In 1984, audiences were scared senseless with the release of A Nightmare on Elm Street – director Wes Craven’s iconic horror movie about a hideously scarred killer who enters the dreams of teenagers. The movie starred Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, and Johnny Depp, with Robert Englund as the gruesome monster, Freddy Krueger.
When A Nightmare on Elm Street was released in theatres it was a box office smash, introducing a whole new generation to horror. The movie also paved the way for a collection of sequels, a television series, a crossover movie with the Friday the 13th franchise, and even a remake.
But what do you know about A Nightmare on Elm Street – and would you like to know more?
In this post I am presenting 13 facts about A Nightmare on Elm Street, to enhance your viewing pleasure. So, sit back, relax, and prepare to take in some information about this classic movie.
But remember…. don’t fall asleep.
A new line of horror
Shortly after writing the screenplay for A Nightmare on Elm Street, director Wes Craven pitched the movie to multiple studios including Paramount Pictures, Disney, and Universal Studios, in the hope one of them would green light his idea. All of the studios turned him down, with each citing different reasons for not wanting to pick up the project.
Craven eventually took his screenplay to producer Bob Shaye and his (then) independent studio, New Line Cinema. The studio didn’t have the same kind of financial backing as the other major players, but could see potential in the project and gave it the thumbs up.
Green lighting Craven’s screenplay paid off for New Line, not just in the huge box office returns, but also in creating a horror icon that could provide the studio with multiple sequels. Thanks to Freddy, New Line Cinema became a much stronger player in the film industry and in the process bagged the name ‘The house that Freddy built’.
Freddy’s first time
Robert Englund played the role of Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street and continued to play the part for the sequels and spin-offs, but he wasn’t the first choice for the role. The actor originally cast as Freddy was British thesp, David Warner.
Warner conducted make-up tests and was all set to take on the part of Freddy in Wes Craven’s horror film, but scheduling conflicts with another project meant he had to drop out before cameras rolled.
What’s in a name?
Although the world has come to know the iconic killer of A Nightmare on Elm Street as Freddy Krueger, in the movie the character is credited as ‘Fred’ Krueger rather than Freddy. He didn’t become credited as ‘Freddy’ until the sequels.
Johnny Depp played the role of ill-fated teenager, Glen Lantz in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Fans will recall that Depp’s character was famously killed off by being pulled into his bed, then spat out as a shower of blood.
But did you know that Glen was Depp’s first film role? It was this part which gave the actor his first big break and launched his career.
During the course of A Nightmare on Elm Street, numerous characters recite a nursery rhyme, which plays out to the tune of ‘One, two, buckle my shoe…’. In the movie, the rhyme references Freddy as follows:
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.
Three, four, better lock your door.
Five, six, grab your crucifix.
Seven, eight, gonna stay up late.
Nine, ten, never sleep again.
If you recognised the high school which featured in A Nightmare on Elm Street this is because you have seen it before in one of the most famous musicals of all time – Grease (1978)! The building is the John Marshall High School, which was used for both movies.
Stretching the truth
In one very famous scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy appeared to reach out to Nancy from behind a solid wall. This sequence was achieved by creating a faux wall made out of stretchy Spandex.
Effects specialist Jim Doyle created this sequence. He also played the role of Freddy for this effect.
Another memorable scene in the movie saw Freddy attack Nancy while she was taking a bath. In the scene, Freddy’s hand reached up out of the bathwater, as Nancy relaxed in the tub.
To achieve this effect, the sequence was shot in a swimming pool, with actress Heather Lagenkamp sitting in a bottomless tub. A stunt actor swam underneath the fake tub and lifted his hand up from below.
Joseph Whipp played the role of Sergeant Parker in A Nightmare on Elm Street. ‘90s horror fans might recognise Whipp for the role of Sheriff Burke in Scream (1996) – yet another iconic horror movie directed by Wes Craven.
Actor Charles Fleischer appeared briefly in A Nightmare on Elm Street, in the role of Dr. King. Amongst his many film and television roles, Fleischer is perhaps best known for the voicing Roger Rabbit in the family fantasy film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
Despite the scares, the gores, and the very imaginative set pieces, the death count in A Nightmare on Elm Street was surprisingly low. In total, only five characters received death scenes and they included:
- Tina Gray
- Rod Lane
- Glen Lantz
- Mrs. Thompson
- Freddy Krueger
Shaye and Shaye alike
A Nightmare on Elm Street producer, Bob Shaye, had a small uncredited voiceover role in the movie, popping up as a television news broadcaster. His sister, horror legend, Lin Shaye also appeared in A Nightmare on Elm Street, playing Nancy’s high school teacher.
Credit where credit’s due
And finally, during the end credits, horror directors Sean Cunningham, Sam Raimi and Jack Sholder were given a ‘special thanks’ credit for their involvement on A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Cunningham was involved with some of the second unit work on the movie, while Raimi gave Wes Craven permission for his film, The Evil Dead (1981) to make a brief appearance in the movie.
As for Sholder, he was a friend of Bob Shaye, and did some small editing work on A Nightmare on Elm Street. Sholder would later go on to direct A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985).
Thanks for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about A Nightmare on Elm Street – I hope it hasn’t scared you too much.
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