Legendary screen icon Robert Englund, the man who once upon a time haunted our dreams as Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, returns on March 18 to guide audiences through the eerie and the unexplained in the Travel Channel six part series, True Terror With Robert Englund.
The six episodes are narrated and hosted by Englund and look to be formatted with several supposedly true paranormal vignettes featured in each episode, recalling for this long in the tooth viewer the 1982 Jack Palance (Shane) hosted show, Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
The first episode out of the gate is a motley one, studying stories ranging from that of a storekeeper who prophesizes his own demise, a police station that is Ground Zero for a mad-dog killer and a miffed spirit and, finally (and perhaps appropriately, considering Englund’s pedigree), a teenager discovers himself in a waking nightmare where his Twitter account is mysteriously locked to him for all time. Heh. Just joking about that last bit, Constant Readers; Ye olde caveman can’t resist a well-aimed dig at good ol’ social media and its rabid followers every now and again.
It’s good to see Robert Englund back in good form. There was a time when his portrayal of director Wes Craven’s Krueger character was everywhere from movies, television, comic books and toys. The failure of the rebooted Elm Street film from 2010 wasn’t so much a fumble on the part of the creative folks behind it than it was a severe underestimation of just how associated Mr. Englund was – and still is – in the role of finger-knife wielding Freddy Krueger. Much like Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein Monster or Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Englund has appropriated that character as his property in the mind of the public. That can be both a burden and a boon to a solid actor and to his eternally good credit the always amiable thespian who has acted his heart out in productions ranging from the classic Big Wednesday to The Goldbergs has always handled this association with much aplomb. It’s this same joie de vivre used throughout his long career that makes Robert Englund the perfect match for this latest paranormal offering from the ironically named Travel Channel (Oh for Pete’s Sake, Travel Channel, just rename and rebrand yourself as the destination for ghostly television shows, already!).
The Big Kahuna of the Travel Channel, Matthew Butler, in a prepared statement for pop culture hacks such as me, had this to say about the impending arrival of both Robert Englund and True Terror: “We’re delighted at Travel Channel to have the true icon of horror films, Robert Englund, take a ‘stab’ at leading our viewers through these hair-raising tales…In his signature spooky storytelling style, Robert resurrects the creepy and odd of America’s past, bringing viewers real stories that reveal sometimes our fears aren’t mere figments of our imagination after all.”
My wife and I, who as practice worship at the altar of such paranormal cheese-fiestas as Ghost Adventures (Sample dialogue: “Guys, this is an animal head skull!”) and Ghost Brothers, met the news of Robert Englund’s induction into the Travel Channel family with much celebration and gesticulation even as we debated over just how many bottles of Vino we’re going to drink as we happily slosh our way through episodes of True Terror With Robert Englund and The Masked Singer. Welcome to the cheese, Mr. Englund, welcome to the cheese.
Want to know a little more about True Terror With Robert Englund? Hop on over to the Travel Channel site for all of the fun and gory details.