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During the course of New Nightmare, when Heather starts to get plagued more and more by dreams of Freddy, she calls her friend and former Freddy Krueger actor Robert Englund and tells him about it. He seems suspiciously knowledgable about the situation:

Robert: Wait a second, Now let me get this straight. You're having nightmares about Freddy, as in me?
Heather: No, it isn't you. He's scarier, he's...
Robert: Darker, more evil?
Heather: Yeah, how did you know?
Robert: Call that a guess.

And even more than that, he's actually right over painting a rather disturbing picture of Freddy. Yet, he doesn't tell Heather more and tries to put her off till tomorrow when she asks if she can visit him. And this is the last time we see Robert, for when Heather tries to call him the next day, his voice mail says he's left for multiple days and his character's arc is never picked up again for the rest of the movie.

But there was clearly something wrong with him and it isn't clear to me what, neither why he was never again mentioned after that incident. He seems to either have dreamed about Freddy, too. But he also didn't seem much aware of the situation himself and a little distracted. Yet, apart from Freddy's creator Wes and his selected opponent Heather, noone else from the film crew seemed to have dreams about him. Given his strange behaviour I found his sudden disappearance quite surprising.

So what actually happened to Robert Englund? An interesting aspect is, though, that Freddy Krueger was actually played by Robert Englund in this movie, too, as was the original Freddy who the actual evil entity was bound in. So does Robert have some kind of special connection to that Freddy because of this relation? Or was he even himself transforming into Freddy or was Robert's dissolution somehow necessary for Freddy's full emergence into the real world? Are there any other scenes or allusions, or maybe even deleted scenes, that clarify this aspect a bit and give a clearer conclusion to Robert Englund's character arc?

  • That's an interesting question. I had always assumed that Robert's end of the phone conversation with Heather indicated that he was just as scared as she was because he too was being troubled by Freddy, and the painting was him trying to "exorcise" Freddy from his own thoughts. Because of this, I always thought that Robert must've been killed by Freddy at some point shortly after that conversation as if Freddy was trying to shut him up before he could speak with Heather. Unfortunately, I don't have anything at this time to back that up, but that's always been the way I assumed it happened. – G_Hosa_Phat Sep 9 '15 at 19:26
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    One other interesting tidbit is that, even though he was again played by Robert Englund, the credits listed Freddy Krueger as playing "Himself". Apparently, Wes Craven wanted to emphasize the "real world" feel of the movie. – G_Hosa_Phat Sep 9 '15 at 22:07
  • Congratulations, this question is the winner of the corresponding topic challenge. – Napoleon Wilson Sep 12 '15 at 0:44
  • Of course, there could be a real-life reason: To ease poor Englund's workload. ;) – Walt Oct 20 '15 at 18:55
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Apparently, according to Robert Englund, there was supposed to be a scene that sort of explained what happened to him. I found this reference on the We Minored In Film site (scroll down to #7). According to the site, Robert Englund had this to say about what was originally in the script:

“Robert Englund has a nightmare in his house in the Hollywood hills with my paint-stained apron over a chair I fall asleep and wake up in a giant web and a giant red and green Freddy spider comes down and cocoons me in an homage to The Fly. That was going to be why I disappear. I wake up from this nightmare in a sweat next to my beautiful wife, and the next thing you know in the film Wes tells Heather that Robert’s gone. They don’t know where he is.”

Also according to this site:

This scene was never filmed. They did, however, film but cut a scene in which Robert’s wife informs Heather over the phone they were heading out of town because Robert was kind of freaked out.

Another reference I found for this is #27 on this Lair of Horror page that describes the same basic dream from above:

There was a scene in the script that depicted a Freddy nightmare with him attacking Robert Englund. The nightmare had Robert stuck in a spider-like web and the new "DEMON" Freddy was a giant spider. This was dropped because it didn't fit with the film's overall tone.

This tidbit also appears on the IMDb trivia page for the movie.

So, there doesn't seem to be anything that definitively tells us what "actually" happened to Robert Englund (the character) after the phone conversation, but there were apparently at least some plans to tell us in the movie. I don't know... it's almost more fun to speculate in this instance.

BTW, one other interesting thing I found on the Elm Street Wiki for this movie while looking all of this up was something that I had previously forgotten about regarding Robert's painting. In a conversation with Wes Craven, he tells her that:

in the script he's been writing, pure evil can be temporarily defeated if its essence is effectively captured in a work of art that is able to allow evil to express itself.

(emphasis mine) This may be the reason that Robert Englund was trying to paint Freddy's image in that scene.

Anyway, I hope that helps.

EDIT: After posting that last bit from the Elm Street Wiki about capturing the evil essence in a work of art, I decided to go look up the exact quote from the film. The quote isn't quite as vague as the Wiki would have you believe. Here's what's actually said (from WikiQuote):

Heather Langenkamp: Then, in this nightmare in progress, does this thing have any weaknesses?

Wes Craven: It can be captured, sometimes.

Heather Langenkamp: Captured? How?

Wes Craven: By storytellers, of all things. Every so often, they imagine a story good enough to catch its essence. Then it's held prisoner for a while. In the story.

Heather Langenkamp: Like the Genie in the bottle.

Just wanted to clarify before someone beat me to the punch. However, while this conversation between Wes and Heather specifically identifies a story as the means of capturing the evil, I might argue that such a mystical means of entrapment could be extended to any form of art, including Robert Englund's painting... Just my thoughts, though.

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