If you were a child growing up in the 1980s, fedora hats, striped sweaters, and the old bladed glove screamed one thing — Freddy Krueger.
Krueger may have had a thing for dreamers, but the son of a thousand maniacs was the stuff nightmares were made of, and lots of them. Eight movies worth to be precise.
Krueger was the villain’s villain: bad, mad, and dangerous to dream about. Freddy was the star of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, and he also had a fantastic way with one-liners and wore his hat at a particularly stylish and jaunty angle.
Played to perfection by Robert Englund, Krueger was hard to beat because he terrorized his victims by using their own subconscious and primal fears as his personal torture tools.
In 2010, a new movie-going generation whose aesthetic senses had been brutalized by a never-ending cinematic stream of gratuitous gore were primed to be introduced to the subtle terror and myriad monstrosities that a character like Freddy can bring to the table, when a reboot of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street hit the big screen.
Robert Englund was replaced by Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy, but in terms of introducing the scar-faced dream monster to a new generation, the film fell flat as a pancake and lacked the punch of the 1984 original.
Krueger had been born again as little more than a humorless slasher on the hunt. Gone were the quips, the camp mannerisms, the impish smile that seemed to suggest, “You’ve no idea how truly psychopathic I can be,” and in its place was little more than a poor man’s Leatherface.
It was very much a case of one, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, we’ve been there before.
The only difference is that beforehand, we had a groundbreaking, truly horrifying premise and a punchy, no-prisoner-taking plot successfully married with the intimidating presence of Englund’s Freddy. This time around, the film was a bland and plodding rehash, with a Krueger as dull as ditchwater and as tepid as regurgitated tea.
The new A Nightmare on Elm Street had the overall effect of boring movie audiences to sleep and then politely waking them up and reminding them to be scared because — here’s Freddy!
Here’s the good news: There’s a new A Nightmare on Elm Street reboot on the way. Here’s the bad news: Robert Englund will probably not feature in it as Freddy, but he does have some really good ideas for the filmmakers.
One of them, which he revealed to Florida Today, includes depicting Krueger to a new generation in as many forms as there are imaginations to conjure up this vile creature spat forth from the bowels of hell.
Confused? Let Englund explain.
“If I was in control of my own Nightmare on Elm Street movie, I have an idea I would have liked to see. I thought it would be great if the children of previous victims, or just kids who grew up hearing stories about Freddy Krueger, were each haunted by their own version of Freddy Krueger.
“Kids who grew up hearing stories about this Freddy Krueger guy and the awful things he did envisioned him in their own way, and that is the version that begins to haunt them. Some people may picture him as stout, another might envision him as tall & thin, another with a different hat, or a different sweater.
“He could have different gloves, or even a glove with small razor blades as referred to in the first movie. It would be neat to see very different interpretations of Freddy Krueger based on the child’s vision of who or what Freddy was to them. After all, each person’s subconscious would picture him in a totally different way.”
So in theory, Krueger could be an obese clown with a posh English accent and a vicious crystal meth habit, if indeed that’s your idea of the very personification of evil.
It’s a neat concept and well done that man for thinking outside of the box. There’s a reason he made such a great Freddy.
Bringing in a whole stable of actors or even actresses to portray an ever-changing Krueger could be just the tonic to keep this reboot from being just another, well, reboot, and steer the franchise into new and uncharted territory, where just like in dreams, anything is possible.
[Featured Image by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images]