A new season of Stranger Things means a new villain, and this year's entry is a doozy.
Stranger Things season 4 introduces viewers to the show's latest big baddie, Vecna, a Dungeons & Dragons demon who was once a powerful wizard and has the ability to feed on the nightmares and traumas that haunt people. The monster boasts a disfigured face and clawed hands and is seemingly unstoppable. Sound familiar?
If you're getting Freddy Krueger vibes from Vecna, you're not far off. There are plenty of A Nightmare on Elm Street references sprinkled throughout the first batch of episodes in Stranger Things season 4—but does the iconic movie villain actually show up in the Netflix sci-fi series?
*Warning: spoilers ahead!*
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Is there a Freddy Krueger 'Stranger Things' crossover?
Well, sort of! For one, the '80s-set show explicitly mentions the horror character in season 4 episode 5, "Chapter Five: The Nina Project," when Dustin and Max discuss Vecna and his mind controls.
"Maybe you infiltrated his mind. He invaded your mind, right? Is it that big of a leap to suggest you somehow wound up in his? Like Freddie Krueger's boiler room," Dustin suggests, describing Freddy as a "super burned-up dude with razors for fingers...and he kills you in your dreams."
Thankfully, Freddy himself doesn't actually show up in season four—the Hawkins crew has enough monster madness to contend with already—but the actor who famously portrayed the supernatural serial killer in the Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise does.
In a perfect bit of stunt casting, Freddy Krueger actor Robert Englund plays the supporting role of Victor Creel in season four. Creel is an incarcerated man charged with killing his entire family in the 1950s—except that he is innocent and Vecna was actually the one guilty of the gruesome murders. When Nancy and Robin get the chance to speak with Creel at the Pennhurst Mental Hospital, he tells them what really went down all those years ago at the Creel House, intel that helps them save a member of their gang from Vecna's powers.
About Englund's cameo, co-creator Matt Duff revealed to IGN (opens in new tab) that the actor had actually approached the Stranger Things crew about a possible appearance: "The fact that he came to us in a season that’s so deeply inspired by the Nightmare series and by his performance especially in those movies, it felt like fate. It felt like, 'okay, this is meant to be.'"
Part one of Strangers Things season 4 is currently streaming on Netflix. (And yes, a Stranger Things season 5 is also a go!)
Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life.
More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.
When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.
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