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Franchise / A Nightmare on Elm Street

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No rest for the wicked... or the innocent.

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.
The song of the series

The Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise centers around Slasher Movie icon Freddy Krueger (played by Robert Englund in every film except the 2010 reboot) and his exploits in killing the teenagers of Springwood in their dreams. The franchise features these films:

Installment overview:

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) — Directed and written by Wes Craven. In the original film, Heather Langenkamp plays Nancy Thompson, an average teenage girl who has nightmares for several successive nights. Her friends (including Johnny Depp in his first acting role ever) end up murdered, one by one, in their sleep — by the same man Nancy sees in her nightmares: a badly-burnt man who wears a red-and-green striped sweater, wields a knife-fingered glove, and calls himself Freddy Krueger. Nancy confronts her mother, who tells her that Krueger, a child murderernote  known as "The Springwood Slasher", died as the result of a vigilante murder by the parents of his victims after a botched police investigation let Freddy go free. Freddy wants revenge against his killers, so he decides to kill the children of those parents in their dreams, where their parents can't protect them. Can Nancy stop Freddy once and for all? Well...since several sequels followed this one, one can only assume...
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) — Five years after the original film, Freddy — who wants to kill outside of the Dream World — plans to break into reality; to circumvent the Brought Down to Normal effect, he plans to possess Jesse Walsh, the teenage son of the latest family to move into 1428 Elm Street. Franchise fans consider this either the best or the worst of the series, due in part to the film's increased emphasis on Darker and Edgier, Body Horror and the excessive Homoerotic Subtext. Because none of the following sequels make reference to the events of this movie, it would take several years before fans received confirmation that this movie is part of the official franchise canon.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) — Wes Craven returns to the franchise (though only as writer) in this film, set a year after the last. Freddy begins to kill off kids in their dreams again, with all the unusual deaths — which occur primarily on Elm Street — deemed suicides by the stumped authorities. The number of Elm Street teenagers eventually dwindles down to a small handful that the authorities whisk off to Westin Hills Sanitarium, where Nancy Thompson — now a recently graduated psychologist — works. Together with the skeptical Doctor Neil Gordon, Nancy sets out to help Elm Street's last teenagers, dubbed the "Dream Warriors" for their ability to manifest special powers during their dreams, defeat Freddy once and for all. Fans usually regard this film as good, as this film started the trend of creative (and ironic) deaths and introduced Freddy's now-trademark dark sense of humor (including his penchant for Bond One Liners).
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) — After appearing to kill Freddy off for good, the survivors of the last film return to their normal lives, but soon enough, the nightmares — and Freddy — return. Freddy manages to kill off the last Elm Street teenagers (and avenge his death), then sets his sights on the rest of Springwood's children. Only one person who stands between Freddy and hundreds of new potential victims: Alice Johnson, a shy girl given special dream powers by Kristen Parker (the last Elm Street teenager) just before Freddy kills her. Flashier and more "MTV-esque" than the preceding films, The Dream Master took what Dream Warriors introduced and rolled with it; some fans think it rolled a bit too far, as this film marks the point where Freddy became the wisecracking, death-dealing jester fans most often remember him as.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)— After his defeat in the previous film, Freddy finds a way to return to life: through the dreams of Alice's unborn baby son, Jacob. The dream demon intends to mold Jacob into the perfect little host body (or murder machine; the film leaves Freddy's exact plans for Jacob vague), and to do so, he kills off Alice's friends and feeds their souls to the developing bundle of joy. This film tried to combine the darkness of the early films with Freddy's new wisecracker persona, with mixed results in the opinion of the fans.
  • Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) — A Series Fauxnale vaguely set "ten years from now" (which is supposed to be 2001) and originally was released in 3D, with the last act being the only 3D filmed part. The Final Nightmare has Freddy, who has now killed off damn near every non-adult in Springwood, concoct a complicated scheme to escape Springwood's borders and begin his reign of terror elsewhere. Since Freddy can only hitch a ride in the psyche of his own flesh and blood, Freddy lures his long-lost daughter to Springwood as part of the plan to escape the dying town. The Final Nightmare explores Freddy's own dark background while ratcheting the campiness of the last two entries up to eleven. Most of the fans usually regard this entry as mediocre due to the farcical treatment of Freddy's Grand Finale.
  • Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) — As you can tell, Wes Craven returned to the franchise — this time, as writer and director for this meta picture. New Nightmare sets itself in our reality, where we think of Freddy as nothing more than a fictional horror film icon. After Craven starts to develop ideas for a new installment in the terminated franchise, an ancient evil — imprisoned in the film series since the first and released by Freddy's death in the sixth — decides it doesn't like the idea of getting trapped again; once it sets out to stop the production, it begins to target Heather Langenkamp (who the entity views as "Nancy", the only one who can stop it) and her young son. The arguable precursor to Scream (1996) (also written and directed by Craven), New Nightmare received a degree of praise for its study of the nature of reality.
  • Freddy vs. Jason (2003) — Stuck in Development Hell for years, the crossover between Freddy and fellow horror legend Jason Voorhees finally reached the silver screen in 2003. Trapped in Hell since his last defeat (The Final Nightmare) and unable to return due to Springwood's censorship of his name and exploits, Freddy uses what little remains of his power to assume the guise of Pamela Voorhees and resurrect her son, Jason. Freddy sends Jason to Springwood to kill the "naughty children" there, and as the bodies pile up, panic spreads among Springwood's populace and fuels Freddy, who soon gains enough strength to start his reign of terror all over. When Jason refuses to stop killing, however, Freddy gets rather upset...
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (the 2010 reboot) — Jackie Earle Haley and Rooney Mara star as Freddy and Nancy in this remake of the original film. It generally follows the story of the first film, though not without some alterations (including an attempt to make Freddy look like an innocent victim of a town of overzealous parents, mostly to illustrate just how monstrous he is).

Additional merchandise:

Comic Books

  • Freddy Krueger's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1989) — Black and white comic book released by Marvel. Contains the storyline Dreamstalker, thats only loosely connected to movie series. Cancelled after two issues.
  • Nightmares on Elm Street (1991) — Six issue series by Innovation Publishing. Continues the story of Dream Warriors and Dream Child.
  • Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) — An adaptation of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. Third issue was published also in 3-D format.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Beginning (1992) — Unfinished sequel of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. Only two issues published.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Special (2005) — Published by Avatar Press, set in the same timeline as Freddy vs. Jason.
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Paranoid (2005) — Three issues continuation of Special.
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Fearbook (2005) — Stand-alone issue continuation of Paranoid.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (2006) — Eight issues series released by Wild Storm. Contains the storylines Freddy's War, Demon of Sleep and Double Shift.
  • New Line Cinema's Tales Of Horror (2007) — Features two stories, The Texas Chainsaw Salesman and Copycat about a serial killer who is trying to pose as Freddy Krueger.
  • Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash (2008) — Six issues series that serves as a sequel to Freddy vs. Jason and crossover with Evil Dead.
    • Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors (2009) — Six issues sequel to Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash



  • The Nightmares on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger's Seven Sweetest Dreams (1991)
  • Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror
    • Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror: Blind Date (1995)
    • Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror: Fatal Games (1995)
    • Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror: Virtual Terror (1995)
    • Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror: Twice Burned (1995)
    • Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror: Help Wanted (1995)
    • Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror: Deadly Disguise (1995)
  • Black Flame
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Suffer the Children (2005)
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dreamspawn (2005)
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Protege (2005)
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Perchance to Dream (2006)
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Dealers (2006)

Live-Action Television


  • Freddy: A Nightmare on Elm Street — A pinball machine made by Gottlieb in 1994. The player must duel Freddy and survive each night for a week, culminating in finishing Freddy once and for all. Meanwhile, the player can find souls of people Freddy has killed and liberate them from him by collecting them.

Tabletop Games

  • A Nightmare On Elm Street: The Game (1987)
  • A Nightmare On Elm Street: The Freddy Game (1989)
  • Freddy vs. Jason Forest of Fear Game (2010)

Video Games

A Nightmare On Elm Street is the Trope Namer for:

The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise in general contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Hospital: A large portion of Westin Hills, until it gets renovated sometime before Freddy vs. Jason.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Especially in dreamscapes, Freddy's blades are as sharp as he wants them to be, cutting flesh and bone with impossible ease. In Freddy's Revenge, he slices straight through both a teenager's torso and the door that was behind him.
  • Achilles' Heel: Freddy is an all-powerful Reality Warper... but only in dreams. In the real world, he is as vulnerable to damage as any normal person, although he's still pretty resilient. The protagonists in the series use this to their advantage several times. In the original movie, Freddy uses it right back at Nancy, since her return to the real world where she can defeat him turns out to still be a dream.
  • Action Girl: Most of the Final Girls become one.
  • Adults Are Useless: You'd think that by the fourth film, the adults and parents of Springwood would realize that something was amiss about all these deaths but instead remain oblivious at best, or downright hostile jerks at worst. Ronee Blakely, the actress who played Nancy's mother, has said they "verge on being villains". It's not until Freddy vs. Jason that they finally accept that Freddy is not just an urban legend. And even still, it took Freddy killing every child and teenager in town before they finally stopped carrying the Idiot Ball, even if it did result in leaving Springwood in an almost totalitarian state.
  • And I Must Scream: Freddy's victims are left in this state after he absorbs their souls.
  • Asshole Victim: Coach Schneider in Freddy's Revenge, who's implied to be a rapist. And this trope is rare in the Nightmare movies, except Freddy vs. Jason, which is part Friday the 13th, which is the exact opposite and follows this trope all the time. Even Freddy's foster father, Mr. Underwood, counts.
  • 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.
  • Bedlam House: Westin Hills, originally.
  • Big Bad: Freddy Krueger.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Freddy Krueger's 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. In Wes Craven's New Nightmare, a scene is filmed in which Freddy amputates his hand and replaces it with a razor-tipped robotic version, but this element doesn't seem to have carried over into the character's subsequent appearances. See also Wolverine Claws.
  • The Board Game: One of the many, many pieces of merchandise these movies gave birth to.
  • Broad Strokes: Freddy's Revenge and how it relates to the rest of the series. Its events are seemingly ignored in productions that followed - but elements introduced in that, such as Freddy retaining possession as a power and the Springwood Slasher nickname, appeared in the rest of the franchise, and Dream Warriors even follows the timeline set by it (Freddy's Revenge is five years after the original, Dream Warriors is six). Scenes from it are also used in the montages featured in Freddy's Dead and Freddy vs. Jason.
  • Body Horror: Very common in the series, both to Freddy himself (often for his own amusement) and his victims.
  • Bond One-Liner: Freddy Krueger, master of the bon mot.
  • Burn the Undead: Post-death Freddy Krueger has been set on fire as a way to dispose of him more than once. Whether he stays dead is another matter, but it's definitely karmic given that this is the way he died in the first place.
  • Caffeine Failure: One of the later movies had a character actually eating coffee grinds in an attempt to stay awake and avoid Freddy. It did not work, at all. Many characters through the franchise use a variety of stimulants to try and stay awake; they all fail eventually. Truth in Television and key to Freddy's unique brand of horror: the human body can only be pushed so far before it must sleep, no matter what chemicals are dumped into it.
  • Character Development: In the cases of Freddy, Nancy, Kristen, Alice, and Alice's father.
  • Child by Rape: Freddy himself.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Inverted: the people of Springwood keep Freddy at bay by not thinking or speaking of him...well, at least not until Freddy VS Jason, anyway...
  • Clothes Make the Legend: The red and green striped sweater, the fedora, and the knife-glove that make up Freddy's trademark attire (indeed, when Freddy wants to mess with a victim's mind, he'll usually appear as a seemingly innocent person who's nonetheless wearing his trademark colors). The knife-glove was an invention of Freddy's during his time as the Springwood Slasher.
  • Color Contrast: Freddy Krueger wears a red and green striped sweater as part of his signature outfit. Word Of God explained that this particular color combination was chosen because Craven read in an article that it's the one that the human eye has the most difficulty processing, thus adding to Freddy's unsettling appearance.
  • 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.
  • Creepy Children Singing: The girls singing the "One, two, Freddy's coming for you" song while skipping rope.
  • Crossover:
  • Crusty Caretaker: Pre-death Freddy.
  • Dark World: Freddy's dream worlds often take the form of abandoned, decaying versions of everyday life.
  • Dead Unicorn Trope: In pop culture, Freddy is often referred to as "The guy with the long fingernails", despite the first film clearly pointing out that they're not fingernails, they're knives attached to a glove. Very rarely do other media notice that he only has them on one hand either. Freddy's Revenge, Dream Warriors, and New Nightmare don't help shoot down the misconception, since all three have scenes featuring Freddy sprouting blades directly from his fingers.
  • Death by Irony: A specialty of Freddy's.
  • Demon of Human Origin: Freddy Krueger's backstory involves being burnt by a lynch mob and, after dying, striking a deal with three dream demons to return as an undead nightmare-controlling monster, apparently so he could eventually kill the whole world.
  • Diminishing Villain Threat: Freddy got less and less scary/menacing in the sequels, resorting to outright gimmicky and comical methods of doing in his victims in the later movies. (New Nightmare and Freddy vs. Jason are generally regarded as exceptions.)
  • Distressed Dude: The Final Girl's boyfriend tends to be this.
  • Dream Intro: A regular occurrence. EVERY one of the films starts with the main character having a nightmare about Freddy before waking up in a Catapult Nightmare right when he's about to kill them (because otherwise, it would obviously be a pretty short movie). The only mild exception is in the third one, and that's just because the protagonist is awake for a few minutes before falling asleep. And in Freddy vs. Jason it's because the movie opens with Freddy himself recapping his origins.
  • Dream Land: This is particularly seen in the later films, where the children discover they can use hypnosis to enter the dream world together and give themselves superpowers.
  • 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.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Freddy loves screwing with people this way.
  • Driven to Suicide: Freddy's mother, after hearing about her son's release.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Freddy Krueger is constantly making bad jokes. A lot of the time, it keeps Freddy from being too scary, but other times, it just makes him even more terrifying. When Freddy Krueger turns you into a roach and makes a bad bug-related pun, what are you going to do about it? Tell him he's not funny?
    • In the reboot, his bad puns are always related to terrifying yet mundane topics and things.
  • 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: Freddy Krueger. It's partially justified since he was burned to death, but the deal with the dream demons probably contributed to his ugly, disfigured look too.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: In the first several films, Freddy spoke with a very deep, sinister voice (in the first film for instance, he sounds almost demonic). It became less deep in later films as Freddy became more comedic in general.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: Helped by the fact that Robert Englund had a raspy voice to begin with.
  • Expanded Universe: Various novelizations and original novels, comics, a television series, a short stories collection, and two video games.
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Drug: Hypnocil, the dream suppressant used in Dream Warriors and Freddy Vs Jason. The latter film suggests that prolonged use can put people into a coma, but Nancy took it for years between films 1 and 3 without evident side effects.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Freddy. He's good at making a sardonic joke every now and then, but he's scary, at least partially because of it. This is more apparent in the sequels in the first film, he doesn't talk much.
  • Flanderization: Freddy himself. Part of the appeal of the character for the first couple of films was that unlike a lot of slasher film killers, Freddy talked and would make the occasional wisecrack to his victims as he kills them. Sadly, as the sequels progressed, the writers would make Freddy a literal wisecracking machine, with lame puns and other jokey dialogue. At the sixth film, he was completely comical and only his killing characters and his scary-ass look kept him from being dismissible as a joke. New Nightmare and Freddy vs. Jason reversed this decline, though Freddy vs. Jason still features callbacks to past one-liners, such as referring to an African American girl he kills as "Dark Meat" and playing pinball with Jason. According to interviews before its release, Freddy Vs Jason's portrayal was intended as a sort of Adaptation Distillation. Using the wise-cracking nature of the later movies, but taking it to levels that they summed up as "A sick dog".
  • For the Evulz: Freddy doesn't have any motive for killing people beyond the fact that he finds it entertaining. However, the sixth film suggests that his abusive foster father, along with several mean orphans, and the fact that his own mother abandoned him at birth, had a hand in making him such a sadist, although his Child by Rape (of a nun, by 100 different psychopaths) origin implies that at least some of it was Villainous Lineage even beforehand. The remake tries to change this and make his character slightly more of a monster than his original incarnation, adding to the fact is Freddy isn't given a big backstory in the remake.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Unlike subsequent films, the gloves for the first two movies were almost carbon copies in terms of design. In posters for the second film, it's obvious that the blade on the index finger is broken near the "fingertip" and soldered back together, but if you pause the first film at just the right spots, such as the reveal of the finished glove in the building sequence or the bathtub scene, you can see that this was actually a feature of the first film's glove that carried over to the second film.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Freddy Kreuger, though still a depraved murderer, was originally a perfectly human person, with no extra-normal abilities. Post-death, he became a borderline Reality Warper.
  • Ghastly Ghost: One of the more famous examples of this trope is the franchise's main antagonist, Freddy Krueger, a burnt-skinned ghost who invades people's dreams to kill them in their sleep in a terrifying fashion. He was a Serial Killer of children in life, and continues to spread fear and death as a spirit.
  • 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 has traits of this, especially in the dream world when he is a literal nightmare god.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Freddy draws power from the fear of his victims. The more they fear him, the stronger he gets. Conversely, the less they fear him, the less he's capable of affecting them.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • The dream demons, who gave Freddy his powers. They do make an appearance by way of flashback in Freddy's Dead, but they are never directly involved in the plot.
    • Freddy himself fills this role in most of the television series.
  • Happy Ending Override: As a Villain-Based Franchise, it's a given that Freddy will return to menace the heroes again in a new entry, which makes the protagonist's efforts in previous entries largely worthless. However, the meanest example is without a doubt the Series Fauxnale Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, which is set after a ten-year Time Skip after Alice's last encounter with him. By now Freddy has literally slaughtered every living child in Springwood and turned it into a Ghost Town populated only be a few residents who have been driven to insanity by their grief, while planning to use the last surviving teenager to spread his influence to the rest of the world.
  • Healing Factor: One of Freddy's many powers in dreams.
  • Holy Burns Evil: The jump rope song about Freddy Krueger implies Freddy can be affected by crucifixes ("Five, six, grab your crucifix"), but no one actively tries to use them to repel him, though they do seem to make him nervous. In one movie, holy water and a crucifix were used to kill him off at the end, however. Justified as his power comes from a trio of Dream Demons, and considering he feeds off of fear, having faith he can't hurt you if you have one would probably protect you from him.
  • Hope Spot: Freddy loves these. The one at the end of the original film is probably the most well-known. He lets Nancy believe that she actually defeated him and that her mother and friends are still alive, and two minutes later he reveals it was just a cruel illusion.
  • Hurricane of Puns: In the latter films, Freddy often made cheesy puns before killing his victims.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The quoted nursery rhyme, a jump-rope song for the children of Elm Street that often puts in a creepy appearance in the dream world as the prelude to Freddy's arrival.
  • Jerkass: The majority of the parents throughout the movies are apathetic or just downright abusive towards their children, which is ironic because the reason Freddy was killed in the first place was because the parents were trying to protect their kids from him. Their abusive tendencies vary, from Marge Thompson and Dennis Johnson's alcoholism, Elaine Paker's neglect, Racine Gibson being a domineering Stage Mom, to the most extreme example being Tracy's sexually abusive father whom she is implied to have killed in self-defense. Even Freddy himself dealt with jerkasses before his conversion into a serial killer. Examples include other orphans, and the alcoholic Mr. Underwood.
  • Lecherous Licking: There's a scene in Suffer the Children that's quite...disturbing.
    Freddy Krueger: "Come to Daddy, Peter... *starts licking Peter's face and rubbing it with his bleeding stump of a hand*
  • 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.
  • Make Them Rot: Freddy does this to the main characters in the first story of The Nightmares on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger's Seven Sweetest Dreams.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Freddy loves to distract and torture other people by appearing as their loved ones. Especially in Freddy Vs. Jason, where he enters the dormant Jason's dreams and takes the form of Pamela Voorhees to revive Jason and get him to go wreak havoc in Springwood, all in an attempt to regain the power to kill again.
  • Motive Decay: Subverted; after slaughtering the children of the parents of Springwood responsible for killing him, the film franchise changes Freddy's motives to collecting souls to increase his powers, occasionally trying to find a way to transfer his powers into the real world, and sometimes just killing for the sake of killing. By Freddy's Dead, he becomes an Omnicidal Maniac, intending to kill the children in every town in the world he can spread to. This actually makes sense, as he was a psychopath in life who delighted in killing children in the first place. It's a perfectly valid take that his Revenge motive was always nothing more than an excuse.
  • 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).
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Freddy Krueger is a combination of Fighting a Shadow and in some movies The Proxy. He can be pulled out of the dream world, and then either made to disappear, or with opening an old-fashioned can of whoopass. Freddy's Dead states that every time he is killed, he will be resurrected by the dream demons who gave him his powers in the first place.
  • Nightmare Dreams: Freddy's modus operandi.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Chalk-drawings of Freddy by dead children appear twice in the series (The Dream Master and Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare).
  • Non Sequitur Environment: The Dream Worlds often don't make logical sense, easily segueing from one unconnected environment into another. A beach could be sitting on top of an Old, Dark House, a police station transitions into a graveyard, or a shed could open into Freddy's hellish lair.
  • Off on a Technicality: The police failed to get the search warrant for Freddy's home properly signed off, which prompted the parents of Springwood to kill Freddy on their own; this mistake was famous enough to be critiqued in the column "The Law Is An Ass". Averted in the remake, where the parents skipped the authorities and immediately went after him.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Freddy Krueger started out as a Serial Killer, but he became even worse over time. He was always a sadist, but at first he pretended to want 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. After the entire town is destroyed, he just creates another "Elm Street" in a neighbouring city and admits that he intends to repeat this until literally everyone is 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).
  • Primal Fear: The whole idea behind this series was to make a film and boogeyman who is a compendium of all the primal fears that are known to be the subject of nightmares for people in every single part of the world (drowning, falling, being chased and finding yourself unable to run away, being eaten alive, being forced to watch helplessly as a friend or loved one is victimized, etc.), and actually uses those nightmares to get to them. The only universal nightmare that seems left out is end-of-the-world dreams. That might be because, as Freddy's tied to the dream world itself, its ending is his primal fear.
  • Pungeon Master: This is basically Freddy's trademark.
  • Reality Warper: Freddy's a consummate reality warper in the dream world, changing the setting, the laws of physics and his own nature at will. He can also subtly influence waking reality, and becomes better at it throughout the sequels.
  • Red/Green Contrast: Wes Craven had read that red and green are the two most difficult colors for the human eye to see when placed right next to each other, so he gave Freddy the iconic red-and-green stripped sweater to make his appearance that much more fundamental disturbing.
  • Resurrected Murderer: Freddy Krueger was a serial child murderer burned alive by the parents of his victims. Making a deal with the Dream Demons, he stalks the dreams of their other children to kill them in real life.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Freddy Krueger is killed several times by the heroes, but he returns each time. The dream demons who are the source of his powers promised him that he would indefinitely resurrect no matter what anyone does to him. He even boasts about it.
    Freddy: I. AM. ETERNAL! (from The Dream Master)
    Freddy: In dreams. I. Am. FOREVER! (from Freddy's Dead)
  • Revenge by Proxy: Freddy Krueger, a child killer who was executed vigilante-style by the parents of Elm Street, decides to get revenge on them through their still-living children through their dreams.
  • Rubber Man: Stretching limbs are one of Freddy's many powers.
  • Sequel Hook / The End... Or Is It?: Every film but Freddy's Dead and New Nightmare.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: With Freddy being the can. Everyone he kills in the dreamworld, their soul gets absorbed into him, enhancing his strength of power. Alice manages to free them completely in Dream Master, as does Jacob in Dream Child, but Fridge Horror comes into play when you realize the possibility that all the other characters from the previous movies Freddy has killed... they've been stuck inside him ever since. This gets doubled when you think about everyone he killed prior to the beginning of Freddy's Dead. If he was strong enough to be able to warp reality and erase the memory of someone from the world...
  • Self-Mutilation Demonstration: Freddy does this a few times in the series, mostly just to horrify his victims. In the first film, for example, he says "Watch this!" to Tina before lopping off two fingers, leering at her as green "blood" sprays from the stumps. Later, he answers Nancy's "What are you?" by cutting into his own chest, spilling green pus and worms instead of blood. In the second movie, he emphasizes his "You've got the body, I've got the brain" line by peeling back the skin on his own skull. In the sixth, he cuts off his fingers (again) while counting the ways people have tried and failed to put him down for good.
  • Serial Killer: Freddy Krueger, both in life (as the Springwood Slasher) and the afterlife. Made even worse because he targets children, and later teens as they've grown up since his death.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: Freddy possesses near-limitless shapeshifting abilities in the dream world, regularly using it to impersonate other people or even inanimate objects. While he can assume any form he desires, he prefers to appear as his post-death burnt self, presumably to scare his victims. His "real" form, if any, are his skeletal remains.
  • Sinister Scraping Sound: Freddy loves to scrape his blades across the pipes and walls of his boiler room dreamscape, unnerving his victims with the screeching sound and sparks.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Freddy originally wanted vengeance upon the parents who killed him for killing their kids... by killing the rest of the kids of Springwood.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Despite how dark and gruesome Freddy's kills can get, this is one of the more idealistic horror series. It de-emphasizes the jerkass teenagers the genre is stereotypically known for in favour of groups of friends or Fire-Forged Friends who support each other, and even the jerkass teenagers are given an understandable and sympathetic Freudian Excuse. The narrative is firmly on the side of young people, since secondary antagonists tend to be Abusive Parents or other obstructive adult authority figures. Freddy himself is overcome by the series' many Final Girls through a combination of willpower, imagination, and The Power of Friendship, and they pass on their knowledge to the next girl and others to help everyone have a better fighting chance. Overall, the tone of the series tends to resemble typical dark fantasy coming of age stories, only with a horror twist.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: It actually seems to be a bit of a running gag that Mood Whiplash music plays over the credits of every installment.
  • Staying Alive: Freddy Krueger, full stop. They've come up with a massive amount of ways to kill him off, like setting him on fire (again), digging up and consecrating his bones, freeing all the captured souls from his body, sticking an explosive up his stomach, wiping out every memory of him... it doesn't matter, he always finds a way to resurrect himself.
  • Take That!: Freddy is named after a bully that tormented Wes Craven as a kid.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Freddy is a big fan of the B-word and loves to punctuate his sentences with it.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Pretty much all the heroines, but especially Alice Johnson and Lori Campbell. Lampshaded in nearly every film. Mark turns into his superhero creation, Rick shows master karate skills, Taryn dreams she's a punk biker chick...and none of this does anything to stop Freddy.
  • Torture Cellar: The boiler room.
  • Villain-Based Franchise: Freddy Krueger is the only character who recurs in all of the installments.
  • Villain Exclusivity Clause: Freddy Krueger tries to kill horny teens in their dreams in all of the installments.
  • Vocal Evolution: In the first film, Freddy's voice starts out closer to Robert Englund's natural speaking voice for a good chunk of it. About halfway through it starts becoming deeper, and by the end he regularly speaks in the trademark deep-throated growl he's known for talking in.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Freddy Krueger is a master shapeshifter through his dream powers. His favorite use of this is to impersonate his victims' loved ones or other related people so he can scar them emotionally before killing them, like appearing as a teenager's murdered brother in Freddy vs. Jason or as a girl's sexually abusive father in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.
  • Was Once a Man: Freddy Krueger. Once a human serial killer, he turned into something resembling a nightmare ghost/demon after his death.
  • Weaker in the Real World: Freddy may be all-powerful and unstoppable in the Dream Land, but if his victims manage to pull him into the real world, he's reduced to his human self.
  • Wolverine Claws: Freddy's primary weapon is a glove with blades attached to each finger. This is so iconic that for people who aren't superhero comic fans, this trope could have been named "Freddy Claws".
  • Would Hurt a Child: Prior to Freddy Krueger's death by fire, he was a serial killer who targeted little kids. In fact, Freddy vs. Jason opened with him murdering a little girl in his boiler room. There's a Gory Discretion Shot as we hear her scream, but much later the girl appears in Final Girl Lori's dreams with her eyes gouged out.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: If you're killed in a dream by Freddy, you die in reality. This applies no matter how outlandish or ridiculous the manner of death is in the dream, though Freddy does have control over which injuries carry over into reality (for instance, a boy changed into a gruesome living marionette merely seems to have jumped to his death in the real world, while Kincaid was stabbed, but is completely unscathed in the real world).
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Freddy grows stronger with each soul he claims, making him a one-villain Sorting Algorithm of Evil. This is best exemplified in Nightmare 4, in which Freddy conjures a pizza filled with the faces of his previous victims. Remarking that he loves "soul food", he promptly devours one in front of Alice. It's her brother Rick.
    Freddy: You've got their power, I've got their souls. Come on!

This is a dream. He's behind you.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): A Nightmare On Elm Street, Nightmare On Elm Street


Maggie Kills Freddy

After spending years terrorizing and murdering the children of Elm Street, Freddy is finally put down by his daughter Maggie... until sequels bring him back again anyway.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

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Main / VillainKiller

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