Jack Sholder put Freddy Krueger inside another dude, Renny Harlin put him in sunglasses, and Rachel Talalay nearly finished him off in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Though he once hosted his own TV show and finally faced off with the killer of the Friday the 13th franchise in Freddy vs. Jason, there are still multiple Freddy Krueger projects that were in some stage of development that simply never got made. Today, we’re looking at some of those project.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: First Kills
We got a taste of Freddy Krueger’s pre-dream demon backstory via 1991’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and what became the television pilot for Freddy’s Nightmares, which was actually directed by Tobe Hooper, the late director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In a recent interview, series star Robert Englund revealed that the proposed First Kills prequel film would have had a Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer vibe, with courtroom drama a huge plot point. New Line actually reached out to the guy who directed Henry, John McNaughton. But he wasn’t interested in repeating himself. He was more excited about making a movie set in hell, telling Freddy’s story from just after he was burned to death by the vigilante mob and prior to his reemergence in the dreams of the teenagers of Elm Street. But apparently the box office failure of Adam Sandler’s Little Nicky ruined everything. “New Line didn’t want to go back to Hell,” McNaughton told Bloody Disgusting. “They were unwilling to go to Hell with me and it just came apart.”
John Saxon’s Elm Street prequel
John Saxon played Lieutenant Donald Thompson in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. He’s the father of the movie’s “final girl,” Nancy. Both of them returned for the third film, Dream Warriors, which also had creator Wes Craven’s fingerprints. In August 2017, Saxon put his own prequel treatment up for sale on eBay. How the Nightmare on Elm Street All Began introduced a strange twist: in Saxon’s story, real life criminal mastermind Charles Manson framed Krueger for the original murders.
Robert Englund’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 3
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is the only film in the franchise that comes close to matching the original. Some fans will even argue that it’s superior. Wes Craven was brought back onboard to right the ship after the disastrous Freddy’s Revenge, but once he and Bruce Wagner delivered their draft, New Line allowed Frank Darabont and director Chuck Russell to make major changes. Darabont, of course, would later adapt and direct The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Robert Englund had his own ideas for Elm Street 3, ideas that involved Freddy’s first onscreen victim, Tina. The actor told Cinema Blend that in his draft, Part 3 “would’ve been about a sister. If Tina had a sister and Tina’s sister would come to solve it.”
Peter Jackson’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 6: Dream Lover
By the time the franchise took a dive at the box-office with A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Freddy was no longer very scary. All of the quips, rap songs, and increasingly goofy kills, while a certain kind of kitschy cool in retrospect, had rendered him more overexposed pop culture figure than Springwood Slasher. Peter Jackson’s pitch for part six sounds fantastic! The New Zealand filmmaker would have riffed on this, with the teenagers of Springwood falling asleep intentionally just to pick on the sad old geezer in the dreamscape. Naturally, Freddy would eventually return to power, with his fearsome glory restored. Unfortunately, Jackson didn’t have the juice in Hollywood yet. He did, however, end up working with New Line on a different franchise: something called The Lord of the Rings.