Robert Englund proved he still has it as Freddy Krueger on "The Goldberg's"; Why New Line should be calling him
(By Matt Konopka) It feels like only yesterday that legendary horror star Robert Englund revealed that Freddy vs. Jason would be his last time wearing the Freddy Krueger makeup on screen. But as we all know, that was yesterday, and today is a brand new day…
…Just last night, Robert made an epic (albeit brief) return as the wise-cracking dream demon on an episode of The Goldbergs entitled “Mr. Knifey-Hands”. I had never seen the show before, but tuned in on ABC because there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to be just one of many making a point to New Line Cinema and studios everywhere: Fans would give anything for Robert to do one last Nightmare on Elm Street Movie.
Now, I don’t believe in actors being forced into projects they don’t want to do. Take Bruce Campbell for example. He says he is done playing Ash Williams, and until he says otherwise, that is perfectly fine by me, because that’s his choice and we’re all just along for the ride. The difference in this case, is that during this past week, what was once thought unthinkable became a rather bright glimmer of hope. Robert had said for a while now that he would not be stepping into the role of Freddy again, yet Adam Goldberg (creator of The Goldbergs), convinced him to do it! Adam even went so far as to send the following tweet:
He makes a good point. But what’s really getting fans talking is this statement which came ahead of the episode’s premiere, while Robert was doing an interview for Access Live and said the following:
“I think they want to reboot the franchise, but they’re gonna need a new actor...They’re gonna need a new actor to play Freddy because they’re gonna have to do eight of them. I might have one left in me… but yeah.”
You don’t have to be a mind reader to see the difference here as opposed to Robert’s previous statements. He’s always said no, he’s done. But now, after doing the show and donning the makeup again, he’s saying he might have one left in him. That’s a pretty big change in the tune he’s been singing. Before we get too excited though, obviously nothing is official yet, and Robert is correct in saying that there’s no way New Line Cinema would authorize a direct sequel to any of the Nightmare on Elm Street films without the intention of rebooting the franchise, which of course means more than one film, and Robert probably isn’t up for that idea.
So, why should New Line heavily consider treating fans to one last nightmare? Here are a few reasons:
For one, Robert made an absolutely seamless return to form as Freddy last night. He may have put on a little weight and doesn’t move quiet as gingerly as we’re used to with our favorite sweater-loving fiend, but he was spot on in the performance. This was the Freddy we all remember. Never mind that he got me to laugh in just the few moments he was actually on screen, but Robert hasn’t lost a step in his delivery or his presence. He’s still the best actor in any scene he’s in, and he shows it with the way he is still able to capture the audience’s attention. Though it may have only been for a minute, Robert proved that he can still play the character. And if New Line has any concerns with his age, it’s not like Freddy was a physical presence anyway in the same way that icons like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers have been, so there’s less need to worry about fatigue on set. If you have yet to see the episode, check out Robert/Freddy’s scene below:
Speaking of Michael Myers, the Halloween slasher icon just proved this past weekend that not only is the slasher film not dead, there could be more of a hunger for it than ever. As of this moment, the new Halloween film has already managed to pull in over 90 million…domestically! That’s insane! And on a budget of only 10 million no less! I get it, there’s been a fear over at New Line as to whether or not another Nightmare film could be successful, since the 2010 version was dragged endlessly. What they should understand though is that wasn’t because fans were tired of Freddy Krueger, but because the film frankly stunk up the joint with a lot of uninspired ideas and some misguided approaches to the character. But if the new Halloween is showing studios anything, it’s that horror is more alive than ever, and that there is still plenty of money to be made with slasher icons. Most franchises have already taken notice, with a Child’s Play reboot already in the works, and, of all people, NBA player LeBron James talking about trying to get a new Friday the 13th off the ground. Now is the perfect chance for New Line to cash in on the current cravings of fans.
However, we could all probably agree that IF New Line decides to make another Nightmare film, and IF Robert agrees to do it, we don’t want just another cash grab, which brings me to my final argument for why Robert should be given one last chance to don that dusty red and green sweater. With this new Halloween, the key idea behind it was to give the character of Laurie Strode a proper sendoff that the sequels never managed to obtain. Fans of A Nightmare on Elm Street have wished for the same. Most of us would probably love to forget the disaster that is Freddy’s Dead, and while A New Nightmare was an incredible film that I hold very dearly, it wasn’t necessarily a goodbye to Freddy Krueger as it was to the franchise itself, in the sense that the villain in New Nightmare isn’t really Freddy Krueger, but a demon which has taken his form. So how does New Line only bring back Robert for one film, but allow themselves to make more without disappointing fans?
The answer isn’t simple, but it seems like there is only one solution to me other than not doing the film at all: Pass on the torch. Allow Robert to take on the character one last time, and somehow, some way, have Freddy Krueger pass on the torch and allow another character to take up the reigns of the dream demon. Years ago, while doing an episode of the podcast I used to run, Killer Horrorcast From Outer Space, I pitched a concept in which a relative of Freddy’s daughter from Freddy’s Dead returns to the iconic house on Elm Street. With his bloodline in his presence, Freddy is awakened, but isn’t strong enough to return to full potential, and so he uses his 17-year-old granddaughter to begin killing again, eventually leading to the defeat of Krueger, but also her rebirth as a new, murderous dream demon. This way, we’re able to say goodbye to Freddy for good, with Robert in the role, and introduce a new character for the franchise, and to top it all off, the (possible) creation of a female slasher icon, which is sorely needed in the genre. Before you tell me to fuck off at the thought, understand that the idea behind this approach is simple: Anyone can step into the shoes of Jason Voorhees and fans won’t complain. But there is no one who we can easily accept in the role of Freddy Krueger. Jackie Earle Haley was fine in the reboot, but Freddy Krueger is one of those characters that would just never feel right with anyone else in the role. It isn’t a perfect concept, but is one that allows us to more easily digest someone else starring as the villain in any future A Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
If another film is going to be made, it has to have Robert. If he wants to do it, New Line should be calling him right now and begging him to come back. If the new Halloween film could have this much success, just imagine what Robert’s return would do for a new Nightmare movie.
What are your thoughts on Robert returning to do one last A Nightmare on Elm Street film? What would you like to see from the movie? Leave your thoughts below!
By Matt Konopka