Less than three months from today, a new Halloween movie will be hitting theaters, so ask yourself—why not A Nightmare on Elm Street as well? Of the holy triumvirate of slasher franchises (Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare, it’s the latter that has received the most critical acclaim over the years. Sure, the 2010 reboot starring Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger didn’t exactly win over fans or set the box office ablaze, but what if the series truly returned to its roots? Well, the original Freddy, actor Robert Englund, has some thoughts on the matter—as well as one heck of a pitch.
Speaking to a crowd at the 2018 Summer Television Critics Association press tour, Englund laid out his own personal idea for how Wes Craven’s famous slasher franchise could be revived. In the mind of Englund, this would involve Freddy taking on a new dimension of versatility, gained by being portrayed by multiple actors throughout.
“If I had an Eli Roth budget I would have cast different actors to play Freddy for every potential victim,” Englund said. “Because Freddy is only alive in the imagination of his future victim. They would talk about it at a slumber party or in a locker room at school, or on the bus going home. All we know about this Fred Krueger is he wears a hat, wears a red and green striped sweater and has a clawed hand. That’s the specifics.”
“So it could be a red and green cardigan for one Freddy. It could be an old tattered baseball cap for another Freddy. Freddy could be tall, he could be short, he could be overweight, he could be muscular,” he said. “Every one of the victims could have a different Freddy they imagined. And you could haunt them with that Freddy.”
Of course Englund, being a consummate professional, still remembered to leave a part for himself as well: “And then at the end, it would be the ultimate victim and we see Freddy peel [his face] open and maybe it’s yours truly revealed,” he said. “And it’s the essence of Freddy.”
See, that’s how you write yourself a juicy part, and one that involves limited time shooting on set. Well done Robert, you crafty, 71-year-old horror icon. In recent years, sharp-eyed horror fans have been able to spot Englund in any number of indie horror films, playing bit parts or cameos that take advantage of his notoriety. Our personal favorite remains his role in Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Versnon, where he plays “Dr. Halloran,” a slasher parody of Halloween’s Dr. Samuel Loomis.
Englund also stated his case for Freddy as a modern horror villain, and one that shouldn’t be held back by nostalgia for the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“I don’t think Freddy is an ‘80s villain,” he said. “There’s a huge nostalgia for the eighties for a variety of reasons, but so many horror films and characters transcend that decade. Whether you’re in an igloo in Alaska, or whether you’re surfing in Hawaii, or whether you’re in a small village in Africa, tending your livestock, we have the same dreams, the same nightmares,” he explained. “We have the falling the dream, we have the drowning dream, the claustrophobic dream — these are all common dreams. And Nightmare on Elm Street became instantly universal because of that.”