Without question, despite the other roles he’s played, Robert Englund will always be identified as “Freddy Krueger” from “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and it’s subsequent sequels and spinoffs.
The actor will be in the area this weekend, making special appearances at pre-Halloween screenings of “Elm Street” at the Hollywood Palms and Hollywood Blvd. cinemas in Naperville and Woodridge.
Recently Englund called to chat about his niche in the world of horror movies and why he thinks people love them.
Q: What do think is reason for the ongoing popularity of Freddy
A: I know it’s amazing — plus this year is the 10th anniversary of Freddy versus Jason. Halloween is my season, that’s for sure. But to answer your question, I think it starts with the writing. I’m English-trained and they’re all about the source material, which I think is right. I also think that when they are made to be unique — Freddy or Frankenstein or Hannibal Lecter — or so many of the superhero characters outside of the horror genre — I think people latch on to them and want to keep coming back for more stories featuring those characters.
Q: Beyond the characters then, why is horror such a universally popular genre — all over the world?
A: Certain genres – science fiction, horror or fantasy speak an international language, as opposed to comdy which often is dependent on very specific cultural issues. For example I don’t think you’ll find people in Italy lined up to see a Seth Rogen movie, and conversely we’re not standing in line for their Italian comedies over here.
On the other hand, we’ll go see ‘Pan’s Labyrinth” and they go see ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street,’ or ‘Frankenstein’ or more recently ‘The Purge’ or ‘The Conjuring.’
Also, I think there’s something about people everywhere identifying with the idea of being terrified. We understand those scary emotions — the various forms of fear. We can watch those films and identify with our own mortality, imagine our own death. It’s an emotional catharsis.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being ‘Freddy Krueger’?
A: Believe it or not — the fact that the kids who first met Freddy in the 1980s are now parents — and their kids — and in some cases grandkids! — are now fans. I love being enjoyed by the third or fourth generation of fans. It’s fun!
Q: Do you think horror films can inspire people to do bad things for real?
A: Listen, I think we tend to think there’s more mayhem in the world because we hear about it 24/7 on the news, it’s being blogged, there’s the internet, Twitter, Facebook and all that. Frankly, I don’t think there’s more mayhem per-capita than there was in the 14th Century or the 19th Century — it’s just that there are so many more people and we hear about all these terrible things all the time. It’s non-stop.
Q: I know you love coming to Chicago — besides your appearances at the Hollywood Blvd and Hollywood Palms cinemas — what else do you hope to do while you’re in town?
A: I’m slipping into town a couple of days early. I want to catch a show at Steppenwolf and tip a few at the Green Mill, if I get a chance!