“Horror Has Always Been Around”: Robert Englund on ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street,’ Playing Bad Guys the Right Way, and His New Movie ‘Nightworld’

"This was a face I could take advantage of."

I’m talking about bookstores in LA with actor Robert Englund after he picks up the phone for our interview. “Are you a big reader?” I ask him. “If I wasn’t an actor, I’d probably be teaching contemporary literature somewhere.” It’s not what you’d expect from the Nightmare on Elm Street star who played the terrifying child murderer Freddy Krueger in the iconic horror franchise that started during the ‘80s and lasted well into the 2000s.

But Englund is hardly a maniac in a dirty brown fedora, brandishing a glove with razors for fingers. He’s wise, sharp, and a wonderful storyteller who can hold an engaging conversation about everything from Dostoyevsky, to the history of the conquistadors. Englund spends a lot of his time lately as a voice actor for different animated series and videogames. He’s been steadily appearing in films since the early ‘70s and has a new movie out this week called Nigthtworld. He plays, what he describes as, a “Van Helsing-ish” character who helps a former LAPD officer investigate the strange occurrences in a sinister apartment building in Bulgaria’s capital.

We talk more about Nightworld, Englund’s reflections on his famously frightening character Freddy, and more, below.