Monday, August 31, 2015

The Freddy Factor

In 1989, my little brother, David, masqueraded as Freddy Krueger for Halloween.

Sure, he looks more like an escaped nursing home patient, but you can’t condemn a 7-year-old for failing to replicate Robert Englund’s onscreen attire. If you ignore the bat broach, grass-stained Reeboks and our dad’s hideous shirt, you’ll see that David included the three main elements of Freddy fashion: fedora, finger-knives and fucked-up face. 

Despite its faults, this slapdash costume is an impressive trick-or-treat feat. As a first-grader, David had never seen “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Like half of the 3,000 other Freddys haunting the neighborhood that All Hallows Eve, he was prohibited from watching R-rated horror flicks.

However, by the late-80s, Freddy was a media juggernaut. Like Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman before him, the child-slaying psychopath didn’t need the Silver Screen or VHS to get his message across ... he focused on merchandising.

Freddy peddled a shit-ton of masks, posters and action figures, had his charred face plastered on everything from gum to video games, cashed-in with his own 900-number, rapped with the Fresh Prince and will forever be known as the guy who introduced the world to Johnny Depp.

It was easy for young, impressionable kids to worship Freddy, even if they had never seen him slice, dice, cut, chop and julienne his way through a passel of sleepy teenagers.

Tight-lipped boogeymen like Jason Voorhees and Michael Meyers also slashed their way into popular culture, but they lack Mr. Krueger’s acerbic wit, resourcefulness and flair for homicide. Freddy spews one-liners like a demon-possessed Dorothy Parker. And because he exists in a dream world, he can murder people in all sorts of crazy ways. For a list of the Top 10 Kills, visit:

His weapon of choice – a cutlery-adorned glove – took a lot of time and talent to make. Several of the “Nightmare” movies reference the creation of this evil accessory, proving that Freddy is the Martha Stewart of monsters.

All Jason does is pair a machete with hockey equipment, while his mute pal, Michael, puts in slightly more effort by stealing a kitchen knife and spray-painting a William Shatner mask. God forbid Hollywood executives decide to combine “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween” into a “Jason vs. Michael” movie. There will be absolutely no dialogue, unless you count Jamie Lee Curtis’s screams and the orgasms of a few camp counselors.

“Freddy vs. Jason,” released in 2003, is a decent horror flick, but I don’t understand all of the “re-imaginings” that have emerged over the past few years. Producers such as Michael Bay claim that these bastardized versions introduce a new generation to campy classics.

That’s what Netflix is for, asshole!

Besides, kids already know Freddy. A few Kruegers showed up at my doorstep last Halloween … and I live on a steep, dead-end road with no streetlights. This year I’m sure there will be more glove-wearing dream masters rubbing elbows with all the little Elsas and Minions. Sarah might be one of them.

If you paid $10 to watch Jackie Earle Haley desecrate the role Robert Englund made famous I just have one thing to say to you:

Talk to the hand!

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