MOVIE NEWS – It turns out that even Robert Englund can’t dream of himself in the role of Freddy Krueger without being deeply shaken by the experience.
In 1984, audiences had no idea what would be unleashed from Wes Craven’s terrifyingly fiery mind with A Nightmare on Elm Street. The world soon met the twisted, metal-clawed, hat-wearing Freddy Krueger. With an evil monster who made insomnia a welcome problem for generations to come. From then on, audiences were afraid to go to sleep, even as Freddy sought revenge on the Springwood parents by invading their children’s dreams and killing them.
Oftentimes, actors become so attached to their characters that it can be difficult to separate the two. In an interview with The Guardian, Robert Englund talked about a nap he took wearing a Freddy mask that gave him a rude awakening he’ll never forget:
“I had a tiny little honey room, about the size of a urinal, with a Formica table, a plastic chair, and a mirror with light bulbs around it—the classic backstage makeup room. The lights were dimmed. I dimmed them when I was dozing off around 4 am with my head resting on a tightly wrapped towel so I wouldn’t smear my make-up. I was waiting to be called in for the shoot, and I heard a knock on the door. as I sat up, I saw this distorted face staring back at me in the mirror. I jumped out of my skin in shock. I raised my hand and realized, ‘Oh my God, that’s my own reflection!’ But it was such a startling moment that it still resides in my various nightmares.”
While filming the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, Robert Englund had a similar experience after being transformed into the legendary butcher by the magic of Robert Kurtzman’s prosthetics. In the original film, teenager Tina Gray wakes up from a terrifying nightmare in which she is attacked in a boiler room by a deformed man wearing a glove attached to a blade. His mother points out four mysterious cuts on his nightgown. The next morning, Tina is comforted by her best friend, Nancy Thompson, and her boyfriend, Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp debut).
They both reveal that they, too, had a nightmare the night before. A few corpses later, Nancy steps out into the bright, foggy morning. All his friends and his mother are still alive. Nancy gets into Glen’s convertible when the roof suddenly drops, trapping them as the car careens down the street. Three jumping rope girls can be heard singing Krueger’s nursery rhyme as Krueger grabs Marge through the front door window. Sleep well!
A Nightmare on Elm Street is available to stream on HBO Max and Netflix.