The iconic horror villain, Freddy Krueger, has returned home, with Wes Craven's estate reacquiring the domestic rights to Nightmare on Elm Street. Craven wrote and directed the 1984 original, which was somewhat inspired by real events. Starring Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, and Johnny Depp in his feature-film debut, Nightmare on Elm Street followed a group of teenagers who found their dreams haunted by a nightmarish figure. With the effects of the dreams spilling out into their waking lives, the group is picked off one by one by the scarred and vengeful Freddy (Englund). The film proved to be a huge success, earning well in excess of its budget, and - along with Halloween and Friday the 13th - helped to popularize the slasher genre.
The film would go on to spawn multiple sequels from a host of different writers and directors, though always with Englund in the popular role. Craven himself would return to the franchise for 1994's infinitely more meta installment, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, before moving on to such other popular, self-referential projects as Scream. Although the character continued to maintain its place in pop culture, Freddy would not return to the big-screen until 2003's Freddy vs. Jason - which saw the two slasher icons go head to head. The franchise would be ultimately rebooted to moderate success and lackluster reviews in 2010, with Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley taking over the infamous fedora and striped jumper. Englund, however, would reprise the role for a cameo in a 2018 episode of The Goldbergs.
According to Bloody Disgusting, the estate of Wes Craven, who sadly passed away in 2015, have since regained the rights to the original movie and its enduringly popular antagonist. The news followed an investigation by the outlet. They reportedly utilized a law that allows the original creator (or their estate) to claim back ownership of a property after 35 years. With 2019 officially set to serve as that particular anniversary of the film's initial release, the rights were apparently released without dispute.
Original Friday the 13th writer, Victor Miller, has apparently pursued a similar course of action. Unfortunately, his attempt to reclaim the rights have been disputed by the film's director, Sean S. Cunningham and his company Horror Inc. As a result, both are currently locked in a legal battle over the film. The slasher genre has seen something of a resurgence in recent years, with a belated continuation of the original Halloween franchise produced and released via Blumhouse. Equally, the types of movies of which Nightmare on Elm Street and the others belong are currently being directly homaged in the aptly titled American Horror Story: 1984.
What this means for the future of the popular franchise, however, will remain to be seen. According to reports, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema still control the international rights. Still, the estate now holding the domestic rights could open a lot of doors. With such as Langenkamp eager to play Nancy again and many a horror director eager to helm an installment, the possibilities could be endless. After all, reboots and belated-yet-direct sequels to the more popular, original outings are on-trend right now. Whether or not this particular franchise should follow suit will no doubt be divided. Regardless, there will be many who hope that the news means a new - and hopefully more worthwhile - Nightmare on Elm Street installment is somewhere in the near future.