The “Below the Line” work that goes into film production is fascinating. While the filmmakers and top-billed talent are obviously instrumental in a film’s DNA, so are the countless departments that support them from set design, to cinematography, costuming, hair and makeup. Especially in the realm of genre cinema, those artisans can be just as foundational to a film’s iconography. For an example, look no further than Freddy Krueger. Freddy Krueger simply isn’t Freddy Krueger without the seared face full of burns scars and wounded flesh.
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to transform Robert Englund into his iconic Nightmare on Elm Street villain, Englund’s got you covered with a new documentary Nightmares in the Makeup Chair. Directed by Mike Kerz, the film chronicles Englund’s intensive makeup transformation at the hands of prolific genre makeup effects artist Robert Kurtzman while the actor reminisces his year’s playing the beloved horror villain and pays tribute to Wes Craven. The film is set to drop at an undetermined film festival this year with planned theatrical engagements.
Check out the announcement trailer below.
“Nightmares in the Makeup Chair is my love letter to the Nightmare on Elm Street series and to practical makeup,” says Englund in a statement. “I’ve always been in awe of the multi-talented makeup effects artists. From sketching to sculpting, they realize the design. Then to the fine precision of the molding and the manufacturing of the makeup appliances which are nearly paper thin. And then, the application process where I sit in the makeup chair and I become their living canvas as they glue me in and paint the appliances. This documentary not only captures their talent, but I think it might inspire a new generation of practical effects artists. I was happy to become Freddy once again to share the makeup process with the fans.”
“I was inspired by the vintage photos of the legendary artist Jack Pierce applying the Frankenstein makeup to Boris Karloff,” says Kerz. “Sadly, those sessions were never documented on film. That is why we created our documentary — fans will see two modern horror legends at work.”