My first exposure to horror was when I was at my babysitter's house and her young nephew was watching a movie called Creepshow. At age 4, it was quite the sight to see. I was used to watching cartoons, so to see decapitations and seaweed creatures coming to life was a new experience. But unlike some other kids, I wasn't frightened or scared of the craziness of the film. No. I was enthralled, intrigued and very fascinated. For some reason I couldn't stop watching this movie and at age three it did something to me. It presented a whole new world to me that I would live in for the next 24 years. Throughout those 24 years I would become obsessed. Loyal to the gore and fun of this great genre and never look back.
By age 5, my father and I would make regular visits to the video store on a weekly basis. VidMark Video was one of those local mom and pop stores located in a shopping center next to a barber shop and a Chinese take out place. But sadly, much like many of it's mom-and-pop bretehren, VidMark sadly went out of business in 1998. My dad was a big movie fan and he'd often pick up stuff to watch and also let me pick out one video for myself. I usually picked up a He-Man or GI Joe tape. One day in the video store while my father was checking out, a new poster caught my eye...
For some reason, this image caught my eye. The movie is "Hello Mary Lou Prom Night 2", the second in the four part Prom Night series(although this film had nothing to do with the first Prom Night starring the late great Leslie Neilsen and star of a small film called "Halloween" Jamie Lee Curtis). For some reason, again like Creepshow, I stood there for what felt like hours just looking at it. Questions swirled through my head."What is that?", "Who is she?", "Why is she on fire?", "What's a prom?" and "I wonder if dad will let me rent that?". Well, sadly he wouldn't let me rent that and quite frankly I didn't get to see this b-movie until 2001 when I found it at my local video store. It was worth the wait. This proved to be more entertaining than the relatively dull first Prom Night.
And then years later, it happened...
In the 80s, no villain was hotter than the pizza-faced maniac you see above. For those who are either new to horror or just woke up out of a coma, the man up there is Freddy Krueger. Played in 8 movies(including 2003s Freddy vs. Jason and a shortlived tv series called "Freddy's Nightmares" that was very similar to The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt where Freddy would be the host of the show, and very seldom have anything else to do with the show, save for a few episodes) by Mr. Robert Englund, Freddy was the worst of the worst. A child molestor. A killer. A real bad dude. After the neighborhood burned him alive, Freddy vowed to seek revenge on the families that killed him. How is he going to that, you ask? He went after their children in their dreams, the one place the parents were unable to stop him. Freddy took the teenagers most ardent desires and fears and turned it into one bad nightmare(get it now?). For 7 movies in the actual series, we saw him claw his way into their minds and kept his word.
But, what was it about him that made him so cool? Was it his demeanor? His catchphrases? That awesome razor-glove? Who knows, but he no doubt worked his magic and by the 5th movie, Freddy was a legend. He was on par with many other villains such as Darth Vader, The Joker and Rowdy Roddy Piper as a cult figure. Freddy had us in the palm of his rusty bladed hand.
So how did Freddy enter my life? Simple! Saturday morning syndication in 1990. Every Saturday a local television station would show a block of at least 2 or 3 horror movies under the "Creature Features". Of course they were heavily edited for afternoon tv airing. Well the first time I caught Creature Features, Nightmare on Elm Street was being shown. I was, again, enthralled. Most of the fun stuff was taken out but I saw everything I needed too. Freddy was entertaining and a lot like a live action comic book villain. The deaths were pretty silly, but that was ok. All I knew from that moment was
- Freddy was pretty cool.
- That glove is so rad. I must have it. Maybe I can scare my older brother.
- The chicks in it were pretty hot. Specifically Nancy who looked like my newest babysitter at the time.
So, from that moment on I became incredibly loyal to Freddy. More so than any other horror character or franchise out there to this day. I've amassed a pretty nice(and always growing) Elm Street collection. I've met so many of the stars, including Mr. Krueger himself, Robert Englund! It's been a joy to be able to sit back and enjoy these films. Heck, I have the infamous "Freddy's Greatest Hits" on my iPod! And most recently, going out for dinner and drinks with two guest stars of Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Joe "Mark Gray" Seely and Lisa "Alice Johnson" Wilcox at a convention in New Jersey, made me a very lucky fan!
Freddy has been an escape for me. I can sit back and relax with a big bowl of popcorn, get a few laughs and maybe a few scares by watching my favorite villain take on these little brats is a lot of fun. Fun that's never lost it's luster after 20 years. The scariest part is when the day comes I lose interest in horror. tThat may be the biggest nightmare!
So please join me in the future as I review my convention experiences, blab about my favorite movies and my general whining. I'll be happy to have you to come and visit!