Like a 10-page diner menu, an excessive determination is at play in “Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story,” a vexing documentary about Robert Englund, who even horror haters will recognize as the guy who played Freddy Krueger in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” films.
What the directors Gary Smart and Christopher Griffiths made is a documentary in spirit. But it’s really more of an annotated oral history of Englund’s entire, extensive IMDb page — almost film by film, in chronological order, for more than two hours. It’s exhausting.
And it’s a shame, because Englund comes across as a dedicated professional and a total ham (and horndog) deserving of a meaty documentary. Watching Englund be such a goof in his early movies is a treat, like when he wrestles a fake alligator in Tobe Hooper’s “Eaten Alive” from 1976.
Englund’s career skyrocketed when Wes Craven cast him as Freddy in 1984. As the horror director Eli Roth points out in the documentary, unlike actors who played Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, Englund was called on to act by moving and speaking menacingly. Englund did so splendidly, one reason Freddy’s popularity endures.
Hardcore “Nightmare on Elm Street” fans — and really, that’s the audience here — might think this movie’s a dream. But like a recent documentary about the Chucky franchise, the material would be more palatable re-edited as Blu-ray extras.
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