Hilarious Moments in Horror: Freddy 101 With Springwood Teacher

Of all the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare is one of them. The general consensus amongst fans and critics alike is that it’s… not exactly their favorite. I wouldn’t say that I hate it, but I’m not a big fan of it either. My main beef with it is its cartoonishness, from its literal cartoon sound effects, to its kills, to its 3-D finale. I do appreciate that it further explores Freddy’s backstory, however. Filmmakers should, in my opinion, expand on their characters with each sequel they make, otherwise they’re just telling the same story over and over and over again. In this one, an effort was made to do that, and I always award points for effort. Here, we’re told Freddy killed his adoptive father (played by shock rocker Alice Cooper) as a teenager, had his own kid later in life, and killed his wife in front of that kid. We’re also told he was given his supernatural powers by dream demons after his death, which is how he keeps coming back. But that’s not even the half of it. We learn the most shocking details of his past from a hard-to-read chalkboard in the background of a nonsensical scene.

Credit: Wrong Side of the Art

Here’s how we get there:

A graphic informs us that Freddy has killed all but one minor in Springwood. Not just on Elm Street. In the whole friggin’ town. That minor’s name is John Doe, and he’s played by Shon Greenblatt. The movie picks up inside of a nightmare he’s having. John starts off in a plane, then freefalls to earth in a house, then rolls down a hill for six weeks.

Freddy somehow physically transports the Ryder Strong lookalike to the outside of town and commands him to “fetch” — more victims, presumably.

Freddy does this cos he’s not actually allowed to leave Springwood. A wall of energy blocks him from doing so. This stops being a rule later on, but for right now it applies.

John soars through the barrier, hits his head on a rock and is found wandering the streets of a neighboring city with a bad case of amnesia. The cops pick him up assuming he’s a junkie and drop him off at a youth center for troubled teens run by a Maggie Burroughs.

Maggie deduces from a newspaper clipping in John’s pocket that he came from Springwood. As unlikely as it sounds, Maggie is unaware of the town’s gruesome past, even though it’s only TWO MILES AWAY and THERE HAVE BEEN FORTY-SIX MURDERS* THERE MINIMUM during her lifetime, so she drives John back to help jog his memory.

Three other teens stow away in the back of Maggie’s van, but that’s not really relevant to this post.

The five protags arrive just in time for the Springwood Town Fair. They develop an uneasy feeling when they notice there aren’t any kids around, and get even more spooked when they run into Roseanne. John and Maggie decide to do a little detective work, and head to a high school for literally no reason besides having heard a bell in the distance. They meander into a classroom where a man (Matthew Faison) lectures two empty desks, almost like he knew they were coming. The man welcomes them to “Freddy 101” and carries on with his less-than-historically-accurate lesson plan, ignoring the fact that something is and has been incredibly wrong in this place for some time.

Wait, this looks nothing like the same high school from Freddy’s Revenge.
Credit: New Line Home Video DVD

The instructor, “Springwood Teacher” as he’s listed in the credits, zoops up a pull-down map of the town, revealing a blackboard with a timeline drawn on it. He whaps his pointer at a section of it that says 1945 and with a crazed look on his face proclaims “Fourteen-hundred-ninety-three, Freddy sailed across the sea!” then flaps his arms like a bird or conductor.

This moment is brilliant for all the wrong reasons. For starters, Springwood Teacher points to the wrong part of his timeline. Then, he mangles what I’m guessing he was supposed to point to, which reads: “1492, [Freddy] sails [the] ocean blue.” His body language is the cherry on top.

They don’t cover this stuff in the textbooks.
Credit: New Line Home Video DVD

The whole thing is bizarre. But take a look at the rest of the blackboard. It gets even weirder. Transcription below.

Year

Event

0

He is come.

1066

Aligns With Saxons

1492

Sails Ocean Blue

1812

First Kill (w/cannon)

1869

Freddy Kills Maxie

1929

The Crash

1933

Munich Sighting

1945

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Attempts Fail

1966

Child Taken — Os Win in 4

1977

Freddy Kills Elvis?

The timeline ends with the word “kills” and no less than seventy Xs. These dates imply that Freddy:

•was born the same year as Jesus, and/or is Jesus
•was present for the Norman conquest of England (“aligns with Saxons” could also be a reference to horror verteran John Saxon, who played Nancy’s father in Wes Craven’s original)
•discovered America
•fought in the War of 1812
•brought on the Great Depression
•is Hitler or helped Hitler become chancellor of Germany
•was the real reason Allied forces dropped nuclear bombs on Japan, obliterating hundreds of thousands of people in the process
•resurfaced to bump off The King before settling into Springwood, Ohio

…which is hilarious and in poor taste once you realize that whoever came up with this text was basically making light of the Holocaust. It really says something when this is the silliest part of a movie that also features flying sperm demons and Freddy imitating the Wicked Witch of the West.

But hey, these blurbs made it into the movie, so I’m treating them as legit information. Obviously, the long span between dates means that Freddy was never a normal human being to begin with, but rather an ancient, undying evil, like Pennywise or the Creeper from Jeepers Creepers. Of course, this isn’t fully confirmed until New Nightmare, meaning Freddy’s Dead predicted the plot of that pseudo-sequel three years before it came out. Wild.

There are only two parts of this timeline I’m having trouble assigning significance to. The first one is “Freddy Kills Maxie” in 1869. The Civil War was over by then, and there don’t appear to have been any infamous deaths or assassinations that year, let alone of a person named Maxie.

According to IMDb, there are three films titled “Maxie”. One of them is listed as horror, yet none of them seem especially noteworthy. A quick scan through the cast and crew members of Freddy’s Dead shows that only one person named Max even worked on it, Max Penner. Mr. Penner is one of ninety-four people credited with providing visual effects. I’m sure he did a great job, but as part of a team that big, it’s not like he was terribly instrumental in bringing this sequel to the screen, so I doubt the blurb was referring to him. This leaves me wondering who the Hell Maxie is.

I haven’t been able to figure out what “Os Win in 4” means either. I’m sure director Rachel Talalay knows. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, she hasn’t recorded a commentary track for this flick, and probably hasn’t addressed such an extremely specific subject in any of the interviews that she’s done. All we can do is speculate.

Do you have any answers, theories, ideas? Am I overlooking something obvious? Leave a comment below.

The complete view.
Credit: New Line Home Video DVD

Now for some more random trivia. Those of you with a keen eye for detail may remember Matthew Faison as one of the paintballers who gets annihilated by Jason in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986). You may also remember that Freddy’s adoptive father Alice Cooper provided the song “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” for the closing credits of that one. If that’s not coincidental enough, just look at the titles of both movies. Freddy’s Dead. Jason Lives. They’re opposites. This is getting creepy…

*total based on the kill count from Parts 1-5 (I’m choosing to use a conservative kill count of seven for Part 2 since the party scene is unclear), Marge Thompson’s admission from the first film: “Fred Krueger… was a filthy child murderer who killed at least twenty kids in the neighborhood.”, and Lisa’s line from the second one: “Fred Krueger kidnapped twenty kids and brought them here and killed them.”

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