Can a Halloween (2018) style reboot save Freddy Krueger?
It’s been well over a decade since Freddy Krueger had his own film. His last appearance, 2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Street Remake starring Jackie Earle Haley, was released to mixed reviews, and the franchise has been dormant ever since. Ever since the release of the remake, series creator Wes Craven has passed away, but his estate retained the rights to the franchise. Rumors swirl as the Craven Estate has been taking pitches for the future of the franchise, and we are now at a point where we must ask how to proceed with the franchise. While all of Englund’s performances were beloved by fans, far too many entries in the series have been underwhelming and uninspired.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (ANOES) is one of the earliest horror franchises to make a marketable splash in the horror film genre, releasing the first entry only five years after John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978). Numerous films in the ANOES franchise have seen lucrative financial success. With fans of the franchise, it’s hard to imagine washing away so much continuity, but a possible direct-sequel reboot might actually fit some of the problems of the series. With things getting a bit convoluted after the introduction of such concepts as ‘Dream Warriors’ and ‘Dream Masters’ as well as a “literal” rebirth and an origin placing Freddy as the son of “1001 Maniacs”, perhaps it’s time for an honorable reboot.
Part of the reason why Halloween Co-Writers Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley, and David Gordon-Green decided on such a decisive reboot related to the convoluted nature of the franchise. McBride himself targeted the lack of fear inspired by the idea of Michael Myers hunting his sister, arguing it takes some of the fear out of the character. An argument could be made that the current state of the Freddy Krueger character just is not viable to market or to produce a film around. Removing the black comedy-laden sequels from continuity might offer an opportunity to reboot the character and return him to the more sadistic horror traits. There is a story to tell with a Kreuger who’s continuity only involves the first film, setting it in the modern day. Fans have been waiting and hoping for a return to the franchise from Robert Englund but other obstacles exist.
Longtime Krueger actor Robert Englund is 71 years old; the clock is ticking as the actor has openly spoken against reprising the role due to the time spent in the make-up chair. While there is a question in replacing Englund in the role there already is a viable replacement with the remakes’ Jackie Earle Haley. Considering the various avenues, the franchise can take it begs to question ‘is making a direct sequel to the original really the best avenue?’ My answer is possibly yes. It is hard to gauge where the franchise might be with such a reboot, but there might be hope with this approach. Removing such films as Freddy’s Dead (1991) and Freddy’s Revenge (1985) to give way to a more direct and involved sequel would certainly help bring a fresh approach to the franchise.
Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan has already spoken about his interest in taking over the franchise. There have been no large legalities preventing another Nightmare on Elm Street film from being produced, and there have been loyal fans waiting in the wings, hoping for something to pop up. The character has a unique flexibility, being able to transcend many thematic tones. The franchise is long overdue for a proper entry and the world is certainly ready. Whether the franchise continues its course, reboots, or continues a trend of remakes, fans will be there to see whatever comes out. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait that much longer.