Breaking down the legendary horror cameo in Stranger Things season 4

·2 min read
Breaking down the legendary horror cameo in Stranger Things season 4

Warning: This article contains spoilers about Stranger Things season 4.

Don't fall asleep on this Stranger Things season 4 cameo.

The first seven episodes in a planned nine-episode, super-charged fourth season of the Netflix hit dropped Friday, and the first few introduce us to Hawkins' newest threat: an evil, dream-demon-maybe-wizard being that our heroes dub "Vecna."

This Vecna murders the town's teens (with a particular emphasis on those who are grappling with trauma and feelings of guilt) by first appearing to them in their dreams nightmares. He's got a terrifying voice; long, knife-like fingers and nails; and a deformed face to match, and if all of this sounds reminiscent of Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise — just wait, there's more.

As our intrepid group of teens further investigates, they discover that all of this happened before, in the 1950s, when a man named Victor Creel supposedly murdered his entire family. The description of the bodies uncannily mirrors that of Vecna's victims. Finding out that he's still alive and being held in a nearby mental institution, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Robin (Maya Hawke) pose as psychology students and set out to visit Creel. They hope to prove their theory that Creel is innocent, and to find out how he managed to survive the demon when his family did not.

Stanger Things 4
Stanger Things 4

Netflix Robert Eglund as Victor Creel in 'Stranger Things' season 4.

When Creel finally reveals himself, he's none other than Freddy Krueger himself — or rather, the man who played him, Robert Englund. Not unlike the famous dream demon, Creel also has a rather disfigured face. But here, Englund gets to play somewhat of a hero. He tells the girls about his family and what really happened, confirming their theory and providing a detail crucial to saving Max (Sadie Sink), who would otherwise be Vecna's third victim.

Englund doesn't appear again outside of this standout scene, but in a further nod to the actor and his famous horror villain, Freddy Krueger gets a namedrop in the next episode, when our heroes are discussing what they've learned so far and what their next steps should be. Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) suggests that maybe if the Vecna infiltrated Max's mind, she could also get inside his. "Like, Freddy Krueger's boiler room! He's the super burned-up dude with razors for fingers and kills you in your dreams," he explains, as Mike and Nancy's horrified little sister listens. When Nancy chastises him, he apologizes, explaining that it's just a movie and "not real." Right.

The first seven episodes of Stranger Things season 4 are out now, with two more extra-long episodes set to debut on July 1.

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