A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American horror film.
The film’s premise is the question of where the line between dreams and reality lies. The villain, Freddy Krueger (addressed as Fred Krueger in the movie), thus exists in the “dream world” yet can kill in the “real world”.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge 1985
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors 1987
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master 1988
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child 1989
- Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare 1991
- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare 1994
- Freddy vs. Jason 2003
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010
The original film, written and directed by Wes Craven and titled A Nightmare on Elm Street, was released in 1984. The story focuses on Freddy Krueger attacking Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) and her friends in their dreams, successfully killing all but Nancy. Krueger’s back-story is revealed by Nancy’s mother, who explains he was a child murderer whom the parents of Springwood killed after Krueger was acquitted of police charges on a technicality. Nancy defeats Freddy by pulling him from the dream world, into the real world, and strips him of his powers when she stops being afraid of him. Freddy returns to attack the new family living in Nancy Thompson’s house, the Walshs, in 1985’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Freddy possesses the body of Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton), using him to kill. Jesse is saved by his girlfriend Lisa (Kim Myers), who helps Jesse fight, and break free from Krueger’s spirit.
Wes Craven returned to give Freddy life for a third time in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, released in 1987. In the second sequel, Freddy is systematically killing the last of the Elm Street children. The few remaining children have been placed in Westin Hills Mental Institution, for reasons of “attempted suicide”. Nancy Thompson arrives at Westin Hills as a new intern, and realizes the children are being killed by Freddy. With the help of Dr. Neil Gordon (Craig Wasson), Nancy helps Kristen (Patricia Arquette), Joey (Rodney Eastman), Taryn (Jennifer Rubin), Kincaid (Ken Sagoes), and Will (Ira Heiden) find their dream powers, so they can kill Freddy once and for all. Neil, unknowingly until the end, meets the spirit of Freddy’s mother, Amanda Krueger (Nan Martin), who instructs him to bury Freddy’s remains in hallowed ground in order to stop him for good. Neil completes his task, but not before Freddy kills Nancy. The story of Kristen Parker would continue with 1988’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. This time, Kristen (Tuesday Knight) unwittingly releases Freddy, who immediately kills Kincaid and Joey. Before Freddy can kill Kristen, she transfers her dream powers to Alice (Lisa Wilcox), a friend from school. Alice begins inadvertently providing victims for Freddy when she begins pulling people into her dreams while she sleeps. Alice, who begins taking on traits of the friends who were murdered, confronts Freddy. She uses the power of the Dream Master to release all the souls Freddy has taken; they subsequently rip themselves from Freddy’s body, killing him in the process. Picking up shortly after the events of The Dream Master, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child involves Freddy using Alice’s unborn child, Jacob (Whitby Hertford), to resurrect himself and find new victims. The spirit of Amanda Krueger (Beatrice Boepple) returns, revealing that Freddy was conceived when she, a nun working in a mental asylum, was accidentally locked in a room with “100 maniacs” and raped “hundreds of times”. Amanda Krueger convinces Jacob to use the powers he was given by Freddy against him, which gives her the chance to subdue Freddy long enough for Alice and Jacob to escape the dream world.
1991’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare followed the exploits of “John Doe” (Shon Greenblatt), an amnesiac teenager from Springwood, who was sent out to find Freddy’s daughter Maggie (Lisa Zane), whom he needs to leave Springwood. Freddy’s goal is to create new “Elm Streets”, and begin a new killing spree after having killed all of the children in Springwood. Maggie, utilizing new dream techniques, uncovers Krueger’s past, which include: being taunted by schoolmates for being the “son of 100 maniacs”, being cruel to animals, beaten by his stepfather, the murder of his own wife when she discovers he has been killing children, and the moment when the Dream Demons arrive in his boiler room to make him the offer of eternal life. Eventually, Maggie pulls Freddy out of the dream world, and uses a pipe bomb to blow him up. Wes Craven returned to the Nightmare series a third time with New Nightmare in 1994. This film focuses on a fictional “reality”, where Craven, Langenkamp, and Englund all play themselves, and where the character of Freddy Krueger is really an evil entity that has been trapped in the realm of fiction by all the movies that have been made. Since the movies have stopped, the entity, which likes being Freddy Krueger, is trying to escape into the real world. The only person in its way is Heather Langenkamp, whom the entity sees as “Nancy” — the first person who defeated him. Craven explains to Langenkamp the only way to keep the entity contained is for her to “play Nancy one last time”. Langenkamp pursues “Krueger”, who has kidnapped her son, into the dream world as “Nancy”. There, she and her son trap Krueger in a furnace until he is finally destroyed. In 2003, New Line pitted Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees against Freddy Krueger. The film explains that Freddy Krueger has grown weak as people in Springwood, his home, have suppressed their fear of him. Freddy, who is impersonating Pamela Voorhees, the mother of Jason Voorhees, sends Jason (Ken Kirzinger) to Springwood to cause panic and fear. Jason accomplishes this, but refuses to stop killing. A battle ensues in both the dream world and Crystal Lake between the two villains. The winner is left ambiguous, as Jason surfaces from the lake holding Freddy’s severed head, which winks and laughs
Freddy Krueger is a fictional character from the A Nightmare on Elm Street series of horror films. He first appears in Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) as a disfigured, dream stalker who uses a glove armed with razors to kill children and teenagers in their dreams, which ultimately results in their death in the real world. He was created by Wes Craven, and has been portrayed by Robert Englund in all of the Nightmare on Elm Street films, as well as the television series.
Krueger is undead, and can attack his victims from within their own dreams. He is commonly identified by his burned, disfigured face, red and dark green striped sweater, brown fedora, and trademark metal-clawed brown leather glove. Wizard magazine rated him the 14th greatest villain, the British television channel Sky2 listed him 8th, and the American Film Institute ranked him 40th on its “AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains” list.