1. Wes Craven claimed to have drawn inspiration for this movie from 3 separate incidents involving young Cambodians, survivors of Pol Pot's genocidal "purges," all of whom died while apparently in the throes of a horrific nightmare. The story goes that first these young, otherwise healthy people would have a horrible nightmare, then refuse to sleep for as long as possible; when they finally fell asleep from sheer exhaustion they awoke with screaming and writhing, then died from a heart attack. In the last incident, the young man used a variety methods to try and stay awake that were incorporated into the film, including a hidden coffee pot. Some of the dialog between Nancy and her parents is based on this young man's attempts to convince his unbelieving parents that going to sleep would kill him.
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2. Wes Craven named the character Freddy Krueger after a kid who bullied him in school. He based his appearance on a hobo who scared him as a kid.
3. The movie Nancy watches to stay awake is 'The Evil Dead' (1981). She doesn't watch a clip of the film, but rather the trailer is playing.
4. This was Johnny Depp's first film. He, of course, has gone on to earn a name for himself in the 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' film series, as well as his frequent collaborations with director Tim Burton.
5. Johnny Depp went to the auditions with his friend Jackie Earle Haley. Interestingly, it was Haley who played Freddy in the 2010 remake.
6. Joseph Whipp plays Lt. Thompson's sidekick in the film, and was later cast by Craven in 'Scream' (1996), playing the sheriff.
7. The very first time we see Freddy in the movie, he isn't being played by Robert Englund, but by special-effects man Charles Belardinelli, as Belardinelli was the only one who knew exactly how to cut the glove and insert the blades.
8. Robert Englund did not film the opening scene. It was stuntman Tony Cecere.
9. Tina's first dream sequence in the tunnel was filmed at the Lincoln Heights Jail, which was later condemned for asbestos.
10. Charles Fleischer, who played the doctor at the dream clinic, also went on to become a graphic artist, and the voice of Roger Rabbit.
11. At the end of Tina's tunnel dream, she begins to run away in slow motion. In reality, she was on a treadmill at that point.
12. Tina's mom's boyfriend was one of Johnny Depp's friends.
13. Springwood High School was really Marshall High School in Los Angeles, which was about one block from where Heather Langenkamp lived at that time.
14. When Freddy appears through the wall above Nancy's bed, it is really a huge sheet of spandex measuring 6 feet-by-8-feet. After Freddy disappeared, they replaced the spandex with a solid wall, which explains why it didnt cave in when Nancy knocked on it.
15. When Tina looks out her window and the window cracks, look closely. It wasn't a pebble, but rather, a TOOTH that cracked it.
16. When Freddy appears with the long arms, it is actually two long fishing rods being held out.
17. Right after that, Freddy scratches his claws on the wall. During that scene, the technicians hooked the claw up to a car battery to create the sparks.
18. Tina's death scene was one of two scenes shot on a revolving set, creating the effect that she climbed up the ceiling.
19. The scene where Rod is captured was shot in Venice, California.
20. The teacher at the high school was Lin Shaye, producer Robert Shaye's sister. She would also come back and appear as a nurse in Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
21. The kid who reads Hamlet in class is actually Don Hannah, actress Daryl Hannah's brother.
22. When Nancy is in the tub and Freddy's claw comes up between her legs, that is actually technician Jim Doyle's hand.
23. Gregg Fonseca built a two-story set for the tub scene. Directly below the tub was a huge tank that Nancy got pulled into.
24. After Nancy is pulled under the tub, the rest of it was filmed in a swimming pool. Nancy's double for that scene was Jim Doyle's girlfriend, and the scene was filmed a day after the wrap party. The crew, most suffering from a hangover, covered the pool with a black tarp and filmed the scene in scuba gear.
25. The police station is really a library in East Hollywood, California.
26. Rod's funeral was filmed at the Boyle Heights Cemetery, which was also used in 'Wes Craven's New Nightmare'.
27. The nurse at the dream clinic was Wes Craven's ex-wife, Mimi.
28. The close-ups of the bridge scene with Glen and Nancy were actually filmed on a rooftop of the set.
29. The tongue phone used at the very end cost a total of $5 to make.
30. The fountain of blood sequence was shot by turning the entire room upside-down on a gyro set and sending the blood down through the bed. Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund, in costume, were on hand to watch the filming. The room itself was to be turned as the blood flowed, but it was turned in the wrong direction, and blood began to squirt prematurely. A door to the room opened, and the fake blood gushed onto exposed wires, creating a real hazard for the crew. Fortunately, Englund pulled Langenkamp away to safety before anything serious would have happened, and the sequence was somehow salvaged.
31. There were 80 gallons of fake blood used in the fountain of blood scene, and over 500 used in the entire film.
32. When they filmed the fountain of blood scene, every circuit on the set went out, and some of the crew even got electrocuted. Everyone got drenched in the red-colored water.
33. The Timex watch Nancy used for her 10-minute countdown actually belonged to Wes Craven. He paid $250 for it at the time, as it was considered cutting edge.
34. The sparking glove effect seen throughout the movie was achieved by attaching the glove to a car battery. The famous scraping noise was created by scratching a steak knife on the underside of a metal chair.
35. The scene where Freddy is on fire was actually done by stuntman Tony Cecere, not Robert Englund.
36. At the end, when Freddy emerges from under the bed, there is more spandex used, like they did when he appeared through the wall.
37. When the top comes down on the convertible, the reaction from the actors is real. It came down on them faster than anticipated.
38. Nancy's bathtub was a two-story set built over a tank with a cutout bathtub sealed down to it. Heather Langenkamp spent 12 hours in it during filming, accompanied at least some of the time by special effects man Jim Doyle who was wearing the Freddy glove.
39. Wes Craven wrote the script and presented it in 1981, but no one wanted it. He said that "It just flew around" until New Line Cinema finally picked it up.
40. This was the second movie produced by New Line Cinema. The first was 'Alone In The Dark' (1982), directed by Jack Sholder and starring Jack Palance. However the film was given a very limited theatrical release, and when it performed poorly and received bad reviews, it was released straight to video. As such, 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (1984) was New Line's first genuine mainstream cinematic venture. Prior to that, they were just a distribution company for college campuses.
41. The movie almost folded before production even began. Initially, Smart Egg Productions were supposed to put $1 million into the movie, but they dropped out several days before filming began, and producer Robert Shaye had to try to raise money elsewhere. Two weeks into shooting, the production had no money left to pay the crew, so line producer John Burrows used his credit card. Eventually, Shaye brokered a deal with a European company called Media Home Entertainment and subsequently persuaded Smart Egg to put up the final $200,000 needed to complete the film.
42. Freddy Krueger was designed by Wes Craven to be the typical "silent" serial killer such as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. But in the sequels, Freddy develops a cheeky persona that enables him to be the black humored villain.
43. The original glove was also used in 'A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge' (1985) but then went missing. The original glove was also used in 1986 for 'Evil Dead II'.
44. New Line Cinema was saved from bankruptcy by the success of the film, and was jokingly nicknamed "The House That Freddy Built".
45. In her room after almost getting killed in the tub, Nancy looks at herself in a mirror and says, "Oh God, I look 20 years old". Many viewers find this humorous, thinking that Heather Langenkamp was 20 years old at the time of the movie. However, on the DVD audio commentary, she's quoted as saying, "I was 18 or I was 19. I can't remember".
46. The only times you see the words "Elm Street" are during the opening and closing credits. The words "Elm Street" are not mentioned at all during the movie.
47. Prior to 'A Nightmare On Elm Street', Wes Craven had helped Sean S. Cunningham by working on a few shots for 'Friday The 13th' (1980). In turn, near the end of the production of this movie, Cunningham directed a few shots when several units were working at once.
48. Heather Langenkamp beat over 200 actresses for the role of Nancy Thompson. Other actresses who auditioned for the role Jennifer Grey, Demi Moore, Courteney Cox and Tracey Gold.
49. When Freddy is chasing Nancy and she runs up the stairs only to find that it's all "goo", it is not known what she actually steps in. According to Craven and producer Jacques Haitkin, it was a combination of oatmeal and pancake batter.
50. In the TV show "Just The Ten Of Us" (1988), Heather Langenkamp makes reference to a rusty knife stuck in a cutting board "looking like something from 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'.
51. In the original script, Freddy's sweater was red and yellow. Wes Craven states this was an homage to Plastic Man, who, as with Krueger, could change shape; the audience was clued in to Plastic Man's presence by the fact that whenever he assumed an object's form, the object would always be red with a yellow strip. Therefore, whenever Freddy changed form, he would be recognizable due to the color pattern.
52. Wes Craven ultimately chose the colors red and green for Freddy's sweater because he read that those two colors are the hardest for the eye to process together.
53. The radio station Glen listens to has the call letters "KRGR". This can be intrepreted as meaning Krueger. These call letters are later used in a couple of the sequels, including 'Freddy Vs. Jason'.
54. Wes Craven chose the claw as Freddy's weapon after seeing his house cat unsheathe its retractile claws.
55. During the fountain of blood scene, the spinning room turned incorrectly and caused a premature flood of "blood". According to the DVD commentary, the people pouring the "blood" were shocked when the wires were hit with the water and the room began to spin out of control. Wes Craven called it "The Ferris Wheel from Hell". The power on the set went out and Craven said they were all in the dark and covered in blood.
56. One of the main reasons Johnny Depp was chosen to play Glen was because the producer's daughter thought he was "dreamy".
57. This film was the first to use a breakaway mirror.
58. The little girl skipping rope was the daughter of the couple who actually owned the house which doubled as Tina's house.
59. Gary S. Scott, whose score was used in some of the cut scenes because Charles Bernstein's was not yet ready, went on to compose the music for many episodes of the TV series 'Freddy's Nightmares' (1988-1989).
60. Other actors considered for the role of Freddy Krueger included Jack Nicholson and Robin Williams.
61. The poster above Johnny Depp's bed in the scene where he is killed is the 'Grace Under Pressure' album cover by Canadian rock trio Rush.
62. When Nancy is trying to bring Freddy to reality, she tells her dad to break the door down in 20 minutes. At that point, it's 20 minutes until the movie ends.
63. John F. Kennedy was killed while traveling along Elm Street in Dallas.
64. 'Nightmare' series creator Wes Craven never wanted or intended 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' to become a franchise, and refused to work on the second film, although he did come back to work on later installments.
65. Wes Craven's original concept for Freddy Krueger was considerably more gruesome, with teeth showing through the flesh over the jaw, pus running from the sores, and a part of the skull showing through the head. Make-up artist David B. Miller argued that an actor couldn't be convincingly made up that way and a puppet would be hard to film and wouldn't blend well with live actors, so these ideas were eventually abandoned.
66. Another source for the film is a 1968 short film made by students of Wes Craven's at Clarkson University. The film parodied contemporary horror movies, and was filmed along Elm Street in Potsdam, New York (the town in the movie was named Madstop - Potsdam spelled backwards).
67. In the original script, Freddy was a child molester. However, the decision was made to change him into being a child murderer to avoid accusations of exploiting a series of child molestations in California around the time of production.
68. Prior to making the film, Amanda Wyss had never seen a horror movie and Heather Langenkamp had only ever seen 'Burnt Offerings' (1976).
69. Special makeup effects artist David B. Miller based Freddy's disfigurement on photographs of burn victims he saw in UCLA Medical Center.
70. In a deleted scene featured on the Laser Disc and VHS from Anchor Bay, we learn that Nancy and many of her friends from the neighborhood weren't always only children, but had a brother or sister before they were killed by Freddy (during the scene in the basement just before Nancy's mother reveals she has Freddy's glove).
71. It took the makeup crew 3 hours to apply the Freddy makeup to Robert Englund.
72. During the production, Wes Craven stayed in a small apartment that belonged to Wim Wenders, the former husband of Ronee Blakley.
73. Cinematographer Jacques Haitkin wore an eyepatch during filming so as not to be distracted by anything else on set.
74. The first time Robert Englund tried on the infamous Freddy glove, he cut himself.
75. During the scene where Nancy is running towards her house with Freddy right behind her, Heather Langenkamp cut her foot and required stitches. When viewing this scene you can clearly see her limping as she enters her house. This wasn't acting, but rather a genuine reaction to her injury. If you look closely you can see the bandage she's wearing in the last shot of the "goo stairs" sequence, which takes place just moments later.
76. The 2006 Infinifilm release fixes a continuity error in the original film. In the scene where Glen watches over Nancy as she sleeps, she turns her light off before sleeping, but it's on when she wakes up. The Infinifilm release fixes this mistake by digitally darkening the room when she wakes up, until Nancy's mother enters the room and turns it on.
77. A few days before the film was to go on general release, the processing lab which had the negative informed New Line that they wouldn't be releasing it as they hadn't been paid. At the last minute however, producer Robert Shaye was able to negotiate a deal.
78. The fictional address of the house in the film is 1428 Elm Street. The actual house where filming took place is located in Los Angeles, California on 1428 North Genesee Avenue.
79. According to Wes Craven, Robert Englund was not the first choice for the role of Fred Krueger. He had initially wanted a stunt man to play the part, but upon testing several stunt men, he realized he needed an actor.
80. Charlie Sheen was interested in the role of Glen, but according to producer Robert Shaye, he wanted more money than the production could afford.
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