Robert Englund may be pushing 70, but he remains as active as ever. The horror legend, most famous for playing consciousness-creeping serial killer Freddy Krueger in Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, was the main attraction at the recent Belfast Comic-Con event, where he gave a 30-minute Q&A talking all things horror.
The actor was in typically charismatic form, entering the room to first “wish” a little girl a happy birthday, only to erupt into a menacing cackle, shouting “I hope you enjoy your birthday because it’s sure gonna be your last hahahaha.” That was a great way to warm up the crowd, although the girl look positively terrified (Englund’s still got it).
During the Q&A, Englund discussed his upcoming projects, including The Midnight Man, which he revealed will hopefully drop early 2017. He then moved swiftly on to Nightworld, summarising the plot tantalisingly as “what happens if the door to purgatory gets stuck open.” Englund revealed that Nightworld will be slightly more ‘arty,’ whereas The Midnight Man will ‘deliver the goods,’ sure to be a much more straight horror flick with jumps and scares.
Englund was asked the inevitable question: what did he think of the 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street remake and would he ever be returning to the franchise?
He replied: “Well, there’s been some talk that they might reboot Nightmare 3, which may be the most popular of all the films. I’ve heard that they may combine it with part 4, I’m not sure. I would certainly like to be invited to do a cameo, to maybe play the cantakerous old professor or the group therapy guy that doesn’t believe they’re having nightmares. I think it would be fun for the audience.”
Regarding the remake, which starred Jackie Earle Haley as Krueger, Englund said: “The problem with the remake was that it came out too soon. We had just released the digitally remastered Blu-ray boxset of all eight of the films and then they brought out the remake almost straight after.
“I think they just brought it out too soon but it had an amazing cast. Rooney Mara played Nancy and I’m a big fan of Clancy Brown. But they reshot the opening and it threw the movie off kilter. You don’t ever see any of the people happy go-lucky, they’re never untainted. You need to see before and after so you can invest emotionally with the children. They’re practically zombies from the get-go because they’re haunted by Freddy and I think that was a miscalculation.
What everyone, including the asker of the question, wanted to know was what he thought of Haley’s portrayal of the villain Englund made so iconic. Well: “I think he’s a wonderful actor, he’s the best thing in Watchmen and I’m not a fan of the new RoboCop but he’s good in that. I think in trying to make him different, they may have decided to make him too real. Freddy does not exist in reality, he only exists in imaginations.
So, there you have it – Englund certainly had his problems with the Nightmare remake, but he remained as gracious as ever. It was cool that Englund said he would be open to returning to the franchise – if they ever touch it again, that is – to do a cameo. In the meantime, as horror fans, we’re just looking forward to Englund’s upcoming projects.