Review: Hollywood Monster: A Walk Down Elm Street with the Man of Your Dreams
Robert Englund’s new memoir, Hollywood Monster: A Walk Down Elm Street with the Man of Your Dreams, is a breezy look at the actor’s life and career in film and television. Englund, who is best known for his role as horror icon Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street film series, shares many anecdotes about his life, effectively taking the reader on a journey through his childhood, his humble beginnings in acting, and his rise to genre celebrity. Alan Goldsher (Modest Mouse: A Pretty Good Read) assisted in co-writing Monster, which also includes separate introductions by celebrated genre filmmakers Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre).
Readers will enjoy the conversational manner Englund employs in Monster, especially when he humorously describes “killing” Burt Reynolds in Hustle, picking out Freddy Krueger’s fedora for A Nightmare on Elm Street, and sustaining his forehead injury while shooting V. Those interested in only Nightmare related tidbits will be happy to find that Englund has included all of his best known “Freddy stories.” Englund uses a nightmare theme throughout his memoir as well, opening each chapter with a brief real life nightmare he has experienced. He also closes Monster with subchapters “Freddy Krueger’s Must-See Movies,” “The Wit and Wisdom of Freddy Krueger,” “Freddy’s Favorite Kills,” and “Freddy Krueger’s Boiler Room Megamix from Hell.” All of these subchapters answer, what I assume to be, questions Englund is asked at every fan convention he attends.
Freddy Krueger is not the only subject discussed in Monster, however. Englund touches on the other highlights from his extensive and impressive résumé too, including his work on V, his directorial debut 976-EVIL, and the reality show Reel Nightmares. It comes as no surprise that with over 35-plus-years in show business he has worked with some of Hollywood’s best, including the aforementioned Burt Reynolds, Sally Feild, Charles Bronson, Angie Dickenson, Robert Wagner, Lillian Gish, Johnny Depp, David Hasselhoff, Laurence Fishburne, Priscilla Presley, and more. Although, what does come as a surprise is Englund’s humble attitude of still being just a “working stiff.” It is this modest mind-set that has helped him maintain his consistent career and, perhaps most importantly, his fan favorite status.
Hollywood Monster does a good job of giving readers the “real” Robert Englund; although, it does have its flaws. Englund glosses over much of his personal life, focusing instead on his interests and career. Nightmare fans looking for new tidbits about their beloved films will not find anything new either. This memoir essentially acts as a vehicle for Englund’s “best of” stories and it could have benefited from a more in-depth approach.
Overall, Robert Englund’s Hollywood Monster: A Walk Down Elm Street with the Man of Your Dreams provides an adequate account of the actor’s life and career in the entertainment industry. Englund shares with readers his favorite stories and facts, all detailed in his personable and conversational manner. Casual readers and fans alike will all find something to enjoy in this brisk read.
Release date: October 13, 2009
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