Reborn on Elm Street
By Mark Shapiro
Published in Fangoria #126.
Nobody was more certain that the man of our (bad) dreams was buried after Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare than Robert Englund. He remained skeptical even when the possibility of a Nightmare 7 was hinted at during a conversation with New Line Cinema president Robert Shaye.
“I told Bob that although the franchise was still huge and successful on a worldwide level, I couldn’t imagine what we’d do with a seventh one,” the actor recalls. “I felt we had put every possible idea into Freddy’s Dead and had really played out the mythology. I was at a loss as to how we could do another Nightmare.”
As it turned out, however, series creator Wes Craven had an inspiration and, after ironing out a deal with New Line, has jump-started the franchise with his script for A Nightmare on Elm Street 7, which he will also direct. At press time, production was set to begin this month, and the only casting set in stone will likely delight Nightmare fans: Heather Langenkamp will return from the original, playing herself in what Englund describes as a “reality-based/virtual reality-oriented story.”
“I haven’t seen the script yet,” he continues, “but the way Wes described it to me, it involves a reality-based stalker and becomes centered on the notion that the only place Freddy can manifest anymore is in the minds of his creators. It will be kind of a Frankenstein thing.”
As a result, the actor reports, the tale will not only require him to play Freddy but the real-life Robert Englund as well. He also reveals that an actor may play director Craven in the film. “Wes’ idea is to bring Freddy back through the imaginations of the actual people involved in the making of his movies,” Englund elaborates. “It’s going to be almost like Freddy Goes to Hollywood.”
Without a physical script in hand, the actor can only speculate on Craven’s further contributions to the Nightmare mythology in the project. “What Wes has told me seems to indicate that he’s come up with some new technology, or new gimmick we haven’t seen in previous films.”
Englund remains neutral on the question of whether Nightmare 7 will serve as a setup for the long-anticipated Freddy-vs.-Jason movie. “The idea of that kind of team-up sounds silly,” he offers, “but it also sounds lucrative. I know it would take a great script and director to interest me. It seems that anything that happens with that film will depend on how Nightmare 7 is received.”
Inevitably, the toughest issue surrounding Nightmare 7 regards whether fans will feel a bit cheated by Freddy’s resurrection after his much-ballyhooed death. “If they had just gotten another kid director, whether he was good or not, and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, then I could say fans would definitely have a right to feel screwed,” Englund says. “But this is Wes Craven, the guy who created A Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger. This is a different story.”