Robert Englund speaks Nightmare!
Robert Englund was in Italy these days, aided by the Rome & Lazio Film Commission, to find the location for his next directorial effort, The Viji, that will be produced by Redark.
What about the Nightmare on the Elm Street remake? Were you contacted by producers?
I've been here in Rome and around Italy scouting location for my new movie, The Viji for the Redark company, and I talked with my wife last night. She told me there was an announcement, so I need to discuss it with my agent.
I think it's due to the great success of the Rob Zombie version of Halloween and I also liked a lot the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, even if I think the original by Tobe Hooper is perfect. Likewise, I consider the original version of Nightmare on Elm Street a classic of this genre, but I think there is always room for new interpretations by using the new tecnology. In the past, they were talking about a prequel. Anyway, I'm too old for this new version, otherwise it would be Freddie vs. Viagra...
Aren't you afraid about the new tecnologies and the fact that the digital effects can be overwhelming?
The problem is when people rely too much on effects because they don't have a story. I was trained in the english acting school and the english artists say that everything begins with the story, the writer is God and that you have to find your original inspiration in the story. If you don't have a good script or a good story, no matter how much money you spend or how many digital effects you use. There is an expression in Hollywood that says 'we fix it in post' that always means we are in trouble.
Would you like to make at least a cammeo in the new version?
It would be a lot of fun. I'm a great fan of Michael Bay, I took my nephew to see Transformers on the opening day and I think it was terrific. So, yes, I would be delighted to.
What represented the role of Freddie Kruger for you?
Well, I wouldn't be auditioning some gorgeous italian actresses these days if I hadn't played Freddie. I wouldn't have these occasions, if not for the publicity stuff I've done in Italy for the series V and of course for the Nightmare franchise. So, being Freddie was very good for me.
You're preparing to shoot a new movie, The Viji. Let's talk about it...
It's inspired by a short story by russian writer Gogol. We've taken many characters from there, but we departed from the original story. We've taking themes from the original, but the humour and the philosophy has been removed. In the original story, there is an argument among students in a village. They mention our plot, so we've taken that mention of the plot and made our movie out of it. A priest goes the village to save the rich man's daughter, who's cursed by the fallen angel, The Viji, the guardian of the purgatory, who came to Earth. So, we elaborated that and made it our basic plot story.
Mario Bava made a movie inspired by the same story, La maschera del demonio (Black Sunday). Your version will be in color or in black and white?
I have to say that this story would be better suited by the black and white. The problem is that, as an american director who wants to find a larger audience, you have to shoot it in colour. I think it will be a mix of Kafka, german expressionism and the tradition of the italian cinematographers which I'm a great fan of, in particular Vittorio Storaro. But I was also influenced by classic stories like The Beauty and the Beast, The Hunckback of Notre Dame and Snow White.
What are your favorite italian horror directors?
I love Mario Bava, but I absolutely idolize Dario Argento, who is a God for me. I remember that, when I was at the beginning of my career, all the special effects supervisors of that period already know him very well. The first time I saw Suspiria, I was transported in another world and it's a moment I will remember for all my life, like the first occasion I saw Rosemary's Baby or Nightmare on Elm Street. I think it represents perfectly the italian horror tradition, which can be very violent but also very artistic. And I think that Argento was a major inspiration for Wes Craven as well, in particular for his surrealistic vision.
And what are the modern horrors you like the most?
A few years ago, I was a member of the jury at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film with Christopher Lee and I remember we were very impressed by a few japanese movies like the original The Eye or Dark Water. I think they were just exotic and different enough to seduce me. The first time you see movies like these, you feel you'have been transported in an alien world.
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