One of the coolest-ever A Nightmare on Elm Street toys technically had nothing to do with A Nightmare on Elm Street:
Bear with me. This’ll take some explaining.
In 1988, Tonka launched a small line of Wrecking Crew toys. These were various construction vehicles that could plow through break-apart playsets, affording kids the chance to do what they loved to do best: Smash shit.
With its simple gimmick and nearly generic look, very few people remember the Wrecking Crew collection. That’s unfortunate, because hiding deep in the line 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 if you were going to drop a reference like this into a line of construction toys meant for six-year-olds, there was little sense in fact-checking.)
Some of you may argue that it’s pure coincidence. Well, dig a little 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 only helps my case, because between the colors and the text style, it’s a close match to Freddy Krueger’s late ‘80s collectibles. There’s a definite Elm Street vibe in those stickers.
(Granted, it’s 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 is nothing to get excited about. I guess the looters took their chances, because this condemned school has been completely cleaned out. Freddy is already thinking of ways to finance some new furnishings. All he’ll need is a Bedazzler and a list of upcoming church fairs.
Uh oh, it’s Smasher Sam and his vermillion red forklift! Both Sam and his vehicle came packaged with the playset, and remembering that everything fell under the umbrella of “Wrecking Crew,” things aren’t looking too good for poor Freddy.
Since the playset was made to fall apart, it only took Smasher Sam three seconds to completely destroy Freddy’s hideout. What a jerk. Freddy’s done some stuff, sure, but everyone deserves a second chance. 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. Or 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 pretty rare, so if a seller decides that it’s worth 200 bucks, you’re kind of stuck with that.
It took me well 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 really wanted a 1988 Tonka Wrecking Crew Abandoned School House Playset. Sometimes it pays to be weird.