; each installment even had a cheesy opening and epilogue done by Freddy.
  • Start of Darkness: The show's first episode, which retells Freddy's death at the hands of an angry mob.
  • Strictly Formula: The series (the first season, at least) usually went like this: That awesome opening. A cheesy intro with Freddy. Character doing something fairly mundane. Weird, inexplicable shit happens. It turns out it's all just a dream, hallucination or the character is dying. Cheesy epilogue with Freddy. Fin.
  • Today, X. Tomorrow, the World!: Said by Freddy in "The End of the World".
    Today Springwood, tomorrow the world.
  • Two Shorts: Each episode deals with two plots, usually connected by a recurring character in the first upgrading to a main character in the second. This essentially becomes Four Shorts in the second season by proxy of the numerous sequel episodes.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In the pilot episode, Freddy fantasizes about killing everyone in the courtroom his trial is being held in, including his lawyer who just got him off the hook.
  • Wham Shot: Towards the end of "Do Dreams Bleed?"'s second vignette, Roni is alone in her house, terrified of the prospect of John (who is believed to be) the "Springwood Chopper" coming to get her, when an axe begins chopping down her bedroom door. As she falls back to the bed in horror, she ducks to the ground... as Coach Gacey, wielding the axe, bursts through, as John tackles him.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In many episodes the characters' nightmares are connected to their personal fears and phobias.