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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
You were awesome in it, so you should be proud.
Nominated for a DGA award tooÖ
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
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
Yeah, Iíd love to work with oleí Pinhead again!
Back to Killer Pad. I heard this was gonna be
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
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
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
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 over....it would be great if
it was done that way, and make it a period seventies
Well, I also have to ask about the rumored Freddy
Vs. Jason Vs. Michael Myers. Anything going on with
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
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
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
Thanks again John! Indeed, we will see you soon!
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