The inspiration for Victor Creel in ‘Stranger Things’
(Credit: Netflix)


The inspiration for Victor Creel in 'Stranger Things'

One of the most intriguing characters introduced in season four of Stranger Things has to be Victor Creel, more so because he was portrayed by the legend Robert Englund.

Creel, the character depicted by Englund in the 1986 timeline and Kevin L. Johnson in the 1959 timeline, emerges as a recurring presence within the fourth season of inevitably the best season of Stranger Things so far. 

The story unveils Creel’s unsettling journey, commencing in 1959 when he becomes an inmate at Pennhurst Mental Hospital. His confinement extends for 30 years after accepting a plea bargain for the murder of his family. He ends up in the asylum because he continues to assert his innocence, attributing the horrifying tragedy to supernatural beings.

Englund’s performance as the categorically spooky character carries shades of his iconic role as Freddy Krueger. But the roots of Victor’s character lie in another classic, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

Englund, known for his unforgettable performance as the menacing Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, induced the jeepers-creepers even with his eyes wide shut as Creel. However, he revealed that contrary to everyone’s presumption that Krueger inspired Creel, he was actually inspired by Billy Bones. 

Englund shared his creative process in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, shedding light on the genesis of Victor Creel’s character. In Stevenson’s timeless adventure novel Treasure Island, Billy Bones plays a pivotal role in unravelling the tale of the infamous pirate Long John Silver to the young protagonist Jim Hawkins.

Actors often tap into a reservoir of strange and diverse imagination to build their characters. In the chat with THR, Englund explained, “As actors, we access strange imagery. We use imagery sometimes that has nothing to do with what we’re doing. And one of the things I was using was a character from Treasure Island named Billy Bones, who tells a huge story to Jim Hawkins about Long John Silver. It had nothing to do with Freddy Krueger or Nightmare. It was just one of those weird images that comes to you.”

The iconic horror film star also thanked the make-up artists for doing a brilliant enough job that aided his performance, “I was very relieved when I found out that Barrie Gower and Duncan Jarman from Game of Thrones, the guys that created the Night King, were doing my makeup. I did a makeup test with them early on over in London. So, I did know what the makeup would look when I was preparing the dialogue,” Englund continued, “Obviously, I couldn’t see out of the makeup, so I didn’t have to act blind. And because I was imprisoned in that cell for so long, I knew that a blind man would know his way around in there. He knew where his bed was, where the bars and his desk and his chair would be. I didn’t have to devote any energy to worrying about the makeup or playing blind.”

As we wait for more uncanny occurrences at Hawkins and the Upside Down, you can always revisit the first four seasons of Stranger Things on Netflix.