Over a decade or so before Hedwig and the Angry Inch came out, I was having nightmares about John Cameron Mitchell. Specifically, the image that haunted my dreams was this:

I found this terrifying because I was 11 years old, and 11 year-olds are stupid.

Back in the days when The Simpsons was just an animated sketch on The Tracy Ullman Show, back when Tucker Carlson was working on his Liberal Arts degree (no seriously), FOX was that weird UHF channel you sometimes had to balance your rabbit ear antennas precariously in order to pick up. People remember sitcoms like Married With Children, but few people remember that after 10pm it was all horror movies and softcore porn all night. Which was an exciting prospect for pre-teen me, because I was stupid and had few other options.

The first time I saw films like The Gate and My Bloody Valentine, it was by staying up after the rest of the family went to bed and tuning in FOX. Thus, a few years before I was old enough for my parents to let me see the actual Nightmare On Elm Street movies, I became obsessed with the tv spinoff Freddy’s Nightmares… because I was stupid and had few other options.

Even for the time, these were not good special effects.

Freddy’s Nightmares was a horror anthology show loosely based on the Nightmare On Elm Street Film series, and aired around the time the fourth and fifth movies were in theaters. Other than the first episode (helmed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper) which is a retelling of Fred Kreuger’s murder by the parents of Elm Street, it has very little connection to the surrounding films. It’s been suggested, however, that it could fill in the gaps between the Nightmare On Elm Street 5 and 6 and explain the unexplained expansion of Freddy’s powers. Considering the show’s repeated theme is that Kreuger somehow now controls the entire reality of Springwood, Ohio at this point and refuses to let anyone leave, it’s a pretty convincing theory. It’s worth mentioning that the episode I’m about to talk about was one of a handful…

Rani Baker

I used to work for Macaulay Culkin. Technically still do. More writing at: