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The 666 Greatest Horror Characters
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FREDDY KRUEGER

Played by: Robert Englund
Film(s): A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child ( (1989), Freddy vs. Jason (2003), Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

Wes Craven reached into his nightmares and pulled out the greatest screen monster of them all. Craven fused Freddy Krueger from a combination of real-life experiences (he once had a scary encounter with a homeless man upon whose look he would base Freddy's appearance) and a fanciful notion about a monster who could operate in the dreamscape, a terrifying notion. Robert Englund - then best known as the nice alien, Willy, from V - revelled in the chance to give vent to his inner demons, pocking his voice with cruel, taunting hate, his face scarred and blemished beyond recognition. It was a marriage made in, well, Not Heaven. Freddy was built to be an instantly recognisable icon, with the hat and the scars and the glove made of four razor-sharp knives. What's interesting, though, is how the character mutated. His first and last appearances, both directed by Craven (we're ignoring Freddy Vs Jason for the sake of our theory and our sanity), see a truly sinister, frightening Freddy: a coldblooded killer, preying on kids (a child molester was, Craven has said, the very worst thing he could think of) with nary a one-liner in sight. But as the sequels (some of which have merit) progressed, and Freddy became the star of the show, the deaths became more elaborate, and Krueger himself became almost comedic, almost like Roger Moore's Bond, a wisecracking machine built of pure irony. It's testament to the character's strong foundations, and Englund's brilliant performance, that both versions of Freddy remain equally memorable.

Freddy Krueger

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