Though ABC sitcom The Goldbergs may not be the most obvious place you’d think to see A Nightmare on Elm Street star Robert Englund reprise his role as Freddy Krueger, fans were more than happy to see him once more in the recent Halloween episode, titled “Mister Knifey-Hands.” And according to the actor himself, his mass of followers was the reason he chose to bring the famed killer back.
Speaking with the New York Post, Englund observed how Freddy is the source of many a fond memory for the viewers who grew up on his gruesome exploits:
“In a strange, bizarre way, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise became a sort of It’s a Wonderful Life for Halloween. I get stories from adults who have this memory of their family watching in the middle or late ’80s, having walked home from the video store, popping it in and sending out for pizza. This great nesting experience, cuddling with dad or mom before they passed away, watching and getting scared. The fun of tormenting your kid brother or sister, having dad go outside the kids’ bedroom at night with a fork and a knife and scratch the window and scare the bejesus out of the kids.”
In the same interview, Englund recalled how he initially turned down producer Adam F. Goldberg’s offer to cameo in the sitcom, but a personal memory from the show’s creator prompted the actor to rethink Freddy’s place in popular culture:
“I’ve been very protective of the character for years … I said no to [series creator] Adam [Goldberg],” Englund admitted to the New York Post. “And then he sent me probably the most beautiful fan letter I ever received, telling me how much A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors meant to him. And then I started thinking about my fans, how it dovetails with the ’80s experience and this sort of retro memory play that The Goldbergs is about.”
The star went on to observe how Freddy had become such an integrated part of our collective memory that he was no longer Englund’s to protect. But while the actor may think that the character no longer belongs to him, there are evidently a fair few slasher fans who disagree, as evidenced by the continuing demand for a full movie featuring the original Freddy. Last week, shortly after the episode aired, even Adam Goldberg took to Twitter to plead his case for New Line Cinema to give another film the go-ahead.
Meanwhile, though Englund himself has said in the past that he’d be too old to return for a feature, lately he’s changed his tune somewhat and hinted that he may have one more A Nightmare on Elm Street flick left in him. It may be a long shot, but given the killer’s lasting cultural relevance, it’s clear that there are a lot of fans out there who’d love to see this version of Freddy make a big screen comeback.