It’s an older sketch sir, but it checks out. Sorry, it’s hard to let go of Star Wars after last month. This month is 80’s Month, though, and despite a distinct lack of time I couldn’t let the first Monday pass by without posting something about one of the great 80’s horror icons. Especially as today is the birthday of Freddy himself, Robert Englund (currently spooking things up in the 4th season of Stranger Things)!
The early 1980’s were a wasteland of dead teenagers, with slasher flicks dominating the shelves. Nightmare on Elm Street was like a lightning bolt, re-energizing the horror genre and providing us with the second real horror icon of the 80’s. (After Jason Voorhees, as Dhalbaby kindly pointed out in the comments.) Freddy in Nightmare is terrifying and funny, but he’s only a shadow of what he’d eventually become. Robert Englund brought the burned child murderer to gleeful, horrifying life in a way I wouldn’t have thought him capable of. It’s funny to think of now, but at the time I primarily identified the actor with his role of alien resistance member Willie in the TV show V, a very mild-mannered character!
Of course his performance was such a standout and the film such a success that Freddy quickly became a pop-icon, his twisted visage adorning all sorts of merchandise, including toy versions of his signature “finger knife” glove!
Over time Freddy became more a figure of fun than menace (okay, maybe that happened almost immediately), but Englund’s performance was always worth the price of entry. While I still miss the more terrifying presence I made sure to see almost every film – and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare restored some of that feel to the character (for me at least).
Freddy vs Jason was probably the last time we’ll see Englund in the role, but Freddy lives on in remakes and merchandise and in our dreaming hearts, where he’s always dragging those finger knives along a steampipe somewhere while little girls jump rope and let us know that “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.”