The last of the ’80s horror icons to be murdered by producer Michael Bay’s “re-imaginings,” Freddy Krueger was the one least in need of a makeover. Jason Voorhees? Anyone can slip on his hockey mask. (Sorry, Kane Hodder fan!) Leatherface? Well, failing to cast Robert Redford was a missed opportunity.
But Robert Englund brought such glee to Freddy’s blade-fingered posturing that I didn’t mind when his “bastard son of a hundred maniacs” transformed into Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch over seven sequels. Whereas Wes Craven’s ’84 original kept you unsure as to whether you were witnessing dreams or reality, director Samuel Bayer’s remake color-codes the transitions. How helpful!
The new twist — that Freddy (a wasted Jackie Earle Haley, cinema’s go-to guy for pedophilia) was wrongfully accused by the vigilante parents who burned him to death — is discarded. Too subversive for Bay’s Elm Street!