By Chris Hammond
HOLLYWOOD DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES: THE ROBERT ENGLUND STORY is co-directed by Gary Smart (Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser)and Christopher Griffiths (Pennywise: The Story of It) and co-written by Gary Smart and Neil Morris (Dark Ditties Presents ‘Mrs. Wiltshire’). The film features interviews with Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise), Nancy Englund, Eli Roth (Cabin Fever), Adam Green (Hatchet), Tony Todd (Candyman), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Lin Shaye (Insidious), Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects), Doug Bradley (Hellraiser) and Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood).
Robert Englund is one of the most recognizable figures in modern-day horror films. His portrayal of the burnt maniac wearing the red/green sweater and a glove made of knives will forever be enshrined in horror film history. This is only one part of Mr. Englund’s life though, HOLLYWOOD DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES: THE ROBERT ENGLUND STORY gives a broader more in-depth look at his life and career trajectory.
Proclaiming “I never set out to be a horror icon, it’s just something that happened”, Through interviews with Englund and a handful of friends, family and famous faces, viewers learn that this classically trained actor and director is one of Hollywood’s most generous and personable people. Englund takes viewers on a journey through his life, from the beginning until now.
Englund’s father always wanted him to be a lawyer, because of his gift for gab, but Robert had different plans. After attending a professional children’s theatre, Englund fell in love with acting, and the attention. Find out how his meeting with the icon comedian and Late-nite show host Steve Allen really changed his life and cemented his future career in acting.
Hear how this surfer was living the professional actor’s life, basically broke and living in the basement of the theatre. On the advice of fellow young actor Richard Dreyfuss, Englund leaves for Hollywood.
Englund talks about his transition from theatre plays to his first film role in Buster and Billie as an albino wearing a prop toupee that actor Alan Arkin wore in the film Catch-22. From here, Englund goes into this character actor jobs and gives an interesting story about working with Burt Reynolds.
There is an endless amount of information on his early career, about films and actors that fans may not know he worked with including a very young Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film delves into how Englund had a hand in Mark Hamill auditioning for that unknown film “STAR WARS“.
There’s a good portion of content that also deals with his alien gig on V, A Nightmare on Elm. Street, Freddy Krueger, and the connection he makes with everyone he works with. In his directorial debut on 976-Evil, he made a very special bond with set director Nancy Booth, to who he is still married today.
This is a well-developed production from top to bottom. Gary Smart (Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser) and Christopher Griffiths (Pennywise: The Story of It) set a precise path for the film and really peaks interest with stories from Englund, who is never at a loss for words. The film also focuses on people from the entertainment industry to discuss just how engaging, brilliant, funny, caring and humble the man behind the glove actually is. One story inparticular sticks out, when Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street) lost her child to brain cancer, Robert was there on the phone to console her and listen.
With a runtime of just over two hour, HOLLYWOOD DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES: THE ROBERT ENGLUND STORY gives a full picture of a man that loves, acting, cares about the people he comes across and adores the fans of his work. This isn’t just another actor, this is a icon who also embraces the horror genre. With all his success he could become another jaded entertainer, but from what this documentary shows he’s the exact opposite and one of the celebrities that you won’t ever be disappointed in meeting.
Cinedigm will release the horror documentary HOLLYWOOD DREAMS & NIGHTMARES: THE ROBERT ENGLUND STORY on Screambox and Digital on June 6, 2023.