Stranger Things season 4 features A Nightmare On Elm Street’s Robert Englund as Victor Creel, a man who’s tied to the Freddy Krueger-Esque Vecna.
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Stranger Things season 4 volume 1.
Here’s who Robert Englund plays in Stranger Things season 4 and what his character means for the future of the series. Famous among horror aficionados, Robert Englund is the actor who played Freddy Krueger, the scarred and bladed glove-wielding villain of the Nightmare On Elm Street series. Stranger Things season 4 cleverly uses Englund’s infamy to breathe life into a compelling new threat.
Stranger Things has been casting 1980s icons since the series debuted in 2016, with Winona Ryder playing harried single mother, Joyce Byers. However, as Ryder’s transition from teen heroine to middle-aged mom proves, Stranger Things usually subverts the expectations that viewers have for these actors based on the archetypes they played in the 80s. For example, Paul Reiser played a seemingly sleazy Carter Burke-Esque character in Stranger Things season 2, only for his character to turn out to be a surprising force for good by the season’s close.
Stranger Things pulls a similar twist with Robert Englund as Englund’s Creel falls victim to Stranger Things season 4 villain Vecna. In Stranger Things season 4, episode 7, “Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab,” it’s revealed that Vecna’s ultimate goal is to eradicate humanity and that Vecna is actually Henry – Victor Creel’s son. Here’s everything else that viewers need to know about Robert Englund’s Victor Creel.
How Victor Creel Fits Into Stranger Things Season 4’s Story
Robert Englund’s Victor Creel is the father of Henry, also known as Vecna, another Dungeons & Dragons-inspired monster who dwells in the Upside Down and terrorizes the residents of Hawkins. While investigating the unusual circumstances of Chrissy’s death, Nancy interviews Eddie’s uncle Wayne, who tells her about Victor Creel, a Hawkins resident imprisoned in a psychiatric ward for killing his family years ago. This leads Nancy and Robin to find a news article about Victor claiming that he didn’t kill his family but that a demon is somehow responsible. In the scene that finally introduces Englund’s Victor Creel into the Stranger Things season 4 cast, Nancy and Robin pose as psychology students to speak with Victor in person. Victor tells the story of how his family was murdered by an unseen force – revealing that the same entity is responsible for the recent and similar deaths in Hawkins. Victor also explains that he gouged out his own eyes, attempting to join his family but was stopped by the facility’s doctors where he was incarcerated.
Furthermore, Stranger Things’ season 4 volume 1 finale reveals that Victor is partly responsible for the strange events in Hawkins. The source of Hawkins’ “curse” is Victor’s son, Henry, who discovers that he has immense psychic powers as a child. Believing himself to be a superior being, Henry develops a hatred for all humanity, represented by Stranger Things’ grandfather clock, which Vecna’s victims see before they die. When Victor’s wife consults a specialist to find out what’s wrong with their son, Henry uses his powers to kill his mother and sister before collapsing from the exertion. This sees Victor wrongly arrested for murder, putting Henry in the hands of Dr. Brenner, who gives Henry the name Number One and then uses Henry to create superpowered children like Eleven. Number One tricks Eleven into removing the chip that inhibits his power and then kills almost everyone in Brenner’s facility, causing Eleven to banish Number One to the Upside Down and transforming Number One into Vecna. In short, Victor’s decision to move to Hawkins is the earliest known event related to the origins of Vecna and the gates to the Upside Down under Hawkins Lab.
Although Victor seems genuinely unaware of Henry’s powers and his role in his son’s rise as Vecna, Victor does leave Nancy and Robin with something useful, as Victor humming the song “Dream A Little Dream” by Ella Fitzgerald allows Nina and the others to deduce that music can break Vecna’s hold over a person. In fact, Nancy uses this knowledge to help Dustin develop the plan to use the song “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush – Max’s favorite song – to break Vecna’s spell on Max. This strategy will no doubt come in handy again as the residents of Hawkins face off against Vecna, and it’s all thanks to Victor sharing his story. However, in terms of Victor and Henry’s past, Stranger Things season 4 volume 2 still has a lot to explain.
Why Robert Englund’s Victor Creel Casting Is A Genius Freddy Krueger Reference
Stranger Things season 4’s Victor Creel casting pays tribute to the massive influence of Nightmare on Elm Street on the horror genre and parallels the classic movie in various ways. Just like Freddy Krueger, Vecna terrorizes his victims by making them experience waking nightmares. Though famous for his bladed leather gloves, Freddy Krueger’s strength is in attacking the mind – a power reflected in how Vecna claims his victims from the Upside Down, which itself is comparable to Krueger’s dominion over dreams. When Eleven banished Number One to the Upside Down, it appeared that Number One burned to death, which is how Krueger died, adding another Stranger Things season 4 easter egg that perfectly pays off Robert Englund’s Victor Creel role. As such, Stranger Things season 4 pays tribute to the horror that Nightmare on Elm Street unleashed on unsuspecting audiences in 1984, and it makes sense that the man who played Freddy Krueger himself plays a pivotal role in unfurling Vecna’s nightmarish backstory.
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