Robert Englund Comes Out! … About the Gay Embrace and Subtext of His Nightmare Films

To hear Laguna Beach resident Robert Englund tell it, his Freddy Krueger movies could be removed from the horror shelves and placed in the gay cinema section instead.


Wes Craven: I Always Encouraged Robert Englund to Make Freddy Krueger His Own

A self-described “theater boy” who's–get this!–straight and married … to a woman, Englund recently told The Advocate's Jase Peeples that when he saw drag queens dressed as the heroine in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street shortly after the 1985 release, he knew the flick had legs with gays.

“I remember I went to a party for Halloween in Hollywood shortly after the first Nightmare came out, and there were already men doing drag as Nancy–full drag, in the pajamas with the embroidery, and the white streak in the hair,” Englund recalled. “It was fabulous!”

He figured it was the fierceness of Nancy Thompson, as portrayed by Heather Langenkamp, that struck a chord.

“There's always been a great affection in the gay community, and I share this from my point of view as a heterosexual, for the survivor and the diva,” Englund explained. “That strong woman thing that gay men in the '40s and '50s identified with in actresses like Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, there was a transference going on in the early '80s because there was no Bette Davis then.”

The embrace by gays emboldened Englund to intentionally amplify the gay subtext in the script for A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, especially in the scenes with the Jesse Walsh character played by gay actor Mark Patton.

“… My interpretation of what Freddy was doing throughout the film was he was picking up on that subtext, on the boy's latency. He was exploiting that and teasing Mark's character with it.”

He stops and chuckles, adding, “I certainly remember asking the director if I could get real sexy with Mark's mouth in another scene–that moment where Freddy literally circumscribes Mark's mouth with the blade. In that moment it's real. Is Freddy going to kiss him? Is it an oral sex innuendo? I remember wanting the audience to go crazy with that and playing with the fact that Freddy is in the libido. He's in the subconscious and playing with it all the time.”

Click here for the full article that also has Englund describing “being squired about” New York City “by this gorgeous 6-foot-6 man in a floor-length mink,” watching the AIDS epidemic destroy his business and a community and how he longs for a newer, even gayer Nightmare.

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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