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Characters: A Nightmare on Elm Street
This page is a listing of characters from the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series.

    open/close all folders 

    Original continuity 

Fred "Freddy" Krueger

Freddy as a nightmare monster, and when he was human (but still a monster).
Played by:
Main actor: Robert Englund
Minor actors: Leslie Hoffman, Stacey Alden, John Saxon, Michael Bailey Smith, Danny Hassel, Chason Schirmer, Tobe Sexton, Paula Shaw

"When I was alive, I might have been a little naughty, but after they killed me, I became something much, much worse. The stuff nightmares are made of."

The primary villain of the series.

  • Achilles' Heel: His powers only work to their full extent in the dream world.
  • Appropriated Appellation: He was called the "Springwood Slasher" during his child-killing days.
  • Ax-Crazy
  • Bastard Bastard: Freddy isn't called "the bastard son of a 100 maniacs" for nothing. He was conceived when dozens of insane inmates in a mental asylum raped his mother Amanda, a nun who was working there. Freddy was a child murderer in real life, and became a specteral nightmare killer after his death.
  • Big Bad: Naturally. However, he was possibly subservient to the Dream Demons since they are the ones that gave him powers. Though he cuts his ties to them in the comic series Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash and becomes the Big Bad once more.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: He had blond hair when he was human, and portrayed by Englund. His younger selves are portrayed by more red-headed actors.
  • Brought Down to Normal: At the end of Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: Nightmare Warriors. And how so? In the orginal timeline Freddy was let go after someone forget to sign the warrant, and after a Timey-Wimey Ball, an FBI agent signs the warrant, leading to Krueger's arrest and the fact he never became the Nightmare God that he once was.
  • Child by Rape: He was called "the bastard son of 100 maniacs".
  • Combat Pragmatist: Yes, he will kick you in your balls. Yes, he would appear as a dead loved one or parent to kill you.
  • Creepy Child: Young Freddy is shown to have been pretty creepy himself in various flashbacks, and he loves to populate his nightmares with pale, creepy children who represent his former victims.
  • Crusty Caretaker: Pre-death Freddy.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Dream Weaver / Dream Walker: These tropes are what Freddy Krueger's powers ultimately boil down to, as he can enter dreams at will and alter them to his choosing.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Freddy has a sick sense of humor, as his idea of fun is to give someone a particularely painful and creative death. He constantly makes bad jokes about his victims, usually with cheesy one-liners before their deaths or afterwards if he's feeling especially cheery.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Freddy Krueger somehow managed to become an undead dream-dwelling human monster just by being really nasty to kids. Freddy's Dead reveals that he was given his powers upon dying by several nightmare demons.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Justified, because he was burned to death.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: In the first several films, less so in later sequels.
  • Extra Parent Conception: Freddy is called the bastard son of a hundred maniacs, assuming that isn't hyperbole. In Nightmare 5 one of the maniacs is shown to look exactly like pre-death Freddy, hinting that this is in fact his biological father.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He usually addresses his victims in an almost friendly way.
  • Freudian Excuse: In Freddy's Dead, the filmmakers try to explain away his evilness by giving him a horrifically awful childhood. His mother (who was a nun) gave birth to him only after being raped repeatedly by one hundred patients at a mental asylum she worked at. His adopted father was a sleazy pimp who beat him up daily (and who Freddy later murdered with a razor blade). He was bullied by kids at school, and gave signs of being a textbook sociopath by killing the classroom hamster, for which he never was punished for or got help with. Then he shuffled through life as an adult from one low paying job to another, until he decided to express his rage at life by killing kids.
    • Notably, he even tries and uses the Freudian Excuse to his daughter Maggie in Freddy's Dead as a means of explaining he was not evil and he was made into this way. It doesn't work.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In this case, quite literally.
  • Ghostly Goals: Freddy started out avenging his own death, but after he succeeded, he decided to stick around and continue killing (he was, after all, a sadistic serial killer even before he died; even with his revenge complete, he probably saw no real reason to stop killing).
  • A God Am I: Freddy is literally a god when he's inside people's dreams, and his powers while in dreams seems virtually limitless. It's best summed up by this exchange from the first movie:
    Tina: Oh God!
    Freddy: (brandishes claws) This is God!
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Look at him!
  • Healing Factor: One of Freddy's many powers in dreams.
  • Hellfire: Freddy was able to summon this in the second movie when he was outside of the Dream World.
  • Humanity Ensues: When Freddy is dragged into the real world in Freddy's Dead, he becomes human again. He turns back into his standard form pretty quickly though, although he's still human even then.
  • Iconic Outfit: His brown fedora, red and green striped sweater, and knife glove.
  • Identical Grandfather: In Alice's dream of how Amanda Krueger was raped, one of the 100 maniacs looks exactly like pre-death Freddy, and is played by Robert Englund as well. Before Alice is assaulted by the maniacs, a shot briefly lingers on his face, hinting that this is in fact Freddy's biological father. It's also hinted that this is actually Freddy himself in disguise, although why he would take on the guise of his father is unclear.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Many female characters who come across him, such as Tina, Nancy and Lori, become a target of his lust.
  • Invisibility: Freddy can turn himself invisible at will.
  • Jerkass: What really separates Freddy from all the other famous Slasher Movie villains is how much of a plain asshole he is. Most other killers/monsters at least have a token flimsy reason for doing what they do (Michael Myers from Halloween kills because it's in his nature to do so, Jason from Friday the 13th does it because his mother tells him to, etc.), but Freddy openly admits that he just does it because it's fun.
  • Kick the Dog: Cruel And Unusual Deaths aside, Freddy LOVES doing this to all of his victims. For instance, he would give them a false reassuring hug (as in the case of Nancy, Roland or Greta) as he killed them.
  • Large Ham: Averted in the first two films and New Nightmare (though he did make the occasional sick joke here or there), but played straight in the rest of the film series with Freddy's Dead being the one where he is at his most hammy.
  • Laughably Evil: He has his moments.
  • Lean and Mean
  • Looks Like Orlok: Freddy Krueger's appearance is somewhat based off of this. In fact, Robert Englund even once stated that he based some of Freddy's movements on Orlok's.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming
  • Manipulative Bastard: He sets off the event's of Freddy vs. Jason by posing as the mother of Friday the 13th villain Jason Voorhees in order to trick Jason into resurrecting from the dead once again and heading for Freddy's hometown of Springwood, Ohio. Freddy banks on Jason's inevitable killing spree being blamed on Freddy by the town residents (if no one remembers Freddy, he can't harm anyone), and he is proven correct.
  • Man on Fire: This is how Freddy Krueger died at the hands of the parents of Springwood. In the original film, Nancy sets Freddy on fire when she pulls him out of her dream and lures him to the basement.
  • Mind over Matter: Freddy can easily move objects with his mind in the dream world. He even plays an ad-hoc game of pinball with Jason's body in Freddy Vs. Jason.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Is it ever.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: K Names.
  • Never Sleep Again
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: A running joke in the series is that Freddy's powers are pretty much limitless, as far as changing from film to film. It does make sense however. Since Freddy has effectively become the king of nightmares, his powers in the dreamscape would be virtually unlimited. On the rare occasions he manifests in the "real" world, he generally gets his ass kicked (most notably, at the end of the first film).
  • Nice Hat: Freddy's fedora, of course.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Justified, because he's dead (no body to feel pain with). Even when he's pulled into the real world, he laughs off getting impaled through the stomach and getting the crap beaten out of him by Jason Voorhees.
  • Nightmare Dreams: Freddy's modus operandi.
  • Obligatory Joke: In the later movies, he always makes some kind of (usually groan inducing) ironic joke about someone's situation either just before or after he murders them.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Freddy is technically a sort of "astral lich". He would definitely qualify as a powerful sorcerer, and his appearance just screams "undead". Also, killing him tends to involve some rather unusual methods, most often dragging him onto our plane, and, even then, nobody has ever managed to kill him permanently. An easier parallel is that Freddy is some sort of ghost or a demon (he is in service to nightmare demons after all).
  • Pædo Hunt: In the original film and Freddy vs. Jason, it's strongly implied but not stated outright that Freddy is a pedophile in addition to being a child killer. Wes Craven originally wanted to make him one, but in the end decided not to in order not to be accused of exploiting then recent news headlines about pedophiles at day cares, et al.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Not only does he kill, he's also a huge misogynist and is strongly implied to be a pedophile as stated above.
  • Pop Cultured Monster
  • Pungeon Master: This is basically Freddy's trademark.
  • Psycho for Hire: Freddy is implied to be this to the Dream Demons who gave him his power.
  • Reality Warper: He was able to partly manipulate the outside world, like re-animating his bones. However, by Freddy's Dead, his power had gotten so powerful, he was able to erase Springwood parents memories and make other adults into mindless people who go about their daily lives if there were kids there. In Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, he came across the Necronomicon ex Mortis and used its spells to become even more powerful in the real world.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Freddy Krueger is killed several times by the heroes, but he returns each time. As Freddy himself put it in the fourth film — "I. AM. ETERNAL!" In the sixth film he says "In dreams. I. Am. FOREVER!" The dream demons who are the source of his powers promised him that he would indefinately resurrect no matter what anyone does to him.
  • Rubber Man: Stretching limbs are one of many of Freddy's powers.
  • Self-Made Orphan: He killed his foster father when he was young. Fate of his foster mother is unknown.
    • His murders also caused his own mom to kill herself, if this was Freddy's plan however, is unknown.
  • Serial Killer: He was one both in life (as the Springwood Slasher) and the afterlife.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: He's an accomplished shapeshifter in the dream world, regularly appearing as other people, mechanical devices, and a host of other forms. While he can look however he wants, as a nightmare ghost he prefers to appear as his post-death burnt self, probably to scare his victims. His true form in the real world are his skeletal remains, but it remains to be seen if he even has a true specteral form.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: Eerily Freddy uses this tactic on Joey in Dream Warriors by disguising himself as a hot nurse, showing that he's an equal opportunity deviant.
  • Sinister Scraping Sound: Freddy with his claw on most anything.
  • The Sociopath: For sure, to Freddy, humans are just his playthings.
  • Super Mode: "Super Freddy" from The Dream Child, which he conjures up to mock the comic book fan Mark.
  • Type Casting: The first Nightmare On Elm Street forever branded Robert Englund as a go to guy for horror movie roles. Previously, he was best known for portraying a lovable alien called Willie on the 1983 TV miniseries V.
  • Villainous Valour: During Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy puts up a good fight against the superstrong Jason Voorhees even when he's technically just a weak, disfigured, physical ghost thing when not in the Dream World.
  • Voice Changeling: One of Freddy's many powers, as he demonstrates at one point in Freddy's Dead.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: Via his dream powers. One of the things he enjoys doing most to torment his victims is pretending to be someone close to them so he can scar them emotionally before going in for the kill.
  • Was Once a Man: Once a human serial killer, he turned into something resembling a nightmare ghost/demon after his death.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: During his fight against Jason, he manages to hits a leaping elbow drop.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Though all the people we see him kill are teenagers or adults. He's explicitly had victims that were much younger, however.
  • Wolverine Claws: Freddy's primary weapon is a glove with blades attached to each finger.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: His victims have their souls absorbed into his body, to remain there permanently. Freddy then siphons off their souls' power to become even more powerful himself. A few films end with them being freed. One notable example had this happen followed by them tearing him apart from the inside out.

Nancy Thompson

"I'm into survival."

Played by: Heather Langenkamp

  • Action Girl: By the end of the first film, she's ready to kick Freddy's ass in the real world. And she hadn't lost that step in Dream Warriors.
  • Badass Normal: In the first movie, Nancy manages to hold onto Freddy and drag him into the real world, from then which she leads him through her booby trapped laden house and has him set on fire (Freddy hates fire since he was burned to death). She manages to somehow survive the first movie's Cruel Twist Gainax Ending. When she appeared in third movie (Dream Warriors), she led some of Freddy's other victims into facing him head on but she sadly died in that one.
  • Final Girl
  • Skunk Stripe: She gets one in the first movie, after pulling Freddy's hat out of the dream and it stays with her.
  • Sacrificial Lion
  • Team Mom: To the Dream Warriors.
  • Trap Master

Marge Thompson

"[to Nancy] There's something wrong with you — you're imagining things."

  • The Alcoholic: Starts off slow when Krueger's murders starts to happen in the first film, but gets progressively drunk as the film goes on.

Former Lt. Donald Thompson

"[To Glen] There's an unsolved murder and I hate unsolved murders, especially ones that my daughter is mixed up in, what are *you* doing here?"

  • The Alcoholic: Only after Marge's death, however. He does get sober enough to fight against Freddy's Dem Bones form.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Pretty much doesn't believe Nancy before it was too late.

Glen Lantz

"Oh, man. Midnight. Baseball bats and boogeymen. Beautiful."

Played by: Johnny Depp

Kristen Parker

"The man in my dreams... he's real, isn't he?"

Played by: Patricia Arquette (Dream Warriors), Tuesday Knight (Dream Master)

  • Action Girl
  • Cursed with Awesome: A subversion. Kristen has the power to pull people into her dreams, but she subconsciously blocked the power for years after her parents got divorced. Years later, she isn't sure if she still has it until she accidentally pulls Nancy into her dreams in Dream Warriors. Unfortunately, Freddy turns her ability into Blessed with Suck when he uses her to pull Alice into her dream. After he kills Kristen, the power gets sent to Alice, so Freddy uses her as his new conduit so he can go after the other teenagers of Springwood.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Dream Master opens where Dream Warriors left off, making it look like Kristen, Joey, and Kincaid will have to go up against Freddy again. He kills Joey and Kincaid in the same night, and once he has Kristen cornered, forces her to drag Alice into her dream. In doing so, Kristen transfers her dream power to Alice, but not before passing through Freddy, ensuring that she's his new power source.
  • Man on Fire: A subversion. Krueger threw Kristen into a boiler and she became engulfed in flames. In the real world it looked as if Kristen fell asleep with a lit cigarette and accidentally set her bed on fire.
  • The Other Darrin: Patricia Arquette was replaced by Tuesday Knight in the fourth movie.
  • Passing the Torch: To Alice.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome

Alice Johnson

"Rest in hell."

Played by: Lisa Wilcox

  • Abusive Parents: Alice and her brother Rick had to deal with emotional abuse from their alcoholic father for years. Following Rick's death their dad started going to Alcoholics Anonymous and by Dream Child has become a more loving and attentive father.
  • Action Girl: Gradually became this by the end of Dream Master.
    • Action Survivor: Alice is the only protagonist to survive two films straight.
  • Blessed with Suck: With Kristen's dream power, Krueger used Alice to pull people into her dreams so he could murder them.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Alice is compared to MacGyver with how handy she can be, same as Nancy.
  • Fiery Redhead: Was this by the end of Dream Master. In Dream Child Alice became blonde, but her personality stayed the same.
  • Final Girl: And the only one to survive two movies in a row.
  • Mama Bear: The whole point of Dream Child was that she wouldn't let Krueger get away with warping her unborn child.
  • Personality Powers: An inversion. As Krueger killed off her friends, Alice began inheriting their dream powers and pieces of their personalities.
  • Shrinking Violet: Originally.
  • Take Up My Sword: From Kristen.
  • Teen Pregnancy
  • Took a Level in Badass

    New Nightmare continuity 

The Entity / "Freddy Krueger"

"Miss me?"

Played by: Robert Englund

  • Badass Longcoat: Freddy is wearing one.
  • Big Bad: The Freddy Krueger in this film is one even moreso than the Freddy Krueger in the mainstream continuity. It is an ancient entity of evil, which according to Wes Craven has existed in various forms throughout history. It is therefore behind many other monsters, and has spread more misery and destruction than Freddy ever did, who's mostly confined to Elm Street.
  • Child Eater: Freddy tries to eat Heather's son Dylan alive before she stops him.
  • Hellbent For Leather: "Freddy" wears a pair of leather pants.
  • Jack the Ripoff: The entity masquerading as Freddy.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Even more so after the 6th part in which he was a monster with a sick sense of humour. Here, he is more vicious and isn't nearly as comedic.
  • Murder by Cremation: How The Entity is beaten.
  • Overly-Long Tongue: "Freddy" attacks Heather with it.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Freddy Krueger himself, but he's not really "Freddy" so much as Evil Itself taking on the form of Freddy, and there needs to be a script made in order to contain it.
  • This Was His True Form: When the entity is seemingly destroyed at the end, it goes from looking like Freddy to a stereotypical demon.

Heather Langenkamp

"That was Nancy, Wes. It's not me."

Played by: Heather Langenkamp

  • Final Girl
  • Badass Normal: In the New Nightmare continuity (where she's actually Heather Lagenkamp, an actress who is famous for playing Nancy Thompson), she actually manages to flat out beat the entity that is taking on the form of Freddy Krueger after the movies stopped being produced.
  • Skunk Stripe: Heather gets one due to the overwhelming stress of Freddy crossing over into the real world, forcing her to become Nancy once more.
  • Mama Bear: In the New Nightmare continuity.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Heather vomits when she sees that claw marks on Chase's body.

Robert Englund

"Just because it's a love story doesn't mean it can't have a decapitation or two."

Played by: Robert Englund

Wes Craven

"Are you ready to become Nancy once again?"

Played by: Wes Craven

  • Creator Cameo: As himself, no less.
  • Mr. Exposition: He serves to explain the entire plot to Heather Langenkamp (and by extension the audience). He tells her about the Entity that has taken on the form of Freddy Krueger, that it has been released due to the end of the movie series and is trying to cross over into reality, and that Heather is the only one who can stop him.
  • Prophetic Dreams: Wes Craven bases the new Elm Street script on these.

    Remake continuity 

Freddy Krueger

"Why are you screaming? I haven't even cut you yet."

This version of Freddy was a gardener at Badham Pre-School, who was loved by all the kids there. He was also a child molester who used his position to have his way with the children. After the parents found out, they chased him into an industrial park where they trapped him inside a building and burned him alive. Years later he returns to kill all those who attended the pre-school except Nancy, as he has different plans for her.

Played by: Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Seitz

Kris Fowles

Played by: Katie Cassidy

The Naked GunCharacterSheets/Live-Action FilmsNo Country for Old Men

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