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Trivia / A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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  • Ability over Appearance: Glen was originally written as a "big, blond, beach-jock, football-player guy". Wes Craven's daughters picked Johnny Depp's headshot from the set he showed them and the rest is history.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The character is officially recognized as "Fred Krueger" in the credits and by several characters. He is only called by his now ubiquitous nickname in the Ironic Nursery Rhyme, refers to himself as such twice when mocking Nancy, and when Nancy calls him "Freddy" toward the end.
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  • Blooper: In one scene Nancy turns off her light before going to sleep, but it's on when she wakes up. The 2006 Infinifilm release fixes this by digitally darkening the scene where Nancy wakes up.
  • Channel Hop: Several studios declined the film for different reasons. The first studio to show interest was Disney, although they wanted Wes Craven to tone down the content to make it suitable for children and preteens. Craven declined. Another studio to show interest was Paramount; however the studios passed on the project due to its similarity to Dreamscape, a film they were producing at the time. Universal Studios also passed; Craven, who was in desperate personal and financial straits during this period, later framed their rejection letter on the wall of his office.
  • Completely Different Title:
    • Argentina and Uruguay: Nightmare Deep in the Night
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    • Brazil: Nightmare Time
    • France: The Claws of the Night
    • Colombia: Endless Nightmare
    • Denmark: Murderous Nightmare
    • Germany: Nightmare: Murderous Dreams
    • Hong Kong: Ghost Street
    • Italy: Nightmare: From the Depths of the Night
    • Mexico and Venezuela: Nightmare on Hell Street
    • Taiwan: Ghost Goes to Bed in the Middle of the Night
  • Creator Couple: The nurse who examines Nancy is played by Wes Craven's then wife Mimi Craven.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Amanda Wyss, who played the fifteen year-old Tina, was twenty-four at the time of filming.
    • Lampshaded when a sleep deprived Nancy looks herself in the mirror and says "Oh God, I look twenty years old". Indeed, if Heather Langenkamp wasn't yet past her 20th birthday when that scene was shot, it was, at most, a few weeks away. The actress herself loves that line for that exact reason.
  • Deleted Scene: A deleted scene revealed that Nancy and her friends all had siblings Krueger killed, either when they were too young to remember them or before they were born, making his death even more of a case of It's Personal.
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  • Dueling Movies: With Dreamscape, another movie about dream-venturing from 1984.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • In the final scene, the roof of the convertible came down much harder and faster than the actors expected; their startled reactions are real.
    • Heather Langenkamp claims that Ronnee Blakley really did slap her during the kitchen scene. But she must be referring to a different take, because the one in the finished film looks quite staged.
  • Executive Meddling: Craven originally wanted to end the film with a Happy Ending. However, Robert Shaye insisted on a darker ending and prevailed. Aside from opening the door for the very popular sequels to be made, Craven's intended ending could be seen as anti-climactic when judged against the rest of the film. However, Craven's intended ending was the whole point of the film, the story of a teen struggling against overwhelming odds without the help of adults, feeling powerless, and ultimately overcoming and conquering the threat on her own. Changing the ending to render her eternally powerless over Freddy despite all her struggle makes the entire story pointless and completely undermines the film's youth empowerment message. Whether the ending was changed to allow for sequels, or to make the ending more exciting is a point of contention. Craven asserts the former, but Shaye has adamantly insisted on the latter in more than one interview.
    • A more minor example, but Shaye also insisted for the scene of Nancy sinking into the carpeting on her stairs, since that's a nightmare he had as a kid. After some back and forth, Craven decided "Fine, but I'll let you direct the scene".
  • Fake Nationality: The Italian-American Rod was played by Hispanic-American Jesus Garcia (credited as Nick Corri, due to his agent at the time believing that no one would want to hire Latino actors).
  • Inspiration for the Work: The basis of the film was inspired by several newspaper articles printed in the Los Angeles Times in the 1970s about Southeast Asian refugees, who, after fleeing to the United States because of war and genocide in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, suffered disturbing nightmares and refused to sleep. Some of the men died in their sleep soon after. Medical authorities called the phenomenon Asian Death Syndrome. The condition afflicted men between the ages of 19 and 57 and was believed to be sudden unexplained death syndrome or Brugada syndrome or both. The 1970s pop song "Dream Weaver" by Gary Wright sealed the story for Craven, giving him not only an artistic setting to jump off from, but a synthesizer riff for the movie soundtrack.
    • One night, a young Craven saw an elderly man walking on the sidepath outside the window of his home. The man stopped to glance at a startled Craven and walked off. This served as the inspiration for Krueger.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: In the '80s and '90s, it wasn't particularly common to see a home video release of the X-rated uncut version, which only appeared in certain foreign countries, but the only known DVD release of it was in Turkey, and that's even harder to come across than the uncut videocassette releases in those aforementioned certain countries. The U.S. laser videodisc release comes closest domestically by including the excised footage as a bonus feature. For what it's worth, the current R-rated version does completely restore the 8 seconds of footage cut from Glen's demise (6 seconds of which had already been restored for the initial VHS release) that wasn't in the theatrical R-rated version, but Tina's death remains censored, and while the actual R-rated version itself hasn't had a known release on home video, it's easy to recreate by simply removing the footage from Glen's death.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: There is a scene in the trailer, not shown in the film, which explains why Donald Thompson believes Rod Lane killed Tina Gray. "Rod Lane was locked in a room with a girl who went in alive, and came out in a rubber bag."
  • No Budget: The movie took just $1.8 million to produce, which was something it made back on its opening weekend.
  • The Other Marty: David Warner was originally cast to play Freddy. Make-up tests were done, but he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.
  • Real-Life Relative: Lin Shaye is the sister of New Line owner Robert, who had Craven give her a role.
  • Refitted for Sequel: The 'Freddy baby' idea that got used for the fifth movie was a rejected concept for this one.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot:
    • The film is set in 1981 because that's the year the script was written, even if it took three years to get picked up.
  • Throw It In!: Nancy is seen limping as she runs back towards the house with Freddy behind her. That's because Heather Langenkamp cut her foot and needed stitches.
  • Troubled Production: A major investor pulled out two days before filming began, and Robert Shaye had to raise the money elsewhere. Two weeks into production, they had no money to pay anyone - and the Line Producer had to use his credit card. Eventually Robert Shaye cut a deal with the original investor to supply about $200,000. What's more is that the processing lab weren't paid and threatened to keep the film until they were.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Initially a stunt man was just going to play Freddy, but Wes Craven soon realised he'd need an actor for it. Kane Hodder (who has played Jason Voorhees) and Robin Williams were both considered.
    • Freddy was originally supposed to have a Two-Faced skeletal appearance. This was changed after filmmakers realized that it would be difficult and too expensive, but it still can be seen in the poster for this film and its sequels.
    • Freddy's sweater in the script was colored red and yellow and his glove had fishing hooks instead of blades. The colour change came about after Wes Craven read in an article that the two most contrasting colours on the human retina were red and green.
    • Freddy was supposed to be a child molester, but it was decided to change into a murderer to avoid accusations of exploiting then-recently reported child molestation cases.
    • Courteney Cox, Jennifer Grey and Demi Moore supposedly auditioned for the part of Nancy. The casting director doesn't recall Cox or Moore auditioning, though.
    • Charlie Sheen was interested in playing Glen, but supposedly wanted more money than New Line could afford; he denies this, however. Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, C. Thomas Howell, Brad Pitt and Kiefer Sutherland were also considered for Glen.
    • Roy Scheider was considered for the role of Lieutenant Thompson but turned it down because he was busy shooting 2010: The Year We Make Contact.
    • In the original script during the scene of Glen's death, bones, hair, and wires in addition to blood were to spill out of the bed, making it clear that this is all that's left of Glen. The hole in the bed was to disappear before Glen's mother entered the room. Finally, after the scene of Glen's father warning Lieutenant Thompson that this could only have been Freddy Krueger (this scene was filmed but deleted from the final version), the coroner shows to the Lieutenant something he finds at the crime scene: one of Freddy's blades. At this point, one of the cops warns the Lieutenant that there is something strange going on at Nancy's house (at this moment, she manages to bring Freddy back to the real world).
    • Glen's body was actually supposed to emerge out of the bed during the blood geyser scene. The scene was filmed but deleted from the final version.
    • The film was originally supposed to be set in Los Angeles. The script mentions the San Fernando Valley, a cut line has a teenager say "California is the most high and palmy state, man!" in the classroom scene, palm trees are visible in the background of some scenes, and Glen and Nancy go on a date on a footbridge that is unmistakably in Venice Beach. This setting detail was changed for the final cut of the film where the town's name or possible location is never stated at any point to make the setting an Everytown, America. The second movie establishes the town's name as Springwood, which later movies place in Ohio.
    • It's a famous piece of movie trivia that the words "elm street" are never actually spoken in the film, but this seems to have not always been the intention. Among the footage filmed by the second-unit director (who was none other than Sean S Cunningham) was a shot of an 'Elm St.' sign.
  • Write What You Know: Several aspects of the film came from Wes Craven's personal life: Freddy's name came from a kid that bullied him in elementary school, his trademark hat and demeanor were from a man that would stand outside Wes's bedroom and scare him at night, and even the Elm Street that the franchise is named after (aside from being an allusion to JFK's assassination) came from the school that Wes taught at for a few years before becoming a filmmaker.

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