Like many fortunate horror fans around the 80s time period, Wes Craven‘s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) was my first horror movie as a little child. Strangely enough, I was not afraid of Freddy Krueger (played by horror icon Robert Englund) in a real world setting, but I loved the rush of horror movies. Enjoy the 20+ fun facts here for A Nightmare on Elm Street, making Freddy Krueger a household name and horror icon.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Facts

  1. Robert Englund cut himself and drew blood the first time put on the iconic Freddy glove.

  2. The first time we see Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund is not playing him. Instead, special-effects artist Charles Belardinelli plays Freddy Krueger because he alone knew how to cut the glove and attach the knives.

  3. The sparking gloves scene was achieved by hooking the glove to a car battery.

  4. The glove scratching scene was created by scratching a steak knife on the underneath of a metal chair. This effect alone drew chills.

  5. Over 500 gallons of blood was used this classic horror film.

  6. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) was shot in only 30 days.

  7. New Line Cinema was on the verge of bankruptcy when A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) saved the studio. This is the back story reason why the studio became known as "the house that Freddy built."

  8. Jackie Earle Haley auditioned for A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) with Johnny Depp accompanying him as a friend not auditioning.

    • Wes Craven noticed Johnny Depp and asked him if he could try out for a role. Depp landed the role of Glen Lantz.

    • Jackie Earle Haley did not get cast in the film, oops.

    • Jackie Earle Haley did land the role of Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010).

  9. Charlie Sheen, John Cusack, Brad Pitt, Kiefer Sutherland, Nicolas Cage and C. Thomas Howell were considered to play Glenn Lantz, but Craven took a shine to Depp.

  10. Wes Craven wanted a cheap and easy to handle killing tool for Freddy Krueger. While studying primal fears embedded subconsciously in the minds of people from all cultures, the fear of animal claws grabbed his attention. At that very moment, Wes Craven saw his pet cat unsheathe its claws and Craven merged both concepts.

  11. Originally, the blades of Freddy’s gloves were fishing knives but later became steak knives.

  12. Over the course of three years, Craven read several articles in the LA Times featuring "a group of Cambodian refugees from the Hmong tribe, several of whom died in the throes of horrific nightmares. The group had come to America to escape the reign of Pol Pot, and within a year of arriving, three men had died, with the situation the same in each cases; the young, otherwise healthy, man would have a nightmare, then refuse to sleep for as long as possible. Upon finally falling asleep from exhaustion, the man awoke screaming, then died. Autopsy results revealed that they had not died because of heart failure, they had simply died. It was this lack of cause which intrigued Craven so much. Medical authorities have since called the phenomenon Asian Death Syndrome, a variant of Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome (SUDS) and Brugada Syndrome."

  13. Heather Langenkamp won the role of Nancy beating Jennifer Grey, Demi Moore, Courteney Cox, and Tracey Gold for the part.

  14. For the Nancy Bath Scene with Freddy, Langenkamp spent 12 hours in the bath to film the scene.

  15. Freddy Krueger has less than 7 minutes of screen time in the entire film.

  16. Before Depp’s character is about to die, the radio broadcaster announces "It’s midnight and you’re listening to station KRGR." Add the missing vowels "u" and "e" to KRGR, and you get "Krueger."

  17. Englund discussed his inspirations for the physicality and the mental back story of Freddy Krueger.

    • Physically, Englund drew inspiration from Werner Herzog‘s Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) played by Klaus Kinski in the role of Count Dracula.

    • Mentally, Englund remembered a little bot in his class who did not get any Valentine’s Day cards so he imagined who that little boy would have grown up to be, a grown up Freddy.

  18. In the original script, Freddy was a child abuser but avoiding possible accusations of exploiting a series of child molestations in California at the time; he was changed to a murderer.

  19. The scene with the melting staircase was shot by producer Robert Shaye using Bisquick pancake mix. Craven states it was oatmeal and glue.

  20. Lin Shaye played the role of the teacher and is the sister of the Founder of New Line Cinema, Robert Shaye.

  21. The movie playing on Nancy’s TV during the scene where she falls asleep is Sam Raimi‘s The Evil Dead (1981).

  22. The alternate ending of A Nightmare on Elm Street concluded with "Nancy kills Krueger by ceasing to believe in him, then awakes to discover that everything that happened in the movie was an elongated nightmare. She then says goodbye to her mother and drives to school with her friends. However, producer Robert Shaye wanted a twist ending which would leave the way open for sequels. He suggested fooling the audience into thinking Krueger has been defeated, only to reveal that the final scene itself is actually a nightmare, and then end the film with Freddy driving the car away from the house and the kids screaming. Wes Craven hated this ending, and ultimately four endings were filmed; Craven’s happy ending, Shaye’s ‘Freddy ending’, and two versions of a compromise ending Craven and Shaye had reached in which Nancy’s mother is pulled back into the house, but it is left slightly ambiguous as to what is going on. Craven has always maintained that the film should have had the happy ending he originally wrote."

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Directed by Wes Craven

Movie Overview | Review | Trailer

Official Synopsis: On Elm Street, Nancy Thompson and a group of her friends (comprising Tina Gray, Rod Lane and Glen Lantz) are being tormented by a clawed killer in their dreams named Fred Krueger. Nancy must think quickly, as Fred tries to pick them off one by one. When he has you in your sleep, who is there to save you?
Cast: Johnny Depp, Lin Shaye, Robert Englund, Robert Shaye, Heather Langenkamp, Joe Unger, David Andrews, John Saxon, Jsu Garcia, Joseph Whipp,…
Genres: Horror