One, two, Freddy’s writing for you – “Hollywood Monster” by Robert Englund (w/ Alan Goldsher)
Freddy Krueger scared the crap out of me when I was in second grade and my friend Beth and I watched “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2” at her grandparents house. (Her grandparents had no idea we were watching that movie, as it was late and a sleepover.) The whole opening sequence, with Freddy as a demented bus driver, gave me literal nightmares and made me afraid of the dark for years.
A few years later, I would re-visit my Freddy fear, wind up falling madly in love with the whole series of movies, and would spend the rest of my life as a Nightmare (and horror franchises in general) devotee.
Of course I read Robert Englund’s memoir.
It was pretty much exactly what I expected – the detailed story of how Englund, a classically trained serious actor, wound up playing one of the most famous movie monsters of all time and becoming horror royalty. The annoyances of spending countless hours in the makeup chair, the dangers of Freddy’s stunt work, and many of the young actors he worked with before they reached the top (Johnny Depp, Laurence Fishburne, etc) are all discussed. Englund (with the assistance of Alan Godlsher, who has worked on several books as a ghostwriter) comes across as an affable narrator who takes the reader through his life without taking any of it too seriously.
My Squabbles are simple. I would have liked some more insight into making the Nightmare films. Though the original film, “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare,” and “Freddy V Jason” are discussed, some of the movies in-between (namely 4 and 5, which are generally the least cared about all over the place) get glossed over. Also, I got excited when I found out there were pictures – and only four of them are “Nightmare”-related. One of which is a picture of Johnny Depp during his famous death scene in the original nightmare movie, which is weird.
All in all, this is a book for Englund fans. If you want to learn more about this talented actor’s life and the path that led him to horror movie greatness, check it out. It’s interesting enough for what it is. If you want in-depth analysis of horror as a genre or Wes Craven’s filmography, I’d say look elsewhere.
Appearance Alert: Englund will be in the Chicago area for Flashback Weekend (a horror convention) from August 12-14, 2011. In addition, Malcolm McDowell and Doug Bradley (Pinhead from “Hellraiser”) will be appearing. I might just have to go.