Robert Englund will forever be associated with A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Freddy Krueger. The malevolent undead murderer has the nasty talent of being able to exploit his teenage victims’ deepest fears, arriving in their dreams to dispatch them in sadistic and horrifying ways. But after years of doing that – and many other horror parts – what scares Robert Englund?
Well, now we know. The actor is currently promoting his new series True Terror with Robert Englund, which premieres on the Travel Channel tonight at 10pm ET. During a press event, he was asked what his phobias were and said snakes. But why did it have to be snakes?
Allow him to explain:
“I did this movie called ‘Python,’ which was the low-budget follow-up to Anaconda with Ice Cube and Jennifer Lopez. And it was one of those direct-to-DVD horror movies, science-fiction movies. Casper [Van Dien] was doing a lot of those because he was such a big success with Starship Troopers. And they gave me a baby python, an albino baby python in that movie for my character. I was the herpetologist who was an expert on snakes. And they actually put a shoestring through a tube sock and put the little female python, albino white python, little tiny python around my shoulder. They tied it around my shoulder and let the tube sock hang in my armpit.
And then I would pull her out, and she would coil around my fingers and coil around my wrist and hand and do scenes. I knew it looked cool on camera, I’ve got this live snake coiling around, this little, thin baby white python. And that’s how I got over my fear of snakes because the snake was so small. She’s not venomous. I worked with her for six weeks on the movie, and she was in my armpit for five of those weeks. That’s the irony of being a horror movie actor is the horror movie actor got over his fear of snakes doing a horror movie about snakes.”
If you haven’t seen Python, then I wouldn’t exactly go out of your way to chase it down. Anaconda is already pretty ropey (though it does have that cool scene where the titular serpent barfs up a half-digested Jon Voight). But hey, it’s entertaining in that way a 2000 movie with terrible CGI and Casper Van Dien tends to be. Plus, Wil Wheaton is in it, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Meanwhile, True Terror with Robert Englund’s inaugural episode is titled “Twisted Relationships,” in which a North Carolina storekeeper is tormented by a prophetic countdown to his doom. And later in the series comes a very timely sounding episode about plagues in New Orleans. As Englund explained:
“We had the yellow fever, smallpox plague that hit New Orleans. Coroners, coffin builders, and grave diggers were all in on burying people alive. That they were just doing it per capita. They were getting many bodies as they could get in a pine box and throw it in the back of a carriage. Take it out to a cemetery, dig a hole and throw them in there. And there were cases of people being buried alive, a lot of them. Because these guys would get X amount of money and they were all part of a scam to do that.”
Uh…. yeah. Fun.