Seeing Robert Englund reprise his most famous role as Freddy Krueger on The Goldbergs last year during Halloween time was fantastic. The episode was true to the Elm Street series and there is no doubt, the son of a hundred maniacs had been sorely missed.
Long before The Goldbergs, and even before that heinous 2010 remake of Wes Craven's original masterpiece, Freddy fans have been clamoring for Englund to get back into the glove again and make more Nightmare On Elm Street movies. Englund has been asked about his willingness to return to the franchise so much since his Goldbergs appearance that he has mentioned several times that he may have "one left him him," but if the franchise were to continue he suggests they'd need to get another actor. His choice at the moment being Kevin Bacon.
A few weeks back I was fortunate enough to catch up with legendary New Line Cinema founder, Bob Shaye, who produced the entire A Nightmare On Elm Street movie franchise as well as the Freddy's Nightmares TV series. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ask him his thoughts on rebooting Elm Street.
Robert Englund has been making the rounds in the last year since he appeared on The Goldbergs as Freddy saying that he may have one more Elm Street movie in him. If you were still helming the ship at New Line Cinema, I'm wondering what you would be doing with the Elm Street franchise and if you'd even be trying to reboot the property at this point.
Bob Shaye: Well, to tell you my honest opinion, at the time we made the original, I was very much disdainful of sequels. I thought it was a sort of chintzy and a cheap way for movie makers to go. However, when you need product and you've got something where the money has been spent on marketing and you've got an audience, well... I started to realize that there's nothing wrong with people who go to buy hamburgers twice a week. You don't have to serve them broiled pigeon one night because it's a new idea. Serving a great burger is worthy in its own right, even if it is a sequel.
I don't know what they're doing right now with the franchise, if anything. I mean obviously, I had some personal uncertainties about the remake of the first A Nightmare on Elm Street.
We all did. (laughs)
Bob Shaye: I do think it's possible to take something only so far. But there is such a big audience for those films. It could be a big success for them if they do it right. If you have good filmmakers and real imagination and they're not just journeymen who do what journeymen do, turn out another pair of shoes, it's possible to make something interesting out of almost anything, really. If somebody comes in who's inspired and a truly creative writer and filmmaker with a real familiarity of the material, there's no reason why they couldn't have a foundation for another good movie.
I absolutely agree with that. Horror fans are some of the most diehard fans out there. I think we can all tell by now when these reboots are done for their love of the characters and their stories versus a sheer cash grab. I can honestly say, growing up in the 80s, New Line had its finger on the pulse of what this 12-year-old kid wanted to see.
Bob Shaye: Oh, thank you so much my friend.
I'll tell you a quick anecdote. When I was doing the first Elm Street, we have two daughters who were at that time, like 10 and 14. My 14-year-old actually sang in the trio of girls that sang "One, Two Freddy's Coming for You" in the movie. I wanted them to participate in the process because I wanted them to be involved with their father's business as much as they could. But, I noted a strange thing that happened. The kids, particularly my younger daughter who was 10 at the time, she had heard me talking over and over about the script and she overheard the table readings. They both thought it was great fun. When I came home at night in New York, I would always plop down in the living room and turn on the news and my kids were there with me. They'd get up and walk out of the room because it was the news that truly scared them.
That always really kind of moved me, scary fiction, whether it's Frankenstein or vampires or Freddy, it's one thing, but you know real life is what's truly scary. I won't get political in this conversation, but I thought it was always interesting. I've always said that I wouldn't make or be involved with any kind of film that my audience wanted, that I could turn them on just as long as it didn't fall below my moral horizon. Everybody has their own moral horizon. At least I had one. Some people don't have any I suppose.
Bob Shaye: As it turned out, I did think Elm Street was fun and that's what mattered. I had my small part in Freddy Krueger but it really was all about the magic of what Robert and Wes did, and I'll always be proud to have been part of that.
More from Bob Shaye coming soon as we talk about his latest directorial effort, Ambition, which will be available everywhere on September 20.