A Nightmare on Elm Street is an American horror franchise that consists of eight slasher films, a television show, novels, and comic books initially developed by Wes Craven, with various other individuals taking over those jobs for each sequel. The franchise is based on the fictional character of Freddy Krueger, introduced in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), who stalks and kills teenagers in their dreams; if Freddy kills the teenager in the dream world then they are ultimately killed in the real world. His motives were to seek revenge on their parents, who had burned him alive years before the events of the first Nightmare film. The original film was written and directed by Craven, who returned to co-script the second sequel, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), and to write and direct New Nightmare (1994).
The original film was released in 1984, and following its success a series of sequels was produced by the independent film company New Line Cinema. New Line often attributes the growth of their company to the success of the Nightmare franchise. The film series as a whole has received mixed reviews by critics, but has been a financial success at the box office. When comparing the United States box office grosses of other American horror film series, A Nightmare on Elm Street is the third highest grossing franchise in adjusted US dollars.
In 1988, a television series was produced with Freddy as the host. The pilot episode focused on the night Freddy was burned alive by the angry parents of the children he had killed, though the rest of the series featured episodes with independent plots. Twelve novels, separate from the adaptations of the films, and multiple comic book series were published featuring Freddy Krueger.
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.
|1. A Nightmare on Elm Street||Wes Craven||Robert Shaye|
|2. Freddy's Revenge||Jack Sholder||David Chaskin|
|3. Dream Warriors||Chuck Russell||Wes Craven, Frank Darabont, Chuck Russell, Bruce Wagner|
|4. The Dream Master||Renny Harlin||Brian Helgeland, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat||Rachel Talalay & Robert Shaye|
|5. The Dream Child||Stephen Hopkins||Leslie Bohem||Robert Shaye|
|6. Freddy's Dead||Rachel Talalay||Michael De Luca||Robert Shaye & Aron Warner|
|7. New Nightmare||Wes Craven||Robert Shaye|
|8. Freddy vs. Jason||Ronny Yu||Damian Shannon & Mark Swift||Sean S. Cunningham|
- A dark grey cell indicates the information isn't available for the film.
- (y) indicates the film was re-released.
|Film||Release date (US)||Budget||Box office revenue||Reference|
|1. A Nightmare on Elm Street||November 9, 1984||$1,800,000||$25,504,513||$25,504,513|
|2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge||November 1, 1985||$3,000,000||$29,999,213||$29,999,213|
|3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors||February 27, 1987||$5,000,000||$44,793,222||$44,793,222|
|4. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master||August 19, 1988||$13,000,000||$49,369,899||$49,369,899|
|5. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child||August 11, 1989||$6,000,000||$22,168,359||$22,168,359|
|6. Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare||September 13, 1991||$5,000,000||$34,872,033||$34,872,033|
|7. Wes Craven's New Nightmare||October 14, 1994||$18,090,181||$18,090,181|
|8. Freddy vs. Jason||August 15, 2003||$25,000,000||$82,622,655||$32,286,175||$114,908,830|
|A Nightmare on Elm Street film series||$58,800,000||$307,420,075||$32,286,175||$339,706,250|
Freddy's Nightmares is a late-night television anthology series, which premiered in October 1988 and ran until March 1990. A spin-off from the Nightmare on Elm Street series, each story was introduced by Freddy Krueger (played, as in the movies, by Robert Englund). This format is essentially the same as that employed by Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Tales from the Crypt, or The Twilight Zone. The pilot episode was directed by Tobe Hooper, and begins with Freddy Krueger's acquittal of the child-murdering charges due to his officer's lack of reviewing the Miranda warning at the time of Freddy's arrest. A mob of parents eventually corners Freddy in a power plant (his workplace), leading to him being torched by the police officer, dying and gaining his familiar visage.
Reviews of the series were generally mixed, and it was cancelled after a relatively short period of time. The series' demise may have been played in part due to complaints concerning the violence in the series, which was featured in many other syndicated shows at the time such as War of the Worlds and Friday the 13th: The Series, both of which, like Freddy's Nightmares, were cancelled in 1990.
The series was produced by New Line Television, producers of the film series. It was originally distributed by Lorimar Television. However, Warner Bros. Television would assume syndication rights after acquiring Lorimar (New Line and Warner Bros. are now part of Time Warner).
Up to four players control characters who jump and punch their way through Elm Street locations as they collect the bones of Freddy Krueger to place them in a furnace and end his reign of terror. Each character can withstand only four hits from opponents before losing a life. With four players two of the characters appear as females.
An on-screen meter slowly diminishes (more quickly when sustaining damage), representing how close a particular character is to falling asleep. Obtaining cups of coffee within the game restores characters' sleep bar. When any character's sleep bar empties, all the players are transported to the dream world, where enemies take on new appearances and are more difficult to defeat. In the dream world, coffee cups are replaced with radios, which return the characters to the normal world and difficulty.
Also in the dream world, icons appear that, once collected, permit transformation into one of three "Dream Warriors". Each warrior has a ranged attack and improved movement: ninja (throwing stars, jump kick), acrobat (javelins, somersault), and magician (fireballs, hovering). These roles are available to all players, but only usable in the dream world. If a character remains asleep too long, the film's theme song plays and a combative encounter with Freddy ensues.
Upon collecting all the bones in a level, the player is automatically put in the dream world and battles Freddy, who takes on a special form similar to those presented in the films. The final level is set at Elm Street High School as players navigate to the boiler room to burn Freddy's bones. Here one final battle with Freddy Krueger occurs.
The game produced by Monarch Software differs greatly from that for the NES. Developed by Westwood Associates, its role-playing elements and overhead viewpoint bear some similarity to Gauntlet. The player chooses to play as either Kincaid, Kristen, Will, Nancy, or Taryn on a quest to save Joey and defeat Freddy.
The player must locate keys to open doors. Weapons and items are scattered about the levels or can be purchased from vending machines. Enemies are varied, from skeletons to wheelchairs. Freddy assumes the role of "boss monster" and transforms into a snake, much like his appearance in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.