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Why Horror Fans Think The Nightmare On Elm Street Franchise Is Dead

One of horror's most identifiable characteristics is how easy it is to spin off sequel films. As the constant drama surrounding "Sex and the City" movies and reboots can attest to, getting an ensemble cast back together can be quite tricky. But at the end of a typical horror movie, around 90% of the cast is dead. No need to negotiate contracts. A slasher flick has a killer, usually unseen for huge chunks of the movie, that murders all the big-name actors. All the producers of the sequel usually have to do is secure new potential murder victims. But the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series is different. The killer isn't just seen — he's heard.

Robert Englund played Freddie Krueger for eight movies and a TV series, as well as multiple guest spots on sitcoms and music videos. His wisecracking quickly became the main attraction in a "Nightmare" film. The first "Nightmare on Elm Street" is straight horror, with Nancy and her friends battling a mostly unseen killer in their dreams. The focus is on their fear and pain, not on how much fun Freddy is having being bad. But as the series progressed, Englund's performance became the thing that drew audiences. Fans came to feel that, without Englund, there could be no "Nightmare."

Attempts to recast Krueger have been met with resistance

Robert Englund, though still acting, has hung up Freddy's fedora. In 2010, a remake of the first "Nightmare" film was released. Produced by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes company, the film starred Jackie Earle Haley of 2009 "Watchmen" fame as everyone's favorite child killer. Freddy's burned face was given a CGI revamp, and the tone was brought back to before Freddy became a stand-up comic who happened to murder people in their dreams. The remake also made explicit that Krueger did more than just murder the children he abducted.

The film did well at the box office and was the second-highest-earning slasher remake, according to Box Office Mojo, but hardcore horror fans weren't wowed by the update. Englund himself told Coming Soon that the remake "was a little cold." "We weren't really given time to see the kids when they were normal, before they were frantic and haunted by Freddy," he said. "That made it harder to connect with them, harder to care what happened to them." Englund also felt the more realistic makeup on Haley took some of the iconic, almost cartoonish, punch out of the character.

Although Englund praised Haley for his performance, fans by and large weren't happy with the recasting of the iconic role. In fact, as user u/jdpm1991 argued on Dreadit, Reddit's horror subreddit, fans' reticence to accept another actor wearing the Freddy hat is a contributing factor in the franchise's inactivity. It just goes to show: Nobody does it like Freddy, not even another Freddy.