Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare celebrates its 25th anniversary on September 13th and it’s one of those movies I’ve seen probably a dozen times even though I don’t like it too much. There are aspects about the movie I enjoy. For example, I think the first dream sequence where John Doe (Shon Greenblatt) falls out of an airplane and then down a really steep hill is pretty cool, the opening Goo Goo Dolls song is good and it has some fun cameos and 3D shit along the way. Plus it makes great use of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” which I’m sure was not written, recorded or listened to by anyone on drugs. I’m always drawn back to Freddy’s Dead thinking that I liked it in a guilty pleasure kind of way, and then I’m always slapped across the face during the viewing that the movie is not very good at all. Do you have movies like that?
So I found other ways of enjoying the Freddy’s Dead experience. I used to watch a television show (which I wish still ran) where it was solely one to two minute clips of the top ten box office films of the previous week with a banner showing the title of the film and its gross for the weekend. I was big into this back in 1991, which is probably when I first became aware of box office. More importantly, it allowed me to watch a parental-approved cut of Freddy’s Dead piecemeal for a few weeks. I can’t tell you how crushed I was when the film fell out of the top ten and I was left clipless back in October 1991. Another way I got my Freddy’s Dead fix was when my mom would take my sister and me to Walgreen’s or the grocery store and I would check out the magazine rack and fumble through pages of Fangoria. There were tons of Freddy’s Dead stills to be found in those issues. This was a key step in my horror fandom evolution, because I became used to the gory stills of most early ‘90s horror movies. By the time I saw the movies years later I knew not to be scared and that the images weren’t going to jump up and bite me. It’s similar to how I prepared myself for the Universal Monsters through the Crestwood House book series. I see horror parents always trying to “get their kids into horror,” but I don’t think a horror fan (if they have it in their DNA) needs any help. They’ll find it when they’re ready. They don’t need to be pushed or introduced. I was ready from seeing pictures of the Crypt Keeper in my parents' cable guide and Freddy’s Dead reports in the fall ’91 issues of Fangoria. That’s when I knew horror was for me. You first start fascinated and scared but eventually the interest trumps the fear.