REVIEW: Freddy’s Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street The Series – Ep 3: “Killer Instinct”
Welcome back to another edition of Freddy’s Nightmares or: How I Learned to Write Weekly Reviews and Love The Show. Yes, this is first time in my writing career that I’ve dedicated to writing a recurring weekly review on a single program. Please hold your applause. In this case, the horror anthology that is Freddy’s Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street The Series. I’m sort of like an ancient, crusty old TV Guide reminding people of this slightly obscured syndicated show based on one of the most memorable horror icons of all time, that they kinda remember but not really because earth shattering sitcoms such as Roseanne and tear jerking nostalgia fare like The Wonder Years premiered the same year. Boy I should have been around in the 80s. As much as I adore both of those shows (I’m not kidding), I’ve finally come to love Freddy’s Nightmares and want to convince you to love it too. Or just take the time out of your day to read the article, reminisce with a pretty smile, look at the exclusive screencaps and gimme a virtual high five.
Episode 3 of Freddy’s Nightmares is titled “Killer Instinct” and centers on Chris (Lori Petty, Point Break), a Springwood High track runner who’s just been cut from the team by her Coach due to “not wanting to win”. Note that this scene take place in the women’s locker room with Chris sporting towel cleavage while her Coach gawks and reminds Chris that her Mother was a champion athlete. I’m not used to risque shots of mildly exposed chests or painful talks of deceased loved ones, I mean this was 80’s television! Moving along, after a quick cameo of Freddy hiding in a towel hamper, we’re treated to a rad dolly shot in a high school hallway that makes me forget this is a low budget show trying to cash in on a then big budget franchise. IMDB says one of the kids in the hallway is V.C. Dupree (Julius from Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan) but the dolly shot only shows legs, shoes and some guy dropping his nun-chucks so someone is totally fibbing.
A long make out session with her boyfriend David makes Chris realize that she is indeed a winner and is given her Mothers crystal charm bracelet to visualize winning from her Coach. After gazing into the slapped together prop… I mean crystal charm and hearing a fantasy harp sound, Chris exclaims “I’m a bullet, I’m a missile, I’m a rocket to the moon” before running like a Millennium Falcon that’s just jumped to light speed. Turns out Chris’s crystal shard is a wish granter, further shown after an obese kitchen worker asks her to “demonstrate some squats” and touches her hand which in turn leads to his fingers getting cut off by a meat saw. Most ridiculous is when big heaps of cotton begins to pour out of a teachers mouth, choking and killing him after pissing off Chris. Let me repeat that, COTTON POURS OUT OF HIS MOUTH. Chris once again uses the crystal to outrun her track competitor Nickie (Yvette Nipar), a quintessential 80’s bitch that’s also ridiculously hot and hounds Chris’s boyfriend David for a little action behind the bleachers.
The day of the big race comes and a distraught Chris is freaking out because she lost the crystal bracelet. David calms her down with an Oscar winning pep talk that gives most Disney sports dramas a run for their money. Chris’s new found encouragement is short lived after the finishing rope slices into her throat and sends her decapitated head flying into the air. Let me repeat that, THE WINNING ROPE SLICES INTO HER THROAT AND DECAPITATES HER. Alas this outrageous moment is too good to be true, turns out that trifling mananizer Nickie stole Chris’s crystal and fantasized about the gruesome death. In reality Chris just tripped and broke her neck over a exercise bar, no doubt carelessly left on the field by some inconsiderate jock that doesn’t understand safety protocol. Sheesh. After a white noise nightmare which consists of a slow motion montage of Chris’s death with David screaming “Chris” repeatedly, a ghostly Chris appears to David telling him to avenge her death. They begin to have what I can only assume is sex since they bop up and down for a little bit without any pleasuring expressions. Oh and Chris is a rotten corpse during this, but David doesn’t seem to mind. Ah, the beauty of love.
During Chris’s funeral, Nickie experiences a hilarious daymare from a priest (New Line Cinema’s then head honcho Bob Shaye), blaspheming her fornicating and murderous ways. Nickie later meets up with David to try and comfort him by awkwardly giving advice (and quickly mentioning that they are the only ones left in Springwood, a little mention of Freddy’s handiwork?) that might be helpful to a naive 8 year old. Nickie gets a dose of her own medicine after experiencing hallucinations involving intestine ripping karate punches, visits from an undead Chris (who clearly is not Lori Petty) and accusations from Nickie’s Father exclaiming, “You’re on drugs aren’t you?! You jocks take em cause it make you bigger, faster and stronger. You’ll be a boy in the morning!” Parents just don’t understand.
“Killer Instinct” is directed by Mick Garris, famously known for the fourth entry in the Psycho series and the ultra underrated invisible cat creature feature opus Sleepwalkers. There is a hell of a lot going on in this episode, Garris really revs up the weird factor and creates what feels like a daymare soap opera horror outing. I’ve finally warmed up to Freddy’s Nightmares and no longer worry about the possibility of my brain imploding. Furthering my love is that the first three episodes have been directed by horror filmmakers and it makes this feel like a precursor to the Master of Horror TV series in a way. Next weeks fourth episode titled, “Freddy’s Tricks and Treats” continues the horror directors trend with Revenge of the Living Dead Part II‘s Ken Wiederhorn! Don’t miss it! – Justin Edwards