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Sell-Out or Not: Robert Englund?!

03.25.2013by: Jake Dee

Ready to decide who's a SELL-OUT OR NOT? Last time out, the majority of you felt that we either made too weak a sell-out case for the great Wes Craven, or that the man has simply NOT become a Hollywood sellout over the years. Well this here column, not unlike the last, will unofficially indict either an actor, director, producer, writer - basically anyone who at one time or another held clout in the genre world - only to ultimately kowtow to the powers that be and give in to commerce over artistic integrity. We'll present the case before you, weigh the pros and cons of the career decisions made, and leave it up to YOU, THE READER, to decide if the person under the hot interrogation lamp is indeed a Sell-Out Or Not. It's entirely your call!

THE CULPRIT: ROBERT ENGLUND

THE SELLOUTS: STRIPPERS VS. WEREWOLVES, THE MOLEMAN OF BELMONT AVENUE, LAKE PLACID: THE FINAL CHAPTER, "Charmed", "The Justice League", "The Batman", "The Spectacular Spider-Man", "Bones", "Supernatural", "Hawaii 5-0", "Criminal Minds"

Horror hall-of-famer Robert Englund has some 140 screen credits to date, many of which he tallied before becoming a horror icon in the mid-80s or so. However, not very many of those credits belonged to, outside his wildly popular ELM STREET run, a mega-successful blockbuster per se. Even for FREDDY VS. JASON, which opened with over $36 million in U.S. box office sales, Englund reportedly only earned $1 million for his reprisal of the iconic Freddy Krueger. You'd think the figure would be higher. Because of this, it's hard to accuse Englund of being a Hollywood sell-out, at least in the traditional sense of the word. He hasn't really abandoned the identity he's known so well for in return for piles of dough. Or so it seems.

No, the curious nature of Englund's career has more to do with his choice of projects post-Freddy, most of which reside in far inferior horror territory than his pal Wes Craven cultivated early on. Most actors fear being pigeonholed, but Englund seems to embrace his status as a legendary boogeyman, perhaps a bit too much, essentially being unable to say the word "no" whenever offered an asinine part. Danny Trejo style. Michael Madsen. But does knowing your role in the realm of horror cinema make you a sell-out? Has Englund really milked the genre cow too often, or, like most working actors, is he simply pleased to get a gig? Any gig. Even if it means doing a slew of voiceover work in the last ten years in more commercial, non-horror fare, or popping up on the tube in various pop TV shows ("Hawaii 5-0", "Criminal Minds", "Workaholics", etc) most recently. Is he at least trending toward sell-out status?

Anyone who's listened to Englund talk at length about his acting career knows he's a well trained performer (having attended the Academy of Dramatic Art). His background is far more varied and eclectic than his resume would suggest, and his intentions beyond genre cinema have been expressed clearly. I've even heard him talking about wanting to play a range of bit character parts through the twilight of his career, regardless of genre. So is the opportunity to do so simply un-afforded? Will horror cinema be the only place for Englund to play substantial parts? If so, it's hard to blame the cat for make a living any way he can. That is, until you see him in shite like STRIPPERS VS. WEREWOLVES, THE MOLEMAN OF BELMONT AVENUE, LAKE PLACID: THE FINAL CHAPTER, ZOMBIE MUTATION and many other listless direct-to-disc and TV horror joints he's recently appeared in. You start to wonder, Bob, what is up already? You're a goddamn legend, you should be able to be more selective about your projects. So maybe that's it. Maybe the powers that be have rendered him UNABLE to be so choosy? If so, he's hardly a sell-out. But if big Bobby E. is choosing such lame ass projects under his own volition, arguably phoning it in many times to boot, the answer just might be opposite.

THE GOOD STUFF: EATEN ALIVE, DEAD & BURIED, GALAXY OF TERROR, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (ENTIRE FRANCHISE), "V", 976-EVIL (directed), Many Others

For all the dreck and schlock he's appeared in over the decades, let's face it, Englund's highlight reel is stuff of legend. His longevity of playing a single, globally iconic horror villain (1984-2003) has to rank among the all time runs for any actor, much less one in the horror genre. It's the kind of feat of consistency that instantly catapults Englund into the horror pantheon alongside Karloff, Lugosi and Price...and no one can ever take that away from him. He earned it. In fact, most surely believed he earned the right to reprise his signature role in the 2010 Platinum Dunes remake of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, yes, even at 62 years old. The fact he was pushed aside for Jackie Earle Haley certainly seems like a stupid move in hindsight, though the last laugh likely went to Englund over what a terrible flick that turned out to be. And like his pal Wes Craven, Englund really had nothing to do with the ELM STREET remake, and whether it was his choice or not, you can't really call him a sell-out. Michael Bay, sure, but not Englund. Not for the ANOES remake anyway.

More, Englund has never really strayed too far away from his own persona, for good or bad. Sure, we most associate him with Freddy Krueger, but what do we most associate Freddy with? Irreverence, tongue-in-cheek humor, classic one-liners, etc. Well, no matter what non-Freddy role Englund plays, he never really leaves those traits behind. He knows his audience, knows his wheelhouse, by and large sticks to it, and stays true to himself in that way. He hasn't sold out his persona, regardless if he's slashing bitches up as Freddy or doing an evil guest spot on "Workaholics."

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK...SELL-OUT OR NOT?

As you can see, it's a bit harder to indict Robert Englund as being a typical sell-out. That's why we need your help. Is the man guilty or not? Sure he may have fed at the horror trough far too often to allow himself to branch out dramatically, but a sell-out? He may have played Freddy a bit too long, or made poor acting choices post-Krueger, but can you really label him a sell-out? Your call guys and ghouls. The gavel has dropped. Time to turn in your vote!

 

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5:41PM on 03/25/2013
I like most of Englund's work, even stuff like Lake Placid Final Chapter and Strippers Vs. Werewolves. I think it's for the best that this column is cancelled, because it's tough to really gauge actors as being sellouts or not.
I like most of Englund's work, even stuff like Lake Placid Final Chapter and Strippers Vs. Werewolves. I think it's for the best that this column is cancelled, because it's tough to really gauge actors as being sellouts or not.
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+11
5:37PM on 03/25/2013

The column is cancelled

In light of all these negative comments and all the negative e-mails I have been getting about it - this column is now cancelled. I thought this would be something we can all have fun with - I obviously was wrong. Peace! JF
In light of all these negative comments and all the negative e-mails I have been getting about it - this column is now cancelled. I thought this would be something we can all have fun with - I obviously was wrong. Peace! JF
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12:56PM on 03/26/2013
Dude, don't pout. Not every column's gonna be a hit. You had to realize that what you were putting out there with this was going to be controversial and get a lot of reactions. They just happened to be negative. Can't win 'em all but with this one, in particular, you picked a fan favorite who's very close to a lot of people's hearts so we spoke out. Loudly.
Dude, don't pout. Not every column's gonna be a hit. You had to realize that what you were putting out there with this was going to be controversial and get a lot of reactions. They just happened to be negative. Can't win 'em all but with this one, in particular, you picked a fan favorite who's very close to a lot of people's hearts so we spoke out. Loudly.
10:35PM on 03/26/2013
Hey Mister Negative, WTF are you talking about the Arrow "pouting"? If you happen to visit other sites, you'd be amazed how few of them give a shit about what their readers have to say. We heard ya'll, we listened and the Arrow posted a professional message here, alerting everyone about our decision. Why don't you try being a little classier and just say "Thanks for listening guys!" instead of this "Dude, don't pout" shit. Fuckin' people, man...
Hey Mister Negative, WTF are you talking about the Arrow "pouting"? If you happen to visit other sites, you'd be amazed how few of them give a shit about what their readers have to say. We heard ya'll, we listened and the Arrow posted a professional message here, alerting everyone about our decision. Why don't you try being a little classier and just say "Thanks for listening guys!" instead of this "Dude, don't pout" shit. Fuckin' people, man...
4:59PM on 03/25/2013

ridiculous

What a joke, Robert Englund is no sell out, and neither were the guys that you so ridiculously chose before him. Sellouts are lazy people that usurp the genre and business, not the pioneers who created it. Wake the hell up, this column is sellout.
What a joke, Robert Englund is no sell out, and neither were the guys that you so ridiculously chose before him. Sellouts are lazy people that usurp the genre and business, not the pioneers who created it. Wake the hell up, this column is sellout.
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4:49PM on 03/25/2013

You insult this man

I also agree with many posts below. Sellouts only care about $$ and don't give a crap about what they put out. If you've ever met Robert Englund in person you really know how much he cares not only about his craft but his fans. Sure he's been a in few straight to video stinkers but they can't all be NOES. Think of some of his great but smaller parts in movies like 2001 Maniacs, Jack Brooks and Behind the Mask which should be added to good stuff. Also having met Robert in real life he ranks up
I also agree with many posts below. Sellouts only care about $$ and don't give a crap about what they put out. If you've ever met Robert Englund in person you really know how much he cares not only about his craft but his fans. Sure he's been a in few straight to video stinkers but they can't all be NOES. Think of some of his great but smaller parts in movies like 2001 Maniacs, Jack Brooks and Behind the Mask which should be added to good stuff. Also having met Robert in real life he ranks up there with Tom Savini in terms of fan service and being one of the most approachable people I have ever met, class act all around. So for a term like sellout to be thrown at him really hurts.
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4:25PM on 03/25/2013

Sell outs don't really work in horror

Couldn't agree more with Mr.Negative and Guy on this one. In my opinion, a "sell out" is someone who just stops trying to do their craft as well as they canand opt for the easy, quickest way to make a lot of cash off a crappy idea (EX: Adam Sandler). With horror, ya really can't say any actor/actress has sold out because what actor/actress constantly does horror movies? Is Jamie Lee Curtis a sell out because she went onto True Lies/Freaky Friday/ A Fish Called Wanda? No, the same w/ Mr.
Couldn't agree more with Mr.Negative and Guy on this one. In my opinion, a "sell out" is someone who just stops trying to do their craft as well as they canand opt for the easy, quickest way to make a lot of cash off a crappy idea (EX: Adam Sandler). With horror, ya really can't say any actor/actress has sold out because what actor/actress constantly does horror movies? Is Jamie Lee Curtis a sell out because she went onto True Lies/Freaky Friday/ A Fish Called Wanda? No, the same w/ Mr. England, in the A-List actor world obviously his name is no where to be seen, lets face it, he's not gonna be the lead actor in any Hollywood Summer Blockbuster anytime soon (although I would like to see him maybe do a voice over in Transformers), so the guy sticks with what he knows. Horror, in Horror, Mr. Englund is still a huge name. He knows his name will sell and still draws. Even if the films he does appear in are still absurd, at least in the horror genre, absurd can still sell (Human Centipede, Rubber) Does that make him a sell out? HELL NO!

What is a sellout in the horror Genre? Not actors or Directors, it's pretty much the characters themselves. Leprechaun in Da Hood, Jason X, Jason Takes Manhattan, the countless and pointless remakes of movies that have no business being remade (Halloween), those are my definition of sell outs.

I would say this article would be better off on JoBlo, but it's pretty much the same as Movie jail. But as far as I'm concerned, "Sell Out or Not" just doesn't work in the horror genre when using the people that made horror so great. I commend you for this article, but it just doesn't work without the right logic behind it.
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3:56PM on 03/25/2013

Yea this one doesn't really work

Englund just seems like he's only being handed trashy horror projects because of his past success in the genre, and when you get genre pigeonholed it's difficult to break out in any other way EXCEPT voice acting....just ask Jeffrey Coombs, another incredible actor stuck in voice acting and bit parts in shitty straight to DVD horror movies (this isn't to say there's anything wrong with voice acting, but with guys with such a physical presence it is a shame for it not to be seen).

On a more
Englund just seems like he's only being handed trashy horror projects because of his past success in the genre, and when you get genre pigeonholed it's difficult to break out in any other way EXCEPT voice acting....just ask Jeffrey Coombs, another incredible actor stuck in voice acting and bit parts in shitty straight to DVD horror movies (this isn't to say there's anything wrong with voice acting, but with guys with such a physical presence it is a shame for it not to be seen).

On a more personal note, I've met Robert a couple of times, and the guy is a bonafide gentlemen and icon. He embraces his success, knows that the fans love him for Freddy and will happily and openly speak at length about any aspect of his career in an entertaining and respectful manner. He seems genuinely happy about the success and freedom the Freddy role gave him and it's just a complete and utter heart breaking shame that nobody seems willing to cast him in a well promoted movie of a completely different genre. Hell even a recurring bit part of a successful TV show would be lovely.
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1:00PM on 03/25/2013

This column needs to stop.

What the hell is a "sell-out" by your standards? A guy who works for a living? 99% of actors take whatever job they can get that isn't porno because you never know if there will be another. Has Robert Englund ever come out and said he is morally opposed to doing B movies because he has too much integrity? HELL NO!! He's FREDDY FLIPPIN" KRUEGER for cryin' out loud!! And you would begrudge him for doing Werewolves Vs. Strippers? Orson Wells did commercials for crappy wine. Does that make Citizen
What the hell is a "sell-out" by your standards? A guy who works for a living? 99% of actors take whatever job they can get that isn't porno because you never know if there will be another. Has Robert Englund ever come out and said he is morally opposed to doing B movies because he has too much integrity? HELL NO!! He's FREDDY FLIPPIN" KRUEGER for cryin' out loud!! And you would begrudge him for doing Werewolves Vs. Strippers? Orson Wells did commercials for crappy wine. Does that make Citizen Kane any less brilliant? Again, HELL NO!!!. Cut the crap with this column, will ya? It's pointless, holier-than-thou nit-picking spouted from a very high horse. Don't need it.
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2:44PM on 03/25/2013
You don't like it, which is you're right, don't read it. Problem solved.
You don't like it, which is you're right, don't read it. Problem solved.
4:12PM on 03/25/2013
So i'm guessing all the people that agree with Mr. Negative will be doing the same?

So i'm guessing all the people that agree with Mr. Negative will be doing the same?

4:23PM on 03/25/2013
Guess so! Up to you guys! Like I said, if you can't into the column that's fine! To each his own. But the comments are there to play along with the column in terms of somebody being a Sell out or not, not to bash on the column or the writer every second week. I got it! Some people don't like the column, 10-4. Lets move on!
Guess so! Up to you guys! Like I said, if you can't into the column that's fine! To each his own. But the comments are there to play along with the column in terms of somebody being a Sell out or not, not to bash on the column or the writer every second week. I got it! Some people don't like the column, 10-4. Lets move on!
12:47PM on 03/26/2013
If you don't like the Comments section, don't read it.
If you don't like the Comments section, don't read it.
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