In October 1988, 10-year-old Heather’s dreams came true with the debut of Freddy’s Nightmares, the (mostly) anthological television series centered on the town of Springwood and its most infamous resident, Freddy Krueger. While I don’t think it’s unfair to say the show has some rough edges to it, Freddy’s Nightmares still remains a historic moment for the horror genre, as it was the first time a horror icon transcended two popular mediums simultaneously (Friday the 13th: The Series may have debuted a year prior, but it suffered from a severe lack of Jason Voorhees, thus eliminating it from contention). Just a few months before the debut of Freddy’s Nightmares, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master had just dominated cinemas during its theatrical run, which meant “Freddy Mania” was at a fever pitch within the world of pop culture, and fans couldn’t get enough of the wise-cracking, fedora-wearing dream stalker. And I was right there in the middle of it all, having the time of my young horror-loving life.

Thankfully, I had a mom who was cool with letting me stay up late and partake in Freddy’s Nightmares, and even though I knew what I was watching every week wasn’t nearly as great as most of the Nightmare on Elm Street film series, this show ended up being something of a formative moment in my own burgeoning genre fandom, fueling my love of Freddy even more. I’m willing to admit that Freddy’s Nightmares might have a few episodes that weren’t exactly stellar (I’m being kind, I know), but the series still did an admirable job of trying to serve up network TV-appropriate frights, heavily leaning into the Nightmare dream mythology as every episode, various Springwood residents were tormented by their sleep-induced contemplations. And sometimes, Freddy even makes an appearance to inflict his own brand of deranged, dream-based torture.

An exercise in small screen surrealism, Freddy’s Nightmares was like a Crockpot of horror awesomeness, where you had no idea who or what to expect week in and week out. Sometimes we’d get standalone stories, sometimes we’d get an episode that connected to either the pilot episode (which dug into the genesis of Freddy Krueger), or it would share a direct storyline thread with an earlier episode, and I don’t feel like the show gets nearly enough credit for daring to mix up the formula of weekly episodic storytelling. Not only did it pay tribute to numerous popular genre franchises, classic fairy tales, urban legends, cultural trends, and universal fears, but it was also infused with all kinds of genre goodness, from the many appearances of notable actors from numerous horror franchises to all the direct nods it made to the things fans adore about horror cinema. Hell, Freddy’s Nightmares even dared to tip its hat to Friday the 13th’s iconic killer on two different occasions, which is something Friday the 13th: The Series didn’t even do.

Oh, and here’s a fun Freddy’s Nightmares fact: Springwood High School on the show is the very same school that we see in Wes Craven’s original A Nightmare on Elm Street. That alone is pretty rad in itself.

When I realized that the 30th anniversary of the launch of Freddy’s Nightmares would coincide with our Class of 88 series this year, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to revisit all 22 episodes from that inaugural season (which originally aired from October 1988–May 1989). So, get ready for all sorts of Freddy-induced thrills and chills (and perhaps a few spills as well), as I look back on all 22 episodes from the first season of the popular series, and celebrate just what made it the must-watch show of 1988 to this impressionable fan, including how it did an admirable job of lovingly bringing the horror genre into millions of households in the late ’80s, even if it faltered from time to time.

“No More Mr. Nice Guy” (Episode 1.01) – For the pilot, Freddy’s Nightmares takes us back to where it all began, as we see how Freddy Krueger was caught and released back into the wild after his court case goes awry. Directed by Tobe Hooper, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” sets the framework for the series, albeit as a story most of us film fans already knew. I do think it was rather smart to try and give TV audiences some context as to just why everyone in Springwood fears Krueger so much. The story follows the detective (Ian Patrick Williams) who caught Freddy as he was about to attack his twin daughters (Gry and Hili Park), but because he didn’t follow police procedures, Krueger is released from custody. Once Krueger is back in the community, the hunt is on as the residents set out to try and stop the “Springwood Slasher” once and for all.

If I’m being honest, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” is a welcome walk down memory lane as a fan, but the episode isn’t all that well-directed (my apologies, Mr. Hooper), and some of the acting is super rough. That being said, I love how we learn that Freddy used to drive an ice cream truck, Hooper gives us (for the first-time ever) a “Freddy Vision” experience as he puts us squarely in Krueger’s shoes as he hunts down the twins, and it’s still a super ambitious effort for network TV at the time, not only delivering some gnarly dental trauma, but also lighting a dude on fire. Mad respect.

“It’s a Miserable Life” (Episode 1.02) Friday the 13th Part VI’s Tom McLoughlin takes the reins for the second episode of Freddy’s Nightmares, called “It’s a Miserable Life,” which, as you may have guessed, puts a horror twist on It’s a Wonderful Life. The first segment is focused on Bryan (John Cameron Mitchell), who hates working for his dad at the local Burger Boy (with Burger Boy being a location for several other first season episodes as well) and begins having all sorts of crazy dreams one night while working the late shift. Bryan’s girlfriend, Karyn, is played by the always awesome Lar Park Lincoln, and for the second half of “It’s a Miserable Life,” the focus switches over to her as she deals with her own nightmarish scenarios in the hospital, where she is terrorized by all sorts of medically induced horrors. I’m keeping my descriptions here short and sweet on purpose, as Daily Dead’s Bryan Christopher recently did a deep dive into this episode for his monthly column, and he already does an excellent job of exploring McLoughlin’s contribution to Freddy’s Nightmares, so I don’t have much to add beyond everything he’s already written.

“Killer Instinct” (Episode 1.03) – “Killer Instinct” is one of the first episodes of Freddy’s Nightmares that actually scared me as a kid, as there’s one image a of a headless character stumbling around that stuck in my brain for years, so this is an entry I’m rather quite fond of. Directed by the great Mick Garris, “Killer Instinct” is centered on Springwood High track star Chris Ketchum (get it?!?), played by a favorite actress of mine, Lori Petty (POINT BREAK FOREVER). Chris loves track and field, but she finds that her own lack of confidence, as well as her need to live up to her deceased mother’s standards, is holding her back. Chris’ coach gives her an amulet that used to belong to her mother, and the teen begins to realize that the necklace has the ability to enhance her own desires, but will also cause a great deal of pain to anyone she seeks revenge upon, including her bitchy track nemesis, Nickie (Yvette Nipar).

As mentioned, “Killer Instinct” has a memorable sequence involving decapitation, but it also features a teacher choking on cotton as well as a skeevy cafeteria worker (who perhaps used to work with the also skeevy guy in Camp Arawak’s kitchen) getting a few of his fingers severed via a meat slicer. The latter drudged up some feelings I have about the fact that I once sliced off the tip of my finger in a meat slicer when I was in high school, but that is a story for another article. Suffice to say, “Killer Instinct” is a really strong entry in Freddy’s Nightmares' first season, and you even get a few Stephen King nods tossed into the mix, plus Bob Shaye playing a minister at one point. It’s definitely one of the stronger entries of season 1.

“Freddy’s Tricks and Treats” (Episode 1.04) – Yay! It’s the Halloween episode, everyone! I mean, if you’re going to do a show like Freddy’s Nightmares and not pay tribute to the October holiday, why even bother, right? And for “Freddy’s Tricks and Treats,” we watch as Krueger torments a pre-med student named Marsha (played by Mariska Hargitay) on Halloween night. Her buddy Mark (Daniel McDonald) keeps harassing her to put the books down and come out and have fun with him, but all Marsha wants to do is study. That is, until Freddy begins making random appearances, sometimes as himself, sometimes as her dead grandmother who used to torture her for being “an unclean whore,” but the further Freddy digs, the more it leaves Marsha unhinged.

The second segment picks back up with Marsha, with her now participating in a dream study where some of her fellow students are able to watch her dreams via some snazzy equipment (I’m pretty sure this technology doesn’t exist even now, but I’m willing to let my overcritical brain ignore this minor issue). We also get an appearance from a young Shiri Appleby playing Marsha in her flashbacks/dreams, and some minor gnarly gore as well.

“Judy Miller, Come on Down” (Episode 1.05) – Considering that during the 1980s, game shows became all the rage again, it only makes sense that Freddy’s Nightmares would get it on the action, too. And for “Judy Miller, Come on Down,” you can probably imagine that Judy Miller’s (Siobhan E. McCafferty) day in the spotlight on one of her (many) favorite game shows takes a decidedly dark turn that puts her whole family in jeopardy. The thing of it is, Judy is pretty damned unhappy. Her husband, Tom (John DeMita), hasn’t really been contributing around the house, his parents are now also living with them, and Judy’s only real escape is her daily game shows. But when she gets a chance to compete for a million dollars, she’ll learn just how far she’d go in order to win the ultimate prize.

The second half of “Judy Miller” picks up with our titular character after her game show appearance, as she begins to realize the dangers of having your dreams come true after a mysterious maid that she hires bears some grave warnings about the future. A little over the top (especially in the first half), this episode of Freddy’s Nightmares has some Twilight Zone qualities to it, even if it lacks a bit of subtlety. In fact, there’s very little about Freddy’s Nightmares that I would call subtle, but that’s just part of its charms.

“Saturday Night Special” (Episode 1.06) – Directed by Lisa Gottlieb (who, I might point out, was the ONLY female director at the helm of any of the Freddy’s Nightmares episodes in season 1), “Saturday Night Special” is focused on the destructive nature of the male gaze, with society fetishizing the idea of perfection (especially when it came to the female form) during the 1980s. In the first part of “Saturday Night Special,” we meet Gordon (Scott Burkholder), who has been fantasizing about Lana (Shari Shattuck), and figures out the only way he can score a date with her is if he embellishes his status in life. Gordo’s ruse works for a while, but he quickly realizes why it’s never a good idea to lie to women, especially women who you want to be romantically involved with.

Then, “Saturday Night Special” switches its focus to Lana and her comely roommate/co-worker Mary (Molly Cleator), who is fed up with being the type of woman that most men ignore. Lana takes Mary to visit her plastic surgeon (I mean, this IS the ’80s, which means everyone had a plastic surgeon, right?), and gets the makeover of a lifetime. Of course, there are a few strings attached, and Mary finds herself in way over her head once she finally becomes “Pretty Mary.” I love the fact that a lot of this episode feels like something you would have found on late-night Cinemax around this time, and also, shout out to Friday the 13th Part 2’s Stuart Charno, who makes an appearance as Gordon’s best pal.

“Sister’s Keeper” (Episode 1.07) – Huzzah! We’ve hit the first episode of Freddy’s Nightmares that is a direct continuation story, picking up after the events of the series pilot and following twins Merit and Lisa (Gry and Hili Park), who had been previously attacked by Freddy Krueger. Lisa has been able to put the ordeal behind her, but Merit’s fractured psyche is still tormented by the dream stalker. At first, Lisa doesn’t believe her sister's insistence that Krueger is still a threat, but after Merit pulls her into one of her nightmares, she quickly realizes that Freddy is on the hunt, and he won’t stop until he kills them both. What’s interesting about “Sister’s Keeper,” beyond the fact that it connects with the Freddy’s Nightmares mythology as established in that first episode, are some of the themes that director Ken Wiederhorn (Shock Waves, Return of the Living Dead Part II) and co-writers Jeff Freilich Michael De Luca incorporate into the dream elements that we saw originally in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and 4. Also, there’s a fantastic hat tip to the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, and this episode also gifts us with the iconic scene of Freddy playing the guitar, and Mr. “Highly Evolved Protozoa” from Friday the 13th Part VII, Jeff Bennett, also appears in “Sister’s Keeper” to boot.

“Mother’s Day” (Episode 1.08) – Considering parental issues are one of the cornerstones to the Nightmare franchise, it only makes sense that the TV series would often dive into those very same issues. Case in point: “Mother’s Day,” which pits teenager Billy (Byron Thames) against his new controlling stepdad, Al (was there ever any other kind of stepdad in the 1980s?), who desires order and control and has an affinity for big game hunting. In fact, Billy’s mom, Jane (Judith Baldwin), gets on her new hubby’s (Arell Blanton) case for leaving his bear traps around the house (she hilariously considers them even more dangerous than his rifle collection), and of course, with this being Freddy’s Nightmares, they have a great payoff at one point. So, when Al and Jane head out for their honeymoon, Billy gets talked into having a party by his neighbor Barbara (Jill Whitlow), but things head south very quickly, especially once Billy learns that his house has a connection to one of Krueger’s previous crimes.

The second segment in “Mother’s Day” picks up with Barbara’s mom, Sherry Gamble (Elizabeth Savage), who is a controversial radio host who ends up becoming the most hated person in Springwood (next to Freddy Krueger, of course) after mocking a caller who in turn kills his landlord. As you can imagine, Sherry gets herself into all kinds of trouble, especially once she begins to be tormented by the fact that she’s put her career ahead of her own daughter.

“Rebel Without a Car” (Episode 1.09) – I was downright ecstatic when it was time to revisit “Rebel Without a Car,” because it reunited me with one of my pre-teen crushes, Craig Hurley (who had a memorable run on Hunter, as well as on the short-lived series Nasty Boys). Hurley stars in the episode as Alex, a kid working at the Beefy Boy who wants nothing more than to get himself a badass car and get the hell out of Springwood. His girlfriend, Connie (Katie Barberi), has different plans, and wants him to attend college with her, but all Alex wants to do is fix cars and live his life as a grease monkey.

One night, he finds an abandoned muscle car that he fixes up, but his new wheels come with some special features, including the ghost of Eddie Dugan, the leader of the Springwood Car Club who happened to die in the car. And yeah, there are definitely some Christine­-ish shades to the first half of “Rebel Without a Car,” but I’d argue it’s more in line with the book version of the story than the filmic version from John Carpenter.

The latter half of the episode follows Connie to college, as she dreams of joining the Omega Kappa Pi sorority, but she finds out that getting accepted by the snotty coeds is going to be a lot harder than she thought. This segment of “Rebel Without a Car” definitely owes a lot to the story of Cinderella, adding an over-the-top twist to the timeless tale, and we also get an appearance from Friday the 13th Part VII’s Maddy (“makeover my ass”), Diana Barrows.

“The Bride Wore Red” (Episode 1.10) – Time to take a trip down the aisle in “The Bride Wore Red.” Everything starts off so promisingly (sort of) for Jessica (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’s Diane Franklin) and Gavin (Eddie Driscoll), who are about to get married, but between things getting out of hand with a stripper at his bachelor party, plus the arrival of a mysterious woman in red (Katherine Moffat) at his nuptials, Gavin finds himself having serious doubts about taking the big leap towards marriage. Of course, Jessica has her own secrets, like how she’s always been deeply mistrusting of men after catching her father having an affair when she was a little girl. Now she spends her free time seducing married men at bars, tying them up, and outing them to their families.

There are some interesting psychological aspects explored in “The Bride Wore Red,” but its over-the-top finale slightly diminishes everything that comes before it. Franklin is great, though, and I loved seeing her play this character with some intriguing layers to it like she does here. Plus, Freddy gets to play a “rap master” here, so how could you not love this one?

“Do Dreams Bleed?” (Episode 1.11) – Something of a murder mystery, “Do Dreams Bleed?” is an interesting episode for this first season of Freddy’s Nightmares, because it mixes up the series’ dream-fueled formula and also turns Freddy into something of a Jealous Judy, because there’s a masked killer running amok in Springwood, and he wants to be the guy who terrorizes everyone. “Do Dreams Bleed?” starts off by introducing us to Springwood High’s star quarterback John (Damon Martin), who happened to find the last victim of the entity known as “The Chopper,” a savage murderer who remains at large.

John keeps having nightmares about what the killer is planning, so he confides in both his coach (Jeff McCarthy) and his girlfriend, Roni (Sarah Buxton), but once he suspects “The Chopper” is coming for him next, the football star begins having problems differentiating between his dreams and reality. In the second half of “Do Dreams Bleed?”, it’s up to Roni to figure out just who “The Chopper” really is and put an end to his reign of terror, which, of course, is something that Freddy himself is also invested in. “Do Dreams Bleed?” is one of the stronger episodes from this season, and having Dwight H. Little directing certainly helped matters, but the only thing that trips the whole affair up to me is this: why does a killer who brandishes an axe shout out, “It’s time to take your medicine!” before he slaughters his victims? That just seems more like a Dr. Giggles type of thing.

“The End of the World” (Episode 1.12) – “The End of the World” is Freddy’s Nightmares’ attempt to spread some holiday cheer, and what says “the most wonderful time of the year” than an impending apocalypse, right? The first half of “The End of the World” introduces us to Amy (Mary Kohnert), a young woman plagued by a dream where she watches as her childhood self accidentally sets in motion a chain reaction that causes the death of her mother. The more time she spends in the dream, Amy realizes that she can try and alter the past by stepping in and trying to avoid disaster. But, of course, that kind of wish fulfillment doesn’t come without a hefty price tag attached.

The second segment in “The End of the World” continues with Amy, who has been taken in by the CIA, courtesy of her trusted doctor (George Lazenby), after she dreams up a nuclear code. Those in charge figure out that the teenager has the ability to connect with people while they’re sleeping. They keep her under the influence of a powerful drug, which allows Amy to tap into the mind of a worker who is about the set off a catastrophic nuclear disaster that would forever change the world at large. “The End of the World” is a little bit of a bummer, in terms of it being Freddy’s Nightmares’ Christmas episode, but we get to see more dream mythos from the film franchise at work here, and it’s really hard not to love the sight of Freddy Krueger riding a missile like a total lunatic.

“Deadline” (Episode 1.13) – I specifically remember watching “Deadline” as a kid, because we had just started the very first newspaper at my elementary school, and, obsessed with the idea of “journalism,” I thought this was an accurate depiction of what a newsroom looked like (I was 10, what the hell did I know?). In the first half of “Deadline,” Peter (Aaron Harnick) works for the Springwood Star Times, which his dad happens to own, and he’s in charge of writing out the daily obituaries (which, considering this IS Springwood, that job probably keeps writers pretty damn busy). But after messing around with Freddy Krueger’s “official” file, he starts finding himself in the scenarios of the deceased he writes about, which puts him in mortal danger the more he writes.

The follow-up segment in “Deadline” has very little to do with the newspaper game, as we pick up with Emily (Creepshow 2’s Page Hannah), who is having nightmares about a fiery crash, which not even her mysterious suitor Johnny (Timothy Brantley) can help with. When we first see Johnny, all I noticed was the fact that he was one of the typical slick ponytail-haired guys from the ’80s, so I immediately did not trust him, and let’s just say that my instincts were right. And as far as first season entries go, “Deadline” falls somewhere in the middle—it’s not particularly great, but there are a few solid performances that help save the whole affair from being a total wash.

“Black Tickets” (Episode 1.14) – ALERT! ALERT! We have reached the Brad Pitt episode, folks! One of the best horror history footnotes has to be that a young up-and-comer by the name of Brad Pitt stars in this episode of Freddy’s Nightmares, but if you ask me, what makes the whole thing even cooler is the fact that genre icon Bill Moseley is also a featured player. “Black Tickets” follows the eloping Rick (Pitt) and Miranda (Kerry Wall), who are ready to get out of Springwood and head to sunny California to start their new lives as honeymooners (by the way, I just adore that anyone trying to get out of this godforsaken town is usually headed to Cali—something I relate to all too well). Before they can leave, they're assaulted by an elderly couple (Kort Falkenberg and Ellen Albertini Dow, who most fans will recognize as the “Rapping Granny” from The Wedding Singer), have car problems, and end up stuck staying at the motel from hell, courtesy of their mechanic Buzz (Moseley).

Of course, the young lovers never end up making it out of Springwood (because no one ever does), and the second half of “Black Tickets” is centered around Rick and Miranda’s new life as husband and wife, as well as their burgeoning careers. Miranda gets picked to work at Springwood Records (because every small town in Ohio had their own record label back then, right?), and when her new boss mentions that having a family doesn’t mix with having a career, Miranda begins to fear that she might be pregnant, and it causes a lot of problems for her mental health. While the conclusion of “Black Tickets” feels very Twilight Zone-esque, there are some really wacky, over-the-top moments (including piranha in a jacuzzi) that bring a lot of life to this episode.

“School Daze” (Episode 1.15) – Ah, the pressures of high school. Nothing is ever easy for teenagers, but especially those who attend Springwood High. At the beginning of “School Daze,” we meet young Steve Dart (Andrew Kraus), who is driven by his own boundless imagination, but finds that the rest of the world—and particularly his dad—just want him to be like “every other kid.” At one point, he’s taken in by a group of ruffians who live underground (think The Lost Boys, but way less cool), and as Steve sets out to do their bidding, he stumbles across a Springwood High conspiracy that he never would have suspected. The finale to this half of the episode feels a bit like Disturbing Behavior (if it existed in the ’80s) meets Halloween III, and I kinda loved how weird it gets at this point.

The next segment of “School Daze” follows Steve’s best buddy, Matt Tailor (Billy Morrissette), who wants to be a musician, but feels the pressure of the SATs and a girlfriend (Lisa Fuller) who wants him to go to college with her. While I do think the latter half of “School Daze” falls apart a bit on the story side of things, I do appreciate the fact that it took on the idea of standardized testing as being a shitty way of determining someone’s success way ahead of the curve.

“Cabin Fever” (Episode 1.16) – Directed by Robert Englund, “Cabin Fever” takes its story to the not-so-friendly skies where Carl Ashe (Brett Cullen, Ghost Rider), the heir to the Ashe Air Parts fortune, finds himself on the flight from hell, as his own fears about flying seem to take over and drive him mad. “Cabin Fever” has some naughty moments to it, too, where Carl is asked to join the “Five-Mile-High Club” (was there a different “Mile High Club” back then? These are the things I need answers to!), and the stewardess Sue (Lezlie Deane) keeps referencing their upcoming three nights of bliss that they’re about to spend in Springwood. We also get an appearance from the Consumer Terror Squad, who is pissed about the work of the Ashe Air Parts company, and Freddy helps things out by playing a gremlin on the wing of the plane (another great Twilight Zone nod).

“Cabin Fever” picks up later on with Sue the stewardess, as she decides to go home with a charming passenger (Ted Demers) who has a few secrets hiding about in his vacation cabin—and it’s no coincidence that he brought home a stewardess, either. Truth be told, I think Englund’s directorial work in “Cabin Fever” is strong, and there’s a lot of genre goodies crammed in here, including the fact that the opening flight is “Flight 976” and we also see Freddy zipping around via a jet pack. I must say that while the episode has some issues, I like the fact that it feels so unlike the previous 15 shows from this first season.

“Love Stinks” (Episode 1.17) – Ah, young love! The only thing that might be deadlier in Springwood than Freddy Krueger himself. Although, in this instance, our hero at the beginning of “Love Stinks” is deserving of a little comeuppance. Everything kicks off with Adam (John Washington), who has been dating his girlfriend Laura (Halloween 5’s Tamara Glynn) for three years, and still can’t say those three magic words to her (sorry Adam, but that is Lame City). After she leaves Adam high and dry at his make out party, a mysterious girl shows up, introduces herself as Loni (Susanna Savee), and somehow convinces the commitment-phobe to say “I love you,” resulting in an eventual Single White Female-esque type of scenario, but with a slightly unexpected twist.

Up next in “Love Stinks” is the timeless story of a high school graduate who just wants to spend his upcoming break headed to the beaches of California (see, what did I tell you? Everyone in Springwood was itching to head to the West Coast) for his very own “Endless Summer,” but those plans, of course, go awry, courtesy of none other than Jeffrey Combs. See, Max (Georg Olden) wants to do anything with his time off other than work, but his Uncle Ralph (Combs) gets him a sweet gig at the Cheesy Boy Italian Eatery (which used to be the Beefy Boy, RIP), in hopes of torturing him. Max gets the upper hand on Ralph by killing it on his late-night shifts with his innovative pizza ideas, but Ralph ends up one-upping his nephew by introducing a few “special ingredients” of his own design. Basically, it’s Mystic Pizza meets Motel Hell. And Combs’ presence adds a lot. Also, it’s worth noting that John Lafia (co-writer of Child’s Play) directed this episode as well.

“The Art of Death” (Episode 1.18) – “The Art of Death” was another memorable entry for season 1 of Freddy’s Nightmares because once A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child hit theaters a few months later, I recognized they both shared similar ideas and themes. This entry starts off by introducing us to Jack (Carey Scott), a cartoonist whose imagination is fueled by his desire to win the girl of his dreams, Joan (Laura Schaefer), and somehow channels his romantic frustrations into his comic strip that runs in his college paper as a means to make all his deepest desires come true. But when things go too far, and one of his creations known as “The Phantom” (Judd Omen) manifests itself in Springwood, Joan finds herself at the mercy of Jack and his disturbing imagination.

The latter half of “The Art of Death” follows poor Joan as she deals with the trauma of Jack’s insanity, as well as her debilitating claustrophobia. When Joan’s roommate Sherry (Irina Irvine) decides to take a weekend trip away, it forces the troubled woman to confront her greatest fears in a variety of scenarios. And while the body count of “The Art of Death” might be criminally low (just one poor soul lost), I still think this is one of the stronger episodes just based on the stories alone. Also, it gives us dancing chickens and transforms Freddy into a painter as well, so what’s not to love?

“Missing Persons” (Episode 1.19) – Man, “Missing Persons” is one of the more oddball experiences to this first season of Freddy’s Nightmares, and I dig that about it. Things kick off with model/student Gina (Eva LaRue of All My Children, RoboCop 3 and Ghoulies Go to College fame) arriving at her childhood home to babysit for the Franklin kids, Dolly (Sabrina Howells) and Ricky (Brian Beck). Mr. and Mrs. Franklin (Timothy Bottoms—which is, like, the best name ever—and Nancy Linari) warn Gina that the kids can sometimes be a handful, which turns out to be a huge understatement, as the siblings spend their night tormenting their sitter. They play a multitude of pranks on her, eventually driving Gina to begin emotionally overeating once again, ultimately transforming the coed into a human garbage disposal monstrosity. Also, “Missing Persons” is the only episode of Freddy’s Nightmares where you’ll see a talking slice of pizza, hot dog, and Twinkie, and that in itself makes it something worth watching.

The second story in “Missing Persons” picks up with Mr. Franklin, who wants nothing more than to escape his life and his responsibilities, and just live life as someone else for a day. As you may have suspected, he gets his wish after being carjacked by a criminal named Vinnie (Elliot Easton), as the two switch places, which goes horribly for the family man who is ill-prepared for a life of crime. Of course, shenanigans ensue courtesy of LaRue, who pulls double duty in “Missing Persons.”

“The Light at the End of the Tunnel” (Episode 1.20) – Truth be told, “The Light at the End of the Tunnel” ended up being my least favorite episode of this first run of Freddy’s Nightmares, despite the fact the that it features the legendary Dick Miller and it opens with Freddy taking down the popular yuppie drama thirtysomething with his freddysomething spoof. At the start of “Tunnel,” we meet Michael (David Arnott), who has been unemployed for a while and decides to take a job working down in the Springwood sewers, only to have his new profession trigger his childhood fears of the dark in some pretty extreme ways. As far as protagonists go in this season of Freddy’s Nightmares, Michael is easily one of the most unlikeable, which is why I probably don’t dig much about this episode, but again, at least Miller is around to smooth things over.

Part two of “The Light at the End of the Tunnel” follows a sleazy video store owner named Murray (Steven Keats), who has never made an honest dollar in his life. When he tries to swindle one of his vendors (Stephen Burks), he soon realizes that his lack of morality will be his undoing. This second story is something of a mess, and again, Murray is another uninteresting Freddy’s Nightmares protagonist who is severely underdeveloped.

“Identity Crisis” (Episode 1.21) – “Identity Crisis” is an intriguing episode because it sets up more of a backstory to Freddy—but more on that later. Let’s get to the aging hippie story first. “Identity Crisis” kicks off with Buddy (Jeff Conaway), a former idealistic flower child who is turning 40 and feels like his life is slipping away. He constantly butts heads with his son (Gabriel Jarret), who is the walking embodiment of 1980s greed, and feels like even his job is making him turn against his own beliefs. Conaway is enjoyable in “Identity Crisis,” but the real reason to watch this entry is to experience Friday the 13th Part VI’s Sheriff Garris, David Kagen, rocking a sweet-ass ponytail. Really. It’s glorious (you can even see it for yourself in the TV commercial below).

The second segment in “Identity Crisis” centers on Christina (Kimberley Kates, who also starred in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure with “The Bride Wore Red” star Diane Franklin), an outcast who suspects that she’s actually adopted, as she feels like she shares nothing in common with her mother. But as Christina digs deeper into her origins, she makes a startling discovery—one that is linked to Springwood’s most notorious killer. As mentioned, “Identity Crisis” ends up being a really bold storytelling move on the part of the Freddy’s Nightmares showrunners, and because I don’t remember it all that well, I’m curious to see if we get more from this storyline in season 2.

“Safe Sex” (Episode 1.22) – We made it! It’s the season 1 finale of Freddy’s Nightmares! And, as it turns out, “Safe Sex” ends everything on a strong note, perfectly setting up more Krueger-induced terror to come. “Safe Sex” opens with a horny teen named Dana (Andrew Woodworth) confessing to his psychologist Dr. De Vries (Jake Jacobs) that he has a penchant for “unusual” girls, including this older Goth girl named Caitlin (Devon Pierce), who just happens to have a thing for Freddy Krueger. Kids and their hormones, right? So complicated! But as Caitlin remains steady in her pursuit of Freddy, the dream stalker turns the tables on her and Dana by terrorizing them in their dreams with fatal consequences.

While we may start things off with the lustful Dana, “Safe Sex” is all about Caitlin, as she’s easily one of the most complicated characters we get in these 22 episodes. A renegade of sorts, she admires Krueger for his “power,” and wants to be just like him, but as she realizes that her obsession has gone too far, it’s up to her to fight the dream demon and put a stop to his murderous ways. There’s a lot in the way that “Safe Sex” is structured that feels perfectly in line with the Nightmare on Elm Street film series, with Dana at one point discovering that he has his very own dream powers, where he can manipulate things whenever he’s asleep, and I feel like in some ways, “Safe Sex” not only set up Freddy’s Nightmares Season 2, but also prepared fans for another installment in the film franchise, which arrived in theaters less than three months later.

And that completes our journey back through the first season of Freddy’s Nightmares! I’m sure I’ll be digging into season 2 next year when we celebrate horror entertainment from the year 1989, and I’m hoping that at the very least, this article might inspire fans to revisit the series, because this trip down memory lane ended up being a lot more fun than I anticipated.


Check here all month long for more special features celebrating the Class of 1988!

Note: A special thank you to Dinosaur Dracula for providing the video of the Freddy's Nightmares TV commercial (for episode 1.21, "Identity Crisis")!

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.