Characters / A Nightmare on Elm Street

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

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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, and the most often recurring character. Born of a nun who was raped by a group of mental asylum patients, he became a child murderer as an adult, claiming many lives until the parents of Springwood got their revenge on him by burning him alive. He makes a deal with three demons to become a powerful ghost with the ability to manipulate dreams. In death, Freddy turns out to be an even worse nightmare than he ever was in life as he continues to hunt the now-teenage children of the lynch mob that killed him.

  • Achilles' Heel:
    • His powers only work to their full extent in the dream world, and he's noticeably less capable against lucid dreamers that are capable of controlling their own dreamscapes.
    • Being forgotten. He needs to be feared to have power, and if everyone forgets he exists, he's stuck in Hell and can't resurrect.
      • Related to the above, since he needs to be feared to have power, Freddy can be weakened if his target grows a backbone and stands up to him.
    • Holy objects can harm him, but no one ever thinks to use them against him.
  • Appropriated Appellation: He was called the "Springwood Slasher" during his child-killing days.
  • Archnemesis Dad: To his daughter eventually.
  • Ax-Crazy: Killing is like breathing to him.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: In a flashback to his childhood in Freddy's Dead, it's revealed he killed a class pet with a hammer.
  • 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 spectral nightmare killer after his death.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Whenever Freddy's defeated, it's mainly by exceptionally lucid dreamers who can shift the reality and fabric of their dreams just as much as he can. His underestimation of this doesn't help either.
  • Berserk Button: Only he can kill the children of Elm Street, as Jason would find out.
  • 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.
  • Blade Behind The Shoulder: His blade-fingered glove started out this way, when he was still alive and his glove was merely a homemade murder weapon. In dreams, it evolves into more of a built-in weapon, which alternately appears on his hand whole when he sheds a disguise, or sends its blades springing out from his (or a puppet's, or a possessed boy's, etc) fingertips.
  • British Teeth: His teeth are in horrible shape, ranging from just being nasty and brown to having multiple gaps in them.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Whenever he's pulled into the real world, he loses his Reality Warper status and Nigh-Invulnerability, but as shown when it happens in Freddy vs. Jason, he's still Made of Iron and able to put up one hell of a fight.
  • Brought Down to Normal: At the end of Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: Nightmare Warriors. And how so? In the original 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.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: As a hardcore sadist and demonic enforcer, he's quite frank about literally having become "the stuff nightmares are made of" and takes pride in his reign of terror throughout Springwood.
  • 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.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Freddy often seems to take delight in his own pain. He regularly injures himself just to freak his victims out, laughs his ass off while Alice repeatedly punches him in the face in The Dream Master, and in Freddy's Dead, is shown in a flashback cutting himself and laughing while his foster father whips him with a belt, even asking for more before overpowering said foster father and killing him with a razor blade.
    Freddy: You wanna know the secret of pain? If you just stop feeling it, you can start using it.
  • Costume Evolution: In the first film, his sweater's sleeves were solid red. Freddy's Revenge onward gave him striped sleeves to match the torso.
  • Covered in Scars: Or in this case, severe third-degree burns.
  • 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 worked as a janitor while being a serial killer on the side.
  • Deadpan Snarker: One of the first slasher villains to crack jokes.
  • Deal with the Devil: How he got his powers; as revealed in Freddy's Dead, as he was being burned alive, he was approached by three Dream Demons, who search the world for the most evil soul and give them the power to turn dreams into reality. Before his demise, Freddy accepted their offer to "be forever," and the rest is history.
  • Demonic Possession: A power demonstrated in Freddy's Revenge and Freddy vs. Jason.
  • Demon of Human Origin: Although it's never stated exactly what Freddy has become since his death, his Deal with the Devil was brokered with a trio of actual demons and involved turning himself into an undead monster who could invade people's dreams. But then, Our Demons Are Different.
  • Dirty Old Man: Likes to come on to young women, especially the female protagonists. Assuming Freddy vs Jason is set in the same year it was released, that being 2003, and Lori being most likely to have been around 18, Freddy is old enough to be her grandfather as he comes onto her.
  • The Dreaded: While not being afraid of him isn't enough to stop him entirely, he relies on the masses' fear and belief in him to keep his powers strong. Without this, he's significantly weaker.
  • Dream Weaver: This trope is what Freddy Krueger's powers ultimately boil down to, as he can enter dreams at will and alter them to his choosing.
  • Emotion Eater: Freddy lives off the fear of others. In comics, he's encountered people who idolize or worship him, but he ends up getting them killed. He wants people to fear him. Those who actually like him are useless.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: "Drugs. Now there's a real nightmare."
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Freddy has a sick sense of humor, as his idea of fun is to give someone a particularly 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 Is Not a Toy: A significant plot point in Freddy vs. Jason. Trying to control Jason Voorhees was never going to end well.
  • Evil Is Petty: Especially in The Dream Child, where he frequently goes out of his way to torment Alice by flaunting his kills in front of her and generally just harassing her when he can. Of course, this is largely because he genuinely hates Alice, but since he could end up hurting the unborn Jacob, who he aims to turn into a Fetus Terrible, he can't actually do anything to her.
  • 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 Laugh: Because of Freddy's sadistic pleasure out of all of this. His laugh is generally the last thing your hear. In the first he barely even has any lines, he mainly just laughs, but a very disturbing laugh, the type of laugh that haunts your dreams (ironically).
  • Evil Sounds Deep: In the first several films, less so in later sequels.
  • Evil Feels Good: Freddy's loving every moment of this.
  • 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.
  • Fan Hater: invokedAs explored in the tie-in comic New Line Cinema's Tales of Horror #1, Freddy is disgusted by the idea that he has 'fans'. He has no desire to work with others or be worshipped in any way as these people are useless to someone who requires fear or needs to make the kill himself.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Freddy usually addresses his victims in an almost friendly way, and is good at making a sardonic joke every now and then.
  • Fetus Terrible: In The Dream Child, a nightmarish flashback to his birth depicts him as one.
    Nun: Sister, this is one of God's creatures. Take solace in that.
    Amanda: That is no creature of God!
  • Flanderization: Freddy was considerably more serious in the first film, but the sequels, which largely didn't involve Wes Craven, turned him into a comedic goofball.
  • For the Evulz: Freddy kills people simply because he can kill people. The revenge thing is just a bonus. Heck, after he killed off all the children of the parents who killed him originally, he starts looking for any way he can to reach new victims because he just loves killing people that much.
  • Fragile Speedster: When pulled into the real world in Freddy vs. Jason, he's this to Jason's Mighty Glacier. He can easily dodge most of Jason's attacks and gets in lots of good hits, but one punch from Jason sends him flying.
  • 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).
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: As revealed in Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy's power is entirely dependent on how many people know of and fear him; when the people of Springwood eradicated every trace of his existence, he was left powerless.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In Freddy vs. Jason, he brought Jason Voorhees Back from the Dead and set him upon Springwood, knowing that he himself would be blamed for Jason's killings, which would give him enough power to escape Hell and go about haunting Springwood again. The plan works, but Freddy never anticipated that Jason would continue to intrude on his territory and steal his potential victims.
    Freddy: Everyone forgot! That's why they weren't afraid anymore! That's why I needed Jason to kill for me, to get them to remember! But now he just won't stop!
  • 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: Please, 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.
  • Hero Killer: He kills Nancy Thompson at the end of Dream Warriors, and Kristen Parker early in The Dream Master. Both were significant threats to Freddy and responsible for defeating him previously.
  • Holy Burns Evil: As suggested by the tune sung about him and shown in 3, holy items are one of the few things that can actually harm him. Unfortunately, few people actually think to use them against him.
  • 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.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: The song associated with him, sungto the tune to "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe."
    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
  • It Amused Me: Why he does what he does, it amuses him.
  • 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.
  • Immortality: Technically a spirit rather than a physical being, he can't die. Even if killed, it is shown his spirit simply returns to captivity in Hell, or just waits until another victim dreams.
    • As promised by Hell's Dream Demons, his spirit cannot ever truly die.
  • Invisibility: Freddy can turn himself invisible at will. He uses it in The Dream Master to attack Rick.
  • Ironic Fear: Fire. Although he enjoys his living in Hell and enjoys setting fire to various victims, it's often shown that fire is something he's truly afraid of following his physical death, and is one of few things that can truly harm him, even in dreams.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Gods: Despite possessing unlimited power within dreams and more-or-less being a Dream God, he uses his power and pride to mess with his victims and carry out petty murder tasks rather than anything too substantial.
  • 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: The sequels turn him into this, making him a Large Ham who constantly makes wisecracks and spouts one-liners as he kills people.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: While Freddy is an irredeemably evil monster, Robert Englund is a Nice Guy and extremely appreciative of his fans, and many people who have worked with him attest to his friendliness.
  • 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. He was simply a human serial killer when he was alive. After his death he became an undead abomination with near-godlike powers and a bodycount eventually numbering in the hundreds.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: K Names.
  • Never Sleep Again: It's in the rhyme about him. As in never sleep to never dream of him and die.
  • 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.
  • Obviously Evil: His whole appearance just screams "evil". This is actively embraced by Freddy, since he can look any way he wants to in dreams. He loves being a monster.
  • Off on a Technicality: How he walked away from the child murders he committed before he died; depending on whether you go by the films or Freddy's Nightmares, it was either because the judge failed to properly sign the search warrant or because the arresting officer neglected to read him his Miranda rights.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Freddy became increasingly worse over time. He was always a sadist, but at first he pretended that he wanted revenge for his death at the hands of a lynch mob until he just dropped all pretense and continued killing when this goal was already completed. With nothing to stop him, he eventually murders every child in Springwood and drives their distraught parents to utter madness. With the entire town destroyed, he just creates another "Elm Street" in a neighbouring city and reveals that he'll never stop killing until everyone's dead.
  • 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.
  • Playing with Fire: Despite being killed by fire and being deeply afraid of fire, Freddy has been shown to conjure up fire at will.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Not only does he kill, he's also immensely sexist toward women and is strongly implied to be a pedophile as stated above (though only in the remake).
  • 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, he had gotten so powerful that 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. He reaches his peak in Freddy's Revenge, where, upon possessing Jesse, he's able to alter things in the real world; he goes completely nuts at the pool party, boiling the water in the pool, creating a wall of fire around the yard, making himself temporarily intangible before jumping out from under the floorboards, and blowing up the barbecue and most of the electrical appliances that are there.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: His eyes are red in Freddy's Revenge.
  • 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 indefinitely resurrect no matter what anyone does to him.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: His initial motive throughout the first three films, and the early part of the fourth. See Sins of Our Fathers below for more details.
  • Rubber Man: Stretching limbs are one of many of Freddy's powers.
  • Sadist: A key part of his character: he's a murderous psychopath and loves every minute of it.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: His powers are greatly heightened by the fear of his victims. Their fear that he is an unstoppable nightmare monster causes him to be an unstoppable nightmare monster.
  • 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.
  • Self-Mutilation Demonstration: One of Freddy's freakier habits is to show off his invulnerability by wounding himself: cutting off fingers, slashing open his side, peeling off his own scalp, etc. In this case, it's as much to squick out his victims as to demonstrate the futility of trying to hurt him.
  • 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 spectral form (though the novel Protege implied that the demonic visage that he briefly assumes during the "YOU!" scene in Freddy vs. Jason is it).
  • 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.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: His killing sprees throughout the first three films, and the early part of the fourth, is to kill the children of the lynch mob who originally burned him alive. After killing Kristen Parker in The Dream Master, he's only in it For the Evulz from that point onwards.
  • 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.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: He has died quite a few times.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: In Freddy's Revenge, he possesses Jesse by messily transforming his body into his own shape.
  • Troll: He constantly makes bad jokes about his victims, usually with cheesy one-liners.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Several times it's shown that Freddy can't handle a fair fight very well, likely because he's rarely if ever in one and mainly preyed on little children in life. When up against someone who can actually fight him on even footing he normally has to rely on dirty tricks and exploiting their fears in order to win, or relying on his Nigh Invulnerable status to keep him safe. Rick and Alice both use him as a punching bag with martial arts powers and Taryn was able to get the upperhand on him in a knife fight, with Freddy having to cheat to win all three fights. While he was able to face Jason fairly evenly, it's clear Jason is likewise unused to an even fight either.
  • Unperson: After it became known that Freddy grows more powerful based on how much he is feared and by how many people know of him, the town of Springwood tried to erase all knowledge of his existence and his murder spree to spare their children. Those who had any knowledge of Freddy were institutionalized and put on Hypnocil. It worked so well that Freddy brought Jason back to stir things up.
  • Villain Ball: Rather than kill his victims outright, he prefers to draw out their torment for his own amusement, overconfident in their inability to effectively fight back. This has given many of his victims a chance to escape or find the means to defeat him, and Jason stole one of his kills because of this. A notable aversion: because he recognized Nancy as a threat since his defeat in the original movie, in Dream Warriors, he simply stabs her in lieu of his usual elaborate kill sequences.
  • 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 hit a leaping elbow drop. Notably he does this by jumping on his back while Jason is standing, rather than while Jason is lying on the ground, making it more like a Muay Thai strike than a wrestling move.
  • 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 Mind Makes It Real: Any damage he inflicts on his victims in the dream world crosses over to the waking world.
  • 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.
  • Your Worst Nightmare: Boy howdy.

Nancy Thompson

"I'm into survival."

Played by: Heather Langenkamp

The heroine of the original film, who returns for the third film as well. Daughter of Marge and Donald Thompson (divorced), she's best friends with Tina, Glen (her boyfriend), and Rod.

  • 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.
  • Big Good: In the comics.
  • Brutal Honesty: She has no qualms about talking back to her parents or her boyfriend about someone trying to kill her, even throwing in a few curse words for good measure. However, she's more amicable when she's not constantly hounded by Freddy.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: In Dream Warriors, she's fatally stabbed by Freddy, but she manages to get back up and stab Freddy in the gut with his own claws, holding on to him long enough for Neil to finish burying and consecrating Freddy's remains.
  • Final Girl: The first in the series.
  • Hysterical Woman: She's treated as such in the first movie by all the adults, and she herself almost believes it when Freddy doesn't immediately show up to play in what she thought was the real world. Of course, since it's horror movie, she's Properly Paranoid.
  • Skunk Stripe: She gets one in the first movie, after pulling Freddy's hat out of the dream and it stays with her.
  • Team Mom: To the Dream Warriors.
  • Trap Master: In the first movie, before dragging Freddy into the real world, she rigs her entire house with booby traps to slow him down.

Marge Thompson

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

Played by: Ronee Blackley

Nancy's well-meaning, but struggling and occasionally neglectful mother.

  • 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?"

Played by: John Saxon

Nancy's father, who divorced her mother some time before. He's a cop in the Springwood sheriff's department.

  • 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

Nancy's boyfriend in the first film, who lives across the street.

  • Cruel and Unusual Death: He gets sucked into his bed and is ripped apart.
  • Girl Next Door: Or boy rather. He's a plain, sweet and easily flustered mama's boy who feels emasculated in the presence of Tina's obnoxious macho lover.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: When Glen is sucked into his bed by Freddy and killed, gallons of blood (far more than what the human body contains) suddenly spew out from it like a blood fountain.

Jesse Walsh

"Something is trying to get inside my body!"

Played by: Mark Patton

The lead character in the second film, whose body is gradually taken over by Freddy.

  • Ambiguously Bi: While he never shows an overt attraction to other men, the screenplay is by the writer's own admission a pretty thinly-veiled allegory for someone coming to terms with this, and Mark Patton (who is gay in real-life) also said that he played Jesse as someone unsure of his sexuality.
  • Butt-Monkey: Other than Lisa wanting to get into his pants, pretty much nothing goes right for him during the course of the film. His father treats him like crap, his mother and sister don't treat him as badly but are pretty dismissive of his problems, his biology teacher blames him for the fact that a snake escaped from its tank and attacked him, and the less said about his treatment at the hands of Coach Schneider, the better.
  • Distressed Dude: He has to be saved by Lisa.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners / Vitriolic Best Buds: He's both of these with Ron Grady. At least until Freddy takes control of Jesse and kills Ron.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Jesse spends probably more time walking around shirtless than every other male character in the series combined. Not to mention at least two shots of his bare butt.
  • Painful Transformation: Whenever Freddy possesses him, his body is messily transformed into Freddy's own shape. This includes blades growing out of Jesse's fingers, his skin peeling off, and Freddy ripping open and bursting out of his chest. All the while, Jesse is screaming in agony.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Not only does he scream far more than any of the female leads in the series, he even manages to do it in an even higher pitch.
  • Supporting Protagonist: While the second film follows him for the most part, he really doesn't accomplish anything of any real note and by the end he completely transforms into Freddy, leaving Lisa to take over as protagonist.

Lisa Webber

"I love you, Jesse!"

Played by: Kim Myers

Jesse's girlfriend from the second film.

  • Final Girl: Becomes this in the final parts of the second film, after Freddy completely takes over Jesse.
  • Fiery Redhead: She's already shown to have a fairly strong personality early in the film, but she really takes it up a notch in the final scenes when she confronts Freddy and takes him down.
  • The Hero: Jesse may be the second film's protagonist, but Lisa is the one who actually fights Freddy.
  • The Power of Love: How she beats Freddy and frees Jesse.
  • Identical Stranger: About the first thing anyone comments on with regard to Lisa is her (or more specifically, Kim Myers') resemblance to a young Meryl Streep.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Unlike most of the other Final Girls in the series, Lisa has no hang-ups about sex and wears some very revealing clothing, even going within an inch of being topless.
  • Spoiled Sweet: She's dubbed as the local rich girl, but she's shown to be one of the series' nicest characters.

Kristen Parker

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

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

Succeeding Nancy as the main heroine, Alice is one of the teenagers at institutionalized as Westin Hills Asylum for apparent suicide, but is actually one of Freddy's targets.

  • 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.
  • Passing the Torch: To Alice.

Roland Kincaid

"Let's go kick the motherfucker's ass all over Dreamland."

Played by: Ken Sagoes

One of the teenagers institutionalized at Westin Hills, and one of Freddy's targets.

Alice Johnson

"Come on, you fucking coward!"

Played by: Lisa Wilcox

The lead protagonist of the fourth and fifth films, and a high school friend of Kristen.

  • 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.
  • Arch-Enemy: She becomes the most powerful of the Elm Street heroines and one whom Freddy legitimately loathes. She's the only one whom made it difficult for him to come back. Once she killed him in Dream Master he had to find another way to invade dreams as she was too powerful for him to overcome. He spends the majority of Dream Child taunting Alice, but can't actually do anything to her because he could end up harming Jacob in the process.
  • 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.
  • Dream Weaver: She's the titular Dream Master.
  • 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.
  • It's All My Fault: Her reaction when she realizes that Freddy is using her to kill new victims.
  • 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.
  • The Power of Friendship: The power she gains from her friends gives her the strength to face Krueger on her own, but it's also that their power gave her the strength to find her own strength, which is what ultimately stops him and frees his enslaved souls in Dream Master.
  • Shrinking Violet: Originally.
  • Take Up My Sword: From Kristen.
  • Teen Pregnancy: She's pregnant in Dream Child.
  • This Cannot Be!: Her reaction in Dream Child when she witnesses Freddy's return.
    Alice: You can't come back! I locked the door on you!
    Freddy: But I found the key.
  • Took a Level in Badass: When Dream Master began, Alice was rather meek and spent most of her time in daydreams. By the end of the film, she became someone who took Krueger on by herself.
    Alice (as Freddy is harassing Dan): Get away from him you son of a bitch!

"John Doe"

"Freddy won't hurt me. I'm family."

Played by: Shon Greenblatt

The last surviving child of Springwood, who manages to escape from the town, only to be brought back to investigate exactly what has happened there. As time passes, he starts to suspect that he's related to Freddy. Unfortunately for him, he's wrong.

  • Decoy Protagonist: Freddy's Dead treats him as the main character until the survivors try to escape Springwood, after which Freddy kills him, and Maggie takes over as the protagonist.
  • Mysterious Past: We never actually find out his real name or anything of any real significance about his backstory.
  • No Body Left Behind: After Freddy kills him, his body vanishes, and aside from a brief mention by Maggie, he's never seen or mentioned again. Not only that, all evidence indicates that he was erased from history.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Freddy fully planned for him to bring some fresh victims and, most importantly, his daughter to Springwood.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: After doing some research in what remains of Springwood, he concludes that not only did Freddy have a child who no-one knew about, but that he himself is that child. He's right about the first part, but wrong about the second part; Maggie is Freddy's child.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After bringing Freddy's daughter, Maggie/Katherine to Springwood, Freddy no longer has any real need for him, and kills him with a bed of spikes.

Maggie Burroughs (aka Katherine Krueger)

"Freddy's dead!"

Played by: Lisa Zane

A psychologist who appears in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, investigating the appearance of the mysterious "John Doe" and the deaths of every child in Springwood. In reality, she's Freddy's long-lost daughter, and the only person who can finally destroy Freddy.

  • Alliterative Name: Her real name, Katherine Krueger.
  • Dark Secret: One that even she doesn't know about; she's Freddy's daughter, and witnessed him murdering her mother.
  • Final Girl: As with Lisa Webber, she's initially not the film's focus character, but takes over the role in the final act when Freddy kills John Doe.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her mother was killed by Freddy. Something that's all the worse when you consider that her father is Freddy!
  • Straight Man: The sole voice of reason among the generally dysfunctional characters in the sixth film.
  • Unwitting Pawn: She unknowingly helps carry Freddy out of Springwood, leaving him free to attack the entire world.

    Remake continuity 

Freddy Krueger

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

Played by: Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Seitz

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 learned of his crimes, 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 for Nancy, as he has different plans for her.

  • Cold-Blooded Torture: He knows the brain can still function for seven minutes after the heart stops, and gladly takes advantage on it to play with his victims.
  • Darker and Edgier: While he is still inclined to occasional one-liners, his attitude is a lot angrier and more bitter compared to his mainstream counterpart. And what he plans to do to Nancy is way more disturbing.
  • Deadpan Snarker
    Nancy: Fuck you!
    Freddy: Ooh, sounds like fun. It's a little fast for me. How about we hang, first?

Kris Fowles

Played by: Katie Cassidy

  • Decoy Protagonist: Although anyone familiar with the original expected Nancy to take the spotlight sooner or later.