The fourth season of Stranger Things is drawing a lot of comparisons to the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, mainly because of how similar Vecna is to the iconic slasher Freddy Krueger. Vecna targets teenagers who have experienced a traumatic event, puts them in a dream-like state, and kills them in horrific fashion. Chrissy’s death in the season premiere was also a pretty deliberate homage to Tina’s in the first Nightmare film, so horror fans are being plenty satiated by the darker tone Stranger Things has taken. Even more exciting to horror die-hards is that Freddy Krueger himself guest stars in the fourth episode of the season, as Robert Englund takes on the role of the horrifically disfigured Victor Creel.
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Englund has only appeared in the one episode so far, but it was captivating to watch Creel retell the events which lead to the deaths of his wife and daughter. Add in the incredible prosthetic work that showed the aftermath of Creel blinding himself with a razor, and Englund instantly became an incredible addition to the Stranger Things crew. When it came to crafting the character of Victor Creel, Englund recently revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that his inspiration actually came from a classic work of literature as opposed to his most legendary character:
“As actors, we access strange imagery. We use imagery sometimes that has nothing to do with what we’re doing. And one of the things I was using was a character from Treasure Island named Billy Bones, who tells a huge story to Jim Hawkins about Long John Silver. It had nothing to do with Freddy Krueger or Nightmare. It was just one of those weird images that comes to you.”
Becoming part of Stranger Things was actually years in the making for Englund, and the actor says Victor Creel was the perfect avenue to join a series that he admired:
“I was a fan, and then I was up for a role in season three that I didn’t get, I was disappointed. I really wanted to be on the show. Then they called me for Victor Creel. I sent in a little home audition tape my wife filmed. I saw him as this strangely sympathetic man – but also frightening because he’s blinded himself and he has these terrible scars. But he has this damaged tale to tell.”
Could Robert Englund Still Have a Role to Play in Stranger Things?
Victor Creel’s recounting of the events of his family’s death served as the precursor for the massive reveals in the seventh episode of Stranger Things. Creel was convinced that a supernatural force killed his wife and both of his children, but “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab” explained how it was actually Henry Creel who perpetrated the acts. Henry went on to become the first patient of Dr. Brenner and then was turned into Vecna after Eleven sent him into the Upside Down. Since Victor is still alive and Vecna is terrorizing the people of Hawkins, the monster could turn his wrath back toward his birth father in the final two episodes of season four.
Of course, Englund may have already served his purpose in Stranger Things. Victor’s speech to Nancy and Robin essentially served as an exposition dump, which lead to the only way that the kids have found to escape Vecna’s trance. While it would be a little disappointing to not have Englund come back around, his inclusion alone was a great nod to horror history. Hopefully, the man behind Freddy Krueger will get one more chance to flex his acting muscles before the fourth season of Stranger Things comes to an end.