Robert Englund on Bringing Freddy Krueger Back for Nightmarish 'The Goldbergs' Guest Spot
Has Beverly Goldberg met her match in Freddy Krueger? We’ll find out during a special Halloween episode of The Goldbergs as Robert Englund revisits his iconic horror role for the '80s-set sitcom.
It’s a dream get for creator and executive producer Adam F. Goldberg, whose fandom of A Nightmare on Elm Street films runs deep. Englund recalls receiving a letter from Goldberg about what the franchise means to him. That, along with the script and fact he was a fan of Wendi McLendon-Covey, led to the veteran actor dusting off that trademark sweater for the first time on-screen in 15 years.
“I was a little apprehensive about how they can fold Freddy into a primetime sitcom,” he said. “But when I saw what they wanted to do, it rang a bell for me because over the years I’ve had so many fans tell me their Nightmare on Elm Street experience was actually a shared family experience. That they’ve gone to a mom-and-pop video store or they watched it on HBO or DVD. There was the moment of letting the kids watching their first R-rated movie with mom and dad. It became this sort of family event.”
Much like he did over the last 34 years, Englund spent hours back in the makeup chair getting into character. It helped having longtime special effects makeup artist Robert Kurtzman.
“We got him back for a day, so I was in good hands. That was great,” Englund shared. “The only thing that was strange was when it was the first take, and I’m trying to look all cool and scary. Wendi is at the end of this row of corn stocks. It’s this prop corn stock, so I can cut through it really cool with a Freddy claw. I was supposed to cut and slice it dramatically. It’s supposed to be scary-like with the fog, and I broke the blade of my Freddy claw. I felt so terrible because it was first take. Here I am, breaking the prop on the very first take minute after they say action. But we got it back together, and it became a lot of fun.”
The timing couldn’t be any better, Englund points out, with Hollywood experiencing a horror renaissance. For proof, look no further than the latest Halloween flick ruling the box office.
“I think the success of Halloween for Danny McBride, this was really a heartfelt project of his. I’m a fan of Danny’s,” he gushed. “When you think Halloween reboot, you don’t think Danny McBride. But he was that devoted to getting the project made. I think that was a big reason for the success and getting Jamie Lee Curtis back with a story worthy of bringing her back. I think that was so smart and savvy.
“Horror has never really gone out of the picture. We are now seeing the success of Get Out, A Quiet Place and Hereditary. It has already been around. Sometimes there are good horror movies that fall through the cracks, but they turn into cult films on streaming and other platforms. I know I’ve had that with recent horror movies like Behind the Mask: [The Rise of Leslie Vernon. That has a real cult following now. Good stuff will be discovered.”
With this upcoming turn on The Goldbergs and an upward trend for the frightful genre, will wee see Freddy again? Will Englund be involved?
“I think the plan with those who have the rights to the franchise Time Warner and Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes company, their goal is to reboot the franchise with all the available new technology out there,” he said. “I think that is a good idea. The idea of the nightmare and the dream as a special effect is really a rich thing that could be exploited. Using effects, they used in Inception and other movies. I completely understand it. I just hope they let me do a cameo down the line.”
Englund’s perspective on Freddy has evolved over the years. These days, he's all about having fun with the character.
“Freddy has always been funny,” he noted. "He always has the dirty jokes and wisecracks. I think he is a bit diluted a bit, but I don’t have to protect the character anymore. I’m allowed to have fun with him now. Freddy has been on The Simpsons, Family Guy, and he has been on Rick and Morty. He has been on South Park. There are Freddy dolls and action figures. There are T-shirts, cartoons, and comic books.
“I don’t have to protect him. I think he has been absorbed by the culture now. I think it’s the responsibility of the next person that makes A Nightmare on Elm Street to scare you. I’ve lived long and protected him long enough, I can have a little fun with him. He is still pretty true to form though in The Goldbergs.”
Englund is proud to see horror being taken seriously in the marketplace.
“We’re getting more respect now,” he said. “It’s sort of like the super hero producers and directors. For a long time, they didn’t get much respect in Hollywood. Now everyone is standing in line to do those projects whether it’s DC or Marvel. It’s nice to see horror is getting some respect, too. It’s been around since the beginning of motion pictures."
Robert Englund guest stars as Freddy Krueger on The Goldbergs, Wednesday, October 24, 8/7c, ABC