Kane interviews Robert Englund
In this edition of WWE.com's Superstar to Superstar, SmackDown's Kane talks all things frightful with actor Robert Englund. The two have plenty in common when it comes to blood-curdling for the big screen -- Kane was eye-popping psychopath Jacob Goodnight in See No Evil, while Englund is best known for giving sleep a bad rap as the murderous Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Even scarier, this terrifying tandem killed time recently to discuss Englund's latest role in the upcoming screecher-feature, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon hits theaters March 16.
Kane: I used to wear a mask, and frankly, nothing makes my Valentine's Day better than a massacre. But I heard this is a "mockumentary" horror movie. It will have a lot of blood and guts, right?
Englund: Oh yeah, oh yeah. We suck you into it like you're watching a thinking man's horror movie. You know, it's got a little bit of The Blair Witch Project/Scream aspect to it. But by the end, we've completely mutated it into a full-on slasher film.
Kane: That sounds very unique.
Englund: Unfortunately, I don't get to be the bad guy; I play more of a victim in this one, so I don't get to participate in any of the bloodletting.
Kane: Oh, no. That's a disappointment.
Englund: It's great, because there's a great moral question in this movie. The old idea of like a photojournalist -- when do you stop taking pictures of the war orphans, put down the camera and help, you know? So we kind of bring that up, just for a second. I don't want anybody to think this movie is too intellectual. But by then everybody's in the quicksand of the plot and it just mutates.
Kane: Your character in this film is an obsessed psychiatrist trying to stop Leslie. I personally hate psychiatrists. When I was a kid I saw quite a few of them, and they ruin everything. Why shouldn't I hate you in this movie?
Englund: Well listen, I think shrinks suck (laughs), but I may play the last good shrink. I'm kind of like the Donald Pleasence character [Dr. Loomis]…
Kane: From Halloween, right?
Englund: Right. So I'm a pretty psycho-obsessed shrink. But yeah, I agree with you — shrinks suck. Death to all shrinks!
Kane: Leslie's inspired by Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger. I didn't see you mention my movie, See No Evil, or Jacob Goodnight. Maybe you're suggesting he isn't in their league?
Englund: I don't know why, because Jacob is certainly in Leslie's league and in the league of all those other guys. He should be mentioned in the same breath with all of them. I think part of it might be when those guys wrote it. The guys are all University of Pennsylvania guys out here in Hollywood. I think they wrote it before…
Kane: Before See No Evil's release?
Englund: Yeah, that's why they didn't include it. I know they loved dropping the names of all the psycho killers, all the way through this film. The more the merrier. Scott Wilson -- who was in the original In Cold Blood and just finished playing the casino owner and father of Marg Helgenberger's character on CSI — plays like a retired serial killer in this. It would be great to have had him just list… See, like you and me and Jason, he calls us like the new kids on the block. We're like the young whippersnappers.
Kane: Right, right. Going old school there. Switching gears a little bit… Freddy Krueger got roasted in a boiler room. I can sympathize with that; I know how that feels. Still, don't you just love the way a fire dances around the human body, feeling the heat and watching it melt the flesh off the bones?
Englund: I love watching it. I just don't like doing it. I've got to tell you, I love fire. Fire is hypnotic. And you've had this experience, too. When you're on a sound stage and you're shooting a fire stunt, this weird thing happens where the fire eats up all the oxygen and everybody gets a little dingy. And you know, the stuntmen, those guys know how to count, but when you're an actor and you can set your arm on fire, you feel kind of magical. And I always forget to count. I've singed my eyebrows. Once, the back of my makeup head caught on fire — you're not counting because you know, you look so cool. That's why you really have to have a stunt double for that crap. Those guys, they have this internal clock and they're always counting it off. They know when it's going to burn off the protective gel and stuff. So yeah, I love fire. I just think it's hypnotic and great, but I've got to tell you — on a sound stage, that stuff scares me.
Kane: Really? Something scared you?
Englund: Oh, yeah. It's weird because you're in an enclosed space and it eats the oxygen. I just think it makes everybody a little off their game; it makes the stuntmen, the camera crew and everybody a little dingy. So it always spooks me a little bit.
Kane: I recently had an Inferno Match with MVP. The object of the match is to set your opponent on fire. I won the match, and I can tell you it's definitely one of those things that's better to give than receive.
Kane: I was wondering if I could ask you for a little advice here. I want people to be afraid of me, and I'm always looking for new ways to inflict pain and suffering. Do you have any advice on that?
Englund: I think you've got to get to them from the inside; scare them psychologically first. If that fails, you know, there are always fingernails.
Kane: Yeah, especially the ones you used to wear.
Englund: Yeah, the extended version.
Kane: Freddy Krueger was one of my childhood heroes. I cheered you on in Freddy vs. Jason. How about you and Jacob Goodnight go one-on-one someday? Are you scared that I'll give you nightmares?
Englund: I like that -- Krueger vs. Goodnight!
Kane: If we didn't do it on Elm Street, maybe we can do it in a WWE ring.
Englund: We could just get in the ring. I love it. When we did the promos for Freddy vs. Jason in Vegas and we got to use your announcer.
Kane: Oh, cool.
Englund: It was great, hearing him call it out. We just did kind of a mock weigh-in, like for the heavyweight bout.
Kane: That's definitely a main event.
Englund: With all the wrestling stuff going on, we got all those fans there for the publicity stunt and it was just great. What a great audience you guys have. It's like a rock 'n' roll audience. They're great.
Kane: Yes, they're very into it. … I just have one last question. You said fire on the sound stage scares you. What else scares a master of horror like you, besides someone like me?
Englund: Oh, I don't know. I guess scary bitches?
Kane: [Laughs.] That may be the scariest thing in the whole world.
Englund: And my snake thing goes way back to when I was a little kid. I used to go to the movies -- they had movies for kids then. You'd go to the Saturday matinee and somehow I got stuck in the movie theater where they were showing the adult movie, some war movie. And I loved war movies when I was a kid, but there was one on a South Sea island -- I guess it was the Americans vs. the Japanese and some of the infantry guys got bit by snakes. I think it was called… gosh, Norman Mailer wrote it… I just can't think of the name of it now. Great, great book. The movie wasn't so great. But the guy died from these tropical snake bites and then it freaked me out for a year. I was looking under the bed. I was checking out my closet. So snakes are definitely up at the top of my list. I've worked with them -- maybe you have, too. I've worked with them, pythons and stuff, in a couple of movies, and I had to wrangle around, and I was okay. But still, if I'm out in the country or something, I'm still spooked by them. Ever since I saw that… The Naked and the Dead -- it's an old horror movie from the '50s and this guy dies in it, and the poison comes out his ears and his nose and his eyeballs and the corners of his mouth, and man, that just seared itself into my brain and it freaked me out for years. I've worked with snakes -- maybe you have, too. I've worked with pythons and such in a couple of movies, and I had to wrangle around, but I was okay. Still, if I'm out in the country or something, I'm still spooked by them.
Kane: Wow, one would never have thought that.
Englund: Yeah, snakes. They're my fear factor.
Kane: Good luck with Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.