While Robert Englund’s name might not be known by every household, you can bet his most recognizable role – Freddy Krueger – is one that will send a shiver up anyone’s spine. Though Englund is most well-known for his role in A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, the actor has not only become an icon of the horror genre, but an influence on the stories being told today. Co-directed by Gary Smart and Christopher Griffiths, HOLLYWOOD DREAMS & NIGHTMARES: THE ROBERT ENGLUND STORY takes an in-depth look at Englund’s career outside of horror as well as during and since he played Freddy.

Coming in at a little over two hours, the documentary is on the longer side but is well worth it for viewers who crave a full overview of Englund’s career, not just A Nightmare on Elm Street. Englund recounts his early experience in theater and subsequent typecasting as a nerd or redneck, which only further emphasized his drastic transformation into the slasher serial killer. Fans and crew similarly note Englund as being kind and caring off-screen – not at all the terror that’s traumatized generations of viewers.

The film also notes that this juxtaposition goes so far as to be featured in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, a 1991 meta installment which features Freddy Krueger coming to life as an entity separate from the cast and crew, including Englund himself.

HOLLYWOOD DREAMS & NIGHTMARES touches on Englund’s recent media appearances, such as in “The Goldbergs” and “Stranger Things,” but also recognizes how simply being in a work of horror is in itself a reference to Englund’s career: he’s the guiding figure who tells the lead characters what they are up against, he’s subverting audience expectations by playing the hero. Englund’s influence has surpassed his most recognizable role and made not only Freddy Krueger but Englund’s legacy into horror lore. His voice, as well as Wes Craven’s, are clearly present and full of pride about the work they’ve created.

Though the franchise has not produced any new movies since the 2010 remake, which Englund notably did not star in, Freddy Krueger is far from dead, and Robert Englund doesn’t seem to be quitting the industry anytime soon. HOLLYWOOD DREAMS & NIGHTMARES holds back no love for its subject, and its passion shines brightly.

HOLLYWOOD DREAMS & NIGHTMARES: THE ROBERT ENGLUND STORY will be available on Screambox and Digital on June 6, 2023.

Movie Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *