Robert Englund interview: Tour the dark side of True Terror

PASADENA, CA - APRIL 09: Actor Robert Englund attends day 2 of the 2017 Monsterpalooza held at Pasadena Convention Center on April 9, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - APRIL 09: Actor Robert Englund attends day 2 of the 2017 Monsterpalooza held at Pasadena Convention Center on April 9, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Robert Englund
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JULY 20: Actor Robert Englund attends a cast reunion of New Line Cinema’s “Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” at Outfest Film Festival at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres on July 20, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images) /

Sasquatch and Teddy Roosevelt, Oh, My!

1428 Elm: You have such a passion for True Terror. What attracted you to the production?

RE: Our writer/producer was a fan of The Twilight Zone; you can hear a little bit of the Rod Serling rhythms in my narration especially at the end of segments that we want to echo. This is all stuff we remember liking as youngsters.

He researched quite a bit and he had this idea. He wanted me and he knew my voice and those images would really go well together. I looked at it as filling that niche for the magical “what if.”

A lot of the stories we cover really happened. Like the smallpox epidemic and people getting buried alive. Even the Teddy Roosevelt quotes and diary and testimonials about Sasquatch in our second episode, actually happened.

That’s the president of the United States. That’s not two guys in a swamp in Alabama telling me they saw a UFO.

It’s Teddy “God d***” Roosevelt telling us that he experienced this encounter which is reiterated in folklore of Native Americans. We tend to think that all this Bigfoot stuff began with a cheesy movie in the 1960’s, The Legend of Boggy Creek or something like that.

There are myths about this creature that go back hundreds of years. The further back that this stuff shows up, in legends and storytelling, the more I like it. It’s fun to contemplate.

Robert Englund
MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 27: American actor Robert Englung attends ‘El Hormiguero’ Tv show at Vertice Studio on May 27, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images) /

Touring the Underbelly of the American Psyche

1428 Elm: In an interview, you had mentioned that your favorite True Terror segment was “Mummy Dearest” which was about a bizarre obsession that a radiology technologist named Carl Tanzler had with a TB patient that he was treating. He loved her so much he kept her body with him even after her death. What intrigued you about that particular story?

RE: What I liked about “Mummy Dearest” is it was very H.P. Lovecraft. You wondered if Lovecraft was influenced by stories like that in newspapers. What articles did Bram Stoker read that inspired him? We know what inspired Mary Shelley to create Frankenstein.

That story really happened. It’s part of the American psyche underbelly. Crazy, dark stuff.

1428 Elm: If True Terror gets a Season 2, you had mentioned that you would love to cover H.H. Holmes, the first American serial killer.

RE: You know what happened? This is so funny. I saw a book on the back of my bed.

My sister-in-law left it. It was called, The Devil in the White City. What an amazing book!

I just know that within H.H. Holmes’ story alone, there is probably three different stories. There are the stories of him giving the dead bodies to doctors, to the guys that make the bones for medical offices and the chemicals he was using.

At the same time, medicine was changing so radically. That doctors and medical schools would accept cadavers without asking questions because they needed them for dissection and anatomy classes.

Golly, what you realize is people were naïve! They were more trusting and more ignorant. Bad people could get away with more. No one questioned anything.

Of course, there were the stories of people that disappeared and no one cared. Then there were stories of things that were being invented that were weird, dark and strange.

Apparently, at the time The Devil in the White City occurred all of Chicago smelled like the stockyards, like death and rot. It was just stagnant.