Christopher Nolan may have made your brain hurt when it came to the concept of dreaming, but it was Wes Craven who made you scared to fall asleep.
For over three decades, A Nightmare on Elm Street remains one of the most enduring, iconic, and beloved horror franchises of all time. Craven may not have known that he was creating cinematic history in 1984, but his seminal work and its central antagonist stand the test of time; maybe because dreams will never fall out of fashion. After all, every human needs to sleep sometime.
While appearing at Television Critics Association's 2018 summer tour to promote AMC's upcoming docu-series Eli Roth's History of Horror, the original Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund, offered his thoughts on a way to repackage the classic character, should the franchise ever be rebooted for the big screen again.
"If I had an Eli Roth budget, I would cast different actors to play Freddy for every potential victim," he said. "Because Freddy is only alive in the imagination of his future victim. They talked about it at a slumber party or at a locker. It’s at school or on the bus going home and all they know about this Fred Krueger is that he wears a hat, he has a red-and-green-striped sweater, and a claw 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. Every one of the victims could have a different Freddy that they imagined and you can haunt them with that Freddy. And then at the end maybe, the ultimate victim, we see Freddy kind of peel and open like The Howling or the dogs in John Carpenter’s [The Thing]."
You're probably thinking that his description sounds a lot like Pennywise from Stephen King's It, a malevolent Lovecraftian entity capable of taking the form of whatever Its victims fear most. While the comparisons between the two are inevitable, it makes sense that Krueger can take different shapes since dreams are fluid, forever-changing, even in the course of a single night. Englund's references to Joe Dante and John Carpenter's horror classics also underscore the 1980s essence of Krueger himself.
At 71, Englund isn't exactly as young and spry as he once was when he chased teenagers down the dingy hallways of their dreams. With his shapeshifting idea, he'd be able to return to the iconic role without having the entire burden placed on his shoulders. It's a neat idea if the franchise returns to the silver screen.
Additional reporting by Tara Bennett
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