Dear Fred Heads, I have a confession to make. I’ve been cheating on you. No, no, no not with other television shows – don’t be silly! It’s just that lately the drab responsibilities of being an adult have hit me harder than an Acme anvil, thus temporarily forcing me to dump my weekly date with everyone’s favorite dream demon. It’s not you, it’s me. Basically this is my Say Anything moment of redemption, complete with a boombox blasting Peter Gabriel over my head to woe you back into my arms. Please be the Ione Skye to my John Cusack and let’s start of fresh shall we? With that said…welcome back to week 5 of my exclusive dissection of the vaguely remembered, late 80’s horror television anthology – Freddy’s Nightmares! I’m taking you back to primetime, bitch.
Tonight’s episode is titled, “Judy Miller, Come On Down” and centers around the titular Judy Miller (Siobhan McCafferty who may have briefly seen in Growing Pains as a Stewardess), a game show obsessed housewife that dreams of hitting the big bucks and living a carefree life of leisure. She’s quickly reminded how stupid that is after her non-game show loving husband Tom whines that his “lucky exam shirt” isn’t pressed for his big test, which leads to a big argument and even Freddy’s head appearing in an oven to recite the episodes title while clucking. Yes, Freddy clucks “Judy Miller, come on down” – in an oven. Judy also has to put up with Tom’s senility slipping parents who not only equally share a distaste for game shows but have no qualms on expressing their hatred for salt and ants. Repressed and hungry, Judy retreats to her bedroom with a bag of chips to watch her favorite game show “Beat The House” until passing out and waking up as a contestant, which turns into a nightmare mix of Pyramid and Wheel of Fortune dubbed “Beat The Reaper” with torture serving as the earnings instead of cash prizes.
Hosted by a man who I’m assuming is the Devil since his eyebrows flair upwards and grants Judy prizes for correctly answering questions that include dumping honey & ants over Tom’s previously mentioned ant hating parents. In a “it’s a dream, anything can happen!” moment it turns out Judy was actually on “Beat The House” and won the grand prize of $1,000,000, leading Tom to wipe his schoolboy tears and slime his way back into her arms – i.e. they have make up sex while eating chocolate. Freddy makes his second confined space appearance here under the bed, showing up only to address the above love wrestling. Things take a Quantum Leap turn when Judy’s newly hired maid turns out to be her future self who constantly repeats, “I’ve come a long way!” and carries a warning of Tom’s forthcoming dastardly plan to steal the prize money so he can skip town with some mistress hussy. The remanding minutes of this episode consist of Judy looking hilariously dumbfounded (see the above screencap for that expression) as future Judys’ doom prophecy begins to become a reality, leading to a crash course in relationships 101.
“Judy Miller, Come on Down” is nightmarishly (zing!) comedic, so much that it’s tongue is bursting out through it’s cheek. Director Tom DeSimone (best known for 80’s offerings like Hell Night & Reform School Girls) makes his debut episode an odd blend of soap opera affairs caught in a lost Twilight Zone episode that would make housewives across America hallucinate. This is the first darkly comedic toned episode I’ve watched in my daunting quest with some really bizarrely outrageous moments that equally stun (mostly for the wrong reasons) and evoke the constant need to laugh along with the self aware atmosphere. So far , this is Freddy’s Nightmares most lighthearted episode and sadly will probably be the only one that includes torture by way of honey & ants. Tune in next week for Episode 6 titled, “Saturday Night Special” – which from the plot synopsis sounds like a good tale of self esteem and comes directed by Just One of the Guys‘ Lisa Gottlieb! Until then, sweet dreams Frightful readers!