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Interview with movie legend Robert Englund
By James Whittington, Monday 20th August 2018 The UK premiere of the paranormal shocker, Nightworld hits Horror on August 27th. The film stars Jason London and the legend that is Robert Englund.
We recently chatted to Robert about this chilling movie as well as a certain jumper wearing, knife finger wielding character you may have heard about.
HC: An actor of your experience must be offered acting roles all the time, how do you choose which ones to accept and what drew you to Nightworld?
RE: I select. A lot. But this one had a nice vibe and it came from a producer (Loris Curci) with whom I'd worked many times before. It's a great script! I started reading it and I just couldn't put it down. It has a Twilight Zone, H.P. Lovecraft spirit. Very gloomy and dark. It's not a violent film, definitely not slasher. It's much more heartbeat and it truly has this H.P. Lovecraft vibe, although it's essentially a ghost story. It's a story about a portal, a gateway to the other side. We find out that there are 7 portals throughout the world that access what my character refers to as the Nightworld, which is sort of a purgatory. Think of it as a kind of waiting room for Heaven or Hell. It's a great, simple concept. Very well written.
HC: Your character, Jacob is blind, how did you prepare for such a role?
RE: My character is called back into duty. I'm blind and perhaps my blindness was an occupational hazard of working for many, many years guarding one of these portals, which happens to be in Sofia, Bulgaria. Jacob is called out of retirement to aid a young police officer who's lost his wife and is drinking a lot and has all sorts of visions, which we'll understand are somehow connected to whatever lies beyond the door. The officer, who is actually a former LA cop, has taken the security job for this corporation and now manages and oversees these various portals. Recently I get offered roles in which get to play some sort of Van Helsing character, like Jacob in Nightworld. I'm getting to play a lot of roles, the old poacher, the old doctor, the old scientists. I don't think, if I hadn't done horror and I hadn't established myself as a horror genre star and stuck with it and been loyal to it, I would still be playing roles, at my age, And this one was particularly intriguing because I had never played a blind man before.
HC: Was this the first time you shot a movie in Bulgaria?
RE: I did a couple of other films in Bulgaria before being offered this role. One is a Lake Placid TV-movie, with a giant alligator. I like going back to Bulgaria. They have great crews, good food. Lots of big movies get shot there.
HC: Jacob is a very enigmatic character, how much of his "look" was created by you?
RE: I brought my own glasses. I wanted to make sure that I would feel comfortable in them. When Loris and the director Patricio Valladares told me about the role, they asked me what I thought he should look like. I said that Jacob should be the kind of guy that doesn't really go out anymore, listens to classical music all day and sips cognac, and I envisioned him as getting excited to be called back into action - putting on his best suit and dress hat and good gloves, then going off to save the day. Also, he wasn't always blind. There's a hint in the film that something happened, at some point. He knows more than a lot of people, that's why the owners called me in. There's a line at the beginning of the film where he says that he knows his way around. It's kind of a throwaway but I think what it means is he was sighted when he worked there, and he's gone blind subsequently. Or that was the reason for his retirement or firing... who knows?
HC: What's your favourite memory from filming Nightworld?
RE: It was just a lot of fun to still do things like this. Patricio, the director, doesn't speak good English but he certainly knows how to detail what he wants. We had our little inside jokes and the overall atmosphere was very relaxing. And then they had this beautiful mansion in the center of Sofia. Very atmospheric, with all sorts of doors and corridors that really led nowhere. I believe the film succeeds in delivering this feeling of melancholy, and dread.
HC: The movie is getting its UK premiere on Horror Channel in August, why do our viewers need to tune in?
RE: Nightworld is a classic terror film from the seventies. Think Rosemary's Baby, The Omen or The Shining. It has a slow pace that keeps growing until hell literally breaks loose. I suggest you sit back in your comfortable sofas, get a beer, and turn off the lights. This one is a creepy, little movie and that eventually delivers what it promises. It's scary.
HC: How has the movie industry changed since you started as an actor?
RE: Well now every film is shot on digital, so everything is much faster on set and as an actor you don't get to spend too much time waiting. But in general, nothing has really changed much. There's still lots of films out there, with great scripts, great writers, and then television is producing the best shows. It's exciting to see how many movies and series actually get made and there is an endless flow of good stuff. Horror fans are the same, they just move from generation to generation, but are as loyal as they always have been.
HC: Its nearly 35 years since you first played a certain jumper wearing, knife finger wielding character, does it really feel that long ago?
RE: I get asked this all the time. Look, recently someone came to me and offered to bring back the original Freddy. I'm too old to do another Freddy now. If I do a fight scene now it's got to be real minimal because I can't snap my head for eight different takes and different angles. My spine gets sore, and I really don't like the idea of spending four hours in the make-up room. I can still be mean and scary, but I'm mostly relegated now to sort of old doctor/Van Helsing roles, or a professor with some sort of secret. Yes, it's been a long time and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Freddy. I will always be in debt with the character. I like to think that the last moment of me ever playing Freddy is a wink to the audience.
HC: How did Freddy change your life?
RE: Well, when I first played Freddy I never thought we'd get to this. I was doing a series back then, called V, and I was doing appearances and conventions for the show, and I had punks coming up to me and asking for Freddy autographs. It came totally unexpected. The idea behind Freddy was that whether you're in an igloo in Alaska, or whether you're surfing in Hawaii, or whether you're in a small village in Africa, tending your livestock, we have the same dreams, the same nightmares. We have the falling dream, we have the drowning dream, the claustrophobic dream - these are all common dreams. And Nightmare on Elm Street became instantly universal because of that. Dreams could kill! I'm onto three generations of fans now. And I have a generation of fans that tell me, from the video generation, that I was actually what they watched and were intimate and shared with their late father, or their late mother, of their girlfriends and wives. Freddy made it through different generations and he is still there, haunting your dreams from a DVD, a Blu-ray or a late-night show on TV. That is what we've managed to achieve. Which is fantastic.
HC: Robert Englund, thank you very much.
Related show tags: NIGHTWORLD, ROBERT ENGLUND MORE FRIGHTFEST Interview with Airell Hayles writer and co-director of They're Outside
Posted on Saturday 1st August 2020
FrightFest is once again on the horizon but this time, due to global events the event has become a virtual experience with all films being accessed online. Horror is once again sponsoring the First Blood strand of the event. Here we chat to Airell Hayles whose movie They're Outside mixes found footage and pagan horror genres to great effect.
HC: Where did the idea for They're Outside come from?
AH: This idea for They're Outside came from a couple of things. I remember as a kid hearing that my uncle suffered mild agoraphobia, and when I learned what it was, I was fascinated by this idea of some people being kind of scared to leave their homes. Of course, the recent Covid-19 events h...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Fionn and Toby Watts, directors of Playhouse
Posted on Saturday 1st August 2020
FrightFest is once again on the horizon but this time, due to global events the event has become a virtual experience with all films being accessed online. Horror is once again sponsoring the First Blood strand of the event. Here we chat to talented brothers Fionn and Toby Watts who have delivered a gothic, creepy piece named Playhouse.
HC: Was there one film or person who influenced or inspired you to become film makers?
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Posted on Tuesday 28th July 2020
The UK's most popular horror and fantasy film festival celebrates its 21st bloody year with a special Digital edition, showcasing twenty-five films, from Thursday 27th August to Monday 31st August, including seven world premieres and sixteen UK premieres. Ten countries are represented from four continents in a deadly, daring and diverse programme exclusively presented to UK audiences.
Passes and tickets will go on sale Saturday 1 August and details on how to access the event and choose which films to watch are on the FrightFest website. All film screenings will be geo-locked to UK audiences and only accessible from within the United Kingdom.
The men...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel highlights six summer weekend shockers in its August premiere line-up
Posted on Thursday 16th July 2020
August is a wicked month on Horror Channel, as the UK's most popular small-screen destination for genre fans presents six summer weekend shockers, five FrightFest hits including the UK TV premieres of Julian Richards, Reborn, a Carrie for the Z Generation, starring horror icon Barbara Crampton, Jordan Barker's Witches In The Woods, an unrelenting assault of pure terror, Alistair Legrand's highly unusual genre-blending chiller, The Diabolical and Milan Todorovic's sharp-teethed, seductive Killer Mermaids. All these films received FrightFest premiere screenings.
There is also a channel premiere for another FrightFest title, The Windmill Massacre, where Friday The 13th...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tony and Ryan Smith co-writers of Volition.
Posted on Tuesday 7th July 2020
FrightFest 2019 delivered some amazing movies and one of the best was Volition from the talented brothers Tony and Ryan Smith. Now that the movie has been unleashed onto Apple TV, Prime Video and other Digital Platforms we chatted to them about this acclaimed movie and their plans for the future.
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Posted on Wednesday 24th June 2020
Arrow Video FrightFest will go virtual over the August Bank Holiday, presenting up to twenty-five films from Friday 28th August to Monday 31st August inclusive.
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More details will be announced in the coming weeks, alongside the line-up of films.
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Posted on Tuesday 2nd June 2020
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It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?
JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.
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You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?
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Posted on Thursday 16th January 2020
Welcome the transgressive, the traumatic and the terrifying as Arrow Video FrightFest, the UK's favourite horror fantasy event, returns to Glasgow Film Festival for a 15th fantastic year, from Thursday 5 March to Saturday 7 March, 2020.
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Posted on Friday 1st November 2019
FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.
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Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019
Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.
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CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...SHARE: READ MORE Frightfest Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
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