MVPs of Horror: How the actor who played Jason Voorhees could have been Freddy Krueger

Kevin Polowy
·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read

The 2003 slasher clash Freddy vs. Jason isn’t the only thing horror’s most iconic villains have in common.

As he revealed to us during ShudderFest’s Horror Royalty panel Saturday, Kane Hodder — the stuntman-turned-actor who played Jason Voorhees in four Friday the 13th movies — was one of the first people to learn about the creation of Freddy Krueger. Hodder, who has severe burn scars across most of his body after an early career fire stunt gone wrong, was working with scare-meister Wes Craven on the horror movie The Hills Have Eyes Part II [shot in 1983 but not released until 1985].

“I was sitting on the set of Hills Have Eyes II with Wes [and] we were talking about my burn scars,” Hodder said during the panel, in which he was joined by Freddy himself, Robert Englund, along with Doug Bradley (Pinhead in the Hellraiser franchise), Tony Todd (the star of Candyman), Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Pumpkinhead), Lin Shaye (the scream queen known for A Nightmare on Elm Street, Critters and Alone in the Dark) and Tom Savini (the makeup maestro of Creepshow and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series).

“And he told me about this character he was developing, who’s gonna have burn scars. And at that time he was considering using an actor with real burn scars, just for the sensationalism or whatever of it. And he said, ‘I think I’m going to call the character Fred Krueger.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, that sounds interesting.’”

Craven considered Hodder for what would become the lead role in A Nightmare on Elm Street, but ultimately the late filmmaker tapped the more experienced actor Englund, who had appeared in films like Eaten Alive and Galaxy of Terror and the miniseries V.

“Robert made the character unbelievably amazing, which was the best choice possible,” Hodder adds. “But it was just strange to have talked to Wes about that before it ever happened.”

Hodder and Englund often cross paths on the horror fest circuit, and worked together in 2006’s Hatchet. Englund says Hodder shared that story with him “into maybe my third Bushmills” while they were having drinks one night.

“But I was never up for Friday the 13th,” Englund laughed. “So that seems rather unfair.”

“I don’t think it’s likely Jason would’ve been silent if that was the case,” cracked Bradley about the famously loquacious Englund.

Watch our full Horror Royalty panel at ShudderFest.com.

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