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Exclusive Q&A: Robert Englund, A.K.A. Freddy Krueger, On What Scares Him

Robert Englund
Getty Images

With Halloween upon us, there are few actors more qualified to talk about scaring the living hell out of you than Robert Englund.

The actor has appeared in nearly 70 films and countless television shows since his 1974 debut, but he'll always be known as Freddy Krueger, the dream-invading antagonist from Wes Craven's "Nightmare on Elm Street" series. We hopped on the phone with Mr. Nightmare himself, fresh off wrapping up his role in the upcoming "Supernatural," to find out what scares him.

I think the scariest thing is that you sound so awake at 5:45 in the morning.
[Laughs] The only reason I'm chipper is I've had three espressos and I've been on movie time recently. You get up real early. Not as early as I used to get up when I had to put the [Freddy Krueger] make-up on though.

Robert Englund in "Freddy Vs. Jason"
New Line Cinema

How long did that take?
I like to become a Christian martyr about the make-up for Freddy because I've done it so many times. That's a good three-and-a-half to four hours not counting the insertion of the contact lenses, teeth, blood squibs or special effects like my Chest of Souls. So if they need me by 9 a.m., I'm there by five every morning.

Was that the toughest gig you had to do?
The roughest make-up I ever wore was for "Phantom of the Opera" because the phantom's face was all disfigured and he's trying to pass in public so he can attend his beloved opera.  That was make-up over make-up. My make-up artist wanted it to look like that cheesy Beethoven bust you see everywhere with the big mane of hair. We had these little old Hungarian ladies who worked for the Hungarian National Opera doing this hand-ventilated wig piece. That make-up was five-and-a-half hours every morning.

What was your favorite childhood Halloween memory?
I have very liberal parents. People forget that Fidel Castro was on the cover of Time magazine and the one that I remember the most -- it's not necessarily my favorite --was when they dressed me as Castro when I was eight years old. I was in fatigues, camouflage hat, beard and cigar. I don't think I did that well with candy that year.

How old were you when a movie first terrified you?
We were having a sleepover when I was eight or nine and we all got to stay up late and watch the original "Frankenstein." It was uncensored, so as a child, I saw the scene where he throws the little girl into the lake and that freaked me out. Though not as much as when he hangs the hunchback.

What's the scariest film you've seen that you haven't starred in?
I'm a big fan of Brian De Palma's "Sisters" and I also love "Let The Right One In."

In honor of Halloween, Englund has partnered up with Hornitos Tequila to present "The Devil's Handshake" cocktail. "I've been hitting up some gourmet mixologist bars recently," says Englund.  "Halloween starts so early now -- like the beginning of October -- so I definitely need to take the edge off." After a few of these, the scariest thing about this weekend may be who you wake up to in the morning.

Courtesy: Hornitos

Robert Englund's "Devil's Handshake"

1 ½ parts Hornitos Plata Premium Tequila
¾ parts lime juice
½ part simple syrup
1 part pineapple juice
1 tsp sweet ginger puree
¼ part egg white

Dry shake vigorously. Ice and shake again. Strain onto fresh ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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