Robert Englund interview by John Gray (30 March 2006)

What can you say about Robert Englund? The man who brought dream killer Freddy Krueger to life has also had an extensive career as a character actor, often inventing inimitable new characters along the way. Today, the Pit is honored to present an exclusive interview with the man himself, conducted by John Gray. Our highest regards to Mr. Englund for his time and witty manner, and from all indications, his communications with The Pit may only be....just starting!

Robert! Great to talk to you! What are you up to?
Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger Same to you! As we speak, Iím in my office in the deep West Valley. I just got off the phone with Robert Hall, my special effects make up guy, who is busy dipping two of my actresses into latex to make them into hunchbacks and devils with wings and veins and tails and horns, and withered titties like Lin Shaye had in There's Something About Mary.

Is that for Killer Pad?
Oh yes, we are into it now! We are talking to stars for cameos and were refining the script. We have some music from Master P whoís got a great mix, and we are assembling all of the crew. We have a great DP David Stump, and of course Robert Hall who is holding my hand through all of this. It looks like we are going to have a lot of fun with this. It also looks like we are going to have a new hybrid with this. We are not making fun of horror movies--itís really a comedy first. Itís really a comedy in a horror setting, certainly a satanic setting. Itís going to be a lot of fun.

What inspired you to get this particular project going?
Well, I go where Iím wanted now. Iím not a kid anymore. Some jobs I choose because I like the location, some I choose because I like the role, and sometimes itís just an excuse to work with somebodyÖ whether itís Lin Shaye, Scott Wilson or somebody like that as a fan. This particular one, Iím working with my old buddy Wayne Rice who did Suicide Kings and lots of other movies. His mega giant hit was Dude, Whereís My Car, and with the success of both comedy and horror and seeing what it would be like to play with a blend of that and assembling a team of talented people. And also with pilot season almost over here in LA, a lot of people will become available for jobs in the spring. Itís a great time to pluck the young actors, and also approaching the comedians, and because we are shooting in Hollywood a lot of those people will be more likely to do it because itís local. Most projects these days are shot out of state or country, and when you shoot in town, you really have a Ďdeep benchí as they say in sports. So, of course I am eating badly, drinking way too much Starbucks, and eating way too many donuts.

Well, you canít go wrong with thatÖ
Shoot....(laughs) So my head is really in all this, but Iíd be happy to talk about anything else you want to talk about. Hatchet, and a couple of other projects.

Well, I had planned on talking a little about Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon.
I wanted to call it The Boy Returned, which is what Leslie winds up calling it in the film. Itís a Blair Witch meets Hitchcockís Psycho and then it mutates into a total splatter film. As I mentioned before, Scott Wilson who plays this retired serial killer, heís out there flipping burgers. (Robert puts on a voice that sounds awfully similar to Freddy Krueger) ďOh, you know those kids today, they are SOOOOO messy, but when I was a young serial killer, no one EVER found the body!!!Ē You know....(laughs). Itís a phenomenal character and one I had actually wanted to play, but I couldnít even hold a candle to Scott. So we also have Zelda Rubenstein from Poltergeist, and a wonderful young actress Angela Goethals. You might remember her from last season on 24--she was the young schizo daughter of the head of CTU.

Oh yes! "24" is my favorite show!
Me and my wife discovered her years ago, off Broadway in a play called The Good Times They Are aí Killiní Me, about a young girl who discovers her father's old 45 record collection, and she was just brilliant.

Yeah, she has had a lot of good roles.
So the lead, Leslie Vernon who is played by Nathan Baesel who plays the one armed, born again alien deputy on Invasion. And he can do anythingÖ I saw him in a play about Kurt Cobain and he played sort of a Nirvana roadie and he is just a great, great actor. I have yet to see the final print of it, but I was invited to Austin to see it at SXSW, they had a room for me at the Four Seasons in Austin, and you know me, Iím such a whore Iíll go to the opening of a closetÖ and I love film festivals. I really wanted to be a champion on this project, and I love all the people involved. The director Scott Glosserman is wonderful.

Well, itís getting a ton of great reviews already.
Well, if it clicks then I can involve myself as the Donald Pleasence character from Halloween, you know, the 'Ahab' of the film!

Letís talk about Hatchet.
Woo, Adam Green....that boy!

We just opened up a forum for Hatchet on Guts And Gory.
Yeah, Adam is wonderful. Iím also really happy for Kane as well. This could really be his new franchise. But I think they really need to stick to this bayou thing. They have Tony Todd out there as the voodoo man. Iím really just there to throw the audience off so they think they are watching a giant alligator movie or something, when itís really this creepy bayou character. You know something else, I really feel bad for Kane because not only was starring in the movie, but he was the stunt coordinator, so he really worked his ass off!

So is your cameo a throwback to Eaten Alive at all?
No, well I guess if you were writing a paper at USC or something you could say this was the Tobe Hooper homage....the Eaten Alive homage. You know I bring tons of baggage to any horror project I do, and I really play this bayou fisherman, the gator hunter. So, because they see me there and the boy from Blair Witch (Josh Leonard)Ö (Robert gives me a big spoiler to the film which I agree not print) but Iím sure you are not the only one that will associate my cameo with Eaten Alive. Just wait until you see it!

So letís talk about Heartstopper. You play a good guy in that as well!
It was such a great thing for me. I got to go to Toronto. I had met Bob Keen before in London. He had done some of the creature work on the original Star Wars and the Hellraiser projects with Clive. So he is directing up in Toronto nowÖ and again, Iím playing the against type. Itís a thriller, a serial killer thriller, more so than a horror film. It owes a lot to the Wes Craven film Shocker. He had some really great Canadian actors as well. They got a great actress as well, sort of like an Avril Lavigne type. I like that both the kids in it are both hurt, or handicapped in the sense that they canít run aroundÖ I love that gimmick. They are trapped in a hospital, running from this killer and hobbling aroundÖ itís great! I did a bunch of looping on it recently and it looked great!

Great. And of course you have to be proud of your stint on Masters Of Horror, right?
Oh yes, itís the thing I am most proud of right now.

Robert Englund, Horror Celebrity Extraordinaire!

You were awesome in it, so you should be proud.
Nominated for a DGA award tooÖ

No shit....
I have a ton of stuff floating around and some stuff on the back burner.

Well, that brings to mind The Last Horror Picture Show. What is going on with that?
Well, itís a great script and I hope they donít keep fooling around with it. Ever since I got the first draft it was great. Oh, and whatís the one in London?

JG: Urbane?
I have not heard from him (Frazer Lee) in a while, and I saw a short promo reel he did called The Dentist, which was wonderful. Itís a little dialogue-heavy, but man, is it a great script.

Well the concept sounds great, and itís got Doug Bradley.
Yeah, Iíd love to work with oleí Pinhead again!

Back to Killer Pad. I heard this was gonna be PG-13?
Yeah, some people may be a little disappointed but itís going to deliver. Trust me, itís going to be a little scary, a little funny, and a little sexy. We are going to have some really cool creatures and we have a great actress tapped for the lead.

Well, you mentioned some cameos. Can you talk about who?
Well, I donít want to speak out of turn on this, but I think it would be fair to say we are getting Bobby Lee from "Mad TV," as well as some other big stars, but I canít give their names out yet.

What about The Demons 5? Itís got an enormous cast....Gunnar Hansen, Debbie Rochon, Kane Hodder, Bill Johnson, R.A. Mihailoff....
Well, I was supposed to do that before Killer Pad, and I found out later that they changed the start date. Iíd love to work with everyone again and itís a great location up north somewhere. It may be on hold for a while, but I donít see it being cancelled or anything.

What about the rumored Nightmare prequel?
You know about as much as I do, but I will say that New Line is commissioned to do another one. I will tell you that John (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) McNaughton is tapped to direct. I think it should go the "CSI" route and be sort of like a docu-drama that shows his crimes against the children. Then you cast two of the greatest character actors you can find to play the lawyers that get him off. Then of course it leads up to Freddy being burned alive.

I think it would be great to do the whole Darth Vader thing and show human Freddy at the end becoming the Nightmare Freddy, kinda like in Episode III.
Exactly! That is great idea actually, but you know, this "CSI" stuff is all would be great if it was done that way, and make it a period seventies piece.

Well, I also have to ask about the rumored Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Michael Myers. Anything going on with that?
Well, there are so many rumors, but I know for a fact there have been talks with John Carpenter. Iíd love to sit down with Jamie Lee and Jeff Katz and bang out a story. My idea would of course have to take place before Jamie Lee is killed in Halloween 8. Almost as if Freddy Vs. Jason vs. Michael Myers happened in the nineties or something. Kind of like Alien 2 goes to Springwood or something, bring back Jamie Leeís daughter (Jamie Lloyd) and maybe she could have some sort of goth expertise that would make it to where these guys couldnít stand a chance. Iíd love to give Jamie Lee something to sink her teeth into as an actress. Throw away the pills, throw away the cigarettes, throw away the little bottles of VodkaÖ

And kick ass....

Of course we are all looking to seeing you back in front of the camera as Freddy!
It will happen. I just need to take some Correctol and do some laps!

Any current horror you are into?
Well, my good friend Greg Hoffman who passed recently got me into the Saw films, and it was fun to hear "The Sopranos" talking about Freddy Krueger last Sunday. I also really enjoyed The Hills Have Eyes remake.

What do you think of the new Friday The 13th?
Well, I liked the Chainsaw remake, so with those guys behind it, Iím sure it will be great.

Do you think a remake of Elm Street is in the cards?
You know, I wouldnít remake Elm Street or Friday The 13th, but there might be a great prequel of course or even a lost chapter to do....somewhere in between three and four maybe? You know I love prequels! Iím a sucker for that stuff. There is something really garage band about the Friday films. If you make them extravagant then it is what it isÖ if you make it garage, there is something exquisitely violent, like a great nihilistic video game or porno comic book. There is something rough about it. I mean look at Psycho. I mean I love Gus Van Sant, but that remake SUCKED! If you look at The Wizard of Oz, even with all the special effects and CGI, it canít be redone. Look at Gone With The Wind now or The Wizard of Oz, itís like your great grandmother gave you a great story book to read and as you watch it, you are turning the pages.

Right, and while I love Peter Jackson, that King Kong was just too damn long!
It was terribly miscast. I love Peter Jackson and Naomi Watts, but she is older than all the men in the movie. The whole point of the movie is these guys take this girl who is young and naÔve to Kong Island. Not some broad who has been around the block. So when I saw it, it was sublime. I just kept falling in and out of the movie. I also liked the guy who played the captain. I hated the chasing with the dinosaurs and it just did not quite work around the edges. If you watch the original Kong, itís like you are watching Shakespeare or something. Itís like Venice compared to Vegas! It just was not meant to be redone.

Well, thanks for your time, Robert. We will see you soon!
Thanks again John! Indeed, we will see you soon!


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