Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Music: "He's burned up like a weenie / and his name is Fred!"

Lately, I've been slowly reworking my way through the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Last evening's selection was The Dream Master, Part 4. I'm going to jump over the movie here – stopping just to note how bizarrely convoluted and contradictory the continuity of the Nightmare movies were the fourth film – and talk about the music over the closing credits. As the film fades to black, the first sing viewers hear is Sinead O'Connor's "I Want Your Hands on Me." The tune's typical of the soundtrack, which is full of tunes from genuinely noteworthy acts, such as Blondie's "In the Flesh" and Dramarama's "Anything Anything." However, the tune that truly stands out appears after the O'Connor song fades: the Fat Boy's "Are You Ready for Freddy?" featuring the titular knife-handed serial child-killer rapping.

Though it is now hard to believe, the Fat Boys were, briefly, a major act. The Boys' brand of inoffensive pop rap was popular enough to rack up a string of charting hits (several of which were basically cheese rap remakes of 60s rock classics), get them a few film roles, and justify the creation of long-form video for their tie-in tune. Here it is:

I can't think of a better indication that the subgenre of the slasher flick had entered into its decadent Abbott-and-Costello-meet phase than this video, which teams a murderous pedo with the rap crew that took a remake of the surf classic "Wipeout" to the charts.

Oddly, "Are You Ready for Freddy?" wouldn't be the only cheese rap tune to stick to Freddy. Before he became a one-man summer blockbuster factory, Will "The Fresh Prince" Smith recorded the non-soundtrack bound "Nightmare on My Street."

Curiously, Smith's movie mixes details from the first three movies with an emphasis an on the overtly "gay horror" second flick – even going so far as to crib the line "You've got the body and I've got the brains." Though Smith's reworking turns Freddy's thinly disguised homosexual seduction into business deal: Krueger wants the Fresh Prince to cut rap tracks with him. This loyalty to the source material is all the more notable when you consider that the Fat Boys, who were actually working on something to be included in the franchise, got several details incorrect (for example, claiming the character of Nancy appear three times in the series when, at that point, she'd only appeared twice).

Perhaps the musical highpoint of the Nightmare series came with the sixth flick, Freddy's Dead. For that flick, the filmmakers co-opted neo-funksters Fishbone's cover of Curtis Mayfield's completely non-Nightmare related tune "Freddie's Dead."

No comments: