While most of the songs selected for the MMV this month are more generally themed for Halloween and frights, I thought I’d pick one that is specific to a particular movie franchise. The Nightmare on Elm Street series was a significant part of 80s pop culture — even kids who hadn’t seen any of the films were often familiar with the character of Freddy Krueger from playground chatter. By 1988, as the series made its villain more and more the star in the marketing, he became increasingly familiar with appearances outside the films themselves.
Thus it shouldn’t be too surprising that the theme song to one of his films would get a music video which saw moderate airplay on MTV. So here are the Fat Boys, with “Are You Ready For Freddy?”
The song was used as the theme to A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, but the music video contains no elements of the film’s plot, instead choosing to tell its own brief story. It borrows the common “haunted mansion” trope, with Prince Markie Dee’s Uncle Frederick — “he’s from a part of the family we don’t talk about” — leaving him a large estate if he’ll spend the night in the house. His Fat Boy friends join him, and soon they’re running scared in the house with Freddy Krueger chasing after them — with a fair amount of humor thrown in as well. Robert Englund himself appears in both the video and the song itself, performing his own portion of the rap as Freddy Krueger.
It’s an interesting evolution of the franchise, the character, and of pop culture itself. The slasher genre was relatively unexplored at the beginning of the 1980s, with only a few prominent prior examples, but it was fairly serious in the beginning. (Could you picture Norman Bates doing folk rock on The Ed Sullivan Show? I mean before I brought it up, of course.) The start of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise was similarly serious. But by 1988, Freddy Krueger had somehow became “safe” enough to include in programming that would likely be seen by youngsters, and for this content to be comedic in nature. “Are You Ready for Freddy?” is closer in tone to Scooby-Doo than to the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. This isn’t meant as a criticism, just as an observation on a curious transition in pop culture.
Of course, here on Morgan on Media, it’s going to be a while before we get to reviewing A Nightmare on Elm Street 4. At the current rate, October 2015, barring an acceleration somewhere. But the Fat Boys nevertheless pose an important question. Are you ready for Freddy? Because while part 4 may be long in coming, Krueger will be making a return appearance a little later today.