Away from Chucky, chainsaws, and Crystal Lake, one name sticks out in horror for haunting our nightmares since 1984. With the eerie voices of little girls singing nursery rhymes in your ears, horror legend #RobertEnglund is back as Freddy Krueger for one more spin in the makeup chair. No, sadly this isn't another A Nightmare On Elm Street film, but it is about as close as we are ever going to get.
Englund's return to the role after 14 years is the work of the latest Elm Street documentary, which will take you on Englund's prosthetic transformation from Hollywood actor to pizza-faced menace, while also paying tribute to the late, great, #WesCraven. As the maestro of horror, Craven introduced #FreddyKrueger in #ANightmareonElmStreet and, never looking back, championed Englund for the role. Across the next seven films, Englund and Krueger became one. If you are already having nightmares over the possibility of seeing Freddy again, the aptly titled Nightmares in the Makeup Chair has not only released a poster, but a trailer to get the blood flowing:
Kiss And 'Makeup'
After 33 years of being known as the man who plays Freddy, it seems that Englund sees Nightmares in the Makeup Chair as a swan song to his time in the role. In a statement for the documentary. he reveals that this is one of his most personal projects yet:
'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.
Mainly filmed at 2014's Chicago Flashback Weekend (where Englund was in full Freddy attire), FX artist Robert Kurtzman is the man behind the makeup as the two share a bromance during the documentary.
Over the years we have seen the many ways to defeat Freddy, but until now there has been relatively little information on how to make Freddy. Director Mike Kerz said that he wanted to capture the magic of the man creating the monster in a way that has never been documented before.
"I was inspired by the vintage photos of the legendary artist Jack Pierce applying the Frankenstein makeup to Boris Karloff. Sadly, those sessions were never documented on film. That is why we created our documentary, fans will see two modern horror legends at work. Robert Englund is fascinating as he shares insightful stories about the Elm Street films and Freddy with the audience. And it is amazing to watch Robert Kurtzman apply the various stages of makeup to transform Robert Englund into Freddy Krueger."
It has been documented that Englund has the patience of a saint and spent hours on end in the chair for the first run of Elm Street films; it was reported that when filming was done for the day he would rip off his Freddy prosthetic and leave a trail of latex behind him for the makeup artists to collect. Now we can see for ourselves when the entire process is captured on film by multiple high-definition cameras. Because Robert is known to like to talk even more than Freddy does, expect there to be more than a few Englund anecdotes thrown in too.
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A Living Legacy
What better way to celebrate both Robert and Freddy. The parts of Englund and the monster have became synonymous with each other, with the 1994 film Wes Craven's New Nightmare even poking fun at the meta idea with its dark reimagining of Freddy in the real world. While the Elm Street series slumped in its middle period (as most franchises do), New Nightmare was back on top with its unique premise. Sadly, 2003's Freddy vs. Jason appeared to be Englund's last time in the makeup chair — missing out on both Craven and Englund, Samuel Bayer and Michael Bay's maligned "reboot" of the series in 2010 bombed harder than anyone expected. Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley took on the mantle of the Springwood Slasher, but something was missing. No one man is indispensable, but Englund does a pretty good job of arguing the case that he is the only Freddy.
What would our childhoods be without the red and green jumper, those razor gloves, and that dirty, brown, fedora? Freddy was in fact one of the first horror icons I fell in love with (at far too young an age) and Elm Street has been part of my life, and many other horror fans', since. Nightmares in the Makeup Chair aims to cash in for our love of legend with a high-profile festival release later this year, followed by a possible theatrical run, and that all important coffee table book. You can visit the Nightmares in the Makeup Chair website to find out more, and be sure to watch when it is released, it is sure to be a scream!
Check out Englund in action in the first A Nightmare on Elm Street, and don't forget our poll below!