JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER Directed by Jon Knautz, written by Knautz and John Ainslie, with Robert Englund, Trevor Matthews and Rachel Skarsten. An Epic release. 85 minutes. Opens Friday (July 25). For venues and times, see Movies.
Robert Englund, the man who donned the burn marks, tattered fedora and steel fingers of Freddy Krueger for the Nightmare On Elm Street series, crept into town last week to scare up some publicity for his latest blood-and-guts role in Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. NOW caught up with Englund to discuss horror and Freddy, and discovered that unlike his onscreen doppelgänger, the actor is nothing to be afraid of.
In Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer, you play a ghoulish professor who goes head-to-head with the titular hero. Who'd win in a fight between Jack Brooks and Freddy Krueger?
Well, I don't know. After Freddy Vs. Jason, there was a lot of discussion of Freddy meeting up with Ash from Evil Dead. And Ash is also a monster slayer like Jack Brooks. So it does make some kind of sense. I always figure, though, that if they go to sleep I got 'em.
What do you think of torture porn films like Saw and Hostel?
Those movies are a reaction to big-budget blockbusters with too much CGI [and] too many special effects that don't really scare you, don't really disturb you, don't really get to the core of whatever subliminal instincts we have as human beings that frighten us.
What is your greatest fear?
I don't like snakes. When I was a child I saw an old war movie, the film adaptation of Norman Mailer's novel The Naked And The Dead, and there was a snake in it. The bitten GI had a horrible death, and it freaked me out. That stayed with me all this time - any time there's a snake in a movie, that stuff works on me. Even something as silly as Anaconda - I can't watch it.
How much has Freddy Krueger defined your life?
I'm sure when I die all the obituaries will say, "Robert Englund, aka Freddy Krueger, died today in a car accident in the south of France," or whatever. But Freddy came at the right time in my career. I've done 70 movies, maybe more, and hundreds of hours of television. And I was Freddy for eight movies. The great thing is that horror, like science fiction and fantasy, is international in its language. And Freddy opened doors for me to work in Europe. I've worked in Russia, Israel, Italy, Spain, Yugoslavia, Romania, Mexico - all because of Mr. Krueger.