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This article is about the timeline where Biff Tannen controlled Hill Valley. You may be looking for the timeline where George McFly became a successful writer.
Clocktower1985-A

Biff Tannen's Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel in place of the courthouse.

Marty: "I don't get it, Doc. I mean, how can all this be happening? It's like we're in Hell or something."
Doc: "No, it's Hill Valley, although I can't imagine Hell being much worse."
— At Doc's lab in 1985A, after discovering that George McFly was dead.

1985A, also known as Biffhorrific 1985 or Hell Valley, was an ABC timeline, and a year in the 20th century.

It was created after an elderly Biff Tannen took the Grays Sports Almanac and stole the DeLorean time machine in 2015, then headed back to 1955 to hand it over to his younger self. As a result, Biff became "the luckiest man on Earth" by successfully betting on everything from horse racing to boxing and amassing a fortune, due to having the results in the almanac.

With Biff in power, history was rewritten to become a totally different 1985 from what it used to be. Hill Valley, once advertised as an idyllic and ideal place to live, became a literal hell on Earth, overwhelmed by skyrocketing crime, murders, drive-by shootings and corrupt officials for the police. The high school was burned down and never rebuilt; armed gangs drove through the neighborhoods terrorizing and even killing some of the residents; the public library was shut down and boarded up; and the old courthouse was turned into a gaudy casino-hotel named Biff Tannen's Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel, which drew in unsavory types of all kinds. (All the aforementioned actions are criminal, but because Biff owns the police department, nothing can be done and this is a rule for the crime against humanity by Biff.)

Indeed, Marty McFly initially thought he really was in Hell when he found the changed timeline. Emmett Brown, however, was of the opinion that Hell couldn't be much worse.

Thankfully, this nightmarish alternate timeline ceased to exist when it was overwritten by 1985B after Marty took the sports almanac back from Biff in 1955, and burnt it using a matchbook taken from the Pleasure Paradise; and Doc was sent back in time to 1885 when the DeLorean was struck by lightning.

Differences

Red handed newspaper

The Hill Valley Telegraph reported on Red's arrest in 1973A.

Biff subsequently framed Red the Bum for the murder by having one of the members of the Hill Valley Police Department plant George's stolen wallet on the innocent street vagrant. It was unknown if Red served time in prison for this false accusation or if the charges against Red crumbled, as by 1986 he was a free man, albeit living a haphazard, drunken life.

  • Dave McFly was in prison, having been run out of town by the Hill Valley Police Department, under Biff's orders, in 1981. He had a tough time alone, eventually resulting in his incarceration.
  • Marty McFly had been sent to a boarding school in Switzerland.
  • Linda McFly had financial problems, and owed the bank a substantial amount of money. (Biff threatened to cancel Linda's credit cards and let settle her debts by herself if Lorraine left him.)
  • Emmett Brown shut down some of his higher brain functions, in the manner of a practice performed by some Eastern religions, appearing as if he was lobotomized, and was being kept in the County Asylum.
  • Hill Valley High School burned down in 1979, and by 1985, still hadn't been rebuilt.
  • Richard Nixon was on his fourth term as President of the United States, rather than Ronald Reagan.

New locations

Lorraine-1985A
Lorraine1985Abar

Lorraine Baines McFly, aged 47, in 1985A clothing and breast implants.

  • Biff Tannen's Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel is a 27-story tall hotel built on the site of Hill Valley's dilapidated courthouse. A display for the Biff Tannen Museum is located to the right of the hotel entrance.
  • Oak Park Cemetery is where George McFly was buried in 1973, and is within sight of a BiffCo refinery. Marty and Doc both know the location of the cemetery, suggesting that it also exists on the site in 1985.
  • The Strickland residence is a rundown house within a short distance of the burnt-out remains of Hill Valley High School, and is the home of former principal Mr. Strickland who, armed with a shotgun and wearing a bulletproof vest, fights a one-man war against the armed teenage gangs — 'slackers' — who are driving around the streets, terrorizing and even killing some of the residents. He believes Marty McFly (who he does not recognize, due to history having been changed) to be the slacker responsible for stealing his newspapers.
  • The counterpart in 1985A to 1985's Courthouse Square is a set of businesses around the Paradise Casino.

Among those that were recognizable are:

Alternate timeline of events

For years in this timeline before and after 1985, see the Hell Valley timeline.

  • Saturday, October 26: Doc, Marty, Jennifer and Einstein arrive back from original 2015 at 9:00 p.m. and eventually find out that things have changed. Marty finds a random African-American family living in the McFly residence and meets the alternate versions of his mother and Biff.
  • Sunday, October 27: Marty finds out the truth about Biff and the almanac and narrowly escapes an enraged Biff. Marty and Doc head back to 1955 at 2:42 a.m. to put history back on track.

Behind the scenes

  • The elaborate set of Courthouse Square in 1985A was visible for no more than 60 seconds in Part II. Photos of the various locations were not released until 2010 as part of the Blu-ray edition of the trilogy.
  • Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale have both said that director Frank Capra was one of the persons whom they admired, and the "Hell Valley" sequence is reminiscent of "Pottersville", the alternate reality in Capra's classic 1946 film, It's a Wonderful Life.
  • Downtown Hill Valley in 1985A and downtown Hill Valley in 1985 have many of the same types of businesses. In both timelines, a person downtown can buy alcohol, watch X-rated films, purchase "adult" books and toys, pawn their possessions, and arrange for a bail bond to be released from jail, although it's more pronounced in 1985A.
  • Doc comments "I can't imagine hell being much worse." Ironically, the center of this particular hell is called "Paradise".
  • The graphic novel Watchmen takes place in an alternate 1985; like in the Biffhorrific timeline, the Watergate scandal was not revealed, and Nixon was in his fourth term, being the U.S. President instead of Ronald Reagan well into the 1980s.
  • With the election of Donald Trump, on whom Biff Tannen of 1985A was based (although Tom Wilson has denied this), some hardcore BTTF fans are scared this reality might actually happen, albeit post-2015. One reason being that Trump and Tom Wilson had similar appearances, another being that Trump owned a casino.

Appearances

Sources

References