A Nightmare on Elm Street
One, two; Freddy's coming for youNine, ten; never sleep again
Three, four; better lock your doors
Five, six; grab a crucifix
Seven, eight; gonna stay up late—The song of the series
If Nancy doesn't wake up screaming, she won't wake up at all.—Tagline of the first movie
A Nightmare on Elm Street is the first in a series of films centered around teenagers being murdered by a dream-controlling monster known as Freddy Krueger.
The films in the series are, in order:
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
In the original film, Heather Langenkamp plays Nancy Thompson, an average teenage girl who is experiencing bad dreams. After her friends (including Johnny Depp, in what is his first acting role ever) are tormented and murdered one by one in their sleep by a badly-burnt man in a red-and-green striped shirt and knifed glove who calls himself Freddy Krueger, Nancy confronts her mother, who tells her the horrible truth: Krueger was a child molester/murderer who was burned alive in a vigilante killing by the parents of his victims once they realized that Freddy would go free due to the police forgetting to sign an important search warrant. Freddy wants revenge against the parents, so he decides to get his revenge by murdering their children in their dreams, where the parents can't protect them. Can Nancy stop Freddy once and for all? Well...judging by the fact that there were several sequels made, one can only assume...
Directed by Wes Craven and starring Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger, the film is considered by many to be a classic horror film. Due to the popularity of the original film, sequels were made. Many sequels.
A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)
Five years after the original, Freddy—apparently deciding that killing in the Dream World is too limited—makes plans to break into the real world; to circumvent the whole Brought Down to Normal effect this usually has, he plans to possess Jesse Walsh, the teenage son of the latest family to move into 1428 Elm Street. Either the best or the worst of the series because of the installment's increased emphasis on Body Horror and Homoerotic Subtext.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Wes Craven returns to the franchise (though not as director) in this film, which is set a year after the last. Returning to form, Freddy begins killing off kids in their dreams again, with all the unusual deaths—which are occurring primarily on Elm Street—being deemed suicides by the stumped authorities. The number of Elm Street teenagers eventually dwindles down to a small handful, who are remanded to the local Westin Hills Sanitarium, where Nancy Thompson—now a recently graduated psychologist—is coincidentally placed. Together with the skeptical Doctor Neil Gordon, Nancy sets out to help Elm Street's last teenagers (dubbed the "Dream Warriors" due to their ability to manifest special powers during their dreams) defeat Freddy once and for all. Usually well regarded, it was this film that started the trend of ironic, creative deaths and also introduced Freddy's trademark dark sense of humor (including his penchant for Bond One Liners).
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
With Freddy seemingly gone for good, the survivors of the last film are released and return to living their normal lives. Soon enough, though, the nightmares—and Freddy—return; acting quickly after his resurrection, Freddy finally avenges his own death by killing off the last of the Elm Street teenagers. Freddy isn't content with just this level of revenge, however, and he sets his sights on the rest of Springwood's children. The only person standing between Freddy and hundreds of new potential victims is Alice Johnson, a shy girl given special dream powers by Kristen Parker (the last Elm Street teenager) shortly before her death. Noticeably more flashy and "MTV-esque" than any of the preceding films, The Dream Master took what was introduced in Dream Warriors and rolled with it (some would say going too far) by having Freddy become the wisecracking, death-dealing jester he is most often remembered as.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
After his defeat in the previous film, Freddy finds a way to return through Alice's unborn baby son, who the dream demon intends to mold into the perfect little host and/or killing machine (exactly what his plans for Jacob are are left a little vague) by killing off Alice's friends and feeding their souls to the developing bundle of joy. The film tried to have its cake and eat it too by attempting to combine the darkness of the early films with Freddy's new wacky persona.
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
A Series Fauxnale vaguely set ten years from now, this installment has Freddy, having killed off almost every non-adult in Springwood since the last film, concoct a complicated scheme to escape Springwood's borders and begin killing elsewhere by finding his long-lost child, since only hitching a ride in the psyche of his own flesh and blood will allow him to escape the dying town. Released in 3D, the film explores Freddy's background and brings the campiness of the last two entries Up to Eleven. While it has a few fans, it's usually viewed as mediocre, since Freddy's Grand Finale ended up being treated in such a farcical manner.
Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
As you can tell, Wes Craven returns to the franchise for the third time, writing and directing this meta picture; unlike the other films, this one is set in the real world, where Freddy is nothing more than a fictional horror icon. After Craven starts developing 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 being trapped again and sets out to stop the production; its main targets are Heather Langenkamp (who the entity views as "Nancy" and the only one who can stop it) and her young son. The arguable precursor to Scream (also 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, and unable to return due to all knowledge of him being censored, Freddy uses what little remains of his power to resurrect Jason, assuming the guise of his mother and sending him to Springwood to kill the "naughty children" there. As the bodies pile up, fear and panic spread among Springwood's populace, acting as fuel for Freddy, who soon gains enough strength to break free, but a problem arises when Jason refuses to stop killing...
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
A Remake of the original film was released in 2010, with Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy, Rooney Mara as Nancy, and Michael Bay as producer. The remake generally follows the story of the first film, though not without some alterations (including an attempt to make Freddy look like an innocent man before revealing him to be a Complete Monster all along). Review buzz is technically negative, going by Rotten Tomatoes, but the reviews themselves are less bad and more lukewarm; the movie is somewhat generic, but not offensively bad.
I Am Nancy (2011)
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
- Eighties Hair: Especially Nancy.
- 3D Movie: Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.
- Abandoned Hospital: A large portion of Westin Hills, until it gets renovated sometime before Freddy vs. Jason.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Freddy's claws. The best example of this in action is Grady's death in Freddy's Revenge. Freddy pins him to the door, then rakes his claws down Grady's torso and the door, slicing through both like hot butter.
- Abusive Parents: Alice and Rick's father was a borderline example, though by The Dream Child he got better.
- Taken to extreme levels in Freddy's Dead where literally every main character had abusive parents (it was the theme of the film). Carlos had a mother whose abuse caused him to become deaf, Spencer has a father who psychologically abuses him, Tracy had a father who sexually abused her, and Maggie's biological father...well, you know. Even Freddy is shown to have an foster father who physically abuses him during his teen years.
- Wes Craven said in the DVD Commentary that the distance between parents and teenage children (particularly teenagers) is a major theme of the first film. For example, Nancy's parents are not just divorced from each other but emotionally disengaged from their daughter, regarding her teenage problems as trivial and refusing to take her nightmares seriously, and divorced from life in general - Nancy's mother is an alcoholic, and her father arguably a workaholic.
- Accidental Murder: In the chaos caused by Freddy appearing at the pool party in Freddy's Revenge, a random reveler gets trampled.
- Action Girl: Most of the Final Girls become one.
- Adults Are Useless: With a few notable exceptions, the parents and adult authority figures of Springwood are all oblivious at best, or downright hostile jerks at worst. Examples being Kristen's mother Elaine and Greta's mother Racine, with both of them downright unsympathetic to the fact that their daughters had both lost close friends. Elaine shrugs it off to Kristen being tired.
- A notable example happens in The Dream Child, when Freddy kills Greta. In the real world it appears as though she's violently choking, yet her mother and the people at the dinner party all simply stare at her. It isn't until she falls face first into her salad, dead, that her mother and the party-goers check if she's alright.
- Played with in the remake. The parents aren't able to do too much to protect their kids from Freddy in the present, but we see in flashbacks that they were so determined to protect their children from his molesting them that they burned him alive.
- Alien Geometries: Alice's last battle of Dream Master is set in an Escher-like dreamscape.
- The Alleged Car: Jesse's car ("the deadly dinosaur") from Freddy's Revenge.
- All Just a Dream and Dying Dream: Done to death in Freddy's Nightmares. Almost every episode ended with one of two.
- All Your Powers Combined: Alice can absorb the abilities of her fallen friends, leading to her becoming something of a martial arts-wielding Gadgeteer Genius. This also means she instantly knows when someone's died. These abilities are suspiciously absent from the sequel "The Dream Master" though it is heavily implied that her unborn child's own supernatural powers have rendered her's useless.
- Alone with the Psycho: For the most part, Freddy specializes in battling people one-on-one in their dreams. Even when people have conjoined dreams, he tends to isolate the weakest person like a lion with some zebras. It was best presented in part 4...
Kristen: "We beat you before!"
Freddy: "And now you're all ALONE."
- Ambiguously Gay: Jesse Walsh (the actor who portrayed him is actually gay in real life).
- And I Must Scream: Freddy's victims are left in this state after he absorbs their souls. In the remake, Freddy intended to trap Nancy in this scenario, by keeping her awake for so long that, when she finally did fall asleep, she wouldn't wake up.
- Asshole Victim: Coach Schneider in Freddy's Revenge. 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).
- Auto Cannibalism: The uncut version of the fifth movie reveals that the stuff Freddy is force feeding Greta is her own innards.
- Badass Boast: Freddy has had a couple including this little gem:
Freddy: Faster than a bastard maniac, more powerful than a loco-madman, it's Super-Freddy!
- Badass Longcoat: Freddy is wearing one in New Nightmare.
- Badass Normal: Nancy Thompson in the original film.
- Also in the third film, where she is the only character without a dream power, yet still is the most competent "dream warrior".
- Bald of Evil: Even when he was alive, Freddy had a pretty thin hairline.
- Baleful Polymorph: Debbie is turned into a cockroach by Freddy and is later trapped in a Roach Motel in The Dream Master.
- Bedlam House: Westin Hills, originally.
- Big Bad: Freddy Krueger
- The Board Game: One of the many, many pieces of merchandise these movies gave birth to.
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted in "Dream Warriors and Dream Child, but played straight in "The Dream Master.
- Book Ends: Freddy's Revenge begins and ends on a bus ride to Hell.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The seventh and final film in the original series, New Nightmare, is about the making of a new "Nightmare" film, which is done in order to keep the real Freddy demon from coming into the real world.
- What's creepier is that the real-life earthquake during filming was worked into the plot, and Heather Langenkamp actually suffered a stalker in real life.
- Broad Strokes: Freddy's Revenge and how it relates to the rest of the series.
- Blatant Lies: Freddy to a hapless victim in The Remake:
Freddy: *brandishing claws* You don't have nothing to worry about. This won't hurt one...little...bit.
- Bloody Hilarious: The death of Glen in the original film.
- Bond One-Liner: Freddy Krueger, master of the bon mot.
- Call Back: New Nightmare has many to the first film.
- And even to the sequels. The Freddy and Alice morphing head from The Dream Child appears as a prop at the beginning, Robert Englund quotes the "You are all my children now!" line from Freddy's Revenge, and Tuesday Knight (who portrayed Kristen in The Dream Master) appears as a mourner at Chase's funeral.
- Cash Cow Franchise: Candy, dolls, masks, the aforementioned board game, video games, a dance album, a phone line where Freddy tells you scary stories...you name it.
- Character Development: In the cases of Freddy, Nancy, Kristen, Alice, and Alice's father.
- Chest Burster: Happens in Freddy's Revenge, when Freddy cuts his way out of Jesse's chest.
- Done again in the remake when he shoves his clawed hand through Jesse's chest.
- The end of Dream Child has him trapped back in the womb of Amanda, from which his clawed hand protrudes as he yells to be let out.
- Child of Rape: Freddy himself.
- Extra Parent Conception: By a hundred maniacs, assuming that isn't hyperbole.
- 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.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: The Remake:
Freddy: "Did you know that after the heart stops beating, the brain keeps functioning for well over seven minutes? We got six more minutes to play..."
- Colon Cancer: The full name of the Recycled: the Series is Freddy's Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series.
- Composite Character: Nancy Holbrook of the remake appears to be a combination of Nancy Thompson and Alice Johnson.
- Cool Shades: Adorned by Freddy during the beach scene in The Dream Master.
- Credits Gag: In the meta-fictional New Nightmare, Freddy Krueger is credited "As Himself".
- 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.
- Jacob Johnson in The Dream Child.
- What about Dylan in New Nightmare?
- Creepy Children Singing: "Freddy's Coming For You".
- Creepy Cockroach: Debbie in the fourth movie, who hates roaches, is turned into one in her nightmare and is then trapped in a roach motel.
- Crossover: Freddy VS Jason.
You turned off David Letterman - now you must die!
- Crusty Caretaker: Pre-death Freddy.
- Darker and Edgier: In Freddy's Dead, the victims Freddy goes after have significantly-harsher past histories (child abuse, incest and being the daughter of a serial killer) than those from previous films.
- Dark World: Freddy's dream worlds often take the form of abandoned, decaying versions of everyday life.
- Daylight Horror: Most memorably in the first movie. At the end, we get a Hope Spot where Nancy firmly believes Freddy is dead and gone. It's an overly bright, clear day. She gets in a car, waves lovingly to her mother...then the cars morphs into Freddy's signature colors and carts her and her friends off to their sunny, cheerful, and oblivious doom, while her mother gets pulled into the house by Freddy. The end.
- In Dream Master, Freddy is able to harass Alice even when she's wide awake in the daytime, because he's using her unborn child's dreams, and a fetus's sleep isn't tied to the day/night cycle.
- Deadly Hug: This is how Freddy kills Nancy in Dream Warriors, while impersonating her deceased father. She embraces him and says her goodbyes...only to have him stab her, much to the horror of her friends and the audience.
- Deadpan Snarker: The remake Freddy enters this territory; he is much more physically subdued than the original, but his love for wordplays and puns remain more-or-less-unchanged.
- 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.
- Death by Sex: Tina in the first film, Dan in The Dream Child.
- Decoy Protagonist: Tina in the original film, her counterpart Kris in the remake (to those who haven't seen the original, anyway) and John in Freddy's Dead.
- Dem Bones: When Neil and Nancy's dad try to give Freddy's remains a proper burial in Dream Warriors, he possesses them briefly to kick their ass.
- Demonic Possession: Freddy's plan in Freddy's Revenge.
- He tries it again in The Dream Child, this time to an unborn child.
- In the same film, he briefly possesses Dan's corpse to taunt Alice.
Freddy: "Hey, Alice, let's make babies!"
- Disproportionate Retribution: Freddy vowed revenge on the parents who burned him by killing their kids just because they killed him so he couldn't hurt them in the first place. Who are we kidding? Freddy would've done what he's done even if he wasn't set ablaze. The only thing that burning Freddy did was free him from his mortal existence so he could become a nightmare god. Way to go, parents.
- Also done in the remake, except this time, he goes after the kids because they were the ones who told their parents what he was doing.
- Double Standard: In the remake, it is made very clear that all of the kids were molested by Freddy. "You're gonna pay for what you did to my son!" and other lines. But the film only shows Freddy taunting and flirting with the girls, and at no point did Quentin seem to blink at the realization of "hey, I was raped too!" But if you think about it, there is a reason for his attitude towards Quentin, compared to the others. Nancy was always Freddy's 'favoritie', so when he learned about Nancy and Quentin's feelings for each other, he got a little jealous.
- More than likely Freddy only raped the girls and that it was just assumed that he raped Quentin and other boys.
- Pedophiles in Real Life sometimes exchange kiddie porn with one another in secret. Possibly Freddy took dirty pictures of the boys to trade for similar photos of girls.
- There's ways a guy can hurt a child without actually raping them. It's possible that he had a...erm decent repertoire of things he did to the kids...
- More than likely Freddy only raped the girls and that it was just assumed that he raped Quentin and other boys.
- Doppelganger Attack: Done by Freddy in Dream Warriors, and the Pseudo-Freddy in New Nightmare.
- Dream Weaver: Freddy, natch.
- Dream Within a Dream: Freddy loves screwing with people this way.
- Driven to Suicide: Freddy's mother, after hearing about her son's release.
- Everyone Went to School Together: Played straight in the remake when you find out all the victims went to the same preschool that Freddy worked at in life.
- Also justified. Freddy only went after those particular kids because they went to school together.
- Evil Makes You Monstrous: Freddy.
- Evil Phone: "I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy."
- Expanded Universe: Various novelizations and original novels, comics, a television series, a short stories collection, and two video games.
- Eye Scream: Happens twice in the remake: first when Nancy stabs Freddy in the eye with scissors, and again at the end, when Freddy impales Nancy's mother through the head from behind and a blade comes out of her eye.
- In Dream Warriors, Neil mentions a former Westin Hills patient who cut his own eyelids out.
- Freddy might actually have caused the damage and made it look self-inflicted, as Neil also says that no one knew how the patient had gotten a hold of the razors to do it.
- While not shown in the film, the comic adaptation of Freddy's Dead shows Freddy killed his adoptive father by stabbing him in the eye with the straight razor.
- In Dream Warriors, Neil mentions a former Westin Hills patient who cut his own eyelids out.
- Fan Disservice: Jesse and Lisa's make-out scene in Freddy's Revenge.
- Fan Service: Freddy VS Jason aside, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master are the only installments to feature worthwhile nudity. Both instances happen to occur in Joey's dreams.
- Attempted (and failed) for rare male examples in the second film what with the excessive scenes of the male lead in his Whiteys, his friend in tight, tiny shorts, the coach full on nude, and just all around erotic shots of the male characters in general.
- In the remake, one of the main characters spends an entire scene that is pretty pivotal to the plot dressed in a speedo.
- Faux Affably Evil: Freddy, when he's not being a Complete Monster.
- Final Girl
- A Nightmare On Elm Street: Nancy Thompson
- Freddy's Revenge: Lisa Webber
- Dream Warriors: Kristen Parker
- Dream Master & Dream Child: Alice Johnson
- Freddy's Dead: Maggie Burroughs
- New Nightmare: Heather Langenkamp
- Freddy vs Jason: Lori Campbell
- Fingore: Freddy performs this on himself to show off in the first film and Freddy's Dead.
- 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.
- Force Feeding: Greta's death in The Dream Child.
- Forgotten First Meeting: This happened to the protagonist in the new remake.
- For the Evulz: Freddy doesn't have any motive for killing people beyond the fact that he finds it entertaining. The remake tries to change this and make his character slightly less of a Complete Monster than his original incarnation.
- Fragile Speedster: Freddy is one against Jason Voorhees' Mighty Glacier in Freddy VS Jason.
- Fridge Horror: In the remake, Freddy molested Nancy and her classmates. There were probably other classes before them.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Who else?
- Gainax Ending: The original. Was the whole movie a dream? Did Nancy ever escape into the real world? Was that part a dream? Is her mother dreaming?
- And remake.
- Gambit Roulette: Essentially Freddy's plan in Freddy's Dead.
- 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).
- Ghost Town: By Freddy's Dead, Springwood has become this, Freddy having killed everyone under the age of eighteen. The remaining adults are left insane, and presumably unable to leave town due to Freddy's influence.
- A God Am I: Freddy has traits of this, especially in the dream world when he is a literal nightmare god.
- Grievous Harm with a Body:
- Freddy gets himself impaled with his own clawed arm in Freddy vs. Jason.
- Also a scene in the original, where Freddy clubs Ron with Tina while in the midst of causing her to float around the room.
- Groin Attack: Freddy sustains a kick to the balls courtesy of Tracy in Freddy's Dead.
- When Don gets clawed by the Freddy skeleton in Dream Warriors it at first looks like he was stabbed in the stomach, but when the skeleton lifts him up, it reveals he got it in the balls.
- Half the Man He Used To Be: Happens to Freeburg in Freddy vs. Jason.
- "Hansel and Gretel": The theme of New Nightmare.
- Harmful to Minors: Freddy was a child killer in life, and he could've been worse. Wes Craven's original plan was to have Freddy be a molester as well, but he trashed the idea to avoid being accused of exploiting a series of highly publicized child molestations in California that occurred while the film was in production.
- The implication was fairly clear in the original films anyway and become extremely obvious in Freddy vs. Jason.
- And stated straight out in the remake.
- The implication was fairly clear in the original films anyway and become extremely obvious in Freddy vs. Jason.
- Healing Factor: One of Freddy's many powers in dreams.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: "Freddy" in New Nightmare.
- Hidden Depths:
- Alice Johnson, as well as her friends Debbie in Dream Master and Greta in Dream Child. Alice's character in Dream Master is a meek daydreamer who fantasizes about telling her alcoholic father off and asking hunky jock Dan Jordan out. By the movie's end, Alice has grown as a character and no longer relies on simply fantasizing about what she wants to do.
- Debbie, a punk girl with her own weight equipment who does bad in school...and also likes to watch Dynasty, is terrified of cockroaches, and is friends with brainy girl Sheila and sticks up for her. When Sheila dies, you can tell from Debbie's voice she's trying her best not to break down.
- Greta, a rich girl who hopes to be a model and is at odds with her domineering mother Racine. Following Dan Jordan's death, it cuts to a scene of Greta looking at his picture in the yearbook and crying over it. This gives her depth in the sense that she truly cared about Dan, and her friends, and was more than a total knockout.
- Hope Spot: Freddy loves these.
- Humanoid Abomination: Both Freddy himself and the demon (or whatever it was) impersonating Freddy during New Nightmare.
- Hurricane of Puns: In the latter films, Freddy often made cheesy puns before killing his victims.
- I'm Not Afraid of You
- Immortality: As Freddy himself put it - "I. AM. ETERNAL!"
- Immune to Bullets: The one time guns are used on Freddy (in The Dream Child) they just knock him down. Seconds later, they become completely useless when Freddy upgrades to Super Freddy.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Grady in Freddy's Revenge, Donald in Dream Warriors, John in Freddy's Dead and Freddy himself a number of times.
- In the remake, Jesse suffers this fate quite gruesomely, and is still alive long enough, as Freddy puts it, "to play..."
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Notably averted in Freddy's Dead; out of all the stuff Maggie throws at Freddy, only a one knife and one shuriken actually connect.
- Ironic Echo: In the remake, Freddy comments that there's nothing Nancy can do to stop him because they're in his world. When she pulls him out of the dream, she chops off his claw-gloved hand, stating "Hurts, doesn't it? Cause, you're in my world now bitch!".
- 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.
- It Will Never Catch On: It took about five years for Wes Craven to get funding for the first movie, because no one in Hollywood thought it was scary.
- Jack the Ripoff: The entity masquerading as Freddy in New Nightmare.
- Kiss of Death: Freddy kisses Sheila in The Dream Master and leaves her a withered husk.
- Knife Nut: Freddy's primary weapon is a glove with blades attached to each finger. And also Taryn White, who carries two switchblades in her dreams.
- Lady Drunk: Marge Thompson.
- Leather Man: Coach Schneider in Freddy's Revenge.
- Lecherous Licking: Freddy wags his tongue out at Nancy in the first movie and does the same to Sheila in The Dream Master shortly before he kills her. There is also 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*
- Level Up: Freddy get more powerful with each person he kills.
- Freddy, toying with Mark in part 5, plays dead before leveling up in the guise of Super Freddy!
- Locked Into Strangeness: Nancy gets her Skunk Stripe when she brings Freddy's hat from the dream world.
- Losing Your Head: Mrs. Parker in Kristen's dream in Dream Warriors.
- Lucid Dream: The whole movie series centers around this and Freddy Krueger, who can enter his victims' dreams and manipulate them.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors centers around a psychiatrist's efforts to help a bunch of teens learning how to use their dreaming to fight him.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare reveals that Freddy had a daughter named Katherine, who thankfully looks nothing like him.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Joey in Dream Warriors.
- Mama Bear: Nancy, the Action Girl survivor of the first movie, turns into this in the third one while fighting to protect the next generation of Elm Street kids from Freddy.
- Heather (Nancy's actress) again in New Nightmare, this time for her own kid.
- Alice Johnson. That was the point of Dream Child. She refused to let Freddy use her unborn child as a means to continuing murdering innocents, and she refused to abort Jacob just to stop Freddy. Granted she worded it that he was the last link to Dan she had, but even before she knew the truth about him she demonstrated concern for him and told him that she cared about him.
- Man On Fire: This is how Freddy Krueger died at the hands of the parents of Springwood.
- In the first movie, Nancy sets Freddy on fire when she pulls him out of her dream.
- 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.
- Meganekko: For an older example, Nancy's mother in the remake.
- Mind Rape: Almost literal in the remake.
- Murder by Cremation: Kristen's death in The Dream Master, and also how The Entity in New Nightmare is beaten.
- Must Have Caffeine: Kristen eats instant coffee grounds when she's trying to stay awake at the start of Dream Warriors.
- Nails on a Blackboard: Invoked by Freddy in Freddy's Dead; he replaces Carlos's hearing aid with one that makes all sounds ultra-loud, then gets out a chalkboard and repeatedly scratches it with his knives until Carlos's head explodes.
- Happens again in the remake, though in a writing fashion.
- Neck Snap: Julie's death in New Nightmare.
- Never Say "Die": Although it's obvious in the remake that Freddy molested the kids, they never directly use the word 'molest'.
- Never Sleep Again: The Trope Namer and the way Freddy kills his victims.
- New House, New Problems: The Walsh family in the second film had just moved into their house when Freddy starts making his comeback.
- 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.
- Makes a certain amount of sense. 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: The fedora, of course.
- Nancy has one at the funeral scene in Dream Warriors.
- 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 in a puff of logic, blown up with a pipe bomb shoved into his stomach, or, if the Final Girl is a hot little blonde from Brooklyn [dead link] who's taken a level in badass, decapitated with a fucking machete.
- Nightmare Dreams: Freddy's modus operandi.
- No Time to Explain: Nancy has a dream that she's seeing her friend Rod being killed in the jail cell he's in. She wakes up and gets Glen (Johnny Depp) to accompany her to the police station. They join up at Nancy's house and run to the police station. Nancy waits until they're entering the police station to tell Glen that she doesn't have any time to explain. What could they have been discussing the rest of the way there that was more important than the fact that Rod Lane was being killed?
- Now I Know What to Name Him: The Dream Child
- Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: In the fourth movie:
Chorus Children: Now I lay me down to sleep. The Master of Dreams my soul will keep. In the reflection by my side...
Alice Johnson: Evil will see itself, and it shall die!
- Nuns Are Spooky: Sister Mary Helena. Justified because she really is a ghost.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Doctor Simms in Dream Warriors.
- 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.
- Off with His Head: A dream version of Kristen's mom Dream Warriors.
- Oh Crap: In the 2010 remake, Quentin has one of these when he falls asleep whilst he should be guarding Nancy.
- It's a reference to the original film, where Glenn does this to Nancy, but due to his non-belief in Freddy he doesn't realize his mistake.
- Mark does the same thing in Dream Child...twice.
- Our Liches Are Different: Freddy could arguably be considered 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.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Maggie in Freddy's Dead.
- Parental Neglect: Elaine Parker demonstrates this. She thinks that Kristen's "suicide attempt" in Dream Warriors is an attempt at getting attention, especially after Elaine took away her credit cards. In Dream Master, she shrugs off Kristen's attitude to a lack of sleep, even though her daughter had just lost two close friends in one day, friends she only recently saw. Elaine's pretty much responsible for Kristen's death, since she put sleeping pills in Kristen's lemonade at dinner, leaving her easy prey for Freddy.
- The Power of Love: Pretty much what beats Freddy in Freddy's Revenge.
- Power of Rock: In the end of Dokken's music video Dream Warriors, it's revealed that the video is actually a nightmare that FREDDY is having.
- Freddy: What a nightmare! Who WERE those guys!?
- Primal Fear
- Prophetic Dreams: Wes Craven bases the new Elm Street script on these in New Nightmare.
- Psychotic Smirk: The remade Freddy pulled this one and a Gendo Pose on the film poster.
- Slasher Smile: Whenever Jackie Earl Haley smiles (no matter innocently) while in full Freddy make-up in the making-of featurettes of the remake, it's this.
- Pungeon Master: This is basically Freddy's trademark.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Freddy plays this quite straight in the remake with Nancy. While he abused the children sexually at school, he menaces Nancy nonstop with a perverted Yandere attitude that makes his antics in life seem tame. And when Quentin and Nancy grow feelings for each other, he grows pretty jealous.
- 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.
- Recycled: the Series: The aforementioned Freddy's Nightmares.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In Freddy's Revenge.
- Ripped from the Headlines: Not only the reasoning behind changing Freddy from a child molester to a child killer (as detailed above), but also one of the sources of inspiration for the movie: Wes Craven has cited reading articles in the LA Times about children of Cambodian refugees who suffered from horrifying nightmares, refused to sleep and eventually died in their sleep after experiencing the nightmare a second time, a condition known as Sudden unexplained death syndrome, as inspiration for the basic idea of the movie.
- Rubber Man: Stretching limbs are one of many Freddy's powers.
- Ruins for Ruins Sake: End of New Nightmare.
- Scaled Up: Freddy transforms into a snake in Dream Warriors and tries to eat one of the heroes.
- Scenery Porn: While not generally considered the best of the series, The Dream Child and Freddy's Dead are visually by far the most stunning.
- Scream Discretion Shot: Used effectively in the remake as, while Jesse's technically flatlined after being killed by Freddy, Freddy informs him in his continuing dream that the brain can survive up to seven minutes after heart failure, and they've still got six minutes to play. The scene cuts back to reality, with only his offscreen screams implying what's happening next.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Jesse in the second film.
- Sequel Hook / The End - or Is It?: Every film but Freddy's Dead and New Nightmare.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Robert Englund and his wife's apparent course of action in New Nightmare.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In New Nightmare, Freddy Kreuger himself, but he's not really "Freddy" so much as taking on the form of Freddy, there needs to be a script made in order to contain this evil.
- 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...
- See You in Hell: Near the beginning of The Dream Master, Freddy's return is marked by the killing of a survivor of the previous film, Kincaid. When he's fatally stabbed by Freddy's glove, Kincaid says "I'll see you in hell!" Freddy, with his characteristically dark humor, replies with "Tell 'em Freddy sent you!"
- Serial Killer: Freddy Krueger, both in life (as the Springwood Slasher) and the afterlife.
- Series Fauxnale: Freddy's Dead, arguably. It depends whether you accept Freddy Vs. Jason as a sequel to that film, or an interquel set earlier in the series (New Nightmare doesn't count, since it's set in the real world rather than the NOES universe).
- In the 2010 remake, waking up an unconscious woman by jabbing an adrenaline-filled needle straight down between her breasts.
- The bar Nancy's father hangs out in Dream Warriors is called Little Nemo's.
- Sinister Scraping Sound: Freddy with his claw on most anything.
- 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.
- Skunk Stripe: Nancy develops one mid-way through the first film. Curiously, its on the wrong side in Dream Warriors.
- And Heather Langenkamp gets one in New Nightmare.
- Slashed Throat: Dean's death in the remake, also happens to Freddy at one point near the end.
- Smith Will Suffice: Happens in both the original and remake.
Tina: Please, God...
Freddy: This (holds up claw glove)...is God!
Jesse Braun: Oh, God!
Freddy Krueger: No. Just me.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: In the remake the end credits roll over "All I Have to Do Is Dream" by the Everly Brothers.
- Freddy's Revenge featured Bing Crosby's "Have You Ever Seen A Dream Walking?" during the end credits.
- Its actually seems to be a bit of a running gag that Mood Whiplash music plays over the credits of every installment.
- Spin-Off: Freddy had his own TV show. Um...yay? New Nightmare could count as well, since it's set in a different continuity from the rest of the series.
- Start of Darkness: The barrage of flashbacks at the end of Freddy's Dead serve this purpose.
- The Stoner: Spencer in Freddy's Dead, Freeburg in Freddy VS Jason.
- There is also a hint of this in the remake; Quintin always looks high, and knows waaaaay too much about prescription drugs for the average high school student.
- Strictly Formula: Freddy's Nightmares (the first season, at least) usually went like this. That awesome opening. A cheesy intro with Freddy. Character doing something fairly mundane. Weird, inexplicable shit happens. It turns out its all just a dream, hallucination or the character is dying. Cheesy epilogue with Freddy. Fin.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Subverted with Nancy and Don in Dream Warriors (they both die right at the end and both die finally killing Freddy, played straight with Kincaid, Joey and Kristen in The Dream Master and Dan The Dream Child).
- Supernatural-Proof Father: Donald Thompson and Ken Walsh.
- Take That: Freddy is named after a bully that tormented Wes Craven as a kid.
- "Take That!" Kiss: Freddy's daughter does this after stuffing a pipe bomb in his gut at the end of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: Used many times throughout the series (and Freddy VS Jason), mainly by Freddy.
- Combined with an Ironic Echo at the climax of the remake.
Nancy: Hurts, doesn't it? 'Cause you're in my world now, bitch!
- Tear Off Your Face: Tina sort of does this to Freddy Krueger right before she dies. The "Sort Of" is there because Freddy let it happen to make himself even scarier, and it doesn't take.
- Teleport Spam: A scene in The Dream Child has Freddy essentially "flickering" down a hallway.
- This Was His True Form: When the entity is seemingly destroyed at the end of New Nightmare it goes from looking like Freddy to a stereotypical demon.
- Too Dumb to Live: Multiple examples.
- Dylan in "New Nightmare". The sheer amount of danger he gets into in that film makes his continued survival frankly baffling to witness. He at one point tries to escape Freddy by climbing into a lit furnace.
- 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.
- Trophy Room: Shown briefly in Freddy's Dead flashbacks. It was filled with, among other things, variant gloves, pictures of victims, Springwood Slasher-related newspaper clippings and toys presumably belonging to victims.
- Twofer Token Minority: Carlos, who is Hispanic and deaf, from Freddy's Dead.
- Unhand Them, Villain!: Happens in Dream Warriors, when Nancy, Kristen and Kincaid discover Freddy has Joey suspended over a flaming pit.
- Unwilling Roboticisation: Dan's death in The Dream Child.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Wes Craven was inspired to make the film after reading stories about teenagers that mysteriously died in their sleep.
- Also, Freddy was loosely based on a kid that bullied Wes as a child, as well as a homeless man that scared Wes as a child.
- Villain Based Franchise
- Villainous Breakdown: Freddy's not usually prone to losing his cool, but in the remake, he briefly snaps into an almost childish tantrum that somehow renders him all the scarier. Clearly jealous over Quentin and Nancy's growing affection, he attacks Quentin by banging his head against the boiler room pipes over and over again while furiously screaming "You! Can't! Save! Her!" He regains his composure after thinking he's gotten the upper hand again, and quickly reverts back to his calm hide-and-seek taunts, which turns out to be a bad idea - Quentin survives the attack and does save her.
- Wasted Song: The music played during the scene were Alice prepares for Freddy is isn't the soundtrack for the movie's score.
- Welcome to The Real World: New Nightmare did this.
- Wham! Line: In Freddy's Dead.
John Doe: I know why you let me go.
Freddy: Oh. Do you think I'm your daddy? Mm-mm! Wrong!
- Yandere: Played straight by Freddy himself in the remake towards Nancy. While he intends to kill all the children for telling their parents he molested them he saves Nancy for something worse, because as her mother admitted, she's his favorite one of all.
- You Need to Get Laid: Spencer's response to Tracy's bitchiness in Freddy's Dead.
- Your Head Asplode: Carlos in Freddy's Dead.
- 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.
Freddy: You've got their power, I've got their souls. Come on!