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BACKSTAGE
A Nightmare on Elm Street Movie Behind The Scenes

Making A Nightmare on Elm Street

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A Nightmare on Elm Street Picture
Freddy Krueger.. One of the most memorable and famous villains in cinema history

Backstage

Go behind the scenes on the 1984 Horror / Occult movie starring Heather Lagenkamp, John Saxon, Amanda Wyss More Cast


We believe the following info is all legit. If it's bogus or you have additional info, please update us.

Thanks to Steven Murray
The scene where Nancy sets Freddy on fire in the basement was the longest single shot of a stuntman on fire, and is still in the top three.
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The genesis of this ground breaking new type of horror movie lay with it's director, Wes Craven and his friend Steve Miner. They had read news reports of children who had been suffering with nightmares so terrible that they were unable to sleep any more through sheer terror. Having been given sedatives to send them to sleep, they thrashed horribly in their sleep and... died. Craven mused that "what if there was a killer that stalked you in your sleep?"
Thanks to Kevin Austin
Wes Craven modelled the the look of Freddy Krueger after an insane hobo from his hometown that had frightened him as a child.
Thanks to Nikki
Wes Craven got the name "Freddy Krueger" from a boy that used to bully him when he was a kid.
Thanks to Ashley
Freddy Kruger was designed by Wes Craven to be the typical "silent" serial killer such as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. But in the sequels Freddy developed a cheeky persona that enabled him to be the black humored villain. This movie was the only time that Freddy wore this particular sweater, which had solid red sleeves. All those worn afterward had green stripes on the sleeves as well.
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The lamb that appears in the first nightmare of the film could not be persuaded to run across the corridor and so recieved a hefty kick up the backside. Not something that anyone would admit to today.
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In the end scene, the top to the convertible came down faster and harder than expected. The expression from the actors is real.
Thanks to Joe Taranto
During the scene where Nancy is looking in her bedroom mirror after days without sleep she says, "Oh my God, I look 20 years old". Heather Langekamp was really 18 at the time of filming.
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The special effects created are revealed in a video documentary called "Nightmare", which chronicles the series until episode 4, "The Dream Master".
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The original film had a miniscule budget, including a mere $20,000 for all the makeup effects! Make-up artist David Miller deserves the credit for making it look like $20 million.
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All the boiler room scenes were filmed in Lincoln Heights Jail which was a condemned building due to all the pipes being coated in asbestos.
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Wes Craven used his memories of being a virgin and having to listen to friends in the next room making out for the love scenes. He does recall it being one of the worse times of his teenage years and was able to reflect that in Glen's face (Johnny Depp).
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During the first murder, a rotating room was used. Tina (Amanda Wyss) was told to go with the room which produced an excellent scene. Believe it or not, some of the more gory takes were left out.
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Spandex was used for the bedroom scene where Krueger is coming through the wall.
Thanks to Shears / Nick Napolitano
The scene where Nancy is in the bath and Freddy's hand reaches up was actually shot in a swimming pool and Heather Langenkamp was replaced by a stunt girl who was actually Bob Shaye's girlfriend at the time! She was resting on two slabs of wood to make it look like she was in the bathtub.

Jim Doyle, mechanical FX artist on the picture kindly wrote in to clarify:

The bathtub scene... Only the bits of Nancy underwater were shot in a swimming pool. The stunt girl was also an assistant on the film. Not a producer's girlfriend. All the above water shots were on a set onstage. The bathtub was about 36" deep. Nancy either sat on a plank for static scenes or sat on the effects guy's knees for scenes with the glove or where she is pulled under.
Thanks to William
The original Elm Street is in Wheaton, Illinois - where Craven grew up and attended Wheaton College. None of the addresses in the movies are real.
Thanks to Ryan
During the scene when Nancy is running up the stairs, away from FREDDY, her feet get stuck in a porridge like substance. Bisquick was used to make the effect of the stairs swallowing Nancy's feet
Thanks to Greg
During the set up for most of the sleeping scenes, Heather Lagenkamp (Nancy) had a habit of actually falling asleep since she didn't have to do anything. Wes Craven used to put things in her nose while she was sleeping according to the commentary on the DVD.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Ronee Blakley allegedly refused to wear the make-up she was given, thinking it made her look unattractive, and so used to wipe it off and do her own.
Thanks to Steven Murray
They are currently planning a re-make of Nightmare on Elm St without Robert Englund, although a petition has been set up to stop it here.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Heather Langenkamp cut her foot in the scene where she is dreaming that Rod is about to be murdered and is running back to her house (just before she runs up the gooey stairs). If you watch, when she's running to her front door, she starts to hobble on the one foot.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Amanda Wyss (Tina) also starred in the Eighties teen film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High".
Thanks to Steven Murray
There is an edited scene just before Rod is hanged in the jail cell, showing Nancy screaming at her father and the other police officer in the hallway outside to, 'Hurry up!'
Thanks to Steven Murray
There was a lot of discussion if Nancy would own a black dress to attend Rod's funeral, due to her being only 15. They decided she wouldn't and put her in the blue dress.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss auditioned together, both winning their parts. The scene they rehearsed was the one in which Nancy and Tina realize they've dreamt about the same guy in Tina's house.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Amanda Wyss (Tina) appeared in many episodes of 'Cheers' and was also a key character in the series 'Highlander.'
Thanks to Steven Murray
The multipede that crawls out of Tina's mouth in one of Nancy's nightmare's got loose on the set and had to be caught by the insect handler.
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With one exception (Freddy walking through jail-cell bars), all of the F/X in Nightmare were done using physical F/X rather than trick photography.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Wes Craven had to sign away all the rights to the movie to NEW LINE CINEMA in order for him to direct. He intended the film to be a one off, but after NEW LINE aquired the rights, Robert Shaye insisted on the 'open ending' for sequels.
Thanks to Steven Murray
(Amanda Wyss) Tina's death sequence was originally much longer, with Freddy chasing her all around the street, to her front door and finally back to the back yard. This was cut to save time.
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None of the major studios were interested in producing Craven's script. Many thought it was literally too nasty!
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The first studio to show any interest was in fact Disney! They discussed the possibility of a "toned down" version suitable for kiddies!
Thanks to Ashley
This was the first real movie by New Line Cinema. Before that, they were just a distribution company for college campuses.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Nick Corri (Rod Lane) had to run down the street from the police in bare feet for over ten takes because he kept stopping because the road was so hot from the sunny day.
Thanks to Steven Murray
All the clothes for the movie were purchased at Wal-Mart, except for Rod's leather jacket and also Nike gave the movie lots of new trainers. Wes Craven kept many of the clothes and other objects, some were used in 'Wes Craven's New Nightmare'. Heather Langenkamp managed to keep the pyjamas she wears when she ask's Glen to watch her while she sleeps, however.
Thanks to Steven Murray
When the movie was previewed for the first time, lots of the actors couldn't get in because Heather Langenkamp had invited everyone around to her home for a party beforehand and they arrived five minutes late. The cinema finally seated most of them on the floor though, and they got to see it.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Amanda Wyss (Tina) couldn't get in to watch the movie on the big screen as she was late with most of the actors, and so watched the movie weeks later on VHS, she stated that she had to fast forward most of the scary scenes because she didn't have the stomach for it. Stated on the special edition DVD.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Lincoln Heights Jail was used for the boiler room scenes. It was also used in several other 'Elm Street' movies and Wes Craven's horror movie, 'Shocker' which also starred Heather Langenkamp. Although, all the areas that were used in the original are now banned because of asbestos.
Thanks to Steven Murray
While filming Glen's death scene. The crew used the same rotating room as used for Tina's. However the blood which was gushing up from the bed started to tilt the room and the whole thing wen't the wrong way (they later used the scene of blood rushing sideways in the movie because they thought it looked surreal).

It was dangerous though, and all the FX people including Wes Craven were covered in blood and had slight electric shocks.

The myth goes that when they wrapped filming at twelve at night, mechanical FX artist, Jim Doyle's son, was given ten dollars to go on set and mop up the fake blood. He was still there the next morning when filming resumed at six a.m.

BUT Jim Doyle himself kindly wrote in to clarify:

"Jim Doyle has no son. Everybody who was available pitched in cleaning up mopping and vacuuming. We couldn't wrap with all that stuff on the floor."
Thanks to Steven Murray
Charles Bernstein who composed the brilliant and now iconic music of the movie also did the music to the eighties horror, 'The Entity.'
Thanks to Steven Murray
During the filming of the bath tub scene, a German photographer was above the set, trying to take photo's of Heather Langenkamp. Furious, Heather walked off until he was removed.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Before filming started, Heather Langenkamp (Nancy) bonded with several of the characters. She and Ronee Blakley went to the mall shopping for prom dresses because they would be playing mother and daughter and she travelled to the Hollywood hills with Johnny Depp (above the Hollywood sign) so they could discuss their relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Robert Englund (Freddy) had to arrive early each morning to get his make-up applied. One day he fell asleep in the make-up chair and screamed at his own reflection, not realising it was himself.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Robert Englund used to arrive on set before everyone else to have his make-up applied, so many of the cast and crew only saw him in character. On one occasion, when he was queuing for lunch, he was asked who he was? And could he please leave the set, because no-one recognised him without his Freddy make-up applied.
Thanks to Steven Murray
During the scene where Freddy attacks Nancy in her bedroom and rips apart the feather pillow, all the crew watching were given the choice to wear masks over there mouths because their was a rumour that if you inhaled feathers they could kill. Sara Risher, who was pregnant while filming, accepted a mask.
Thanks to Steven Murray
The original poster for the movie was of a street with four razer cuts through it and a girl's mouth screaming through them. As Wes Craven and Robert Shaye were deciding if they liked it, a teenage mail boy came into the office and they asked his opinion. "It sucks!" He said, and they both agreed. An artist was then hired to do a painting of Nancy jolting awake for the American poster. The British quad poster showed a portait of Heather Langenkamp asleep, above Elm Street, with Freddy's glove slicing forward and him in the shadow. Both are now considered classic movie posters and are worth a large sum of money.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Blue eye make-up was used on Heather Langenkamp (Nancy) to create the look of tiredness, more was added as each day was said to pass.
Thanks to Steven Murray
In the scene where Nancy confronts her mother over Freddy's hat in the kitchen. Ronee Blakley slapped Heather many times to get the perfect take. Heather joked that it was painful because Ronee was wearing a ring.
Thanks to Steven Murray
Ronee Blakley (Marge) described Wes Craven as a very caring director. Whenever an important scene came up, she describes him as making sure the entire set was silent as to not disturb the actors.



Next Section: Deleted Scenes

Deleted Scenes

There are often scenes cut from the final version of a movie. Sometimes these will have been seen by preview audiences, or be included in Blu-ray or DVD extras etc.

The following missing scenes from A Nightmare on Elm Street are believed legit. If you disagree or have additional info, please update us.

Thanks to Steven Murray
There was an alternative scene filmed where Nancy tells Kruger she doesn't believe in him, to take away his power. The scene is exactly the same as the final version, apart from Nancy telling Kruger to "So just f*ck off!" - It was edited to keep Nancy more innocent.
Thanks to Steven Murray
An interesting scene which was edited out is when Ronee Blakley (Nancy's mother) is telling her about who Fred Kruger is, she originally tells Nancy that she, Tina, Rod and Glen all had a younger brother or sister that was murdered by Freddy. This was taken out because Wes Craven realised that the characters would remember an older brother or sister being that they are only fifteen in the movie.
Thanks to Steven Murray
In (Amanda Wyss) Tina's nightmare where she is killed there were many cut scenes. One where she walks out into the allyway and finds a mound of worms in her hand. One where Freddy walks up to her and says, "You can't get past me Tina" - this was when his arms where originally suppossed to stretch out. One where she pulls his face off and his tongue comes out, and one where we see Freddy walking up along the wall and ceiling above her when she is being murdered.
Thanks to Steven Murray
There was a scene filmed where Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) has a nightmare and is shown walking through her home with all rotting food on a table. The scene was cut and the idea used later by Craven in 'Nightmare 3: Dream Warriors' in Kristen's opening nightmare.
Thanks to Nick Napolitano
There was an alternate version to Johnny's death scene. They were originally going to have a shot where you see him emerge from the bed, blood drenched. I found this out on the two tape deluxe edition set (tape two).
Thanks to Shears
(Just a rumor!) There was a kissing scene between Glen and Nancy but it was dropped bacause the actors were laughing too much through the takes.



Next Section: Alternate Versions

Alternate Versions

Sometimes, there will be several versions of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may release a special cut of the movie on Blu-ray or DVD.

The following versions of A Nightmare on Elm Street are apparently real. If you disagree or have additional info, please update us.

Thanks to Steven Murray
There were four different endings filmed:

1. Where Nancy and her friends simply drive away happily.
2. One where Freddy is driving.
3. One where the hood comes up and Nancy and friends scream, but her Marge just waves and
4. The ending that is.

Heather and the rest of the cast were very shocked by the ending chosen. But Robert Shaye wanted to make sequels.



Jump To: Filming Locations
1984 New Line Cinema
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