Six years before Robert Englund strapped on the infamous glove, the Freddy Krueger actor had an uncredited role in the iconic John Carpenter “immortal classic”, Halloween.
Six degrees of slasher separation is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?
As most seasoned Halloween fans are aware, the 1978 slasher classic was filmed in Pasadena, CA- and beyond the occasional slip up of a palm tree in the background, Carpenter and the crew did a bang-up jib of making audiences believe we were looking at a small town somewhere in the Midwest- the fictional Haddonfield. Hell, I was fooled as a kid before I actually knew better, because I thought Haddonfield was a real place until I was like, twelve.
To be young and naïve is also, such a beautiful thing.
Anyways, during filming Englund was a struggling actor in the Hollywood area, and through an interview with Access, spilled the blood beans on his connection tot he Halloween franchise- that he actually worked on set for one day as a volunteer with his roommate, throwing leaves around set to give the film its Fall ambience!
“I actually had a roommate back when they did the original Halloween, the John Carpenter one. And he conned me into going to Pasadena one day with garbage bags full of dead leaves and we were working on the set of the original Halloween movie. Throwing the dead leaves around so it looked like Autumn, so it looked like Fall back in the Midwest.“
Needless to say, it’s a pretty cool tidbit of horror trivia, and obviously the town of Pasadena, I mean, Haddonfield, was obviously spared a slasher duo of unbridled terror that day. That was more or less saved for the kids of Elm Street when Krueger met up with Voorhees in 2004.
The great thing about the A Nightmare On Elm Street franchise is that everyone has a favorite installment; and I think it’s fair to say that while Dream Master is considered an off-beaten track sequel to the three that came before it, it doesn’t exclude the immense popularity this film has with fans. Especially since this chapter in particular blasted Freddy in pop-culture superstardom- and now thanks to Bill Forsche, celebrated special effects guru who worked on the film, we get a rare look at some never-before-seen, behind the scenes home video movies on the set ofA Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master!
Released on August 19, 1988, Nightmare 4 grossed $49.4 million at the domestic box office on a budget of $6.5 million, which made it the highest-grossing film in the franchise in the United States. At least that is until Freddy VS Jason surpassed that mark in 2003. While it would be another year until I myself, first got to see Freddy on the big-screen in the form of The Dream Child, I was already a Freddy Fanatic thanks to the mass marketing campaign Dream Master deployed onto the masses via horror hotlines, toys, lunchboxes, and even a huge MTV special hour presentation dedicated to the Springwood Slasher himself! Not to mention several more music videos made for promotion with the movie played in rotation from the once music-only station. Shortly to follow Dream Master‘s release, the basic cable show of Freddy’s Nightmares took off on the the small screen in a weekly syndicated show giving kids a dose of Krueger without having to go to the theater for it.
What a time to be alive where child serial killers were celebrated with such admiration!
Behind the massive success of Nightmare 4, lies within some of THEE coolest special effects of the franchise alone- including Freddy’s demise at the end thanks to Dream Master Alice. Beyond notable names like Bill Forsche, Kevin Yagher , Screaming Mad George, and John Carl Buechler were a massive team of make-up and effects artists to pull of this innovative spectacle that truly was Dream Master and a big reason why it did so well in theaters. One of my favorites, and I think many others’ as well, being the soul ripping chest from Freddy’s final fight scene where a giant version of Freddy’s chest was made for the shot. Of course, this thing was a pain in the ass for the crew as it was so unsteady and massive, that it was difficult to mount properly and actually fell over during one of their takes. A woman named Michiko supporting the prop from the rafters of the set, came tumbling down when the mighty chest fell over.
But hey, at least we got to see a cameo of Linnea Quigley ripping through the prop, in all her big busted glory. We salute you guys.
Via Bill Forsche’s personal YouTube channel, the special effects master has uploaded some home video shots of behind the scenes action of not only the fore mentioned Freddy’s chest scene, but also some segments of Freddy AND his stunt-double in the make-up chair conversing back and forth before shoots. Also included is Freddy’s scene on the Dream Beach where it is suggested he take on a “Coppertone commercial” for his next project (HEH).
“Very rare and raw footage from the set of “A Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master” (1988). The short has some very interesting behind the scenes material, including the makeup trailer where Bill Foertsch aka Forsche work on the makeup for Freddy’s stunt double, while other effects artists goofing around on the set and other events. This short documentary is from Bill Forsche aka Foertsch personal home collection and was made during his employment as special effects technician at Steve Johnson’s XFX, Inc., the company responsible for the most spectacular demise of Freddy that was ever done in the series.”
If you were a blossoming horror fan and of sound mind in the early 90s’, you may remember the glorious annual Horror Hall of Fame Awards. The Oscars for horror films, as they advertised it, only ran from 1990-1992, but goddamn it was the coolest thing ever. Oh, and Robert Englund hosted all three ceremonies. Fantastic times my friends.
The first annual Horror Hall of Fame ceremony at Universal Studios, California in 1990, was really something special in honoring the best of horror films, TV, actors, and special effects designers that would otherwise most likely not get recognized by that snooty little fellow by the name of Oscar. Alongside the induction act, are some really great segments and horror movie trivia from the cast and crew of said honored movies. The fact this only stuck around for three years is a damn shame. Sure, we had the Scream Awards 15 years later, but that since has gotten the ax as well. And sure, we have various virtual awards offered through some great horror magazines, but it’s just not the same. I long await for the day where this could be a thing again.
Anyways, marking 30 years since the 1991 awards returned to Hollywood, let’s focus on the second installment. The awards ceremony kicked off with Englund hosting once more, with the fantastic Cryptkeeper serving as co-host; and by co-hosting I mean slipping some awesomely random puns and gags in between inductee segments. The horror duo together set the stage for a new set of inductees to imprint their mark into the genre’s horror history books. And what better way to open the festivities, than a tip of the hat to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds with a parody starring Freddy himself?
Yeah, I can’t think of anything right now.
The darkly lit stage sprinkled with generic Halloween decorations set the tone for the all-time greats to receive recognition for their hard-earned contribution to the horror genre, and of course, you Fred-Heads may remember this was indeed the year Freddy Krueger was to make his final appearance as the Springfield Slasher on-screen in the form of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; the sixth and presumably at the time, final chapter in the Freddy saga. So along with issuing achievement awards to the likes of Bela Lugosi and Roger Corman, the iconic slasher that Englund had made so legendary in a span of seven years, got his own little farewell tribute in a sort of twisted “In Memorium” piece brought to you by the late, great Sam Kinison. Kinison in true Sam fashion rushes the stage in the middle of Robert talking, takes over the podium, briefly roasts Englund, and goes on to present a tribute video to the fallen slasher, Freddy Krueger. All While Robert is laughing hysterically in the background. Priceless entertainment people.
The program also included make-up bits performed by special effects wizard Steve Johnson and the lovely Linnea Quigley, with sneak peeks for the upcoming and highly anticipated Addams Family movie. The Horror Hall of Fame 2 was every bit as fun as its predecessor the year prior. And some damn fine people got the recognition they so well deserved. 1991’s gallery of horror heroes included the following:
Film- Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Film- The Birds
Publisher- EC Comics
Production Company- Universal Studios
Producer/ Director- Roger Corman
Actor – Bela Lugosi
Award for best movie of the year went to Silence of the Lambs. Nominees included were Misery, Child’s Play 2, Predator2, and Jacob’s Ladder.
And well, maybe just relive it yourself! With a courtesy upload from Youtuber Doug Tilley, let us thank the Horror Gods for this little slice of treasure that once was, and maybe one day, can be again!