Obscure Freddy Krueger Merch!

Without meaning to, I’ve amassed a pretty diverse collection of Freddy Krueger merchandise.

I guess the best explanation is that it’s very easy to do. Especially in his heyday, Freddy Krueger really stood apart from his slasher brethren on the merchandise front. His steady evolution into a killer comedian made him a much safer bet than, say, Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. Freddy’s probably had ten times more toys and novelties than those two guys combined!

Since I’m more prone to notice the horror-related bric-a-brac peppering my many shelves during the Halloween season, I thought now would be a good time to give some of my “Freddy junk” a day in the sun. Here are five of my favorite – and most obscure – Krueger collectibles.

#1: Matchbox Character Car (1999)

“Character Cars” were standard-sized Matchbox cars with a twist: Each was topped with a movie figurine. The collection was surprisingly sprawling: Aside from Freddy, Jason and Leatherface, there were others based on the Universal Monsters, and even a few with non-horror characters.

Freddy was a gift from my friend Bill, and his Character Car is a beaut. In a neat nod to the films, he’s tormenting a Springwood Boiler Maintenance van. (Each car in the set was themed to match the specific figure. Jason’s version had him beating up a Crystal Lake “Camp Counselor” van, for example.)

The only downside is that you can’t remove the figure. I mean, you could, but it’d only ruin both the figure and the car. As great as it is, I think it’d be more interesting to shuffle a NOES van into a pile of regular Matchbox cars. God knows, that pile could use some personality.

#2: Freddy’s Bubble Gum (1989)

I wrote about this almost ten years ago, and it should surprise no one to learn that I’ve kept it ever since. It might be the most bewilderingly harmless Freddy Krueger collectible of all!

The gum inside sucks. It’s like the midpoint between a Chiclet and a Tiny Chiclet, with no special flavor or colors. (You’d think Topps would’ve at least limited the gum colors to green and red, but nah, you were just as likely to find pink and yellow in there.)

That was more than made up for by the awesome “tube” packages. Freddy’s claw rising through a pile of gum is a sight I love like few others.

The one thing I’ve always been confused about is that line circling the sticker. “The Freddy nobody knows?” What does that mean? Was Topps implying that he had a softer side? If so, they chose the right photo. That’s totally an “I’m not so bad” kind of photo.

I believe you, Freddy!

#3: Freddy Krueger’s Tales of Terror (1995)

My friend Judson sent me this book. He had no way of knowing that I’d only recently come extremely close to buying one myself. At that Monster-Mania convention back in August, I had my eye on a copy. By the time I convinced myself to pay whatever bloated price the dealer was asking, somebody else had already bought it. The experience gave me nightmares, and not the cool NOES kind. Thank you, Judson. I’m going to sleep a lot easier now.

I haven’t read it yet, and I have no clue what it’s about. I only wanted it because it has THE GREATEST COVER IN BOOK HISTORY. Look at it! It’s three-dimensional AND die-cut! If I’m not mistaken, Freddy’s look was inspired by New Nightmare, which, in terms of fashion, was the perfect blend of Fred Krueger and Jack Napier.

Judging by the synopsis on the back cover, I’m not entirely sure that Freddy Krueger is even in this book. It may just be a “random horror story” blessed with Freddy’s branding. I’m not bothered by this. I don’t care if it’s a book about dendrology, so long as it has THAT COVER.

#4: Freddy’s Dead 3-D Glasses (1991)

The sixth of the NOES films was also the most maligned. Everything went off the rails in this movie. If you’ve ever heard complaints about how Freddy became “too cheesy,” it’s Freddy’s Dead that caused them.

By and large, the NOES movies up to that point had a certain “quality control” about them. The series always did different and better things, and fans loved having that defense in their pockets. Freddy’s Dead, on the other hand, was every bit the unfocused mess that critics said it was. We hated having to agree.

Still, time has been kind to it. Movies like this don’t need to be objectively good once they’ve aged. They only need to be entertaining. Freddy’s Dead, for all of its faults, did give us that one scene with the bootleg Power Glove. That counts for something, right?

The final portion of the film was in 3-D, and since the glasses given out in theaters had primo NOES branding all over them, it’s no shock that so many people held onto them. From what I’m reading, more than eleven million glasses were given away, making them one of the coolest and most affordable slices of vintage Krueger merch available today. If you’re paying more than five bucks for a pair, you’re paying too much.

#5: Gum in the Hair on Elm’s Treat (1990s)

Freddy Krueger’s likeness was very often stolen. There are all sorts of bootlegs out there, from figures to costumes and beyond. Most of that merchandise was made and sold overseas, but this one eked by in the States by being less an infringement and more a “parody.” Meet Eddie Chewger!

Made by Zeebs, the “BHS Video Gum” collection consisted of big wads of gum shaped like videocassettes, tossed in plastic boxes shaped like videocassettes, wrapped in additional boxes that evoked videocassette cases. Got all that?

So yeah, instead of “Nightmare on Elm Street,” it’s “Gum in the Hair on Elm’s Treat.” (That’s a pretty big reach there, Zeebs.) Eddie Chewger’s profile on the back of the box is incredible, positioning him as a pastry chef driven to madness after falling face-first into a “glob of bubble gum.”

Best of all is the image of Freddy, modified to look like’s made from bubble gum instead of burned flesh. The package is undated (I’m guessing it’s from the early ‘90s), and it doesn’t need the distinction of being “official” merchandise to be one of my favorite-ever Krueger collectibles.

Thanks for reading about Freddy Krueger! And Eddie Chewger!

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38 Responses to Obscure Freddy Krueger Merch!

  1. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! SO AWESOME!!!! <3 Freddy!

  2. Aw, that Eddie Chewger gum sounds really neat! I love it when gum and the things gum come in are shaped like other, unrelated things. Any chance we could get more pictures of it, like the plastic case or the gum pieces themselves?

  3. @LindaJean: Yep! Just added those. Click the “back of the box” link in the section to see everything including the gum!

  4. I love it Matt! thanks for keeping Halloween alive for me

  5. Thanks Matt! That picture is so intense I swear I can smell the gum.

  6. Man, those Matchbox character cars were great. I worked at a KB when those were released, and I took immense pleasure in hanging a Leatherface car on a peg right next to Fonzie on a motorcycle.

    I also remember the Frankenstein’s Monster figure being awkwardly attached in such a way that he seemed to be humping his ride.

  7. Glad to see you hung on to the Freddy gum! Not that anyone could or should throw that away!
    I have been wanting some of those 3D glasses for a while, but I want to get a laserdisc copy of Freddy’s Dead to watch with.

  8. I just read the back of the box.

    “The whole town is terrorized by his putrid pink appearance as he searches for the man inside.”

    Box, what are you trying to say? Is this a manifestation of your guilt over creating knockoff packaging? Forgive yourself box, and then you can move on to find the man inside who you want to be. I hope he likes gum.

  9. I like that the Matchbox car has no. 1428 on it. As in 1428 Elm St. It’s the little details.
    And speaking of knockoffs, I picked up a “Nightmare Glove” from the 99Cent store. It’s all black and made from the cheapest material a 99-cent budget can afford, but it’s clearly a bootleg of a much higher quality costume piece, with each finger having 2 size adjustment straps. Pretty good for a dollar.

  10. I’m not really into the “Nightmare On Elm Street” movies, but I remember the Eddie Chewgar bubble gum tape when it was on X-Entertainment, and even I always though it was darn imaginative for a bootleg. I kind of like the Matchbox Freddy, too.

  11. “Movies like this don’t need to be objectively good once they’ve aged. They only need to be entertaining.”

    So true, so true. Today’s “Fast & the Furious 5″ is tomorrow’s “Miami Connection”.

    And I still have my Freddy’s Dead glasses, too. It was the 2nd horror movie that I ever saw in the theater, behind Halloween 4.

  12. I’m surprised that Freddy van could roll properly. With a figurine on the hood that’s double the van’s size, you’d think it would just tip forward.

    As for “the Freddy that nobody knows,” I’m wondering if this was just one of a series, and other gum tubes had different photos and captions. It seems the kind of random photo and “humorous” caption you’d see on a trading card or some other collect-em-all product.

    Either that, or it was originally intended for some other schlocky merch that didn’t see production, leaving Topps to figure out another way to get it onto something.

  13. @kidneyboy

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think the LD version of the movie would have the 3D ending intact. As far as I knew, the first time it appeared on video was the version included in the old 8-disc DVD box set from ’99 (8th disc is a bunch of extras). Eventually they released all those discs (except the extras one) individually, but when they did so, they removed the 3D option once again from the standalone disc.

    Looks like that old box set is still in print though with new packaging ($25 at Amazon) and does still contain two sets of glasses and the disc that offers the 3D version.

  14. Also, isn’t that “Freddy Nobody Knows” caption and picture used on a card in the Topps Fright Flicks set as well?

  15. DunkyBasketball: Miami Connection is a sight to behold. I heard about it from the guys at Red Letter Media so I watched it and…wow.

  16. Oh my lord. I had that gum in the hair thing when I was a kid. I thought it was just about the coolest thing ever. If you didn’t post that, I would have NEVER EVER remembered it. Wow.

  17. I had that book. In fact I had the whole series, along with the similar Halloween ones. I believe I read them for the “pick your own book” part of English class in freshman high school. And I don’t think a single person made fun of me for it, oddly.

  18. My favorite obscure NOEM items I owned (which I believe you’ve covered both over the years) was a yo-yo and the water “squirt-head”.

  19. I finally saw the original NOES last week when a friend brought it over. That comment should probably ban me from this site.
    We talked about how Freddy was one of those movie monsters all the kids knew everything about… Even though none of us had SEEN the movie (But some kid’s older brother had so that was as good as seeing it yourself).
    This may sound funny but watching the first movie really made me appreciate The Simpsons “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace” all the more because it adhered so closely to the original NOES.

  20. Awesome! I’m glad you like the book. The whole thing just screams the 90′s, from the cover to the story inside. It’s about an evil magic eye poster bought from a haunted Sharper Image from a spooky mall, or something. If I remeber right, it’s vaguely hinted at that Freddy is the force behind everything but he mostly shows up to bookend the whole thing like he did in “Freddy’s Nightmares”. There was also a Camp Crystal Lake series that was pretty great. Jason himself didn’t make an appearance but the stories followed his mask as it possessed anyone that put it on. Book three took place at a carnival! You can still find the Freddy books pretty cheap so I would avoid high vendor convention markup. Glad I could save you from con remorse. I hate con remorse. It’s the worst.

  21. I remember the BHS Video Gum. I can’t recall which ones I had, but between me and my little brother, we had several different “movie” cases of gum.

  22. Oh all of these are great. Glad you like the Matchbox cars!

    Freddy’s Dead was in 3-D? How did I not know that? Also, I can never find the Goo-Goo Dolls soundtrack to that film. It’s actually not too bad.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxfZd_TkCy8

  23. “The Freddy Nobody Knows” – what the hell? That’s so weird, it’s great.

    I was definitely one of those kids that grew up knowing about Freddy and NOES, but never actually *saw* any of the films. Nevertheless, I thought Freddy was the coolest, even if I knew little about him beyond that glove. Jason was in the same group, though to a lesser extent. That whole “forbidden to young baby childrens” thing gave these characters such a, I don’t know, mystique?

    Freddy was definitely everywhere in the late-80′s/early-90′s. I remember there was some line of collectible toys (including a squeezy water squirter, IIRC), and my Mom actually bought for my Uncle, who collected things of that nature. He got the actual toy, but I got the cardback to it, and man, for the longest time I drooled over the Freddy toys advertised on it.

  24. Man, that’s so cool that you brought up that video cassette gum…

    Just the other day I was thinking about that compact disk gum. It would be in something like a CD case and the gum inside would be shaped like a CD.

    The one I had was called “Gum Day- Sticky” While the cover was a knock off of Green Days Dookie… Certainly not as interesting a play on words wise as Eddie Chewger.

  25. The thing I find hilarious about Freddy being in so much merchandise that’s safe for the younger set is how Freddy is easily the least safe for a child character ever! He was a child murderer! That was what he was all about!

  26. The 3-D glasses, I had them! I was much too young to go see Freddy’s Dead, of course, but my mom took me and my friends to 101 Dalmatians, and we were so Freddy crazy we asked the Box Office lady if we could have a pair of the 3-D glasses. She looked irritated, but quickly slid us the specs as if she’d get in trouble if someone caught her giving out freebies. We got to tell everyone we went to see Freddy’s Dead–we had the swag to prove it!

  27. The Freddy with the Character Car looks like he’s going to do the spin-a-roonie.

  28. Holy crap, I love this post so much. I too have been a collector of NOES merchandise. It’s my second favorite horror franchise right behind Hellraiser, but absolute first when it comes to merchandise. Pinhead wasn’t marketed near as much as Freddy was, and nearly all of Freddy’s stuff was great.

    That matchbox car is really nice. I agree that it’s a shame you can’t take Freddy off of it. I’ve always enjoyed injecting a little horror into my otherwise mundane toys.

    And let me say, I am so incredibly happy and relieved that you actually wrote about that Tales of Terror novel. Why? Because I’ve been trying to track that thing down for 15 years now. I had one of the books in that series in high school, but somehow lost it. I could totally remember the cover of the book but couldn’t remember the title. Finally, my search has come to an end. At the time, I had no idea it was part of a series, but after some looking online, it looks like there were 6 of them, all with a variation of that cover. And I have every intention of owning them all now. I’m not kidding here. I’m actually pretty excited about this! Thank you!

    “If you’ve ever heard complaints about how Freddy became ‘too cheesy’, it’s Freddy’s Dead that caused them.”

    Now here’s where we differ a little. I’d say Part 5 was to blame for that. I actually really enjoyed Freddy’s Dead. Yes, it was cheesy as hell, but there was so much to love! I’m a sucker for a good origin story and we actually got to see pre-burned Freddy! And I loved the whole idea that was making other gloves aside from the one we all know, not to mention the fact that he had a daughter out there. It’s also nice to know that the 3-D glasses are so readily available because that was something else I’ve always wanted to own, but could never find.

    Such a great post!

  29. The Matchbox cars had The Mask and Ace Ventura as well, if I remember correctly…

  30. interested in seeing what the other Matchbox character cars look like…

  31. @Bill – It’s only the final 15 minutes or so of the movie that’s actually in 3D. (There’s even a scene where Maggie puts on a pair of 3D glasses to cue the audience into doing so.)

    As for the Freddy’s Dead soundtrack, it looks like you can pick it up for about $5 on Amazon, and has the three Goo Goo tracks.

  32. Fun Fact: My friend’s boss looks exactly like Freddy Kruger before he got melted.

  33. This stuff is so cool to me, even though, as I’ve mentioned countless times before, I’m not the horror aficionado that most of you are. That Matchbox car is probably my favorite of the bunch. I remember seeing those in stores and they were pretty cool. We should all write Matchbox and get them to re-release the cars sans character!

  34. Loves smooth jazz, a tender lover #thefreddynobodyknows

  35. well. i’ve got the flu! but i did catch nightmares 4 and 5 this weekend. they were pretty good. also i highly recommend guillermo del toro’s “the devil’s backbone” which i finally watched it was awesome.

  36. All great but I’m particularly enamoured by the gum entries…that bootleg VHS gum is amazing! Got any more of those? How about a feature when Halloween is over?

  37. I remember reading the “Freddy Krueger’s Tales Of Terror” books when they first came out. As I recall, Freddy introduced the stories Cryptkeeper style and there would always be the twist at the end that he had possessed whoever was the lead villain for that particular “tale”. “Virtual Terror” was the best one if memory serves and Bergantino also wrote a pretty kick-ass novelization for “New Nightmare”.

    Around the same time, there were also YA series for both “Friday The 13th” (by Eric Morse) and “Halloween” (by Kelly O’Rourke).

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