Exclusive: Robert Englund – Checking into Fear Clinic Part I

If there’s one person in the horror industry who doesn’t have a thing left to prove, it’s Robert Englund. He’s conquered live theater, been successful in both film and television for over the last 30 years, worked as a film producer and director, and he’s now a published author.

Exclusive: Robert Englund - Checking into Fear Clinic Part I

So, why would someone who single-handedly revolutionized the 80’s slasher flick with his portrayal of the timeless Freddy Krueger take on a web series? There’s always the idea of taking on the challenge of a new medium.

In “Fear Clinic”, which is playing all week on FEARnet, Englund joins other horror heavyweights like Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris and Lisa Wilcox in a twisted journey into people’s deepest fears. It was a project that Englund immediately connected with when he read the script.

I got involved with “Fear Clinic” when Mark Johnson (producer) sent me over the script because he and I had worked together recently,” explained Englund. “I knew the moment I finished reading it that there was something there- that Aaron (Drane, the writer) really put together a great story and I had to be a part of it.”

It was hard at first to wrap my head around the idea of the webisode because it’s consolidated storytelling. I didn’t want anything to feel shortchanged. But “Fear Clinic” has everything- it’s gritty, psychological, has some really interesting subplots and great flashbacks. It doesn’t skimp on anything even if each part is around five minutes,” Englund added.

For Englund, “Fear Clinic” was more than another project- it was a chance to bring together a select group of people that he’s worked with in the past for a project that no one in the horror community had seen before.

Englund said, “When I got on board, Robert Hall was involved to direct and do the special effects and I had worked with him in the past, so getting to have him a director was truly a pleasure for me. Then, as we kept fleshing out “Fear Clinic”, it seemed like we were bringing more and more people together that I’ve worked with in the past, which is always something I enjoy. It really felt like this series was my family.

Creating a web series isn’t what most people would expect as a next step in the career of someone like Englund, who has enjoyed a very lucrative career working in the horror genre. What really drew him into “Fear Clinic” though was the opportunity to collaborate on bold, internet-based content.

The people at FEARnet really understood what we were trying to do with the “Fear Clinic”,” Englund explained. “I will be the first to admit that creating a web series is something new to all of us but everyone from the cast to the crew really believed in this type of storytelling, so we knew we could pull off something really special.

Even though filming wrapped on “Fear Clinic”, that doesn’t mean that Englund sees his character Dr. Andover as a done deal. In fact, the actor is still dreaming up possibilities for the maniacal creator of the “fear chamber.”

I’m still forming my character of Dr. Andover because I think he’s got some interesting stories to tell himself. I think his back-story is that he might have been up to some hanky panky where he lost his license stateside so he has to take his methodology down to Juarez, Mexico to start the clinic to avoid the authorities. Andover’s controversial technique (the fear chamber) combines a high tech approach with Freudian theories to try to cure very deep psychological problems.”

“There’s one particular girl I’ve never been able to get through to and that’s Susan (played by Harris). I become her Dr. Frankenstein and she becomes our narrator/Wes Craven warrior girl. I’m obsessed with curing her so I keep her captive at the clinic. What happens through Susan’s journey (and the other kids too) is that there is an accumulation of all the patient’s angst that has stained the fear chamber so that begins to manifest itself and eventually will form a character of its own,” Englund added.

One of the reasons that “Fear Clinic” is a landmark moment in horror is that it’s the first opportunity for both Englund and Hodder to act together ever, despite their long histories together in the industry.

I’ve been in countless movies where I’ve worked with Kane indirectly, dating all the way back to the television series “V”,” said Englund. ““Fear Clinic” was the first time where we’ve actually had scenes together so it was fun to finally get to act with him. It was also amazing to reconnect with Lisa too and then to collaborate with someone like Danielle, was just a perfect scenario all-around.

I see our characters (Kane, Lisa and my self’s) as ‘The Unholy Three.’ We are the bridge between the hallucinations and reality, which is where the kids are grounded. We sort of occupy both worlds which means, as recurring characters, we have great potential and interesting back stories that we can explore in the future,” Englund added.

So, will there be more trips to Dr. Andover’s “Fear Clinic”? Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Robert Englund to find out more about his experiences working on “Fear Clinic” as well as some of his latest projects.

Heather Wixson

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