Today we celebrate the birthday of a horror master.
Tobe Hooper is most known for introducing the world to Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, arguably the most terrifying horror film ever made. He also directed the ’86 sequel, but Hooper’s career didn’t begin and end in Texas. Films like The Funhouse, Salem’s Lot, and Poltergeist firmly established him as a true master… and he even once made a trip to Elm Street.
Yes, two years after returning to Texas for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Tobe Hooper directed the pilot episode of Elm Street spinoff series “Freddy’s Nightmares.” Though the show primarily featured Freddy (played by Robert Englund) as the Crypt Keeper-like host of unrelated tales, the pilot delved deep into his origin story… deeper than the film franchise ever did.
The Hooper-directed episode premiered on October 9th, 1988, and it was titled “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” The episode begins with Fred Krueger on trial for the murder of several children in Springwood, Ohio, but of course, he gets off scot-free. The Elm Street parents take the law into their own hands, burning Krueger alive and inadvertently turning him into a Dream Demon.
“No More Mr. Nice Guy” isn’t exactly the Nightmare On Elm Street prequel we deserve, but it stands out as an important piece of the overall mythology of Freddy Krueger. It’s the best we’ve gotten in terms of a franchise origin story (maybe the next reboot should take some notes from it?), and the fact that Tobe Hooper directed it makes it that much more special.
Celebrate Hooper’s birthday by watching his Elm Street prequel below!