Monday, June 25, 2012

Hollywood Monster: A Walk Down Elm Street With the Man of Your Dreams

By: Robert Englund and Alan Goldsher

Genre: Film, Autobiography

“One … two … Freddy’s Coming for You…”

Who doesn’t recognize the catchy jump rope song that haunted the nightmares of the Elm Street children? The tune signaled the danger lurking in their unconscious, clawing its way up to wreak its revenge in the form of Freddy Krueger. Now, the man behind the makeup tells his story.

Robert Englund begins his story in junior high, where he admits he got into acting hoping to impress a girl, and ended up finding his passion. He tells of his growth as an actor, from kiddy productions, to a theatrical academy, to Hollywood and a few events in his personal life along the way. There are several humorous anecdotes from many of the films he was in, including all of the Nightmare on Elm Street films. How he took a pool stick to the groin, the day he killed Burt Reynolds, and getting punched in the face by a young Richard Gere are just a few of the stories he shares, all of which are equally entertaining.

As a long time fan of Robert, not just as Freddy, but as an actor in general, I was eager to get my hands on his book. Coming in at 259 pages (excluding the multiple appendixes), it was a quick read finished within about three days. It feels as though the he is talking directly to you as you take in each and every word. If you have seen him in interviews or listened to him on audio commentaries for the films he’s been in, you can’t help but read the words in his voice. He writes as he speaks, which offers a casual, conversational setting for the reader. His energetic sense of humor is far from absent in his writing style either, which is great because that man never fails to make me laugh.  

Also included in this book are lists from both Robert and Freddy’s perspectives – including playlists, favorite films, best quotes and kills. These were a nice touch – and provided me with a list of films and songs to check out. He also provides a summary of one of his own nightmares at the beginning of each chapter – giving fans insight into what scares the man who had many of us terrified not so long ago.

The only flaws I found with this were that it was over too soon and there could have been more Nightmare on Elm Street. He seemed to gloss over a few of the later films in the series entirely, providing one anecdote and moving on. The Nightmare films did take up a majority of the book, but that still may not be enough for some fans as much of this information can be found in interviews. I’m sure he has enough stories from the set of all seven original films and Freddy Vs Jason that he could fill another book.

Overall, this is a fun read that gives fans insight into the man behind Freddy Krueger – someone with a great sense of humor that stumbled upon acting and ended up falling in love with it. Above all else, Robert Englund is nothing if not down to earth and open to his fans. If only it hadn’t ended so quickly…


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