One of the coolest-ever Nightmare on Elm Street toys technically had nothing to do with it:
In 1988, Tonka launched a small line of Wrecking Crew toys. These were various construction vehicles that could plow through break-apart playsets. (Not a terribly misguided gimmick, given kids’ collective passion for smashing shit.)
Between the line’s simplistic theme and the toys’ nearly generic appearance, very few people remember Wrecking Crew. And that’s unfortunate, because hiding deep within the collection was an awesome and unmistakable nod to none other than Freddy Krueger!
Shown above is the Abandoned School House Playset. It might not seem so remarkable now, but once I show you the finer details, you’re gonna flip.
Notice the name on the building? Yep, this is the Elm Street High School, a not-so-subtle tip-of-the-hat to world’s wittiest serial killer. (“Springwood High” would’ve been more on-the-nose, but it’s not like the six-year-olds who got these toys would’ve gotten the reference, anyway.)
Some may argue that it’s pure coincidence. Well, let’s dig deeper. Note how the stickers portray this as a condemned and possibly haunted high school, which seems totally on-point for a guy like Freddy Krueger.
Oh, and what’s that on the right-side window? If we’re being literal, they’re tally marks, but it isn’t a big leap to imagine that as a bloody memento left by Freddy’s claw.
The really neat thing is how the playset is perfectly scaled to work with those ReAction figures everyone’s so hot for.
Actually, isn’t this random Wrecking Crew toy technically the only NOES action figure playset currently in existence? I think it is!
The hilarious graffiti strengthens my case, since the colors and text style both bear similarities to many Freddy Krueger collectibles from the late ’80s. If you know your old school Freddy swag, you can’t deny the Elm Street influence.
(Admittedly, it’s way odd that someone would vandalize a school with pro-school messages. And would you really climb up to a second story window if “yeah” was your best tag?)
The “inside” of the playset kinda sucks. I guess the looters took their chances, because this place has been completely cleaned out. Freddy is already thinking of ways to finance new furnishings. All he’ll need is a Bedazzler and a list of upcoming church fairs.
Uh oh, it’s Smasher Sam and his red forklift! Both Sam and his vehicle came packaged with the playset, and remembering that the whole point of these toys is to break them, things aren’t looking good for poor Freddy.
Since the playset was made to fall apart, it only took Smasher Sam three seconds to destroy Freddy’s hideout. What a jerk. Freddy’s done some stuff, sure, but people deserve second chances. He’ll never find honest work if people keep literally running over his mailing addresses.
If you’re a NOES completist, you need this playset. Hell, if you’re just someone who wants a fun display for your ReAction figures, you’re on the list, too. On that note, I have good news and bad news:
The good news is that there aren’t many people looking for Tonka’s Wrecking Crew toys, so you shouldn’t expect much competition.
The bad news is that this playset is still wildly rare, so if a seller decides that it’s worth 200 bucks, you’re kind of stuck with that.
It took me over a year to find one for a reasonable price, and even then, it was mostly because the seller took pity on the only person in the whole world who desperately wanted a 1988 Tonka Wrecking Crew Abandoned School House Playset. Sometimes it pays to be weird.