Robert Englund is done playing Freddy Krueger

A Nightmare on Elm Street
(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

After nearly 40 years, Robert Englund is ready to put Freddy Krueger to bed.

"I’m too old and thick to play Freddy now," Englund told Variety. "I just can’t do fight scenes for more than one take anymore, I’ve got a bad neck and bad back and arthritis in my right wrist. So I have to hang it up, but I would love to cameo."

Englund made his debut as Freddy Kreuger, the malevolent spirit of a child killer, in 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street, directed by none other than Wes Craven. The movie's success launched a franchise, with Englund reprising the role for seven more films and starring in a spin-off series called Freddy's Nightmares. 

Donning a red-and-green striped sweater, a fedora, a leather glove with mechanical claws, and burn marks on his face – Kreuger would go on to become one of the most widely recognized figures in horror, taking on the status of 'icon' alongside Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers.

"I know who icons are," Englund, 75, continued. "I’m not an icon. Maybe Freddy Krueger is, but I’m not. I’m just a character actor, a utility actor who’s been very lucky."

The actor has been in dozens of non-Freddy horror movies including Urban Legend, 2001 Maniacs, Hatchet, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, and most recently played himself in Netflix's video game horror Choose or Die. Englund also appeared as Victor Creel in Stranger Things season 4, a man wrongfully convicted and haunted by Vecna.

Freddy was eventually recast in the 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street remake, with Jackie Earle Haley putting on the claws, but plans for subsequent sequels were scrapped due to the overwhelmingly negative response from fans and critics alike. In the golden age of remakes, however, it's likely that a new Freddy movie could pop up at anytime – hopefully one big enough to bring Englund out of retirement.

Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story will be available to stream exclusively on SCREAMBOX. For more, check out our list of the best horror movies of all time.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.