A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge — Adaptation Excerpts
Adapted by Bob Italia
Transcribed by Rob Nimmo
Later that day, Jesse was in the boys’ locker room of the high school. At the opposite end of a row of lockers was a tough-looking classmate, Ronny Grady. Both boys had just finished baseball practice and were getting dressed. “So,” Grady said after a long silence, “you live around here?” “Not too far,” Jesse said. “My folks bought a place over on Elm Street.” Grady stopped buttoning his shirt and looked up at Jesse. “Elm Street? You telling me you moved into that big white house with the bars on the windows?” Jesse frowned. “Yeah, why?” Grady shook his head and tucked in his shirttails. “You can tell your old man he’s a real chump.” Jesse grew angry. “What are you talking about?” “They’ve only been trying to unload that dump for five years. That place is bad news. Some chick was locked in there by her mother and she went crazy. She watched her boyfriend get butchered by some maniac in the house across the street. Her poor mama took her own life right inside your front door.” Jesse stared at Grady with doubt. “You’re full of it,” he said with a nervous laugh. Grady shoved Jesse into the lockers. Angered, Jesse shoved him back. The two were about to exchange punches when someone blew a whistle. Jesse looked to the end of the row and saw Coach Schneider standing there with his arms folded. “Haven’t had enough, eh?” Schneider said. “Okay boys, let’s run some laps.” Schneider sent Jesse and Grady out to the practice field where they ran their laps. It wasn’t until the school parking lot was completely empty when Schneider sounded his whistle again. “Okay, boys,” he called out, “Hit the showers!” Jesse and Grady returned to the locker room. This time, they kept their mouths shut.
Late that night, Jesse had trouble sleeping. He turned over on different sides and punched the pillow a couple of times. Then he stared into space and finally sat up. Frustrated, Jesse got out of bed, put on his jeans, then headed for the kitchen. The room was lit only by the glow of a full moon. Jesse crossed the room to the refrigerator and opened the door. A juice bottle crashed to the floor. Startled, Jesse jumped back. Regaining his composure, Jesse stepped to the sink and grabbed some papertowels. He glanced to the kitchen window and saw a grotesque face peering in. Jesse rubbed his eyes and looked again. The face was gone. Jesse stopped for a moment to slow his heart. He took a deep breath, stepped to the back door, and opened it. All was quiet. Nothing stirred. Jesse strained to see past the shrubbery that surrounded the house. “Grady?” he said in a hoarse whisper. “It better be you!” Jesse heard an awful sound—the sound of wood ripping! With caution, Jesse made his way along the side of the house. He noticed a red-orange light flickering from behind a cellar window. He got down on his hands and knees to investigate. Jesse saw an intruder bent over by the furnace, lit only by the raging fire within. The intruder wore a filthy green and red striped sweater and a battered hat. He put his hand into the flames and began digging for something in the back of the furnace. Then he pulled out a bundle of rags, set it on top of the furnace and began unwrapping it. Jesse was petrified. He stood up and looked around frantically. He didn’t know what to do. Jesse hurried out the gate that led to the front of the house. Entering the house, Jesse scanned the foyer. Then he headed toward the cellar door. It was ajar. The lock had been splintered as if by a huge wreaking bar. He could hear the roar of the furnace below. Jesse stuck his head inside the cellar door and peaked down. He saw the shadow of a menacing figure moving along the cellar walls. Jesse was breathing heavily, his brain whirling with fear. He pulled the basement door closed and held it tight.
“Dad!” he screamed, looking around frantically. “Dad!” Something began pulling the cellar door open. Jesse tried to hold it shut, but the powerful force continued to inch the door open. Jesse let go and bolted for the foyer. Freddy stood in his path, a sick smile on his scarred face. He flashed his razor-knives at Jesse. “Daddy can’t help you now,” Freddy said sinisterly. Jesse tried to run away, but Freddy was too fast. His un-taloned hand gripped Jesse’s shirt collar. “I’ve been waiting five years for you, Jesse,” Freddy said. “We got special work to do, you and me. Things are really gonna heat up.” Jesse struggled to free himself. Freddy tightened his iron grip and fanned his talons threateningly. Jesse’s head stretched back from the choking pain. “We’ll do real good together, you and me,” Freddy said. He hurled Jesse against the wall. “You got the body, I got the brains.” Freddy removed his hat. There was no skull—just his squirming brain. Jesse let out an agonizing scream. Then his dad and mom crashed into the bedroom, and Jesse found himself laying in bed. “Maybe we should call a doctor,” Shirley said to Ken. “No, I’m okay,” Jesse said sitting up. “Really. Just a bad dream.”
The following evening, Lisa, in her swimsuit, stepped out of a cabana in her backyard and approached the swimming pool. Stepping on the diving board, she bounced lightly and jumped off, cutting gracefully through the water and coming up in the center of the pool. Mrs. Poletti, a pleasant-looking woman in her late 40’s, slid open the patio doors and poked her head out. “There’s a Jesse on the phone,” she called out to Lisa. “Okay, thanks,” Lisa said. She swam to the edge of the pool and hoisted herself up. Throwing a towel over her shoulders, Lisa picked up a wireless phone from the patio table. “Jesse, hi,” she said. “Hi,” Jesse said. “Listen, I can’t make it tonight. My old man wants me to finish unpacking.” “Oh, that’s okay,” Lisa replied. “I understand. Parents can be real pains. I’ll see you in the morning.” “Yeah, okay. See ya then.” Lisa hung up the phone and frowned.
Jesse stood at the foot of the bed, surveying the job unhappily and trying to figure out where to start. Finally, he pulled a shoe box from inside a larger carton, placed it on his desk and lifted the lid. It was full of cassette tapes. Jesse rifled through the tapes, selected one, and popped it into a portable cassette player on the desk. Then he pushed the “play” button. Rock and roll music began blaring from the speakers. Jesse approached a carton near the bookshelves. Reaching deep into the nearly empty box, he pulled out a stack of books which he plopped on the shelves next to other books already unpacked. Then he tossed the carton aside. Now he was getting into the music, and spun around to face the bureau. He opened a small box on the bureau while be-bopping along and pulled out a pair of sunglasses which he put on, practically dancing. Then he dumped the contents of the box haphazardly into a bureau drawer. Jesse opened a large bureau drawer. He grabbed a nearby box and dumped it into the large drawer, smoothing it over with his hands. A Stetson cowboy hat was on top. He dropped it on his head and pulled it low over his eyes. Jesse stepped before a full length mirror to get a look at himself. In one smooth move, in rhythm with the music, he swung around and moved to the desk. He dumped a small box of pencils and supplies into the desk drawer. As an afterthought, he grabbed a couple of pencils out of the drawer and drummed a few beats on his desk. Finally, Jesse shoved the pencils up his nostrils, tucked his thumbs under his armpits and waved his elbows like a chicken. Spinning around and throwing his arms out, he stopped dead in his tracks.
His mom and Lisa were standing in the doorway. Shirley looked horrified. Lisa repressed a giggle. Jesse hastily pulled the pencils out of his nose and dived for the stereo to turn it off. Beet-red, he tossed the hat and sunglasses onto the bed and tried to look nonchalant. “Hi,” he said with embarrassment. Jesse looked to his mom. She took the hint to leave. Lisa stepped into the room. “I told her you invited me over. I guess I should’ve called, huh?” Jesse was glad to see her. He put the pencils in the desk drawer and shut it. “No, that’s okay. I was just…unpacking.” “I know,” she giggled. Lisa casually stepped over to a carton and peeked in. “I figured you might like some help.” Jesse smiled. It did not take long for the room to shape up nicely. Only a few boxes remained. Jesse pulled a bundle wrapped in newspapers from a carton. He tore away the paper, revealing a baseball trophy. Then he placed it on a conspicuous corner of his dresser. “Sweaters in the closet?” Lisa asked. “Great,” Jesse replied. Lisa dragged a chair to the closet, lifted a pile of sweaters from an open box, stepped up on the chair and stacked the sweaters on a shelf. She started to step back down when something in the back corner of the shelf caught her attention. She reached in and pulled out a small, red leather-bound book. “What’s this?” she said. Frowning, Jesse stepped over to look at the book. It was smaller than an average paperback. It had a matching leather thong that snapped into a small latch on the front cover. “I don’t know,” he finally said. “Looks like a diary.” Lisa raised her eyebrows and lowered herself down to sit on the chair. She snapped open the tiny latch and opened the book. “Nancy Thompson, 1428 Elm,” she read aloud. “Hey, this thing is five years old!” “You know her?” Jesse said. Lisa shook her head. “Before my time.” She turned a few pages and read aloud. “February 17th—my birthday. Daddy came by today with a big old stuffed bear for me. He took me to dinner and a movie and when we got back, he and mother had another one of their fights. He left angry. I wish they would stop fighting.”
Jesse waived the diary away, uninterested. He crossed back to continue unpacking.
“I think it’s sad,” Lisa said.
“Traumas of a ten-year-old,” Jesse stated.
Lisa leafed through a few more pages, stopped, and began reading with widened eyes. “He comes to me at night. Horrible. Ugly. Dirty. Tearing at my nightgown with his steel claw.”
Jesse snapped around and approached Lisa, snatching the book from her. Then he resumed the passage. “His name is Fred and he keeps taking me to the boiler room. He wants to kill me.”
Jesse shivered. He turned the page and froze.
“What is it?” Lisa said.
Jesse showed her the next page. There was one sentence scrawled across the next entry.
Tina is dead.
Jesse and Lisa looked at each other in horror. Jesse turned the page. “Rod’s been killed. Just Glen and me now. Can’t fall asleep!” Jesse’s face turned white as he looked up at Lisa.
“Are you okay?” Lisa asked.
“Something Grady told me today about the people who lived here last. Girl went crazy—saw her boyfriend killed in the house across the street…”
Just then, Shirley poked her head into the room. “How’s it going?”
Jesse hid the diary behind his back. “Okay.”
Shirley looked over the room, impressed with the progress. “Looks great! Thought you might want to take a break—got some cold cider downstairs.”
Lisa looked at Jesse’s alarm clock. It was 8 P.M. “No…thanks,” she said. “I better get back. Got a major paper due the end of this week.”
“Well, it’s there if you change your mind,” Shirley said before leaving.
“Are you sure?” Jesse said.
Lisa nodded with a sour expression. “World History. But I’ll see you in the morning, right?” Jesse nodded.
Lisa pointed to the diary. “Hot stuff. Let me know how it turns out.”
Jesse opened the door. “I’ll walk you downstairs.”
Once Lisa was gone, Jesse poured a glass of milk in the kitchen and entered the living room. His mom wrapped a night-cover over the bird cage while his dad shifted uncomfortably in his recliner. “A little warm in here, huh?” he said, wiping some beaded sweat from his upper lip. Then he got up to check the thermostat. Jesse’s eyes widened. He noticed the intense heat in the room immediately. “It’s 97 degrees in here!” Ken announced. He pulled off the cover-plate and began fiddling with the coil. Suddenly, a loud squawk filled the room. Everyone looked up. Jesse put his milk down on the TV and hurried over to the bird cage, ripping the cover away. One of the budgies was attacking the other. Jesse threw open the door and tried to pull the attacking bird away. The budgie attacked Jesse’s hand, drawing blood. As Jesse pulled out his arm, the bird flew into the living room, screeching with an eerie war cry unnatural for its size. The bird circled around the ceiling, then dived for Ken, cutting a deep gash under his eye. The budgie seemed much larger than it was before—twice its original size! “Get a broom or something!” Ken cried. The bird swooped down, heading for Angela. It crashed into a lampshade, knocking it to the floor. The bird fluttered to the ceiling and hovered near a light fixture. It opened its mouth and emitted a guttural growl. Shirley returned with a broom and handed it to Ken. As he lifted the broom to his shoulder, the bird screamed again and dived for Jesse. Jesse threw his arm out to block the attack. Ken swung at the bird. He missed, demolishing the table lamp. The bird hovered in the air, puffing up and growing angrier. Just as it seemed ready for a last lethal attack, the bird exploded into flames. The family looked at one another in horror and disbelief. The only sound in the room was Angela, attached to her mother’s leg, whimpering quietly.
Later, Ken dumped an odd assortment of hand tools on the kitchen table. He picked through them, selecting a pipe wrench and a screw driver. Then he approached the stove and attempted to pull it from the wall. “Help me with this thing!” he shouted at Jesse.
“It’s not the gas, Dad!” Jesse said.
“Don’t tell me it’s not the gas!” Ken snapped, yanking on the stove. “Your mother thought she smelled gas.”
“I wasn’t sure, Ken,” she said timidly.
“All right then, what was it?” Ken growled. “Bird rabies? That cheap seed you’ve been buying? There’s got to be an explanation. Animals just don’t burst into flames for no reason!”
“Well, it sure isn’t leaky gas pipes,” Jesse said.
Ken looked angrily at Jesse. “You set this all up, didn’t you? One of your sick jokes?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know what I’m talking about. What did you use, a firecracker? A cherry bomb?”
“I don’t have to listen to this!” Jesse shouted. He stormed out of the kitchen.
“Come back here!” Ken said.
“Ken!” Shirley yelled.
Ken looked blankly at the wrench in his trembling hand. “I don’t know…I don’t know, Shirl. He used to be a good kid.”
Late that night, Jesse emerged from his room and eased the door shut as quietly as possible. He stopped to listen for any signs of his parents, then stepped lightly past their room. Descending the stairs, Jesse made his way to the cellar door. He stopped momentarily, losing his nerve. Then he finally turned the knob and opened the door. He pulled an overhead chain, flooding the cellar with light. No sign of an intruder. Jesse descended the stairs and stepped to the furnace. He squatted down and opened the firebox door. Then he reached in. Horrified, he felt something. He pulled out an object wrapped in rags. Jesse unwrapped the object. It was an old, leather glove with a row of rusty knife blades protruding from its fingers. Suddenly, the furnace switched on with a roar. Flames leaped out of the firebox.
“You like my little trick with the bird?” a voice laughed sinisterly.
Jesse reeled around.
Freddy was just across the room.
“Who are you?” Jesse said.
“What do you want?” Jesse asked.
“Go ahead, Jesse. Try it on for size!”
Jesse looked at the glove. The blades were gleaming and sharp. He threw the weapon to the floor and ran for the stairs. But then he tripped over some empty cartons and fell to the floor. Regaining consciousness, Jesse realized the furnace has stopped.
Freddy was gone.
As he struggled to his feet, Jesse noticed the glove on the floor where he dropped it—shiny and new as the day it was made!