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Hollywood Monster by Robert Englund (with Andy Goldsher)

Hollywood Monster by Robert Englund (with Andy Goldsher)Publisher: Aurum
Hardback (298 pages)

The chances are, if you’re a horror fan, then you’ll know who Robert Englund is. The original – and best – incarnation of Freddy Krueger, Englund rose to prominence in the 1984 Nightmare on Elm Street film directed by Wes Craven and is still working today (mostly on very low-budget horror films) and he’s also found the time to direct a couple too.

This entertaining autobiography fills out that CV, from his start in theatre and on to small roles in iconic seventies films (Stay Hungry, Eaten Alive and Big Wednesday), through to TV appearances  (Willie the lovable alien in V) as well as his role in the fantastic (if under-rated) Dead & Buried, and thence up to Wes Craven’s film and beyond.

Englund comes across as a decent enough man, very aware of how lucky he is and very gracious with his fans but, for all that, the book is an uneven read. As befits those modern autobiographies which assume the casual reader wants no real background on the subject, Englund breezes through his childhood and early teens in a chapter or so, never mentioning the year of his birth or even where he was born. His descriptions of his college years, getting into acting and his first marriage, elicit a bit more detail, but the seventies (notwithstanding the terrific films he acted in or his impressive co-stars) get fairly short shrift. The eighties, from V and through the horror boom, form the biggest and most entertaining section of the book, with Englund quick to tell often amusing behind-the-scene anecdotes, but his private life whisks by with barely a mention. His second wife, Roxanne, merits a one sentence mention as his girlfriend and even though his present wife Nancy is described as “the love of my life”, we don’t get much more detail other than their initial courtship.

An entertaining enough read if you liked Nightmare On Elm Street and other eighties horror flicks, but if you’re looking for more detail and depth on Robert Englund then you’ll be left wanting.

MARK WEST

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