The Change That Ruined Jackie Earle Haley's Freddy Krueger

jackie earle haley freddy krueger nightmare on elm street

The Nightmare On Elm Street remake was a misfire that stalled the franchise but one major change ruined the portrayal of Jackie Earle Haley's Freddy Krueger. The original A Nightmare On Elm Street was based off a series of articles writer/director Wes Craven read. This involved a group of people dying in their sleep under mysterious circumstances, which inspired Craven to create a killer who stalks victims in their dreams. Freddy Krueger himself would be formed from a number of influences, including an old man in a hat who once terrified the director as a boy and Freddy's razor glove was inspired by a bear's claw.

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While Freddy is barely glimpsed in the original film the movie became a surprise hit in 1984. The popularity of the character would only grow with each installment as he went from sinister sleep stalker to loveable comedian who always killed with a bad quip. The franchise was supposed to end with 1991's Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, but his creator him resurrected for Wes Craven's New Nightmare. This meta entry would be something of a precursor to Craven's next film Scream, and the original franchise came to a close with 2003 crossover Freddy Vs Jason.

Related: The Origins Of Freddy Krueger's Glove In A Nightmare On Elm Street

Hollywood went through something of a remake fever in the 2000s, where classic horror films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween being constantly rebooted. A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 arrived just as this trend was dying and while it was a modest hit, it was universally despised by the fans and critics. The reboot starred Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) as Nancy, and while the film had some interesting ideas and visuals, its also badly paced and lacking in suspense or surprises. While Jackie Earle Haley's Freddy Krueger brought some menace, the character lacked the charisma Robert Englund brought.

One element of A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 that many found distasteful was the reveal that Jackie Earle Haley's Freddy was a child molester prior to his death. Wes Craven had included this reveal in his script for the original film but designed to remove it before filming. The remake already had a lot of issues but the movie's clumsy, tacky handling of this subject is its biggest misstep. The movie had actually suggested a more interesting twist on the original, introducing the idea that Freddy had been wrongfully accused and was returning to seek revenge.

Screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Arrival) once confirmed an early draft of his script revealed Freddy was actually innocent before it was changed back. Had A Nightmare On Elm Street pursued this angle it could have set itself apart from the 1984 original and provided a fresh take on the famous villain. Instead, the filmmakers chose to commit to a disturbing twist that was badly implemented into the narrative for the sake of shock value. While the movie was supposed to start a franchise, the response to A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 was so negative a sequel never happened.

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