Robert Englund played Freddy Krueger in eight A Nightmare on Elm Street films, but in New Nightmare, he was almost killed by his own character. Sometimes, an actor's career is filled with lots of memorable characters that command their own spotlight, but in other cases, an actor comes to be defined by one signature role. In Englund's case, that's unquestionably Freddy. Not to discount his other performances in dozens of projects, but Englund is never more magnetic than when he dons the burned face makeup and razor glove of Elm Street's dream stalker.
When it comes to playing Freddy though, Englund tends to have two distinct modes, depending on the script he's given to work with. If the script leans more toward the serious side, such as in the original film, Englund will portray Freddy as an imposing, terrifying figure who makes his words count and is quite literally the stuff of nightmares. With a more comedic script, Englund lets loose and turns Freddy into a hybrid of sadistic boogeyman and sarcastic quipster, perhaps best exemplified by A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
Whichever Freddy one prefers, it's always clear that Englund is having the time of his life in the role. He got to add a new wrinkle to his signature character in 1994's New Nightmare, which went meta and brought Freddy into the real world, only this version (an ancient demon) was much darker and more evil than his film counterpart became. In the original script, this new Freddy even went after the man who brought him to life.
New Nightmare: Robert Englund Plays a Version of Himself
Since New Nightmare was ostensibly set in the "real world," the film featured multiple actors from the A Nightmare on Elm Street films as fictionalized versions of themselves, although not Johnny Depp. This included Robert Englund himself, who first appears in the film as part of a talk show on which co-star Heather Langenkamp (Nancy in the original movies) is a guest. Later Heather speaks to Robert about her dreams of Freddy, and it's revealed that he's painting a ghastly artwork of this darker Freddy. Englund then disappears from the movie.
New Nightmare: Freddy Was Planned to Target Robert Englund
Many Elm Street fans were left wondering why Englund vanished from the plot after his conversation with Heather. It turns out that in the original New Nightmare script, a nightmare sequence took place involving Freddy targeting Robert Englund. In the dream, Englund was to be seen in a giant spider web, and menaced by a spider version of Freddy, who proceeded to cocoon him. Englund then wakes up in a cold sweat, and the next time he's mentioned, director Wes Craven (also playing himself in the film) is telling Heather than Robert has disappeared.
New Nightmare: Robert Englund's Freddy Dream Was Cut
Unfortunately, as cool as the above idea sounds, Craven - who also wrote New Nightmare - opted to cut the scene from the script, feeling that its tone didn't fit the rest of the film. He's not entirely wrong, as it's certainly more over-the-top than the majority of Freddy's scenes in the final version. Still, it's a bit sad that the scene wasn't at least shot so fans could see the idea in action. While the original script didn't explicitly state that Freddy killed Englund, it certainly seems like the logical conclusion, as Freddy isn't generally one to toy with his victims for too long. Perhaps killing the actor who played him in A Nightmare on Elm Street was another hurdle the "real" Freddy needed to jump to gain full power and cross the threshold between realms.