Let’s Go Ghostbusters…Let’s Go!!!

Who you gonna call…Rotten Ink! Okay maybe not, but if you’re a kid of the 80’s you shouted Ghostbusters or maybe even He-Man like the kids at the birthday party did in the film Ghostbusters II! One thing is for sure, Ghostbusters was super popular with kids and adults and became a cult classic that spawned a movie sequel as well as a number of video games, toys, comics and cartoons. But did you know that the Ghostbusters that we all knew and loved might have been the “Real” ones, but they were not the original ones as Filmation made a live action TV Show called Ghost Busters in 1975 that would spin off into a cartoon series in 1986, the same time that the 1984 comedy hit Ghostbusters debuted its spin off cartoon The Real Ghostbusters.  This was a confusing mess for young kids who were fans of Ghostbusters as the cartoon and toys would come out at the same time, and I am sure the mix up of the figures ruined many Christmases. Do you kids of the 80’s remember just how big of a cartoon company Filmation was? I mean they made the likes of “He-Man Masters Of The Universe”, “Bravestarr”, “New Adventures of The Lone Ranger” and “Aquaman” to name a very few! I wonder if friends like Josh Weinberg, Todd The Fox, Garrison Kane and Stephen Alexander would ever be interested in having a Saturday Morning get together where we watch classic cartoons we all grew up with and eat bowls of cereal..hmmmm…if this ever happens I will for sure blog about it. So while we all are winding down from July 4th and all those wonderful fireworks as well as trying to stay cool from the summer time heat, I think it’s time to chill out and take a look at The Ghostbusters!

Masters of the Universe Season 1filmation logoTrix Cereal

In 1975, Filmation made a live action kids show called “The Ghost Busters” that reunited F-Troop actors Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker as Kong and Spencer, two goofy detectives who research paranormal occurrence along with their pal, a trained gorilla named Tracy. They ran business from a rundown office that had a payphone, and they would get their missions via tape recorder left in the general store by a mysterious man named Zero. They would use a Ghost De-Materializer on the monster or ghost they were busting and Kong would scream ZAP as he sent the ghoul away. The ghosts included Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Red Baron, Billy The Kid and The Canterville Ghost, and our heroes would end up defeating them in a very slapstick manner. The series only lasted one season and ran for a total of 15 episodes. The show would later come out on VHS and DVD, but those are now out of print and the DVD complete season set sells for over $200.00!! Growing up as far as I can remember I never saw an episode as I was born in 1979 long after The Ghost Busters had been sent out to pasture. I can remember seeing the VHS tapes at Hearts but never had an interest in asking my Mom to get them for me, and thats odd as I loved monsters and ghosts and this would have been right up my alley! Truth be told, even to this day I have not seen an episode of The Ghost Busters, and I hope to change that sometime soon as I would love to get the DVD set. I should also note that Bob Burns, legendary cult film collector, was the man in the monkey suit as he played Tracy. After the series ended and in the 80’s when Colombia Pictures began working on a comedy film called Ghostbusters, they paid Filmation royalties to use the name showing that this off beat kids show is truly the original Ghost Busters!

Filmation Ghostbusters VHS vol 3filmation ghostbusters live cast 1filmation ghostbusters live cast 2

In 1986 Filmation made a cartoon sequel to their 1975 failed live action kids show and it was clear that this show only was made to cash in on the huge popularity of the 1984 Ivan Reitman film and the cartoon series it spawned as well in 1986. Filmation also made this series out of revenge as they pitched the idea of turning the 84 film into a weekly toon series and Columbia wanted nothing to do with them and went to their rival DIC to make The Real Ghostbusters! Filmation’s cartoon followed the sons of Spencer and Kong who were named Jake Kong Jr. and Eddie Spencer Jr. who along with Tracy the Gorilla go up against Prime Evil, an evil wizard who had unleashed and united evil sprits from around the world and has kidnapped their fathers! The sons have inherited the ghostbusting business and must learn how to capture ghosts and find a way to free their fathers. The series was not a hit, and while a total of 65 episodes were made, it failed to capture the kids and proved not to be a rating winner for stations that aired it. I only slightly remember it being on and like 99% off the kids of the time, I was too busy watching The Real Ghostbusters and many other cartoons and just thought that this series was cheap spin off. In fact I think the first time I ever saw an episode of this cartoon was at my Dad’s friend Paul’s house when I watched it with his son Will.  I can remember him having a few of the figures, and I was shocked to see that someone owned one. I will get into the toys and my first impressions of them a little later. The cartoon has come out in two volume DVD sets thanks to BCI that make up the whole series and select episodes made it to VHS back in the day. I must say that as a kid I might not have watched it but I did find myself as an adult really enjoying it, and me and my girlfriend Juliet go around singing the show’s theme song.  If you have not heard it, look it up on Youtube and be prepared for it to be stuck in your head. While this cartoon might not be as iconic as The Real Ghostbusters, it still holds an amazing charm and made its mark on the world of toons.

Filmation Ghostbusters DVD vol 1Filmation Ghostbusters castFilmation Ghostbusters DVD vol 2

Schaper Toys, the company who made such classic games as Ants In The Pants, Cootie and Don’t Break The Ice, was the company who also made the action figures for Filmation’s Ghostbusters, and I must say they did an outstanding job on the figures designs. A total of 13 figures were made and each came with different accessories and a mini comic book.  There were also some vehicles showing that Schaper believed in this cartoon series and was hoping that they as well would hit gold with the action figures. Growing up, I only have some small memories of fellow classmates having any of these figures and I didn’t have any until I was much older. While the toyline much like the cartoon was not a super smash hot success they still had an impact of those kids who collected them. I almost wish I would have bought them as I could have had some fun toy cross over adventures with the Real Ghostbusters that could have been one of the most epic spooky toy war adventures for all the ages.

Tracy the Gorilla toyPrime Evil toyFangster toy

I first saw Filmation’s Ghostbusters figures at Cub Foods, a grocery store that was located in Sugarcreek, Ohio that had not only a wicked breakfast cereal aisle but also a tiny cool toy section that had lots of Hot Wheels, Barbies and Masters Of The Universe and yes those Ghostbusters. At the time, my dad worked for the Cub Foods that was by the Dayton Mall, but we lived in Waynesville and we would travel to the Sugarcreek one from time to time to go shopping. Most of the time my brother and I would walk around the store and check out the cereal and chat about comics, movies, cartoons and TV shows and then head toward the tiny toy aisle and see what He-Man figures they had in stock. Well on this grocery adventure what greeted my eyes was figures that said Ghostbusters and the one I saw was not Peter Venkman nor even Dracula but that of a Gorilla named Tracy as well as other characters that I had never seen on the cartoon “The Real Ghostbusters” and I wondered who were these generic characters! Then my brother and I remembered that there was another cartoon that was made that at the time all kids believed was a rip off of the Real Ghostbusters, and then I started to kind of want them as I imagined them being a part of my Ghostbusters adventures and all the Filmation ghosts would have made great additions for Ray, Egon, Peter and Winston to bust. We also were interested because they came with a mini comic and we both loved the mini comics that came with He-Man, Super Powers and M.A.S.K. to name a few. So I went to my mom and dad and asked for one of the figures that if I remember right was Prime Evil, and they told me no.  In my youth I never did get a Filmation Ghostbusters figure; it was not until my late 20’s when I ended up picking one up from the flea market for $1.00 and that figure was Tracy The Gorilla. Sadly that Cub Foods as well as all the others in the area went out of business and while I was not as attached to them as I was Big Bear/Hearts, I still hated to see it close. So this update as well is not only for Filmations Ghostbusters but also all those who worked for Cub Foods over the years.

Cub Foods Logo

So are you ready to bust some ghosts with your specter snare and ghost gun? I know I am, but first I must thank Bell, Book and Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these in stock as well as remind you that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So let’s keep repeating to ourselves “I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts” and let’s get ready to go on a ghost hunting adventure with Tracy The Gorilla and see what First Comics had to offer to help push Filmations busters.

Filmation Ghostbusters 1

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters # 1  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25    First Comics   # 1 of 4

It’s Halloween time and Jake, Tracy and Eddie are having a party at the office and invite Belfry, Futura and Jessica Wray to celebrate this spooky holiday. Meanwhile in the past, Prime Evil and Mysteria decide to call upon all the ghosts and attack the castle of King Fred! The kingdom’s wizard Morton comes up with the idea of calling in The Ghostbusters from the future to help them chase off Prime Evil and allow the kingdom to have their Hallow’s Eve Feast by the fire! They show up and make short work of Mysteria as they bust her and make their way to the castle where they figure out that if they can crack a code from an old spell book, it will clear out all ghosts and ghouls within 20 miles of the castle and will send Prime Evil and his goons away. Prime Evil sends Sir Trance-A-Lot to stop the Ghostbusters, but with the help of the Princess they distract him and bust him as well.  Morton and Jessica crack the code and send Prime Evil packing! In the end, the feast happens and The Ghostbusters are the guests of honor.

This is a really fun kids comic based on a cartoon that adds puzzles and other activities to entertain the readers. The story is very simple and has Prime Evil showing up in the past to collect ghosts and spirits and the kingdom he has invaded calls in the help of The Ghostbusters from the future.  Together, they chase off the evil and have a good time on Halloween. Jake and Tracy seem pretty together and by all account rush in to help save the day.  They are the ones who bust Ghosts and come up with the plans to set them up to take them down. Eddie is a chubby coward who spent more time figuring out what costume to wear for the office party and wanting to turn back than figuring out a way to run off Prime Evil! Belfry is a tiny little pink bat who has a good heart but is a goof ball much like Snarf in Thundercats. Jessica Wray is a good looking reporter who goes on cases with the guys from time to time and is smart and clearly has a crush on Jake. Futura is a stunning blue skinned woman from the future who also helps and joins the guys on busting ghosts. Morton The Wizard along with King Fred and the Princesses are nice touches to the story and add the drama of people being scared of the unknown who must fight the fear in order to save what they love. Prime Evil, much like all bad guys of 80’s cartoons, has the power to stop his enemies but always puts it into the hands of his henchmen who screw it all up! Speaking of his henchmen I should also give you a run down of the ones who appear in this issue like Sir Trance-A-Lot who is a skeleton knight and Mysteria who is a raven-haired mist spirit that looks like Lilly Munster, Morticia Adams and Vampira got mixed in a blender. Fans of the cartoon I am sure would enjoy this simple first issue, but fans of The Real Ghostbusters would use its simple nature against it to show that it was too childish. I also found it a nice touch that Morton knew Jake and Eddie’s dads as they helped many moons ago to bring down a dragon that was tormenting the kingdom. The artwork done by Howard Bender is fantastic and looks as if you are reading the cartoon, and is some topnotch work for a comic based on a cartoon at the time. I can’t wait to see what issue # 2 holds as I found this one a very entertaining read and a nice way to start off the series. The cover is very eye catching and is just flashy enough to catch the attention of fans of the cartoon as well as those who were not.

Filmation Ghostbusters 2

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters  # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25     First Comics    # 2 of 4

Jake, Eddie, Tracy and Belfry get a call to go to the museum by Dr. Brown who has seen Prime Evil along with Scared Stiff, a robot skeleton who falls to pieces easily and can build things, as well as green skin sorceress Apparitia who are using a machine to bring dinosaurs back to life! As The Ghostbusters travel to the museum, Prime Evil brings three dinosaurs back to life that are T-Rex, Brontosaurus and Pterodactyl, and they are all running amuck.  As The Ghostbusters arrive, Tracy and Belfry set up and capture Apparitia as the whole group brings down the Pterodactyl. They trap the Brontosaurus in the lunch room as he is friendly, and they trick the T-Rex with a giant balloon and a machine Tracy made that turns the giant beast into a pile of coal! In the end the museum is happy for the help but a little annoyed with the loss of the T-Rex bones!

This second issue also holds the charm of the cartoon and has even a more simple plot as Prime Evil brings back dinosaurs and The Ghostbusters come to the rescue and save the day by running off Prime Evil and his goons and stopping the dino rampage. In this issue, Tracy the gorilla is the true smart one as he invents the machine to stop the T-Rex as well as comes up with most the plans that work to capture and stop the bad guys. Belfry makes himself useful and helps the gang capture both the Pterodactyl and Apparitia showing that the goofball characters can be heroes. Jake, while clearly the leader of the group, has some ideas and shows he’s brave as he shows no fear in tricking the man eating T-Rex. Eddie is as goofy as ever and even causes accidents by being a bumbling fool, and as always has the spine of a jello mold left out in the summer sun. Prime Evil once more has a good idea and leaves its success into the hands of his minions who amount to a shaking bucket of bolts known as Scared Stiff and a sexy evil sorceress named Apparitia, both of whom try but fail. Speaking of Apparitia I would love to see cosplayers like Ivy Doomkitty or Nicole Marie Jean dress as this character! Kids at the time who like dinosaurs and monsters I am sure got a kick out of this issue and I will say it was a great issue to build up readers. The art is once more done by Howard Bender and is fantastic and makes me ready to read issue # 3 so let’s waste no more time. And oh yeah the cover on this issue is ok and while not as cool as the first issue’s, it does capture the mood of the story.

Filmation Ghostbusters 3

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters  # 3   **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25    First Comics    # 3 of 4

The Ghostbusters are gearing up for Christmas when they get a call from a family that is having a ghost run amuck in their home throwing around all the presents and smashing the Christmas tree.  As they are leaving, they get a call from a department store who is having a ghost issue in the bike department! Two Christmas ghosts running wild miles apart in places that are over 100 years old and really close to each other. At the family’s home, the sounds of crying can be heard, and at the store the ghost is really mad about bikes.  The Ghostbusters must figure out a way to help both as the holiday is being ruined for many. So Jake, Tracy and Eddie travel 100 years into the past and find out that the ghost in the house and store are connected as the house one is a grieving mother whose son went missing and never returned, and the store ghost is the missing kid who got lost and was locked in the store over night and died from not wanting to talk to strangers. The Ghostbusters save the kid and bring him home and travel back to the future and find that they have solved the issue and have a good home cooked dinner with the family.

The first issue was a Halloween Special, now this third issue is a Christmas one that has the storyline of a family’s past holding the secrets of haunts that are happing in present day and The Ghostbusters must go back in time to set things right and save a child’s life! This issue has no Prime Evil or any of his goons causing the issue and in fact no ghosts are seen at all making for a pretty tame yet entertaining issue. Tracy and Jake seem to be annoyed with each other at the start of the issue but soon work together in order to save Christmas. Eddie this time around is the more focused one and is really in the spirit of the holiday. James is the kid who haunts the store and it makes me wonder how he died in the store after only being locked in it for a night? Then it makes you wonder how dumb is he if death is a better option then asking a store clerk for help! This issue is very cheesy, and the only thing that could have set it over the top and made it a full fledged hunk of limburger is if Prime Evil at the end would have been having Christmas Dinner with them all! The art once more was done by Howard Bender and is fantastic as the others before have been. The cover for this issue is okay, and while it has Christmas themes to it, they should have gone a little more crazy with it. Over all another solid issue and shows that First Comics put time and care into this series, and I can’t wait to read the 4th and final issue to see if it keeps the charm all the way till the end.

Filmation Ghostbusters 4

Filmation’s  Ghostbusters  # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987    Cover Price $1.25    First Comics    # 4 of 4

It’s dinnertime, and Eddie is making something special as Tracy is making banana soup and Jake and Belfry are ready to eat when they watch a TV Report done by Jessica Wray in the everglades swamp in Florida where local Melvin Loner has seen ghosts in the swamps as well as the alligators dancing to haunting music. The Ghostbusters drop what they are doing and head to Florida.  In the swamps Prime Evil along with Scared Stiff and Float-Zart, a ghost maestro, who all have a plan to take over the swamp and make it their new home base. The Ghostbusters arrive and Melvin acts as their guide.  They are able to bust Float-Zart as he tries to keep them away from Prime Evil, but all things don’t end well for Prime Evil as the experiment Scared Stiff was working on explodes and blows up their base! In the end the swamp is safe, and our heroes return home to a long over due dinner.

This final issue shows that First Comics really knew how to handle this cartoon property and made a good mini series that sadly ended only after 4 issues when 6 was planned. This issue’s story has The Ghostbusters heading to the everglades to stop Prime Evil and his goons and barely have to put anytime in busting as they go down easy, and they once more leave the scene of the haunt as champions of good. Jake, Eddie and Tracy work great as The Ghostbusters and all of them are likable with Tracy being my favorite because who in the world wouldn’t like a hat wearing gorilla who busts ghosts! I also really liked all the side characters as Belfry was not nearly as annoying as he could have been, Jessica Wray is a nice normal straight laced character who helps report the truth of hauntings and Futura is interesting and a time traveler who enjoys busting ghosts in her spare time. The best part of all these sidekick characters is that they are not over used, making each time they appear something special. Prime Evil, while powerful and even frightful, seems to be kind of lazy in his haunting as he always passes off the hard work to his goons who clearly cannot get the job done as they all are beat easily. The one letdown is that the future werewolf ghost Fangster does not appear as I would have liked to have seen him in action and fail. The Ghostbusters is a kid comic series that I could say gave most of Star Comics a run for their money and showed that all the people involved cared about making quality stories with good art and fun puzzles.  I am wondering if First Comics had to pull the plug on the series due to the cartoon and toyline failing or if sales on this issue were too poor to continue. The cover of this final issue also is well done but kind of looks like the 1st issue’s making for an eye catching and fun cover that has a touch of something familiar. The art for the whole series was done by Howard Bender, and he did fantastic work.  I would have loved to have seen him work for Star and on comics based on the likes of My Pet Monster, Go-Bots or Commander USA if he ever got his chance at kid comic greatness. This is a mini series that shocked me as I feel it was way better than I ever could have imagined and lived up to the toon it was based on making a nice addition to fans who watched, and I would say that this is a series worth reading for sure. Below is some artwork from these issues, and you can see how Bender’s art looks just like the cartoon!

Filmation Ghostbusters Art 1

So while these Ghostbusters might not be as popular or as beloved as The Real ones, they still made an impact in the world of cartoons, toys and comics for those who followed their busting adventures! I should also note that the amazing voice actor Peter Cullen did the voice of Eddie Spencer Jr. in the cartoon, and for those who live under a stack of old 90’s comic books, Cullen is best known for voicing Optimus Prime in Transformers.  Speaking of a robot, our next update will be all about The Terminator in honor of the 5th film in the series coming out this summer! So until then, read a comic or three, support your local horror host and don’t be afraid of no ghosts! See you all next time.

The Terminator logo

Was Freddy Really Dead?

In the 1980’s, one of the most popular horror bad guys was Freddy Kruger of the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series fame, and no other horror baddie could come close to his appeal to the young and old alike who enjoyed a good fright. This update will take a look at Innovation Comics 3 issue adaptation of the 6th film in the series, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare that was released in 1991 the same year as the film. Now before we take a look at Freddy’s Dead, let’s take a look Freddy Kruger himself, a modern day horror film icon like Dracula, The Frankenstein Monster and The Wolf Man were for the past generation. Frederick “Freddy” Kruger was born to Amanda Kruger, a nun who was raped by a room full of wackos at an insane asylum, after she is accidentally locked in with them. Freddy grew up an odd boy who found he had no friends and enjoyed killing small animals. When Freddy was a teen he found himself enjoying pain as his stepfather used to beat him with leather belts. As Freddy got older he worked for a factory and began killing,  20 children total.  When Freddy got away with the crime due to a technicality, the parents of the town of Springwood took justice into their own hands and burned Freddy alive! While ablaze, Freddy sells his soul to some dream demons who in turn give him power to kill the town’s youth in their dreams. Freddy enters dreams, burnt all over, and kills with a razor figured glove and can transform and use your worst fears against you. Freddy cannot be killed.  Many have tried to stop him from Nancy to Alice, and none have fully stopped his killer rampage. Freddy started out very evil and terrifying, and as he got more use to his powers, he became a one liner spewing killer. Freddy has even gone toe to toe with Jason Voorhees, the hockey mask killer from the Friday The 13th series. Freddy was played by Robert Englund in the older films, and in the reboot series he is played by Jackie Earle Haley. Love him or hate him, no one can dispute the impact Kruger has had on the world of horror.

Freddy KrugerFred kRUGERFreddy Dance

So now that you’ve gotten a super quick bio of Freddy Kruger, let’s talk about the 6th film in the series and my memories of it.  This film was the amazingly silly film that also included a 3-D sequence known as Freddy’s Dead!

Freddys Dead Poster

In 1991 after five films in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, New Line Cinema, the makers of the series claimed that they were going to end Freddy Kruger once and for all in the film Freddy’s Dead The Final Nightmare.  Hype went around this “final” film as I remember Fangoria Magazine covering it and even MTV pushed it with a special called “Slash & Burn: The Freddy Kruger Story,” all preparing the fans for Freddy’s last stand. I was way too young to see the film in theaters as was my brother so we were left out in the cold when it came to the theater experience. I remember cutting out the poster ad for this film out of the newspaper and feeding Freddy’s image to our cockatoo Roxanne.  In my mind she was fighting Freddy to the bitter end as she would chew on the paper Freddy. I remember asking my brother Bryan if he thought this really was the end of Freddy, and he stood by the fact he thought he would be back.  I still had my doubts and thought wow this really is the end, why would New Line lie to me? It would be awhile before I got to see the film.  Thanks to VHS rental we were finally able to see the film and all its glory, but before I tell you my thoughts, let me tell you about the film itself. Oh yeah, and the write up has spoilers of the film so you have been warned.

Springwood, Ohio has had its youth population wiped out, and the last kid from Elm Street named John Doe (because he does’t know who he is) is the key for Freddy to move on into a new town and seek more souls for his greedy needs. After an accident leaves John knocked out and outside the Springwood district, he is taken to a home for troubled kids and runaways headed up by Dr. Maggie Burroughs and Doc. John also meets Spencer (a rich gamer kid), Carlos (a near deaf abused teen) and Tracy (a sexually abused teen). All of the teens want out of the home and to go on with their lives. While trying to help the kids Maggie is also having a recurring nightmare that involves her as a child and her father and mother. John has a nightmare and shares it with Maggie. The two are actually having the dreams with the same elements (a little girl, water tower), and this leads to a field trip to Springwood where Maggie and John are joined by runaways Carlos, Tracy and Spencer. They find out that the town is filled with wackos and no kids! Maggie and John stay in town as the others are ordered back to the home, but get lost and stay in an abandoned house for the night. Carlos is the first new soul taken by Freddy. Stoned Spencer falls victim next as Freddy plays him like a video game. Maggie and John learn that Freddy had a kid that was taken from him, and John thinks that he is that kid. When Tracy finds them, she takes him back to the house too late as Spencer is a dead, and John himself falls victim to the razor gloved fiend and is shown not to be Freddy’s child. When they return, no one in the home remembers the dead teens, besides Doc who has control over his own dreams. Maggie finds out that night that she in fact is the long lost daughter of Freddy, who at this point is going after Doc and Tracy to get more souls and to please the Dream Demons who have given him that power. They escape, and Maggie armed with 3-D glasses goes inside Freddy’s mind to see what makes this madman tick. Along the way she meets the Dream Demons and gets to view some of Freddy’s worst memories. She grabs him and brings him to the real world where daughter kills her father with knives, ball bats, his own razor glove and a pipe bomb to end Freddy’s Nightmares once and for all with the help of Doc and Tracy.

Freddy KrugerFreddy power gloveMaggie

While not living up to the hype I made in my own head at the time, this film was still a fun goofy Freddy movie filled with dumb one liners, over the top cartoon style kills and a laughable story line that had Freddy as a loving father when he was a human and not the slave of the dream demons. I remember when the VHS tape ended and the film was over, I was like that was okay and my brother was not having that and talked about how horrible it was and not pleased with the film he witnessed.  He hated the dream demons and despised the fact they made Freddy a loving dad who all of a sudden had a wife and child.  Looking back, I can see why these additions would piss off fans of the series. In my opinion while it’s a weak entry in the series, it still was better then part 5 the Dream Child which is the one I consider the worst. Younger me was not satisfied with Freddy’s death and was hoping for a better blow out than a pipe bomb and some sharp items thrown by his daughter, but I learned to accept it and though it was the end of the series.  But then Wes Craven, the director of the original and 3rd in the series, returned in 1994 with “New Nightmare” but that’s a whole other story. Besides the fact that Freddy’s Dead was supposed to be the final nightmare, it also was the first and only film in the series thus far to use 3-D effects, and we are talking the classic red and blue glasses. The effects were only used during the part when Maggie enters the dream world via the poster and enters Freddy’s mind.  While a cool idea, this seemed wasted when it was only used for a very short amount of time. If New Line and parent company Warner Brothers would ever get on the ball, they should make a new Nightmare on Elm Street film, get Robert Englund back and make a full IMAX 3-D film and wipe the reboot series off the map, because you horror fans out there tell me that you dont wanna see a new film with Englund in it!

Maggie 3D3D glassesFreddy in 3D

Now I am sure some of you want to know what I thought about the whole Dream Demon thing this film added to the folklore of the series and I will give you my honest opinion. Up to this film Freddy Kruger really had no back story on how he was able to come back and kill kids in their dreams.  This added a sinister element to him, making me as a viewer wonder how he could.  Did he seal his soul to satan?  Was black magic involved or was he just that pure evil? The idea of the mystery worked for me and made him more of a slasher to fear and made you think of how he really came to be. Now in this film we are shown The Dream Demons who swim through the air like skull faced seaman and cackle and offer Freddy his powers.  While I am sure this sounded like a good idea on paper, it just took away a level of fear from the character. While they did add an explanation of why Freddy is the way he is, it’s clear that their main function in this film is to be the 3-D parts, and I must say for this fact I am not a fan. 

Dream Demons

Freddy’s Dead also had a few really cool cameos from some top actors of the time as well as a Shock Rock icon. The first stars we see in the film are Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold who were A-List TV stars at the time with the # 1 sitcom Roseanne.  They play some local yokels, Ethel and her husband, who argue over the teens being back in Springwood as Ethel misses kids and her husband knows they bring “him” back. Nice cameo and the two act as cheesy and hammy as possible. Next up Johnny Depp plays himself who is on TV doing a just say no to drugs ad and his attacked by Freddy as Spencer watches on stoned out of his mind.  Johnny could also be said to be playing Glen again, the same character he played in the first film who is stuck in a nightmare and being used as a puppet to get Spencer’s attention. Again well done and adds the touch of the original to this 6th film. The final cameo goes to Alice Cooper, the shock rocker of the 1960’s and beyond, who plays Freddy’s stepdad Mr. Underwood who is an evil child abuser who gets his by a teenage Freddy. Cooper always steals scenes when he is in a movie.  Look at Wayne’s World, Monster Dog and Dark Shadows for examples. With this much star cameo power one like myself really did think that this film could have been the last.

Tom and RoseaneJohnny DeppAlice Cooper

When the film came out on VHS I didn’t buy it.  Not until years later did I pick it up when it was being sold used at a video store, and it was mainly bought to complete my Nightmare collection on my overly huge VHS collection that took over my bedroom. When the film came out originally on DVD, it was in a terrible snap case.  You know, those terrible cardboard cases with the flap that holds them together and was also in the Nightmare on Elm Street box set. It later got a keep case release and has now been on many DVD Nightmare collection releases as well. It also has been released on Blu-Ray and Laserdisc. 

Freddys Dead VHSFreddys Dead DVD 1Freddys Dead DVD 2

Freddy’s Dead also had cassette,vinyl and CD soundtracks come out.  One was music used and inspired by the film, and the other was the score composed by Brian May of rock band Queen fame. The soundtrack, with band and performers like Iggy Pop, Goo Goo Dolls and Johnny Law, is an alright musical journey that really is nothing special but is a good listen. The Brian May score is also well done but does not pack the punch of the original score piece done by Charles Bernstein.  With that said, the May soundtrack is the one I own and even play from time to time on Alpha Rhythms, a radio show I help with that airs on WYSO out of Yellow Springs. 

Freddy CD 2Freddy CD 1

This film also flooded the market for that last final cash in on the Freddy legacy and had magazines dedicated to this “last” film, a 1-900 phone line game that offered prizes to the winners for killing Freddy that only cost $1.95 for the first minute and $1.45 for each additional. T-Shirts were made to immortalize the slasher’s last film. Innovation Comics not only released a 3 issue run based on the film, but they also had a graphic novel and a 3-D comic showing that everyone wanted a piece of the Freddy pie! And I really don’t blame them because Freddy was huge at this time.

FREDDYS DEAD MAGFreddy HotlineFreddys Dead 3DFeeddys Dead Graphic NovelFreddy shirt

So there is the quick look at all that was Freddy’s Dead that I can remember from my youth.  I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material.  I would like to think Bell Book and Comic that had these issues in stock while they and I were at Horrorhound Weekend. 

Freddys Dead 1

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare # 1  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Innovation Comics   #1 of 3

A young man is having nightmares, and the razor clawed killer Freddy Kruger is tormenting him.  The young man is the last teen alive in Springwood.  Freddy knocks the young man out of the city limits knocking his head against a rock, giving him amnesia and sending him to the bigger city with the hopes of him bringing him more teen souls. In the big city Maggie has just turned 28 years old and is working a job where she helps teens that are runaways and have other behavioral problems.  She also has a recurring nightmare about a young girl that is playing in a backyard near a water tower with her dad who later in the dream hurts the mother. Her co-worker Doc is a therapist who is trying to help the kids and her with her dreams and wants to do so with dream therapy. The young man with amnesia is brought in and is now called John Doe.  He meets fellow troubled teens Spencer, a pot smoking, video game playing trouble maker, Tracy, a tough as nails girl who don’t like to be touched and can kick some major ass and Carlos, a teen who is deaf caused by his moms own hands. Maggie decides to take John Doe back to his home town and when entering the town she finds that Tracy, Spencer and Carlos has hitched a ride in the hopes to runaway.

In the first issue we are treated to Freddy Kruger who is toying with “John Doe” and trying to force him out of town in order to spread his nightmare infestation. Freddy is the same as he is in the film, full of cheesy one liners with most of his truly scary elements eliminated.  While he makes appearances throughout the issue, this is clearly the issue to build up Maggie and the kids.  In this issue Maggie seems like she is a loving daughter and a hard worker but is plagued with the nightmares of Freddy’s home town. So far Maggie doesn’t have the presence of a hero to be. The kids all seem like your normal generic throw aways who all fit stereotypes, and none of them really stand out. So far it’s following the movie pretty well and only has a few minor changes that don’t effect the storyline at all. This issue’s art is pretty good and fits for the time of the film’s release and has that early 90’s comic look.  The cover is okay.  Freddy looks good, while the rest is kind of bland. So with this let’s take a look at issue two. 

Freddys Dead 2

Freddy’s Dead:The Final Nightmare # 2  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Innovation Comics   #2 of 3

Maggie is mad at the teens who were trying to escape, and when they stop at the town’s fair they see that the town has no kids and that all the adults act afraid of them and some mumble that they bring him! Maggie tells Tracy, Spencer and Carlos to take the van and go back as she and John try to find answers of who he is. As the teens drive around, get lost and finally stop at a house on Elm Street to rest, Maggie and John find out that whole town’s adults are crazy and the only thing they learn is that Freddy had a child.  Carlos is the first to go to sleep and has his head explode when Freddy gives him a twisted version of a hearing aid. Tracy leaves to find Maggie once Carlos goes missing as Spencer is next as he gets high and Freddy sucks him into the broken TV and plays him like a video game and when killed in the game he dies in real life right in front of Maggie and the remaining teens. Tracy and John go into Spencer’s dream to try and save him with Tracy using meditation and John by being knocked out but they are too late. Maggie and Tracy gather up the knocked out John and head out of town via the van but Freddy is not done and kills John before he can leave town and then jumps into the mind of Maggie as we end issue 2. 

This is the issue where teens start dropping off like flies and finally the blood and gore comes into play. Freddy once more is the same cheesy, one liner spewing dream killer who gets teen souls, making him more powerful and bringing him closer to his “daughter”. John Doe bites the dust with a wicked fall onto spikes and finds out he is not special and was just a pawn for Freddy’s twisted game. Carlos and Spencer are clear fillers and are around just to be used as characters to get over the top deaths. Tracy is used to almost bridge the Nightmare on Elm Street film gaps and almost has a dream master kind of power where she can enter someone else’s dreams. Maggie is confused and seems almost lost in this issue as she pieces together that she must have lived in Springwood and that she is watching teens die from unknown reasons in horrific ways. The film strolls away from following the film to a T and the deaths of both Spencer and Carlos while similar have large sections missing in the jump from film to comic. Over all the art work is good.  The cover is better than last issue and this is a solid issue to add the meat to the story. Let’s get ready for issue 3, the final issue in the film adaptation of Freddy’s Dead.

Freddys Dead 3

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare # 3  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Innovation Comics   #3 of 3

Maggie and Tracy return to the youth home and find that no one remembers Carlos, Spencer or John besides Doc.  It’s as if they all never existed. Maggie’s nightmares get worse, and she finds out that she is adopted, and that she is in fact the daughter of Freddy Kruger. Freddy meanwhile attacks Tracy in her dreams and acts as her abusive father, but she survives the attack and warns the others of Freddy’s powers. Doc teaches Maggie how to go into her dreams and enter the mind of Freddy who has gained his power off three dream demons by using 3-D movie glasses. She goes into the deep dark secrets of Freddy as she sees the death of her own mother, the abuse he took at the hands of his step dad and even his sick and bullied days at school. Maggie is able to pull Freddy out of her dream and into the real world where she battles her dad to the death and uses a pipe bomb to end his terror once and for all. 

In this final issue Maggie gets tough and knows that she alone must try and stop her father Freddy’s bloody rampage once and for all and does so with the help of Doc, Tracy, 3-D Glasses and a heck of a lot of weapons. Maggie was an okay character and is likeable for the most part in comic form, but I feel she is not fully fleshed out as a character. Freddy is the same throughout the 3 issues and seems less threatening on these comic pages than he did in the film.  For the most part his murders seem rushed and not as overblown as they are on film. Doc and Tracy are after thoughts in this issue and are nothing more then bit players who fill background space and plot holes. The artwork in this issue is the same as the past two and while very 90’s looking, it holds the charm of that independent horror comic look and feel giving it brownie points, and ye,s some of it looks bad. The cover for this issue is Freddy playing a video game with Carlos on the bottom with his ears bleeding.  While a cool cover, everything on it happened in the last issue. Over all this is a a fun comic mini series based on the last Nightmare on Elm Street film….well that is until 1994 when Wes Craven made New Nightmare. 

Freddy KickFreddys Glove.Freddy plays a Game

I grew up like most horror kids of the 80’s loving and being terrified by Freddy Kruger and nothing can erase the memory of watching the original A Nightmare on Elm Street at a young age and being chilled to the bone and loving every minute of it. Freddy Kruger, much like Jason Voorhees (Friday The 13th), Michael Myers (Halloween), Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Pinhead (Hellraiser) and a few more, are modern day versions of the old bogeyman stories or even this generation’s versions of monsters from the past like Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and The Wolf Man.  By this I mean they are timeless now and will live forever in the world of horror.  The original films based on these characters will always be considered classics and will spawn re-makes, re-imagines and sequels for decades to come. While Freddy’s Dead didn’t keep its promise and the film itself is a mediocre sequel, the build up to the film makes it more special in my eyes, and I will forever remember the question I would ask my brother “Is Freddy really dead?”. 

Freddys Dead Logo

Next update I think we will go to the world of Marvel Comics as they brought us film adaptions of classic films of the 80’s that I will be calling “Marvel At The Movies.” So make sure to get your ticket early, and get in line quick to get a good seat because that update might be a sell out! Until then, read a comic or two and enjoy your read.  

Marvel at the movies