Five Favorite Films

Robert Englund's Five Favorite Films

The Prominent Horror Actors' Favorite Films May Shock You

by | October 30, 2015 | Comments

Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

(Photo by Getty Images / Frazer Harrison)

 

It’s Halloween time, and some might expect Mr. Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund, to rattle off some gruesome examples of blood-tastic horror when asked about his favorite films. And though he is promoting the slaughter-fest horror comedy (horredy?), The Funhouse Massacre, which opens Nov. 13, Englund delivered real shock with a list of film classics that helped to groom an impressionable young man into the actor known today as one of horror’s most notable icons.

With the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise under his belt, Englund has also starred in and made cameos in such other horror/sci-fi fan faves as Strangeland, Fear Clinic, The Last Showing, Never Too Young to Die, The Phantom of the Opera (1989), Wishmaster, Dead and Buried, and Urban Legend. Here is his list of five non-horror favorites:

1900 (1976) 55%

Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 is one of my favorites. It’s epic — when I saw it at a film festival, they literally had an intermission where they served pasta and red wine. It was wonderful. It’s a thin, handsome Gérard Depardieu in the prime of his youth, and Robert De Niro doing a great aging character, the rich boy. Depardieu [as] the poor boy. Probably one of the greatest entrances in the history of cinema for the beautiful actress Dominique Sanda. And Bertolucci uses this town, this little village — and you see it go from the turn of the century to WWII, and it changes with the seasons, and the time. And one of the best villains ever, Donald Sutherland, as this sort of grand guignol, a fascista, brown shirt — you know, black shirt — that is corrupted by the Mussolini movement in Italy. And he just completely surprises you with his performance. It’s really wonderful and kinky, and strange and beautiful. And the music is extraordinary. Yeah, it’s really a great film — a long movie, but a great movie — and it really left an indelible stamp on my brain. All these movies in my top five are what I call “desert island” movies. These are films that I can see again and again, and they have sequences or images in them, or they’ve left such a film memory in my imagination — such a stamp on my memory and imagination — that I can see them again and again.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959) 100%

My number two movie is Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of Murder starring Jimmy Stewart — one of my favorite James Stewart performances.  He’s the country lawyer, so all those folksy tricks that Jimmy Stewart uses just really come into play here– ’cause he’s also so bright, you know? He’s the brilliant, folksy country lawyer. And Lee Remick is in it, in the flower of her youth. Bra-less and in Ray-Bans — you know, who doesn’t want [to see] that? And gosh, Ben Gazzara in a really neurotic, strange performance. I think it’s the screen debut of George C. Scott as the young lawyer from Lansing, MI, who takes on this case; and he’s — it’s just brilliant courtroom stuff. Murray Hamilton — who plays the mayor in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws — he’s the bartender, and he’s wonderful; it’s a great turn.  And the music: Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, so it’s a great jazz score. The Jimmy Stewart character tinkles on the ivories and he plays a little bit of jazz sometimes as a kind of hobby, so that justifies the score. But that’s a great film — black and white, beautifully shot, underrated. Almost a perfect film.

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) 94%

And my third favorite is Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And I prefer the kind of dark cut — where the family is a little bit more “damned.” Richard Dreyfuss’ family — they’re a little bit more nagging, and it’s almost like they’re stepping on his dream and vision. They sort of become representative of a kind of bourgeois middle class America that doesn’t have any imagination and perhaps is even a little bit materialistic. It’s great. And in this one, I think it’s hinted that Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon do get together. I just love it. I love Close Encounters –– it’s magical. 

RT: Do you find that the cut you’re referencing is a much different experience then?

I just don’t know, Kerr, if it’s the director’s cut or if there was a bootleg dark cut, or if there was a release of another cut that had maybe been the director’s cut— but it’s just a little darker. There comes a point where — I remember the first time I saw it — you kind of think Richard Dreyfuss is crazy, and embarrassing his family a little bit. And you kind of go down that road. But in the other one I saw, we know what he’s gone through and we sort of want to champion him a little more. We don’t think he’s going crazy as we think he’s had a vision. And that the family is holding him back a little more. Also, I think the military is indicted a little more in that one, too. But I’m not sure if it’s the director’s cut. I mean, I’m hoping that it is, but I’m not sure. I’ve worked several times with Tobe Hooper, and Tobe directed Poltergeist. Everybody called it a Spielberg movie, but you know it’s a Tobe movie because he’s got marijuana smoking parents in it. Jo Beth Williams and Craig T. Nelson — they’re smoking dope in bed, and nobody had ever done that before in the history of movies, and they’re a middle class family. So you know, that’s obviously Spielberg opening his heart and his mind to that interpretation. Spielberg could do that. Spielberg does have that dark side, but he doesn’t always show it.  Anyway, I love Close Encounters, and I can see it again and again. There’s just magical, magical stuff in it.

Funny Face (1957) 87%

My fourth favorite movie — I think every top five list has to have an Audrey Hepburn movie in it. Probably the greatest face of the 20th century, if not Sophia Loren and perhaps Monroe. Maybe Ingrid Bergman. But certainly she changed everything for the waif look, and the modern woman, and the non-buxom bosomy girl; and also always played smart. But this movie — I know I sound like a chorus boy here but, Funny Face is just… the choreography, the split-screen work, Kay Thompson, my God. Just try to stare at Audrey Hepburn dancing in her wedding attire and stepping onto a raft into an idyllic French stream with swans floating around.  And perfect choreography and synchronization with the camera. And the swooping crane shots and the music. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful film. And smart and funny — and beatniks in Paris, and fashion, and color, and, yeah, I just really love the film. Ahead of it’s time.

East of Eden (1955) 85%

I also love Elia Kazan and it was a toss up for me between On the Waterfront, which I saw as a child, and East of Eden, which I saw as a young kid, and also rediscovered as an adult. But I do remember more recently a beautiful print that was struck — maybe by UCLA archives, maybe by AFI; I’m not sure who — and they had a screening of it at a theater that’s the longer one there in Century City, beautiful theater. At one time I think it was the state of the art theater in the country, with the first reclining seats and all that. They had [screened it] somehow, in conjunction with the LA city school system and the English department of LA city schools. And I believe that the matinee that I saw was predominantly schools… And the kids have to read East of Eden or Steinbeck, Travels with Charley or something in school, and you could tell this was going to be their Steinbeck assignment, so it was a field trip. But this… wasn’t a movie for young people, and I was a little worried that the noise, the kicking of the seats, and the high jinx that were prevailing in the auditorium before the lights went down would keep going.  And I remember about five minutes into the film there’s a shot of James Dean hopping a freight — he jumps this train, near Monterey and he goes to Salinas, or vice versa — he hops the train and is on his way to Monterey to visit his mother, to find his mother in a brothel. And it’s cold, it’s evening — he pulls his little sweater over his head like a hoodie and he bundles up almost in a fetal position on the top of this train, snaking it’s way through the country side in Monterey county. And the entire audience shut up and you could hear a pin drop.

It was the power of a true movie star. It was the first American teenager, James Dean, on the screen. And it didn’t matter that it was a predominantly… junior high school to high school kids — they got it. They got his angst, they got his beauty, they got his rebellion, all in literally 30 seconds’ worth of him exuding teen angst in the film and it was just this great moment. It reminded me of the power of stardom, of light and shadow on the screen, of a Greta Garbo, of a great screen kiss between — God rest her soul — the late Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne in The Quiet Man, or John Travolta strutting down the sidewalk in Saturday Night Fever— it’s just this great thing. And I love that movie anyway. There’s sequences and scenes in that movie, and James Dean, his grace in that movie — I think his movement in that movie is only matched by one or two Lee Marvin performances, and maybe one or two Sean Connery performances that I’ve seen in terms of just male physical grace. Really a great film, and I had to put Kazan on my list. So Kazan would be my number five for East of Eden starring James Dean.

 


Kerr Lordygan for Rotten Tomatoes: The Funhouse Massacre is really good fun.

Robert Englund: I haven’t seen all of The Funhouse Massacre. I’ve only seen my scenes because I had to do some dubbing on them — the beginning. It was tricky for me because the script of Funhouse Massacre was this great pun, this great manipulation of, you know, the funhouse, grindhouse horror — and then mashed up with this, “What if the real guys in a haunted Halloween house were replaced with the real guys?” Really over the top. But I think it’s Jere Burns — wonderful actor, I think it’s really going to be his movie. I’m more of an extended cameo actually, but yeah, [special makeup effects supervisor] Robert Kurtzman told me it’s a lot of fun.  So I hope you have a good time with it. 


The Funhouse Massacre opens Friday, Nov. 13 in limited release.

En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.

  • reaxxionrj

    Great taste

Tag Cloud

spider-man AMC First Look italian TV FXX Mindy Kaling ghosts Academy Awards reboot binge royal family politics hist 2017 social media BBC One Marvel Studios Fall TV TCA Winter 2020 Peacock 2018 Teen DC Universe ID prank DC Comics justice league black christmas movies psycho ratings Fox Searchlight theme song obituary rt archives telelvision DirecTV dexter Pop tv talk The Witch Chernobyl Toys Film TV movies TNT Quiz First Reviews ABC Family zombie TLC Winners cancelled 93rd Oscars Disney Channel know your critic chucky indie anime discovery Women's History Month SXSW sag awards SDCC franchise 007 Mystery canceled TV shows Exclusive Video Pop TV crime drama Apple TV Plus Endgame streaming movies PlayStation BBC Arrowverse zombies 2016 biography festivals singing competition Music Interview satire rt labs critics edition Cartoon Network miniseries Writers Guild of America rotten TV One comic book movie Christmas Country breaking bad Comic Book space comic books cancelled TV shows RT21 Thanksgiving 45 Fantasy BET Awards CNN spanish language docudrama LGBT true crime news toy story OneApp Travel Channel video godzilla suspense independent Summer Starz Mary poppins Year in Review comiccon See It Skip It blaxploitation television comics rt labs Awards Tour historical drama DGA boxoffice casting Amazon Prime Video Television Critics Association movies Cannes HBO Max Crackle Certified Fresh werewolf Lifetime Christmas movies WarnerMedia cancelled television adaptation Sundance TV Showtime Freeform Spring TV facebook king kong anthology Creative Arts Emmys parents 21st Century Fox Superheroe Image Comics child's play Emmy Nominations aapi disaster romance james bond Set visit TCA 2017 Sundance psychological thriller Calendar finale Opinion canceled Comics on TV Black Mirror TIFF dc X-Men 20th Century Fox latino Amazon Studios classics DC streaming service Apple TV+ award winner TBS Super Bowl slasher Mary Tyler Moore Turner Classic Movies lord of the rings women Countdown book die hard archives revenge streaming HBO Go sequels adventure vampires Alien cooking Bravo American Society of Cinematographers superman based on movie worst movies Brie Larson supernatural dragons Valentine's Day Rocky Spectrum Originals Netflix Christmas movies YouTube Red films monster movies PaleyFest football kong Heroines TCM political drama The Walking Dead sitcom game show Photos YouTube hidden camera History BAFTA Classic Film Amazon Animation IFC Films aliens Election romantic comedy Emmys Dark Horse Comics Discovery Channel golden globe awards Song of Ice and Fire fresh Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Turner versus best Awards witnail south america BET a nightmare on elm street CBS All Access Reality Competition Disney+ Disney Plus TCA Awards Rocketman Western popular Legendary Extras game of thrones A24 cops technology Captain marvel Avengers new york twilight rotten movies we love festival Spike crossover Character Guide Anna Paquin joker doctor who marvel comics MSNBC feel good Television Academy scorecard basketball all-time Winter TV young adult USA gangster Cosplay Columbia Pictures Amazon Prime trailers El Rey wonder woman cults cars comic book movies critics ITV dark 24 frames docuseries Masterpiece Mary Poppins Returns marvel cinematic universe Trophy Talk HBO The Academy Binge Guide Hallmark Christmas movies video on demand Shondaland The Arrangement Tomatazos Ovation composers debate talk show Lucasfilm children's TV sequel Disney Plus Biopics series Nickelodeon FX on Hulu TV renewals President Star Trek Sneak Peek Lionsgate Crunchyroll adenture war Hallmark japanese CW Seed cats blockbusters USA Network harry potter Broadway Food Network medical drama spinoff Family heist movie cartoon Musical universal monsters what to watch 2021 99% 2020 elevated horror Tarantino Britbox Comedy Holidays NBA deadpool 2019 stop motion toronto Horror jamie lee curtis Marvel live action laika Apple foreign venice asian-american dogs scary movies Marathons Hulu Warner Bros. kaiju natural history Polls and Games Musicals documentaries Sci-Fi Wes Anderson documentary 1990s Fox News Rom-Com Oscars Pirates Shudder book adaptation FOX concert RT History Paramount Plus Lifetime transformers Action CBS Comic-Con@Home 2021 Box Office Sundance Now E! boxing travel The Purge MCU Best and Worst fast and furious Baby Yoda saw green book Sony Pictures Marvel Television NBC Red Carpet strong female leads Hear Us Out E3 2015 new star wars movies SundanceTV ABC Signature police drama thriller australia BBC America San Diego Comic-Con Superheroes emmy awards stand-up comedy Tokyo Olympics ViacomCBS rom-coms Syfy olympics blockbuster VOD OWN Reality YouTube Premium National Geographic cinemax spanish Funimation LGBTQ Video Games high school new zealand TruTV PBS pirates of the caribbean Schedule serial killer mission: impossible unscripted criterion NYCC reviews dceu TV Land The Walt Disney Company name the review superhero Star Wars Comedy Central Black History Month science fiction hispanic renewed TV shows richard e. Grant nfl Watching Series king arthur Kids & Family critic resources YA New York Comic Con zero dark thirty Disney GoT Tumblr Elton John hollywood Walt Disney Pictures 90s Pixar target Nominations Netflix Universal spain robots worst ESPN Drama Trivia teaser APB hispanic heritage month Holiday golden globes A&E mockumentary nbcuniversal posters screenings Film Festival halloween Premiere Dates stoner Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt WGN comedies MTV Pride Month Ellie Kemper Martial Arts The CW Rock CMT mutant halloween tv Paramount Network free movies diversity Pet Sematary japan FX Logo 73rd Emmy Awards VICE action-comedy crime Trailer Stephen King Grammys scene in color 4/20 directors comic Disney streaming service Infographic legend Acorn TV Mudbound screen actors guild VH1 razzies Adult Swim indiana jones batman ABC GLAAD spy thriller french jurassic park sports Paramount period drama animated Podcast mcc kids GIFs cancelled TV series Ghostbusters TCA crime thriller 72 Emmy Awards Esquire dramedy Pacific Islander Vudu Tubi quibi slashers 71st Emmy Awards nature Nat Geo Epix remakes biopic IFC international movie 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards