While Robert Englund had been acting regularly in both film and TV since the ’70s, it wasn’t until landing the role of supernatural serial killer Freddy Krueger in Wes Craven’s 1984 classic A Nightmare on Elm Street that he truly became immortal. Englund would of course go on to play Freddy seven more times, with his final outing coming in 2003 hit Freddy vs. Jason. Despite New Line and Platinum Dunes’ failed 2010 attempt to reboot the Nightmare series without Englund, in the eyes of most fright fans the actor is and will forever be synonymous with the part.
While Englund’s time bringing Freddy to life in movies has seemingly come and gone for good, he still has a lot of affection for the role of Elm Street’s resident dream demon, and still regularly delights fans with tales of his years under the makeup while at genre conventions around the country. It was at one such convention in 2014 – Chicago’s Flashback Weekend to be precise – that Englund decided to do something really special for his fans: don the Freddy makeup publicly one last time.
According to EW, this event serves as the primary setting for new documentary Nightmares in the Makeup Chair, which offers a behind the scenes look at the creation of the Freddy makeup and all that went into applying it to Englund back in 2014. The documentary also features Englund sharing stories about what it was like to play Freddy for all those years, and what it was like to collaborate with now deceased horror master Craven. A spotlight is also shown on makeup effects legend Robert Kurtzman, who created the Freddy makeup used by Englund at Flashback Weekend. The K in KNB EFX Group, Kurtzman has worked on countless memorable horror films. Englund said of the documentary:
“Nightmares in the Makeup Chair is my love letter to the Nightmare on Elm Street series and to practical makeup. I’ve always been in awe of the multi-talented makeup effects artists. From sketching to sculpting, they realize the design. Then to the fine precision of the molding and the manufacturing of the makeup appliances which are nearly paper thin. And then, the application process where I sit in the makeup chair and I become their living canvas as they glue me in and paint the appliances. This documentary not only captures their talent, but I think it might inspire a new generation of practical effects artists. I was happy to become Freddy once again to share the makeup process with the fans.”
Despite Englund’s days tormenting teenagers in their dreams being long behind him, the goodwill he receives from his run as Freddy will seemingly never abate among horror fans, as evidenced by the way he often still gets mobbed for autographs and photos at conventions.
He’ll also seemingly never be at a loss for new work within the genre either, lending his gravitas to multiple films each and every year. Englund has become akin to what somebody like Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff was to early horror cinema, a beloved legend whose presence is always welcome. If and when New Line attempts to once again reboot Nightmare on Elm Street, the shadow of Robert Englund is sure to continue to loom large over the project.
We’ll keep you updated on Nightmares in the Makeup Chair as more information becomes available.