Exclusive: Nathan Thomas Milliner Talks The Confession of Fred Krueger
Earlier today we received word via the fine folks over at Dread Central, that Nathan Thomas Milliner, the awesome artist who has created a slew of designs for Scream Factory and for HorrorHound Magazine has created a fan film out of respect of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street, and it just so happens to be a prequel entitled The Confession of Fred Krueger. So, once I got done watching the trailer (see below) and gazing endlessly at the beautiful poster art, I knew us horror fans are in for a treat. We’ve been longing for a prequel to A Nightmare On Elm Street for years, but alas, it just never happened.
Anyway, I know a lot of you guys are freakin’ stoked for this, just like me, so I contacted Nathan and he agreed to talk to us regarding the project, and yes, even a possible sequel! Head on down below for the goods.
[Horror-Movies.ca] – You have just created a fan film revolving around Freddy Krueger, entitled The Confessions of Fred Krueger, what can you tell us about the film?
[Nathan Thomas Milliner] – The film is my love letter, as most fan films are, to the original Nightmare on Elm Street film written and directed by Wes Craven. I love the series and I peppered some things from the sequels throughout my script but I mostly wanted to keep it based on the original film as that is my favorite of them and I wanted it to feel like a direct prequel to the 1984 film. So some fans will probably frown on the lack of later movie folklore and myth but I wanted to take Freddy back to his roots. His dark and creepy roots. In 1988 I read a book called “The Nightmare on Elm Street Companion” by Jeffrey Cooper.
It was a making of book released the previous year. Cooper had also written the novelizations of the films. In his writings he had composed an origin of Freddy which was dark and disturbing and really captured my 12-year old imagination at the time. So based on Craven’s films and this short origin story along with Craven’s inspirations for the character (the hobo in the hat and overcoat who scared him as a child through his window) my image of Freddy was very different from the one we ended up with in Freddy’s Dead. The suburbanite husband/father living amongst his prey. While that concept is creepy it didn’t ring true to Fred for me. Wes conceived an outsider looking in and not being one of them and that was what I wanted to get back to. It isn’t seen clearly but Freddy had a living quarters in the boiler room.
I have a picture of Rachel sitting on Freddy’s bed in the boiler room from Part 1. We can see glimpses of it in the end when Nancy goes into it and finds the crucifix on Freddy’s bed. So Freddy lived in the boiler room according to Craven’s vision. He was a loner. I decided to focus on an interrogation scene because my favorite thing to write, direct and watch are conversations. I like watching two good actors sitting in a room and talking. Freddy has personality and he is compelling and I wanted to hear him tell his story. So the interrogation was the best option for that.
[H-M] – From what I’ve seen thus far, Kevin Roach has done a stellar job of portraying Fred Krueger, what led to you cast Kevin as this iconic character?
[Nathan Thomas Milliner] – Last year I was asked to be a director (one of five) on a new horror anthology titled “Volumes of Blood.” I was handed 3 scripts to choose from. I chose one called “The Encyclopedia Satanica”. I asked if I could rewrite it and was allowed to and pretty much the film was all in my hands besides one thing. The producer had already cast the segment. I was only able to recast one role that was based on one actor’s availability but one role that was set was that of my antagonist which was to be played by this guy named Kevin Roach. I had never met or seen anything Kevin had done but pretty much everyone involved told me Kevin was one of the best actors around this area of Kentuckiana. (Kentucky/Indiana).
When I met Kevin he was very professional and smart. I could see I was in good hands. Basically the casting Gods were looking down on me as Kevin was flat-out awesome. I had written the script for Confession several years earlier and it was just a “dream” project really and from lack of finding the right actors I was actually considering playing Freddy in it if I ever did it. But I don’t want to be an actor so on set, Kevin and I started talking about my meeting Robert Englund and it dawned on me that Kevin would make an excellent Freddy. In fact, he was perfect for it. So Kevin was really the motivation I had to get this thing going. That and the public response to the teaser poster I had put out online in early 2014.
People were intrigued by the poster and I kind of felt I had to make it now. And Kevin falling into my world seemed like a calling. Kevin is phenomenal in this film. He has had such a blast in the role as well. There were times I was so lost in his performance watching him on set that I would forget to yell cut. During rehearsals I found myself with this permanent grin as I watched him play Fred. Become Fred. And that is one important thing to note. I didn’t want Kevin to pretend to be Robert Englund playing Freddy Krueger. No imitations. There is only one Robert Englund so I didn’t want that. We paid homage to him. Tried to catch details that Robert did in terms of physicality and cadence and attitude but I didn’t want Kevin tied down to mimicking anyone. I wanted to see Fred Krueger on screen…not an actor pretending to be another actor.
So Kevin very much makes the character of Fred his own. And since we are really focusing on the first film almost entirely, no one can really know what Fred was like pre-burns. We see very little of the boogeyman in Part 1. I like to think that people will see Kevin and accept that this could have been the man who did the murders. Craven envisioned Freddy as an old man but Dream Warriors kind of crushed that idea when they stated Freddy was conceived in the 40’s when the Amanda Krueger incident shut down the asylum. The first film in a deleted scene tells us Freddy died around 1974. That would make Freddy in his early 30’s which is how old Kevin is. Basically I found the right guy and he is amazing in the film.
[H-M] – What led you to go out and create a prequel to A Nightmare On Elm Street?
[Nathan Thomas Milliner] – Ever since falling in love with the films and character back in 1988 I wanted to see a prequel. Who was this guy in real life? Cooper’s origin really influenced that in me. There had been a lot of talk over the years of a possible prequel getting made. I know Englund was very willing to do that. Sadly it was not happening and in a Facebook conversation with some fans about prequels someone suggested I write one. I didn’t see a point in writing a feature length prequel so I chose the one scene I would most get excited for and that was the interrogation. Now Freddy in the films never confessed. A hiccup some people may have with the film. But then we don’t know if he did or not because we never saw that stuff. I can assure people that the whole “confession” versus him getting let off on a technicality is still in place. Freddy is always holding all of the cards. For a drifter, he is quite sharp and street smart and manipulative. Always has control and the upper hand even when it appears otherwise.
[H-M] – When will the film be available and where can we watch it?
[Nathan Thomas Milliner] – The film will premiere at HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis in September. The 11th through the 13th I believe. Which day it screens I don’t know yet. I’ve worked for HorrorHound for going on 8 years now and I will be a guest at the show and we have this huge Nightmare on Elm Street reunion there. Over 24 Elm Street guests attending including the man himself, Robert Englund. It felt like the best opportunity to reach the biggest Elm Street fan base we could. After the con the film will be uploaded to the net for everyone to enjoy. Youtube, etc. This was a non-profit thing. I paid out of my own pocket to make this movie and I just want people to enjoy it. I know some will have problems with casting or changes to the storyline. Every fan has their own perspectives on these things just as I do. This is simply my perspective. But no sales will be made. A lot of people have written asking for me to release it on DVD or Blu-ray and that won’t happen. I won’t be selling anything related to this film. I am considering making the poster a free download even.
[H-M] – What is your favorite Elm Street film and your favorite death throughout the series?
[Nathan Thomas Milliner] – The first of course and Tina’s death. I think Tina’s death scene is the best death scene in all of horror film. From the moment Freddy tosses pebbles and a tooth at Tina’s window till her demise being drug up the wall and ceiling by an invisible Freddy as she screams bloody murder…the best 10 minutes in horror history for me.
[H-M] – I love the poster for the film, any chance these will go on sale? Do you have any plans to expand on this short?
[Nathan Thomas Milliner] – As I said. No sales of any merchandise or items will be made. It’s a fan film and I don’t want to make money off of the men and women who created and brought this material to the world. This was only made out of respect and love and to share with the other fans out there like me who just want to celebrate. It was the Elm Street series that made me a horror fan. I now work in this genre and it is owed to Elm Street. And yes, I do have a script for a sequel. Not sure if I will jump into it anytime soon. I am beat after making this one. With my busy schedule making movies is a hobby. I also have a few other original films to make.
[H-M] – Would you like to add anything?
[Nathan Thomas Milliner] – I hope everyone enjoys the finished product. We had a blast making it. As any Freddy fan can imagine, standing there on a boiler room set and filming Fred Krueger stalking and building his glove in front of you was surreal and exciting. I only ask people have an open mind about it. I know that is hard for us fans. There will be purest who will take offense to the omitting of the later films and for the slight changes I made to sort of make the thing a bit of my own as well.
Anytime someone else plays Freddy it will be met with rejection. But Kevin is truly awesome in this and I think a lot of people will accept him more than reject him. I tried to get Englund but he wouldn’t work for free pizza. So Kevin will have to do. But in all honesty, this film was I assure you, made by a major Elm Street fan just like you guys and it was made with nothing but love and respect to Mr. Craven, Mr. Shaye, Mr. Englund, Mr. Cooper and everyone else involved. I am simply standing on the shoulders of titans here. This is for them and the fans.
There you have it guys. Make your way to this years’ HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis this September to be one of the first to witness The Confession of Fred Krueger, and who knows, maybe this will be the catalyst for that feature-length prequel to happen. Anyway, we would like to thank Nathan for taking the time to talk with us and we wish him and everyone involved all the best with the project.