Interview: Robert Englund - Freddy's fearsome fiends; FEARSOME FREDDY KRUEGER, AKA ROBERT ENGLUND, PICKS HIS TOP 10 FILM VILLAINS. BY ANNA DAY.
It's something you shout at actors on movie screens not to do. Who in their right mind would enter a room with Freddy Krueger, alone? But, thankfully, I'm not scared.
That's probably because it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we're in London's posh Dorchester hotel and Freddy is sipping peppermint tea. It's not exactly the setting for a murder.
Freddy's alter ego, Robert Englund, is one of the most charming characters you could meet. Handsome and courteous, his demeanour owes more to his days as a Shakespearean actor than to Freddy Krueger, whom he has played for 20 years in the Nightmare On Elm Street movies. Robert is appearing as Freddy one more time in Freddy Vs Jason, which sees the kings of fear battle for supremacy.
We asked Robert to rate his Top 10 film villains. What does it take to keep the biggest screen monster awake at night?
Freddy Vs Jason is out today.
1 FREDDY KRUEGER
Freddy gets first place. Not just because I play him - he is genuinely frightening. The nightmare is the oldest fear in the world and horror movies are universal. Like action movies, they speak an international language. We all like to be scared, so they are not culturally specific.
The stimulus for the original Nightmare On Elm Street was an article that writer and director Wes Craven read in the LA Times regarding Cambodian refugees. They were being put up in the American Mid-West by these Bible-thumping Baptists. The refugees were so disoriented in this alien culture that they were unable to wake themselves up in the middle of the night and write down their nightmares. Traditionally, before they got to America, they'd write them down or draw them as a watercolour. But they were so freaked by their surroundings they couldn't wake up and died of fright in their sleep.
That article, combined with some childhood trauma Wes Craven suffered with a man in a hat or a disfigured face, scarred him and he put those things into the original A Nightmare On Elm Street film.
2 ARI LEHMAN AS JASON IN FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
Jason is the absolute primal, basic, nihilistic, garage-punk band monster. There is nothing subtle or restrained about the horror that is Jason. He is a killing machine that hadn't been seen by the public before. That's why he captured their imagination and he's still a success all these years later. Yet you can bet that the understated scariness of Freddy will outdo Jason in a fight anytime. But then, I'm biased.
3 VINCENT D'ONOFRIO AS POOH-BEAR IN THE SALTON SEA (2002)
Vincent is a frightening character, whatever he stars in. But his horror skills really come to the fore in The Salton Sea, which also starred Val Kilmer. Pooh-Bear is a drug dealer who has taken so much of his own wares that his nose has fallen off and he has a false one. His is a cold, calculated evil that comes from a man who no longer cares about anything or anyone. Just a brilliant performance.
4 WILLIAM FINLEY AS EMIL BRETON IN SISTERS (1973)
Brian De Palma's early film Sisters also starred Margot Kidder and you have no idea how evil the lead characters can be. Finley is just the most psychotic, evil doctor who kills a Siamese twin so he can get in the other one's pants. It's psychotically sick and wonderful. The less obvious the evil is in a character, the more frightening it is. Because then he could be anybody - your friend, next-door neighbour or even your husband.
5 ANGELA BETTIS AS MAY KENNEDY IN MAY (2002)
Angela is a wonderful actress, a hybrid of Christina Ricci and Sissy Spacek. She plays a single parent, goth girl from hell. She has no friends except her childhood doll and works in a lonely job at a pet clinic. Her quest for love goes wrong and she turns evil quickly. Her character is frightening as it shows us what happens if we ignore our fellow man's - or woman's - cry for help. Catch it on DVD now.
6 ANTHONY HOPKINS AS DR LECTER IN SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
I love his movies as I'm a big fan of psychological thrillers. That's the type of horror movie that really works on me and frightens me. I like my films to be bound up in reality as I think the most frightening element is thinking that these things really could happen.
I love inevitability, something the Hannibal Lecter films specialise in. We know exactly how mad or evil somebody is or the damage that they can inflict, and that somehow they will be ignited, and it's the inevitability of the havoc that they are going to wreak. Anthony Hopkins looks like a killer, he has an amazing evil in his eye.
7 BORIS KARLOFF IN ANY FILM (1916-1969)
Karloff was a master of evil. With those sunken eyes, huge ears and square chin, I shiver just looking at him. He was the inspiration for The Hulk, but is best known for Frankenstein. In real life he was totally removed from his screen persona and recorded hundreds of children's books. There's something weird about kids listening to their favourite story on tape, unaware that it's being read by a movie monster.
8 ORSON WELLES AS CAPTAIN HANK QUINLAN IN TOUCH OF EVIL (1958)
The amazing Orson Welles plays an evil detective. I think corruption is the biggest, most real evil that we face today. Police, government, people. There's corruption all around us and it doesn't seem that there is much we can do about it. Orson Welles is terrific in this film, playing a cop who plants evidence against a Mexican who is a suspected terrorist.
10 BURT LANCASTER AS JJ HUNSECKER IN SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957)
This is the horror of incest - creepy, creepy, creepy. When a brother can violate trust, that's real horror. JJ Hunsecker is the most powerful newspaper columnist in New York and doesn't want his sister to marry beneath herself. But he becomes obsessed with stopping her and it twists his mind so much that he wants the affair broken up by any means possible. And that includes hurting his sibling in the most awful way possible.
9 ANTHONY PERKINS AS NORMAN BATES IN PSYCHO (1960)
Psycho is a fantastic horror film that breaks the rules. The main character dies in the first half, there's no glamour or chases, there is no gore and only one person cops it in the entire film. But Tony Perkins manages to enthral and sicken the audience time after time, putting in the most fantastic and horrific performance. It just goes to show that you should always book a hotel before you leave home.
FACE OF EVIL: Robert Englund as Krueger in Freddy Vs Jason
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Aug 15, 2003|
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