Winner Kills All




















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by Mark Wheaton | August 13, 2003

He has terrorized Elm Street for two decades. He has invaded the dreams of countless screaming teen stars, given black-and-red striped sweaters a bad name and come face-to-face with Johnny Depp. Not to mention all those times he was torched and sent back to purgatory.

As the evil, lizard-faced Freddy Krueger, dapper Robert Englund has slashed and snarled his way through seven Nightmare on Elm Street flicks.

Now in Freddy vs. Jason, he faces off against the other hardest-working undead murderous psychopath in Hollywood, Friday the 13th's Jason Vorhees.

We caught Englund at Comic-Con International in San Diego and extracted the truth about the serial-killer smackdown, updating his look and how the ladies love the glove.


Do you ever forget you're wearing that razor glove and accidentally stab yourself in the eye?

Only once when I had a really bad itch under the makeup, and I had the "kill" glove on. I just scratched really light, but I almost sliced off the bottom of my nose. That's why you have to be careful in the bathroom, or you'll change your religion.

Could Freddy kick Jason's ass?

 If it's in the dream world, Freddy could win! We have a sequence where Freddy kicks Jason's butt in the boiler room, just because Freddy's completely in control of the surrealistic subconscious reality there. But anywhere else, Jason's got the upper hand.

Why doesn't Freddy just create a mansion for himself instead of staying in the boiler room?

 It's the most powerful place, because it's where he did the most evil things, and it's the strongest thing he thinks about. It's manifested in the temporary purgatory he's in.

The reason Freddy's not all the way in hell, I think, is because he was burned alive by the parents, and two wrongs don't make a right. That's why he's stuck on the elevator all the way down on the bottom floor.

Who did the one-glove thing first, you or Michael Jackson?

 Okay, I think he had it first. Dave Miller, who did my makeup, also did the "Thriller" video, so Michael Jackson obviously had the glove then.

Do chicks dig the glove?

 The glove is a great sexual, symbolic, strange, heavy-metal, chain-mail, gothic symbol. I've had women come up to me and want to be caressed by it. I was grand marshal of the Halloween parade in New York City one year, and I had goth girls follow me home. It's weird. I don't know what the attraction is.

What about guys?

 Heavy-metal guys. I was in Chicago, and there was this incredible punk band called [My Life with the] Thrill Kill Kult there, and they followed me around. They couldn't touch that glove enough! It was one of the real ones that had Heather Langenkamp's blood on it, Patricia Arquette's blood on it--it was ripe and juicy!

Do you keep up with Johnny Depp?

I ran into Johnny a couple of years ago in Hollywood, and I was telling him he should spend a little time in Europe. I don't know if he took my advice or had already planned on it, but I understand he and his wife and beautiful baby are living in both France and the States now.

After wearing stripes and the fedora for so long, have you ever considered updating the look?

 In Wes Craven's New Nightmare, the concept was that Hollywood really stepped over the line and exploited the idea that this writer-director named Wes Craven had and perhaps actually poached on a true evil somewhere.

So, when we reconsidered what Freddy would look like, we made a kind of über-Freddy--a "Freddy in his own mind's eye"--and that was with a more modified sweater. I pumped up and wore tight black leather pants instead of the traditional trousers Freddy wears. I think if anything, what I'd like to see is Freddy just get more tattered and threadbare, to see through his sweater to some bones!

Most actors bitch about heavy makeup after only one movie, but you've done this eight times now. How does your skin handle it?

 When I was young, I'd just rip off that s--t and go to the bar. In the new movie, one of the themes of Freddy vs. Jason is fire and water: Freddy hates fire, and Jason hates water. So, I was around the water a lot, and they had to double-glue me.

My skin's not as resilient as it was, but I had to do stunts, so they had to sometimes triple-glue me, because my head would swell up, and I'd look like a condom. So, I got really raw. I had blisters and tears in my eyelids, so it was a little ugly for a while. But I got a few days off and went to one of the beautiful islands in British Columbia and ate a bunch of fruit and drank a bunch of beer, and my tears healed!

Does anything still gross you out?

As you get older, it's harder to go back to that 12-year-old boy when those images startled you and stayed with you for whatever reason. For me, it wasn't the Tyrannosaurus rex, it was the stegosaurus--it was the saber-toothed tiger in Forbidden Planet.

For me, it was the scars on the back of the little boy's hands that Patty McCormack beat off the edge of the dock in The Bad Seed. It was the guy who died with pus coming out of his eyes, nose and mouth in Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, when he got bitten by a lime-green tropical snake. I can't remember why that scared me to death!

I remember turning the corner on my Schwinn bike going to get doughnuts one day, and there was a dead body in the street covered with a sheet, and the blood was just seeping out, expanding slowly like a Disney nature film. Why do these images stay with you?