Last week, I began something of an undertaking. Reviewing every episode of Freddy’s Nightmares, the short lived horror anthology with everyone’s favorite dream stalker Freddy Krueger that spanned 44 episodes before it’s cancellation. I can’t yet decide if this is really cool since this may be an internet first or maniacally dumb which may lead to brain leakage but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless. I already reviewed the pilot episode (read that here) which made it clear just what I had gotten myself into with this endeavor. This weeks episode titled, “It’s A Miserable Life” changes the forumla up completely by ditching Krueger and embracing it’s anthology format with two interconnecting stories that sets the template for the series.
Bryan (John Cameron Mitchell) is at a dead end job, literally. Stuck working the graveyard shift again for the umpteenth time at his fathers self owned burger joint Beefy Boy, Bryan wants nothing more than to hit the road to leave flipping burgers and Springwood behind forever. Bryan passes the time by throwing onion rings at the wall, exclaiming “I’ll probably die here” several times and declining to ditch work with his hardbody friends, he opts to dream of fluffy haired dames wanting to take him “for a nice long ride” in their pink convertible. After a phone call from his equally fluffy haired girlfriend Karyn (Lar Park Lincoln, Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood), a slick black haired motorcycle greaser terrorizes Bryan before aiming his .45 hand cannon and firing a slow motion bullet into Bryan’s head.
But, of course this is A Nightmare on Elm Street The Series so everyone is of course dreaming, or *twist*, are they? Bryan is woken up by Karyn who drives him home after his nightmare where things take an even weirder and hilarious turn. Bryan’s parents are beyond upset that their boy doesn’t want to take over the family business which leads to his Mom shutting herself away in the fridge and his Dad, head first in the oven with the gas on, repeatedly striking a lighter until the house blows. Bryan wakes up in Beefy Boy where he re-lives his previous nightmare with the motorcycle greaser, except this time he actually bites the bullet. Karyn witnesses the shooting before being gunned down herself, which leads us to the second part of the tale.
Here we’re introduced to the aforementioned interconnecting format of the series where a minor character in the first story (Bryan) becomes the major character in the next (Karyn). Barely conscious, Karyn is rushed to Springwood Mercy Hospital for immediate surgery after semi surviving being shot. Here Karyn is subjected to all kinds of lucid imagery that turns the hospital into more of a crazed funhouse. Tom McLoughlin of Jason Lives: Friday The 13th Part VI directed this episode and did a bang up job of creating a vivid dream like setting while injecting heaps of humor. With the inclusion of Lar Park Lincoln, “It’s A Miserable Life” honestly feels like a lost 80’s horror film that would be a minor classic throughout the horror community. It’s an excellent balance of comedy and horror with a gonzo atmosphere that has been unfairly forgotten.
BUT WHAT ABOUT FREDDY?! Oh yeah, the ‘ol dream demon shows up a whopping 3 times for a 10 second cameo to lay down some themed one lined zingers. While the Freddy’s Nightmares moniker confuses me (Does Freddy really have nightmares about kids having nightmares? Why do I even ponder about that?) it’s great to see Robert Englund don the makeup and glove, even if it’s just to say something cute. It’s gonna be tough to top this episode and I hope for my own sake that it bodes well for the rest of the series. Tune in next week for a look at Episode 3 of the series, titled “Killer Instinct” starring Detective Johnny Utah’s girlfriend Lori Petty and directed by Mick Garris, who made my favorite invisible cat creature feature Sleepwalkers. – Justin Edwards