Nightmare on Elm Street reboot

Freddy Krueger hasn’t haunted audience’s nightmares in a while. The last time the character graced the screen was in the abysmal 2010 remake. And it’s been even longer since we saw the true Freddy, as played by Robert Englund. It’s doubtful Englund will ever return to the role at this point, but the actor recently revealed a pretty great Nightmare on Elm Street reboot idea of his own.

Will there ever be a new Nightmare on Elm Street movie? I’d say its inevitable. No popular horror franchise ever really dies. Even when a horror series stalls out for a while, it always rises from the grave. Just look at Halloween – after Rob Zombie’s two remakes, the Halloween franchise seemed dead and buried. Now, Blumhouse is about to bring it back this year, and the hype is through the roof. Hollywood attempted to reboot Elm Street with a truly terrible 2010 remake, featuring Jackie Earle Haley as notorious dream-killer Freddy Krueger, and Rooney Mara giving the worst performance of her otherwise stellar career. Since then, all has been quiet on Elm Street.

But when and if producers want to launch a new Nightmare, they should really take the advice of Freddy Krueger himself. During a panel for Eli Roth’s History of Horror AMC docu-series (via Nerdist), Englund offered revealed how he would tackle an Elm Street film if someone asked him:

“I would have cast different actors to play Freddy for every potential victim. 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. Every one of the victims could have a different Freddy they imagined. And you could haunt them with that Freddy.”

I’ll admit this is a pretty clever idea. At the same time, it also makes the Elm Street mythology a bit wonky – not that it’s standing on solid ground to begin with. Englund’s claim that Freddy is only alive in the victim’s imagination isn’t quite right. Yes, the character can only exist as long as he’s remembered by kids from the Elm Street setting of Springwood, Ohio. But he’s also been presented as an ever-present demonic force, as well as the ghost of creepy janitor Fred Kreuger.

Englund has an answer for that, too. “At the end, ” the actor said, “it would be the ultimate victim and we see Freddy peel [his face] open and maybe it’s yours truly revealed…And it’s the essence of Freddy.”

This is a pretty neat idea, and it’s certainly a lot more clever than a boring beat-for-beat remake. But Hollywood doesn’t like clever ideas, so whenever the inevitable Elm Street reboot or remake arrives, it’ll probably be a lot dumber. As for Englund, the actor has said in the past that his days of playing the notorious Springwood Slasher were likely over.

“I’m too old to do another Freddy now,” he said back in 2017. “If I do a fight scene now it’s got to be real minimal because I can’t snap my head for eight different takes and different angles. My spine gets sore. I can still be mean and scary, but I’m mostly relegated now to sort of Van Helsing roles, old doctors.” This is a bit of a downer, but hey – you never know. Maybe someone will talk Englund into putting on that famous fedora and sweater one last time.

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