Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares, Robert Englund’s story review: A bloody good time with the man behind Freddy

Robert Englund

“I never set out to become a horror icon,” he reflects. Robert Englund in Hollywood Dreams and Nightmares, the story of Robert Englund riveting new documentary from directors Gary Smart (The Story of a scary night out, a Hollywood Werewolf in London, you’re Great Brewster!) and Christopher Griffiths (RoboDoc: The Creation of RoboCop). “It wasn’t something he was planning. It was just something that happened.”

Englund goes on to explain how, after heading to the make-up room of the first Nightmare on elm street Released in 1984, he miraculously “found” the character and the voice of the terrifying Freddy Krueger. Interestingly, Johnny Depp was instrumental in helping Englund turn Freddy into one of the creepiest and most terrifying horror villains of all time.


“Johnny Depp walked onto the set about a week after filming looking beautiful and young and wet, and there was the makeup artist with little pink fans she bought. [the stars]”, Englund points out in the document. “’We have to keep our stars cool,’ he said. ‘Well… what am I? Chopped liver?’ For the rest of the [Freddy Krueger] movies, I can remember that moment [of frustration], and that becomes shorthand for back to Freddy.” It’s one of many fascinating revelations in this captivating documentary, easily intriguing horror fans and non-fans alike.

The only thing to fear is fear itself

There are nine Nightmares in elm street Movie (s. Last, New Line Cinema and Platinum Dunes dubbed a “remake” of the original in 2010, recasting Nancy and Freddy (bad move, no offense, Rooney Mara and Jackie Earl Haley) failed to relaunch the franchise, And with good reason. Robert Englund embodied the role of Freddy Krueger so effectively, and no other actor could match what Englund brought to the screen. This voice. Those eyes. That commanding presence.

Hollywood Dreams and Nightmares illuminates those facts to winning ends, taking audiences on an exceptional journey that balances a talking-heads documentary style with copious footage from the original film and sequels that Englund starred in; remember the 2003 movie. Freddy vs. Jason romp? There’s a nice range of behind-the-scenes clips here, too.

It all elevates this documentary and creates a winning portrait of a horror icon and the man who brought that icon to life. Jason who? You may find yourself reflecting. Or, perhaps, realizing that Michael Myers from Hallowe’en may not have been as scary as Freddy Krueger after all. If anything, this documentary will leave audiences wanting a more conscious modern update on all the Nightmare movies and surely, in this day of streaming, that’s certainly possible.

What’s interesting here is that the filmmakers really take you into Englund’s life. It’s one thing to sing the praises of an enigmatic on-screen character like Freddy, and quite another to show you the man who made him such a classic movie figure. Why, who knew that among Englund’s first outings, he was in the stage version of Pinocchio? Or, for that matter, he used his own genius to make that role stand out. Or, for example, Englund became a classically trained stage actor before garnering attention on NBC’s 1980s hit, see? Remember that show?

Taste the scary little things

Much of the front half of the documentary traces Robert Englund’s rise as a character actor. Of being prepared for the role that John Travolta got Carrie to want to play Han Solo in Star Wars. This is a stellar exposé on Hollywood in one of its heydays, when 1970s cinema flourished, spawning countless movies that struck a chord only to become more than just a footnote in history.

Perspectives from his wife, Nancy Englund, set designer, and Eli Roth (cabin fever, hostel), Adam Green, Tony Todd, Lance Henriksen, Heather Langenkamp, ​​Lin Shaye, Bill Moseley, Doug Bradley, and Kane Hodder, also seep into the mix here, offering a deeper look at not just Englund and his dedication to the job. , but why a nightmare on elm street it was so effectively absorbing. Let’s be real: only Hollywood can concoct a horrifying man who killed children, only to meet his death in a raging fire, only to… rise again and wreak havoc on people’s dreams. Those poor teenagers on Elm Street. A better zip code would have sufficed.

Co-director Gary Smart noted: “I remember when I was around 10 years old, begging my parents for a life-size poster of Freddy Krueger, which I had seen in a seaside town in England. After much negotiation, they finally gave up and that poster hung on my bedroom door for many years.”

That’s how shocking the first movies were. These intimate accounts, along with Englund’s astute observations and the behavior of his wife, capture much more than a traditional documentary and become an emotional character study in the process. Hollywood Dreams and Nightmares is a powerfully rich and commendable achievement, beautifully capturing Hollywood history with its intimate focus on a remarkable actor.

Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story will be available to stream starting June 6 on Screambox and across digital platforms.

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