Successfully replacing Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger is likely an impossibility. Jackie Earle Haley did a marvelously frightening job as the scarred slayer of children in Samuel Bayer’s 2010 remake. The problem was the movie was a mess, and the beats consistently missed with one act bleeding into another. It was a wreck, but it wasn’t Jackie’s work that made it a mess. It was Samuel Bayer’s inexperience that sunk the ship (to his credit, that’s an enormous task to take on as an inaugural feature length production). Sadly, it doesn’t seem as though fans were able to accurately identify what went wrong, so the blame fell – unfairly – on Jackie Earle Haley’s performance.
Knowing that a top-notch performer like Haley couldn’t win fans over, it feels like a guarantee that whoever the next man to don the makeup and glove is predestined to fail. Unless his name is Robert Englund. But, that said, we do have a handful of ideas that could help bring the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise back to prominence with a seriously talented performer slashing away at kids.
Check out our top five picks for a proper Krueger replacement!
Kevin Bacon has a strange ability to be intimidating despite his slender stature and typically laid back demeanor. I mean, come on, when he’s not making films he’s sitting on a stool playing guitar and singing tunes with his band, the aptly titled, The Bacon Brothers. But when Bacon flips the switch, you get the hell out of dodge. There’ also something very eerie in the man’s eyes that further suggests he might be an absolutely paralyzing Freddy Krueger. Oh, and did we mention the fact that he’s been vocally open about tackling the iconic role?
There’s a certain unpredictable quality to Robert Knepper. In front of the camera, he essentially becomes a chameleon, and he knows how to flip the switch at any time. He may have an ear-to-ear grin on his face two seconds before he stabs you in the eyeball with a fork. He’s that kind of unpredictable. He also has the perfect stature to play the feared Freddy Krueger.
There was a time when I would have laughed off an idea like this with ease. And then Dafoe played the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN, and we all got to see what a certified nut-job Dafoe truly can be. He’s so animated, and when he’s raging, he’s as intimidating as the Devil himself. Now that we’ve established the fact that Dafoe is something of a loose cannon when he wants to be, stop and imagine him in full Krueger makeup and getup. Then picture him as a loose cannon. That’s some scary shit.
I admit that Andrew Divoff is about two inches too tall and about six inches too wide to play Krueger as we’ve come to know him. However, there are always available camera tricks that generate impressive illusions. So, Divoff is a little too big for the role – we can get beyond that. What we should really be focusing on is the man’s unique face and penchant for portraying menacing characters. Divoff can scare the hell out of you just by cornering you with a scowl on his visage. Image what this man would look like all burnt and crispy, blades prepared to dance!
Weird, weird pick, right? Well, DJ Qualls is a weird looking fellow, just as Freddy Krueger is a weird looking fellow. Qualls is slight in stature with a pronounced nose, and those physical traits could conceivably work in Qualls’ favor, big time. But even better yet, if Hollywood ever decides to cast Qualls as Krueger, it’ll feel like we’re seeing a talent plucked straight from the audience (Qualls hasn’t enjoyed the most prolific work schedule), a talent that might very well outshine quite a few others as Freddy Krueger.