It almost feels blasphemous in a way to think that anyone could possibly replace Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger, doesn’t it? The character has been terrorizing audiences for so long now that Englund has become a screen legend thanks to the scarred, nightmarish character that he made popular decades ago. But the unfortunate fact of the matter is that Englund has made it clear that he can no longer take on the role of the fabled dream demon, as fight scenes that he might have found easy at one time would take too much of a toll on him at this time, and it’s fair to think that the makeup process would be a stretch as well. But thinking about who might be able to take on the role and make it work was settled in the minds of some when Jackie Earle Haley took on the reboot years ago. Many fans happen to think that Haley did a good job with what he was given, and to be fair, the guy did look like a walking nightmare when he was done up in Krueger’s customary garb.
But many other fans didn’t happen to like this version, and have been clamoring for another reboot ever since. Englund has actually stated who he believes would be great for the role, and it’s one of the several actors that fans think might actually have a chance of making it work. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was nominated by some, and Gary Oldman’s name was tossed in the mix along with a couple of others, but it would appear the Englund happens to think that Kevin Bacon would be right for the role, which is kind of surprising even if Bacon is a fun actor to watch. It’s tough to deny since Bacon can be a very creepy guy when a role calls for it, but at the same time, he and Englund are different enough in their approach to one role or another and it does feel as though Bacon might make the character of Krueger into someone that’s even edgier than Englund’s version.
Let’s be honest, Haley did bring a very gutter-level terror to the character, and it did work in a way since it make Krueger feel a bit dirtier, perhaps even as though he was a bottom of the barrel character that had done something very wrong, which he did. But Englund made Krueger work for a couple of reasons, one of which happened to be that he was absolutely terrifying and played on that element in a way that no one else had at that point. But the fact is that Freddy was a playful character, no matter that his style of play was quite violent and more than a little sadistic. When one thinks of Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers they might think of straight-up hack and slash, without the need to talk since, well, neither of them do. But with Freddy, there was plenty of talking, and almost always in a manner that was meant to terrorize those that he was stalking. The thing was, this has been a part of his character from the beginning. Since he feeds on fear, his vocal element was as necessary as the terror he inspired.
Bacon can do this, as can the others that have been named as possible successors to the Krueger role, since inspiring terror doesn’t necessarily take that much work, but it does require a certain ability to cause dread in people with a gesture, a look, or something else that some actors have mastered over the years. This is why someone like, say, Tom Hanks, couldn’t be Krueger, since no matter how crazy he might look at times, his looks still make people feel warm and fuzzy inside no matter who he’s playing. But someone like Kevin Bacon, who’s been able to creep people out in the past with his maniacal looks, and who can menace with his voice alone, would be a good pick. The only real downside to this is that the terror that Bacon inspires has often been used in gripping thrillers that position him as the antagonist, and while his horror chops are good enough to earn him the role, it does feel that he would have to hit a new level to actually nail the part of Krueger in a way that people would respond to. But could he do it? It’s with minor reluctance that I would say that yes, he can. Hopefully this is mirrored in an honest way by a lot of people, since Bacon is a great actor, and if it’s believed by Englund that he’d be a worthy successor, then it’s fair to think that he would be worth trying out. Given the advance in special effects, it might actually be fun to see what he could do.