Gottlieb’s Freddy: A Nightmare on Elm Street Pinball Machine

title image: Liberty Games UK

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

When I was a kid, there was a bowling alley near my house that always had the best pinball machines. One day, I walk in with my friends, and there is Gottlieb Premier’s Freddy: A Nightmare on Elm Street, right next to the men’s bathroom entrance.

I’ve always been a Freddy Kruger fan. Some of the films are better than others; the third and the fourth instalments of the franchise are my favourites. What Renny Harlin did with “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master” should be studied in film schools on how to jolt new life into a successful franchise. I find the Rialto cinema scene when Alice is getting sucked into the movie screen to be a stunning and haunting visual.

Freddy was everywhere when I was a kid. He even had his own television series “Freddy’s Nightmares.” Most of the episodes were poorly produced, but it was always fun seeing Freddy introduce or close every anthology story. Some of them were really bad. The show had a short run and it had little to do with the films other than Freddy’s short appearances.

The Gottlieb pinball machine was like an extension of my Freddy fandom. When I wasn’t in school, I would watch one of the films and then go to the bowling alley to play the machine. I would save up my allowance and get my dollar bills converted to quarters at the front counter.

The sound effects of the machine were terrific. I liked how the film’s score played when you put your quarters in and throughout play. My favourite part of the machine was the large, plastic Freddy head that the game balls would come rolling out of. A friend, years later, who loved the machine as much as I did, told me that the Freddy head was the first thing to go. He said that the plastic would erode after a few years. The machine at the bowling alley already had some wear and tear, but it didn’t make me enjoy it any less. The Freddy glove artwork along the side of the machine was a nice, scary touch.

If I could ever afford a fully restored pinball machine, Gottlieb’s Freddy: A Nightmare on Elm Street would be the one that I would buy. Perhaps because of simple childhood nostalgia? That, and it’s such a fun interactive pinball machine connected to my favourite horror property.

After a few months, the Freddy machine just vanished. I asked the manager of the bowling alley where the machine went; he told me that it didn’t make any money. He added, “That machine was giving people the creeps when they went to wizz.”

The Freddy pinball machine was a little creepy, but on my play alone, I know it made money.

image source: The Arcade Flyer Archive