Robert Englund reveals what about the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise he is most proud of: the continuous use of a Final Girl. Englund appeared in a total of seven Nightmare on Elm Street movies between 1984 and 1994, as well as Freddy Vs. Jason in 2003 alongside Ken Kirzinger as the Camp Crystal Lake killer. The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise would be rebooted in 2010, starring Jackie Earle Haley, which proved to be a critical failure for Warner Bros. Since then, the franchise has remained dormant. However, Wes Craven’s estate regained the rights to the franchise in 2019 and is said to be working on a new movie, TV show, or both. 


While Englund will forever be linked with the popular franchise, the Nightmare on Elm Street movies have also introduced many strong female characters to the horror genre. Each movie introduced a new heroine to battle Freddy, starting with Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) in the original 1984 film. Of course, the character didn’t stay dead, with each film reviving him in a number of ways, none more bizarre than Freddy being resurrected by dog urine in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Other notable mentions include Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) in Dream Warriors and Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox) in The Dream Master and The Dream Child. 

There have been a lot of standout moments in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, but Englund told Gibson TV that he is most proud of the franchise continually using a Final Girl. The Freddy Krueger actor admits films like Alien and Halloween did it first. However, he is still proud of Nightmare on Elm Street for breaking away from negative horror tropes involving women, such as using them as a “sacrificial lamb.” Englund further explains how Nightmare on Elm Street was able to bring in more female audience members to the horror franchise instead of catering to male teenagers. 

It’s also the survival girl, you know. And what I’m most proud of is that, up until Nightmare on Elm Street, with the exception of Sigourney Weaver in Alien and Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, horror movies were primarily for a younger male audience, and we got the girls to come. You know we became the first horror date movie because the girls invest their empathy watching the journey of our survival girl. It’s going to actually defeat Freddy in every single one there’s a girl that meets Freddy that survives. And I think that’s real important as a shift and a change in the history of horror movies that we sort of provided the survival girl as opposed to just the victim girl.

It’s important because not only do women audience members identify with that character more and follow that journey, but it was about time to just stop the sacrificial lamb use of women in horror movies. That was getting to be a little bit ludicrous by then. And I think Wes Craven should be praised for that.

Many ‘80s horror slashers featured gratuitous nudity simply because studios knew it would bring in a male audience. Even some horror films today are guilty of this. Nightmare on Elm Street featured a bit of nudity, but nowhere near as bad as franchises like Friday the 13th and Halloween. Those movies also contained a few iconic heroines, but Friday the 13th specifically is known for throwing in female nudity just for the sake of having nudity. The Nightmare on Elm Street sequels may have varied in quality, yet their Final Girls like Nancy are still right up there in popularity alongside Laurie Strode, Ripley, and Sidney Prescott. 

Englund is an icon in the horror community, but there is something admirable about him considering the use of the Final Girl and bringing in a female audience the elements he is most proud of. Nightmare on Elm Street no doubt supported the trend of turning female characters into strong heroines, something that is still prevalent in the horror franchise today. And while Nightmare on Elm Street is of course not the only movie that aided the Final Girl movement, Craven does deserve praise for popularizing the idea, as Englund mentioned above. 

Source: Gibson TV

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