Robert Englund‘s portrayal as the A Nightmare On Elm Street boogeyman Freddy Krueger is among the greatest horror performances in history. It’s so iconic that it breathed new life into the slasher subgenre years after Friday the 13th and Halloween had already staked claim as horror champions. It’s because of Englund’s personal touch that it will be impossible to replace him, which proved true in the disappointing remake back in 2010.
In 2014, Englund appeared at Chicago’s Flashback Weekend and provided fans with a once-in-a-lifetime experience: he was fully decked out in Freddy makeup, allowing diehards to take photos with him as Krueger for the first time. It was also the last time he would ever do so, according to the actor. Still, with New Line Cinema working slowly on an Elm Street, and Blumhouse’s new Halloween providing evidence that you can go back to the original film canon, we’ve always sort of hoped deep down inside that maybe, just maybe Englund would put on the dirty-brown fedora one final time.
In a new interview with EW, Englund unfortunately puts the final nail in the coffin, citing his age as one of the many factors.
“I’m too old to do another Freddy now.
“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,” he continued. “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 and s––. So it’s fun that the last moment of me ever playing Freddy is a wink to the audience.”
The wink he’s referring to is at the end of Freddy vs. Jason (2003) in which Friday the 13th‘s Jason Voorhees brutalizes Freddy with his own glove before Lori Campbell (Monica Keena) decapitates him. Jason then drags Freddy’s head into Crystal Lake… but not before he could give the audience a little wink.
Englund may see the wink as a farewell, but to us horror fans it was a signal that he’s not dead yet, and would eventually return for another round with Jason or another group of teens in Springwood. This is inherently the biggest issue with Freddy vs. Jason not getting a sequel and New Line instead opting to remake the franchise – we never got to say goodbye properly, even if Englund is at peace with the way it concluded.
“It’s like, I had a good run, I had a good time,” added Englund. “And no one plans for this in your career. When I was wearing tights and doing Shakespeare, I didn’t say I wanted to be famous for playing this boogeyman. Careers happen and one of the pieces of advice I give to people is I’m sure you’ll do a great pilot or you’ll do a little independent art movie and it won’t go anywhere and then you might do your Intern No. 3 on Grey’s Anatomy and that’s the one that becomes the huge hit. People just don’t know. And when you’ve survived as long as I have and you see that, you can be real happy that you got 20 years as Freddy Kruger, you know?”
So, just like that, Freddy vs. Jason became the final film in the Elm Street franchise. It’s also now carved into cement that, with the help of Jason, Lori Campbell is the one who killed Freddy once and for all. I guess there’s something cathartic about that… what say you?
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