Are you ready for Freddy? Robert Englund tells us about his burn-scarred dream demon villain

By on October 9, 2017

October is Horror Month on Night Flight, and so, to help kick things off for those of you who love this freaky month as much as we do, we’re revisiting Reba Merrill’s 40-minute long interview with Freddy Krueger — actually, it’s actor Robert Englund in full Freddy makeup on the set of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors — which you’ll find streaming over on Night Flight Plus.

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As we’re sure you already know, Halloween arrives on the last day of October, so that gives us another twenty-plus days or more this month to highlight our hand-picked selection of b-movie, cult, and strange Horror titles, including the newly-added titles you’ll find in our “Horror Month on Night Flight Plus” section on Night Flight Plus.

We’ll be adding new posts here on the blog all month about these movies, and we’ll also be focusing on some of the non-movie titles you can find on Night Flight Plus too, like Elvira‘s “Ghost Host” appearance on “New Wave Theatre” in the early ’80s (the episode features Bad Religion, Red Wedding, and other bands), and the Dead Boys‘ 1986 Halloween night reunion concert in New York City.

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Read more about the Robert Englund interview by Reba Merrill below.

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Wes Craven’s low budget horror movie A Nightmare on Elm Street was such a boffo box office success that classically-trained theatre actor Robert Englund would return again and again to playing Freddy Krueger, the burn-scarred dream demon.

The third film in the series — Dream Warriors, released theatrically in the U.S. in February of 1987 — is widely considered to be one of the better Nightmare films, focusing as it did on a group of troubled teens who struggle to stay awake at a mental health facility in order to evade the the nightmarish killer Freddy Krueger, who keeps appearing in their ingenious dream sequences once they have fallen asleep.

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The teens all possess a unique personality trait which allows them to deal with Freddy in their own specific way, but Freddy also manages to find a way to make each of them suffer; he turns one boy into a ventriloquist’s dummy, making him sleepwalk out a window, falling to his death, while another teen, the aspiring TV actress Jennifer Caulfield — played by Penelope Sudrow — is electrocuted by a Krueger-possessed television set mounted to the wall (Freddy gets the last laugh, saying “Welcome to prime time, bitch!”).

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors — directed by Chuck Russell, not Wes Craven, who originally penned the screenplay here before it was re-written by Russell, along with Bruce Wagner and Frank Darabont — featured an all-star cast which included John Saxon, Craig Wasson, Laurence Fishburne, Jennifer Rubin and, in her feature debut, Patricia Arquette (as Kristen Parker).

It also marked the return of the first film’s Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson, who comes to the teens rescue by providing the teens with a dream-reducing drug, Hypnocil, which she herself has been using to avoid seeing Freddy in her nightmares.

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Jennifer Rubin as “Taryn,” in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

The film actually ignored much of the story presented in the second film in the series, 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, and so many fans of the franchise consider it a better sequel, reinvigorating the successful franchise in the process. We told you about the second film in the series in this previous Night Flight post.

Craven — who did not want the first film to evolve into a franchise — had also wanted this film to end the series, but its success prompted his return to the director’s chair later in the series.

The film’s theme song, “Dream Warriors,” was such a hugely successful single for the band Dokken that it became the first heavy metal track added to a Nightmare soundtrack, another link in the chain connecting heavy metal and horror.

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It was during the filming of Dream Warriors that Robert Englund agreed to sit for an interview with Emmy award-winning Rebal Merrill, who was one of the first TV journalists to focus on getting candid interviews with celebrities in a one-on-one intimate fashion.

Englund — who creatively improvised quite a few of Freddy’s one-liners — did a lot of interviews during the making of Dream Warriors, but this one is particularly special.

Englund not only wears the Freddy makeup and costume, and, of course, he promotes the upcoming film, but he also delves deeply into the psychology of the character  that he and Wes Craven created.

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Englund talks about the Jekyll & Hyde-type nature of the character, and how Freddy “doesn’t really know he’s a villain, as he has some legit beef with these parents,” speaking of the parents of the teens.

He also tells Merrill what it feels like to be in full Freddy makeup for a twelve-hour day’s worth of shooting, and what it takes for him to get into character on set.

Englund — who was working during the day on his TV series “Downtown” and filming his scenes at night at the time — was likely very punchy from a lack of sleep during a lot of his interviews back then.

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As we told you previously, every minute of this fascinating, 40-minute long interview is entertaining — don’t miss it if you’re a Freddy fanatic.

Also, don’t miss the rest of our Reba Merrill Collection of interviews, and be sure to keep checking back on the blog this month to read more about the films we’ve added to our “Horror Month on Night Flight Plus” section, which — if you’re a subscriber, and we sure hope you are! — you can find streaming over on Night Flight Plus!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.