Robert Englund is perhaps best known for his role as Freddy Krueger, the dream-invading serial killer who’s kept millions of fans awake out of pure fear. So it may come as a surprise that the horror veteran pitch for a new ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ movie wouldn’t involve himself at all. It may also sound suspiciously familiar to any horror fans out there.
Englund revealed his concept for a new Freddy Krueger during the 2018 Summer Television Critics Association press tour. Although he played Freddy Krueger in every film of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise except for one (the 2010 reboot cast Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy), Englund pitched a new direction for the character that would involve a much bigger cast.
“If I had an Eli Roth budget I would have cast different actors to play Freddy for every potential victim,” Englund said during a panel for Eli Roth’s History of Horror (via Nerdist). “Because Freddy is only alive in the imagination of his future victims. 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.”
He went on to suggest that the iconic clothes, clawed glove, and burnt face of the character don’t have to be his only trademarks. In this iteration of the character, Freddy would be a much more personalized villain in the vein of Pennywise from It. Freddy would embody what the victim would fear most.
“So it could be a red and green cardigan for one Freddy,” England said. “It could be an old tattered basecall 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 would have a different Freddy they imagined. And you could haunt them with that Freddy.”
That’s a pretty dope suggestion, especially since it’s well-grounded in science. Dreams (particularly nightmares) are highly subjective according to a number of factors. The subjects of your dreams could be a reflection of your underlying anxieties which differ from person to person, a focus that Englund boomeranged to during his speculation.
“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, laughing. “And it’s the essence of Freddy.”
Englund touches upon a cogent point. Freddy represent fears so deep that we don’t even recognize them within ourselves. Instead, they manifest from our subconscious through nightmares. With that in mind, is there really anything in the world that can scare us more than ourselves?