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Where in the Horror are they Now? Robert 'Freddy' Englund!

ROBERT ENGLUND

THEN: When we first started looking into who we’d feature in this weeks Where in the Horror are they Now? we had another story in mind. And then came the heartbreaking news last night that we have lost a horror legend. Wes Craven is a hero for nearly every single horror fan, and he has created some of the most thrilling experiences ever put to screen. So, instead of sticking to the regularly scheduled program, we thought it might be good to look at one of the actors who helped bring one of Craven’s masterpieces to life. You know the guy. He wore a dirty red and green sweater. He had knives for fingers. And he wore a dirty brown hat. He was the man that haunted everyones dreams and even made us laugh while doing so.

Robert Englund didn’t start out as a horror legend. This uniquely charming character actor found work starting back in 1974 with the feature BUSTER AND BILLIE starring Jan-Michael Vincent and Pamela Sue Martin. The following year he appeared in a couple of features including SUNBURST and HUSTLE. And again, in 1976, he continued taking on small roles in features including A STAR IS BORN and STAY HUNGRY - some big names attached to these flicks. It was in 1977 the actor appeared in Tobe Hooper’s follow-up to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, EATEN ALIVE. After that, with a few other features under his belt, the actor became a very familiar face on television with a number of popular shows including Police Woman in 1978, Police Story in 1979, and Soap that same year. Yet horror fans were in for a huge treat.

Before Englund became the icon that he is, he starred in two cool horror flicks that still put a smile on my face. There was the underrated DEAD & BURIED and the ridiculously cheesy GALAXY OF TERROR, both in 1981. If you’ve never had a chance to watch these two genre joys, I recommend them highly. GALAXY is especially worthy of sci-fi horror fans love thanks to it’s crazy cast which including Happy Day’s star Erin Moran, legendary Ray Walston, Edward Albert, David Lynch favorite Grace Zabriskie and Rob Zombie regular Sid Haig. Plus, it has the infamous sequence involving a hottie and a giant worm that would most definitely offend a ton of people if it had been shot today.

Fans of Robert Englund are well aware of Freddy, as well he earned a ton of genre cred in 1983 as Willie in the TV mini-series V. He returned to that character once again for V: The Final Battle in 1984. And that same year, something truly special happened. With a ton of make-up and witty repertoire, he became the ultimate nightmare with his performance in the fantastic A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Fred - or Freddy - Krueger was and still is one of the very best villains ever put to screen. With Craven’s terrific sense of style, this spooky killer quickly became one of the most frightening horror movie icons ever. Of course this was not just a man in a mask slicing and dicing. Englund made this movie madman a full fledged character that had weakness, humor and a penchant for clever kills.

 

Over the next few years, Freddy Krueger become a legend. And while the actor delivered in every single film - even if some of the sequels fell flat - I have to give special mention to my favorites in the series. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS (1987) and WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE (1994) gave the actor a ton of room to expand on this incredible character. It was especially satisfying to see him playing himself in NEW NIGHTMARE, as he is such a charismatic fellow. Yet, he really gave his all to the role, and even in the over-the-top FREDDY VS. JASON in 2003, he proved that he truly owned as Freddy Krueger. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.

According to IMDB, Robert Englund has 153 credits. And yes, a ton of them are horror. It would really be impossible to bring up everything he has done, including his wildly wicked performance in the fun times gore fest 2001 MANIACS in 2005. There was his one two punch of HATCHET and BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON in 2006, and so much more. Hell, Robert even went behind the camera to direct 976-EVIL in 1988, two episodes of Freddy’s Nightmares in 1989 - yep, Krueger was on the small screen for a bit - and KILLER PAD in 2008. It is always refreshing to see an actor so happily continue to do horror as Englund has. He has fully embraced the gore and the terror on every level and yet he has still been able to bring his quirky charm to the small screen as well. What a fantastic actor this guy is!

NOW: Robert Englund has garnered an impressive slate of feature films. While he may be known to most for Freddy Krueger, it is to his credit he has played in the playpen of terror in a number of different projects. Hell, he is terrific in the creepy FEAR CLINIC from 2014 - as well as the 2009 series of the same name. And in 2015, the actor voiced the character of “Pluto” in Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. He will appeared in the creature feature mash up LAKE PLACID VS. ANACONDA, and he stars in the thriller KANTEMIR. This is clearly a man that likes to keep busy.

While his recent projects may not have huge budgets, it does look like we have a ton more genre goodness from him coming up. IMDB has him listed in a number of features including THE GATHERING and THE CHRONICLES OF YOUNG WASHINGTON, both currently in production - although keep in mind, IMDB can sometimes have incorrect info. He also has a couple of fun titles that may be worth a look. You have ECHO OF EVIL and THE FUNHOUSE MASSACRE, as well as DEATH HOUSE. So hopefully there is some cool and creepy frights in the works.

If Englund had only appeared as Freddy, he would still be legendary. Yet he is so much more than that. It is thrilling that he seemingly has enjoyed his experience as a nightmarish boogeyman. He clearly loves his fans, and from what I’ve heard, he would be a pleasure to work with. If you’d like to see what else the actor has in store you should check out his official website, as well as his official Twitter and Facebook page. While he reportedly has said goodbye to Freddy for good, I’m happy to see the actor continue to have a little fun with horror. Thank you Robert for bringing such charm and depth to every role you play! I can’t wait to see what other dreams you have to bring to life.

Extra Tidbit: Which Freddy is your favorite?
Source: AITH

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