A Darker Path: Breaking Down the Original Script for ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’

‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors’ is often regarded as one of the best – if not the best – sequel in the franchise by hardcore fans of the franchise and even horror fans in general, and it’s easy to see why. After the not-so-well-received but very much underrated sequel ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’, Wes Craven agreed to return to help develop the next sequel, and what we got was a proper follow up to Wes Craven’s original. Not only that, but along with him returned Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon as Nancy and Donald Thompson. The movie itself is a fun ride with colorful characters, a cool setting, spectacular effects and a deeper exploration into the mythology. The sequel also gives a solid balance of tone with its fantasy and comedy elements, keeping the horror just light enough to ensure a fun viewing experience.

But this wasn’t always the case. As most probably know, Chuck Russell and his writing partner Frank Darabont were brought in to re-write a script written by Wes Craven and Bruce Wagner after the powers-that-be at New Line Cinema deemed it a little too dark, and while the final product does retain many elements and ideas from that original script, a lot was changed to accommodate the new direction that Russell and Darabont intended to take.

The interesting thing here is just how different both versions of the script are from each other in terms of tone and atmosphere, and how each script dictated the franchise’s future in completely different directions; Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont’s script escalated the humor, which would be a trend that continued with each future installment, ultimately leading the franchise to its downfall. Whereas Craven and Wagner’s script would have kept it dark and horror-first – so much so that it’s really hard to believe that the Looney Tunes entry ‘Freddy’s Dead’ would have been spawned as a future sequel… but then again, it’s hard to believe such a sequel was spawned from the original Wes Craven classic, so who knows. Regardless, the original script would have opened up the doors to possible stories and plot points much different than those we got, and it’s kind of fun, for me to at least, to think of the possibilities. But I’ll get to those later.

So how different is that original script? Well let’s take a look.

Note: The script incorrectly lists Nancy’s father as John instead of Donald. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to him as he is in the script, even if it is wrong.

The script, labeled as “First Draft – 6/16/1986”, begins in a secluded ranch house. It opens on a woman’s pregnant stomach, when suddenly Freddy’s razor-clawed glove bursts outward, penetrating through the stomach. An infant Freddy emerges, and the camera zooms backward at a rapid speed out of the house.

This is followed by a montage through several large cities where we’re shown many missing children posters that have been plastered everywhere – all of them are of teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. We’re then re-introduced to Nancy Thompson, now five years older, who drives her automobile and listens to a talk radio program that is currently discussing a new epidemic that is plaguing the country: an increase of teenage suicides, which has skyrocketed by 138%. Nancy comes across a dirty, barefoot, red-headed girl who is hitchhiking, and pulls over to offer her a ride. This girl, later identified as Becky Freeman, was previously seen on one of the missing posters during the montage.

 

As Nancy drives, she tries to make small talk with her passenger, but the girl doesn’t respond to most of Nancy’s questions, and her only reply is that she’s going “down where he fucks you”. Nancy’s car suddenly gets a flat tire and swerves off the road and into a field.

Nancy gets out of the car and inspects the tire, which has been shredded, and mentions that she’s without a spare. Becky rolls up her window and locks the door, and Nancy informs her that she’s going to go check out a house to see if she can get help. Nancy crosses the field, suddenly hearing the voices of children who are singing a very familiar rhyme. As Nancy approaches, she spots the ranch house, the same from the opening, and the children all scatter about. Nancy moves towards the house and enters. Inside, she finds an elevator at the end of the hall and steps inside. Above the elevator doors, floor numbers begin to increase, which alarms her. Nancy attempts to exit the elevator car, but is too late as the doors slam shut and the elevator begins to descend at rapid speed, not just speeding downwards, but also side to side – almost like a roller coaster. The floor suddenly opens up, and Freddy’s gloved hand reaches up, trying to get at Nancy’s legs. She kicks at it and tries to step on it, fighting it off. As the elevator car comes to a stop, Freddy’s hand disappears and Nancy races out.

Nancy then runs into her father, John, who claims to have tracked Freddy down and burnt him again, but when he looks to prove his claims, Freddy’s body cannot be found.  Meanwhile, back out in the car, the red-headed hitchhiker is attacked by an outstretched, snake-like arm belonging to Freddy, which rises over the hood and then smashes through the windshield, and then penetrating through her mouth. Freddy’s snake arm lifts her up and then pulls her out of the vehicle, dragging her across the field and up into a tree. Back on Nancy and John, her father warns her to not close her eyes, because if she does, “he’ll get away”. John then proceeds to take a blade and cut off his eyelids. Nancy is terrified and screams, and then awakens in her car.

Nancy panics and abruptly exits the vehicle, running straight into Dr. Neil Guiness. Neil checks her over for a possible concussion, and informs her that her car has a broken axle. Nancy seems a little confused and concerned about the whereabouts of her passenger, and Neil suggests that if she did have a passenger, she must have walked away through the field. Neil insists that Nancy come stay with him at his house, where she can stay in the guest room, so that he can continue to observe her in case she has more than just a bump on the head. He tells her that he’ll bring her back to her car in the morning, and she agrees.

At Neil’s place, the two talk over coffee, and Nancy explains that she’s been on the road going from State to State in search of her father, but eventually his trail went cold. She says that he’s searching for something, a place, but she doesn’t know where this place is or why he’s looking for it.

Later that night, while checking on Nancy, who has fallen asleep, Neil discovers her bottle of Hypnocyl, and then goes back down stairs to research it. As he does, Nancy has a nightmare in which Becky, the red-headed hitchhiker, floats above her, holding her head tightly. The floating Becky startles Nancy, and then she says that “he tore my hair off”. Just then her hair and bloody scalp fall off of her head and onto Nancy’s chest. The hair suddenly comes to life and begins to attack at Nancy, wrapping around her throat trying to choke her. Nancy attempts to fight it off and calls to Neil for help. Neil shows up, and from his point of view, we’re unable to see the attacking scalp of hair. He goes over to Nancy, slaps her, and then moves his body down Nancy’s legs and to her feet. His jaw then dislocates and stretches out, and he begins to change into a giant snake, like an Anaconda, and begins to swallow her beginning with her feet and moving up her legs. The real Neil shows up just in time and wakes her up. Shaken up, Nancy reaches for her prescribed pills but stops herself as she realizes that they don’t work anymore.

The following morning, Nancy and Neil go to the field, but Nancy’s car is no longer there. Neil concludes that most likely someone had it towed. He asks Nancy to go to work with him, and promises that they will call about it there. Nancy agrees, a little distracted by a fowl stench in the area, unaware of the crows devouring something big in the tree above. In the car Nancy asks Neil if there’s an Elm Street in this town, to which he replies: “I wouldn’t be surprised. Every town has one, don’t they?”.

At the hospital, Neil is informed that there’s another Jane Doe admitted to the hospital after a failed suicide attempt.  The girl is hysterical and fights off doctors and orderlies, and Neil enters to help. As he does, he recognizes her as Kristen Parker, which surprises him, as it’s revealed later on in the script that all of the suicidal kids that currently occupy the youth ward of the hospital are drifters from other towns and states, and that Kristen is the first of teens in this town to be admitted for this teen-suicide epidemic. Kristen keeps everyone away with a surgical knife which she wields, until she spots Nancy in the doorway. She begins to cry and sing that familiar rhyme, with Nancy finishing it off for her. Nancy asks Kristen where she’s heard that before, but Kristen doesn’t respond. She instead drops the knife and allows the doctors and orderlies to get at her.

Neil then takes Nancy on a tour of the hospital, introducing her to Max, the orderly who runs the youth ward. Believing that Nancy can help with the problematic children, Neil makes Nancy his assistant and introduces her to some of the kids, all of whom seem to have a calming reaction to her.

 

Here we meet:

Jennifer, a 14-year-old with cigarette burns on her arms.

Taryn, a 15-year-old black girl who keeps herself guarded and sketches pictures of flames.

Kincaid, a 17-year-old “big boy” who weighs 250 pounds and is mean as hell.

Neil is giving Nancy the low-down of information about how, up until Kristen, all of the kids have drifted in from outside of town, and how they all suffer from the same sleeping disorders. Nancy is intrigued by this and wants to meet the remaining kids, but they are interrupted by an aide who informs Neil that Nancy’s car has been found.

Nancy’s car hangs from a crane, smashed up worse than it was when she left it, and the police ask her if there’s anyone here who doesn’t want her to be around, but Neil speaks up and informs them that Nancy just arrived in town.

Nancy, not too concerned about her car, insists that Neil take her to Kristen’s house, hoping to get some information from her parents regarding her behavior prior to being admitted to the hospital. Nancy asks Kristen’s parents a series of questions, but her parents are dismissive and reluctant to answer the questions, believing that their daughter is just looking for attention, and both are more concerned about getting to the local country club than their daughter’s well-being. Nancy lies about Kristen asking for extra socks and is given permission to go up Kristen’s room, where she spots photos of Kristen with a red-headed friend, whom Nancy recognizes as the hitchhiker she picked up in the beginning.

As Nancy and Neil head back to the hospital, they come across police road block near the field where Nancy went off road earlier. Neil slows his car to a stop, and the police, recognizing Neil, ask him to come with them to take a look at something. The police show Neil Becky’s body, found in the tree above, writing it off as a suicide. Meanwhile, Nancy gets out of the car and wanders over to the ranch house. Inside, she falls through the floor, landing into a pool where she see’s the eyeless corpse of her father. Nancy climbs out of the pool, and then hears a baby crying from the second floor. She follows the cries to discover baby Freddy, who eventually grows to full form, and chases Nancy through the house. Nancy exits the house, running over to Neil, carrying on about how “he’s alive” and that it wasn’t just a nightmare because she wasn’t asleep. The cops chime in that there’s a rumor that the old Krueger house is haunted, and then question if Nancy is one of Neil’s patients.

Neil tries to calm Nancy down by saying that he’ll go check out the house. On the way over, he mentions to her that Hypnocyl is known to cause hallucinations and paranoia. He opens the front door to the ranch house to prove a point, and everything appears normal. Neil then recalls having been to this house just a few weeks earlier after a crazy man barricaded himself inside and tried to burn it down because he claimed that the house is alive. Curious, Nancy asks Neil where this man is, and Neil says that the man is being held at the hospital. Nancy requests to meet this crazy man, and Neil agrees to take her to him. As the two drive off, Freddy’s form appears, stretching out from the house, revealing that he is a part of the house.

At the hospital, Neil takes Nancy to the cell with the crazy man and it’s revealed to be Nancy’s father, whose eyes are bandaged up, he recognizes her voice. Neil leaves the room, giving the two some privacy. John tells Nancy that he’s been trying to protect her since the events of the first film and that he believes Freddy’s evil is growing more powerful and that he must be stopped. John states that the way to do it is to burn down the house he was born in because the house itself is a dream and is “an entrance into Krueger’s nightmare for those who have known him”. Nancy is a little frightened of her father’s intensity and leaves his cell.

 

Later that night, we’re introduced to the remainder of kids who would become Dream Warriors:

Joey, a 19-year-old who is frail and spasmodic with a twisted body.

Laredo, a handsome 17-year-old with long hair and a large collection of clay figures such as monsters, wizards and warriors.

Phillip, the frail, 13-year-old sleepwalker roommate to Kincaid.

After Max calls lights out, the sleepwalking Phillip wanders the corridors of the hospital, being manipulated like a puppet by Freddy, leading him to his death.

 

The following morning, in group therapy session, Neil and Dr. Maddalena try to get the kids to open up about what they witnessed the previous night, but Dr. Maddalena in particular is dismissive of the kids claims that Phillip was murdered. Kristen becomes upset at the realization that her friend Becky is among the dead and asks to go home. Maddalena reveals that Kristen is to be released the following day, which prompts an outburst from Nancy, who begs Neil and Maddalena to keep Kristen at the hospital. This outburst causes Dr. Maddalena to have Nancy removed from the session. Outside, Nancy continues to plead with Neil to have Kristen remain in the hospitals custody, believing that something bad is going to happen to the girl if they don’t, but Neil says that he couldn’t even if he wanted to, and not quite believing Nancy, he tells her to go home and get some rest.

Later that night, Neil decides to run an EEG on Kristen before she leaves, and has her hooked up to the equipment. Nancy and Neil observe Kristen for hours until she finally starts to dream. Neil decides that him and Nancy should call it quits for the night and excuses himself to go inform Max that they are leaving. After he leaves the room, the machine starts to go haywire, and Kristen suddenly sits upright. Kristen’s body begins to shake and then disappears before Nancy’s eyes. Alarmed, Nancy calls out for Neil, but when he returns, Kristen is back on the bed asleep. Naturally, Neil doesn’t believe what Nancy is saying in regards to the disappearing act and questions weather or not she’s having hallucinations caused by the Hypnocyl.

The following day, Kristen is released back to her parents and Nancy see’s her off, telling her that if she should ever need her to give her a call.

That night, Max allows Jennifer to watch some television, and she’s killed similarly to how she dies in the actual movie itself. The following day, as Nancy and Neil attend Jennifer’s funeral, Kristen returns to school, where she receives dirty looks and verbal bullying from a classmate name Sally. While in class, both Kristen and Sally fall asleep. In her dream, Kristen approaches Sally and quickly rips off her blouse and bra. When she awakes, Sally, from across the classroom screams with embarrassment as she sits topless. Kristen smiles in amusement.

 

Later on, Nancy is at the ranch house with gasoline, intending on carrying out her fathers’ task, but is interrupted by a police officer who is patrolling the area. Unable to see it through, Nancy leaves the property and returns to the hospital to visit with her father. She informs him that she wasn’t able to burn it, and then he becomes cryptic, suggesting that she get help from others – from Dream Warriors – and Nancy admits to not understanding what he means. He then promises her that she soon will.

At Kristen’s house, she falls asleep in her bed and soon after her body is forced into the position of crucifixion as Stigmata suddenly appears on her body (a little ironic considering a certain movie from 1999 that Patricia Arquette would later go on to star in) and then she suddenly begins to float through the air and out of her window. She’s brought to the ranch house, where she’s confronted by Freddy. Terrified, Kristen calls out to Nancy for help. In Neil’s guest room, Nancy is suddenly pulled through the bed and then comes crashing through the ranch house, landing on top of Freddy. Nancy and Kristen make a run for it, with a shocked Nancy asking Kristen what she did to her. Kristen replies that she just wished Nancy was there, and the next moment she was. Nancy tells Kristen to wish them out of there ad she does, sending the two crashing back through to Kristen’s room.

Nancy and Kristen go to a coffee shop to discuss Kristen’s surprising dream power, and Kristen reveals that she used to do that with her brother when they were little and that he would never remember the following day. Nancy asks Kristen if she’s ever dreamed of Freddy before, and Kristen claims that she thinks so, but can’t remember for sure. Nancy then hatches a plan, asking Kristen to help her, and promises that she will face Freddy for her.

In Neil’s guest room, Nancy enacts a plan similar to that she had in the first movie in which she would fall asleep, but this time she would have Kristen watch over her. In the dream world, Nancy explores the ranch house alone, but she is soon joined by Kristen who insists on helping.  They’re both confronted by a German Sheppard with red and green striped fur and Freddy’s head instead of that of a dog. The Freddy dog chases them through the house. As they attempt to hide in a room, they see Jennifer, whose head is being devoured by maggots. Freddy returns to his normal form again and slashes at them with his blades, slicing Kristen’s arm. Kristen then calls out to Kincaid, and pulls him into the dream. Kincaid is now in the ranch house, just as confused as Nancy was when she was first pulled in, and as Freddy attacks, Kincaid swings, striking Freddy square in the jaw and knocking him down on his ass. The three quickly grab hands and Kristen wishes them all awake. The three of them crash back into Kincaid’s room at the hospital, and the commotion gets the attention of Max and Dr. Maddalena. Maddalena orders Max to stitch up Kristen’s arms and kicks Nancy out of the hospital.

Defeated, Nancy packs her things and leaves, asking Neil for a ride to the bus station. Instead, Neil drives them back to his house, where he puts the moves on Nancy. The two make love, and afterwards Nancy opens up to Neil, admitting that the only reason why she hasn’t killed herself is because she’s uncertain if she would finally be free from Freddy’s reign of terror, scared that he would get to her, even in death. Later, as they sleep, Nancy see’s the faces of Becky, Phillip and Jennifer, and as wraiths they beg Nancy to keep fighting and kill Freddy once and for all. She snaps awake and sits up, waking up Neil in the process. Nancy tells him that she must see her father and asks if she can at least do that.

Nancy once again visits her father in the hospital, and he warns her that she must no longer remain neutral, and that she’s been pulled into a bigger fight then before. He theorizes that Kristen is part of the next generation of the fight and that all of the surviving kids who have drifted to this town have been brought here for a reason: for the final battle against Freddy and to kill him once and for all. He calls them the Warriors and states that Nancy’s purpose is to unite and lead them. Nancy then points out that she has no way to get to the kids, but John smiles and reveals that he snagged the master key from Max while playing catatonic.

Nancy and John sneak out of his cell and wander the corridors of the hospital until they stumble upon the room where Neil and Dr. Maddalena are holding a group session with the kids. All of the kids are upset and give the two doctors are hard time because of how dismissive they’ve been to their plight. Nancy and John wait until Dr. Maddalena exits the room before they make their move. The two enter into the room, which excites the kids but surprises Neil, who is torn between in duties and obligations at the hospital and his affection for Nancy. Nancy asks Neil to be patient and wait and watch, and then she lays on the floor. Kristen, Kincaid, Laredo, Taryn, Joey and John join her, and they all link hands. On command, Kristen closes her eyes and controls her breathing until she’s asleep enough to take them elsewhere, and to Neil’s astonishment, they all vanish before his eyes.

The group materializes on the hill top not too far away from the hospital, and they all are noticeable different: they are stronger and more confident – especially Joey, whose body is now strong; no longer twisted and frail. Nancy and John give the group a pep talk, informing them that they are the Dream Warriors, all of whom have escaped Freddy’s grasp before but their memories have been caught in a haze. John chimes in, telling them: “what made you misfits and fuck-up’s in the real world is what makes you a threat to him”. The kids get excited by this and are ready to take the fight to Freddy, and a door suddenly appears in the air. Kincaid reaches for the door knob, but it’s hot to the touch. Taryn then tells him that it’s only hot because that’s all he knows about fire and that it’s just a trick. She then runs, leaping through the door and the flames. The other kids follow until only Nancy and John are left on the hill top. John tells her that he’s all used up and that he can’t go with her to the final fight, and as he jumps through the door and into the fire, she can hear his screams. Nancy cries, knowing that her father is dying, but she knows that she must leap through to join the kids on the other side.

At the hospital, Dr. Maddalena and the police question Neil about the disappearances when they’re suddenly interrupted by screaming. As they look outside to the lawn, they see John materialize in the air, engulfed in flame. Neil and the police rush to him and attempt to put out the flames, but it’s too late. Just before dying, John begs Neil to go to the ranch house to help Nancy and the kids.

At the ranch house, Nancy and the Dream Warriors work diligently to douse the place with gasoline, but when they try to ignite it, nothing happens. Nancy then moves to “Plan B”, in which everyone becomes armed with Molotov Cocktails. The plan then becomes to search the house and hunt Freddy room to room and torch him. She tells them to all stay close because their unity is their strength. But, their status as a unified group of Dream Warriors is short lived as Taryn, Joey and Laredo are all tricked and killed pretty quickly.

Neil shows up at the house and enters. In order to prove that the house is indeed an entrance into the dream world, Neil grabs a pair of scissors and slices off one of his fingers, not feeling anything resembling pain. He picks up his severed finger, places it where it was once attached, and then as he looks again it’s intact. This gives Neil a sense of ecstasy. He then moves on, wandering the house in search of Nancy and the kids.

Meanwhile, Nancy, while searching for a couple of the kids who have gone missing, calls out Freddy. When he appears, she throws her Molotov Cocktail at him, but he ducks, and it misses him, striking the wall instead and igniting the place on fire. She then makes a run for it and runs straight into Neil, who heard the commotion and rushed to her. Nancy asks Neil what he’s doing here, and he informs her that her father sent him to help. Nancy tells him that he shouldn’t be here and pleads for him to leave. Freddy then lunges out at them, chasing them away.

On the run through the house, Nancy and Neil discover the remains of the three dead kids, and they eventually cross paths with Kristen and Kincaid. Freddy appears once again and as he makes a move towards them, Kincaid spits in Freddy’s face, getting him in the eye. As Freddy staggers backwards, Kincaid then kicks him in the stomach, knocking him down, but not for long as Freddy rebounds. Recognizing their moment to strike, Nancy orders everyone to throw their Molotov Cocktails at once, and the hallway erupts with flame.

Trapped in the hallway and needing an exit, they all link arms and Kristen then takes them out of the ranch house and to her parent’s house, where the four crash her parent’s party. Nancy senses something wrong and soon Freddy appears, causing pandemonium among the wealthy guests as he strikes. Freddy kills Kristen’s mom, and the four barricade themselves in her fathers’ den. Kincaid grabs Kristen’s fathers’ gun ad blasts at the door trying to get Freddy, but it proves to be useless. Neil then has an idea and asks Kristen to take them to a place that he’s thinking of. She’s not sure if she can do it, but it’s their only chance.

The four link hands and vanish from Kristen’s parents house and materialize at the hospital, much to the shock of Dr. Maddalena who witnesses this. Nancy, Kristen and Neil appear to be fine, but behind them they hear Kincaid’s cries for help. They turn to see Kincaid halfway through the wall, trapped between the two places. Nancy, Kristen and Neil rush to help him, and even Dr. Maddalena makes an effort to grab Kincaid’s arms and pull him through. They desperately ask Kristen to wish him here, but she says that she can’t. Something’s blocking her ability. Kincaid then screams that “he’s inside me!”, and suddenly Freddy’s gloved hand smashes through his mouth, killing him. They back away in terror as Kincaid’s torso slides down the wall. Nancy, Kristen and Neil make a run for it as Freddy emerges from the wall with a crocodile sized mouth, which he uses to bite off Maddalena’s head.

Freddy chases after the three as they race down a series of stairs, and as they reach the bottom landing, they enter into the basement of the ranch house. As Freddy catches up to them, Neil tests out a quick theory: he tells Freddy to get out of his dream, and that he is not welcome here. Freddy is unaffected by this attempt and tells Neil that he doesn’t want him, and then knocks him out cold. Nancy and Kristen back away as Freddy approaches them, and they fall backwards down a large chute. When the two crash to the floor they find themselves in Freddy’s original base of operations: his boiler room.

 

Freddy quickly finds them and then Nancy suddenly remembers how she beat Freddy the first time, and then begins to instruct Kristen to turn her back to him and take back the energy she’s given him. They both do this and Freddy’s body begins to smoke. Nancy then declares that: “he’s shit – he’s nothing”, and Freddy bursts into flame, careening around the room until he becomes a pile of ashes. Nancy then hears her father’s voice, and she looks to see her deceased father. She picks up a metal shard and goes to him. Nancy embraces her father and then shanks him, not fooled by the ruse. Freddy, as John, simultaneously stabs her with the blades from his glove, and as she backs away, she reaches for her father’s face, grabs at it, and peels the flesh off revealing Freddy. They both collapse to the floor, and Freddy begins to dissolve and break apart.

As Nancy dies in Kristen’s arms, she tells Kristen that Freddy’s dying and his house burning, and that she can feel his energy leaving. Upset, Kristen tells Nancy that she won’t let her die, and that she’s going to dream her into a beautiful dream forever, and Nancy’s body then fades away.

 

Freddy’s body is once again nothing but ash.

Kristen finds Freddy’s charred glove and wraps in a rag. She pockets it, and then goes to exit. She grabs Neil’s unconscious body and drags him out of the house and onto the lawn. Outside, Kristen watches as the house is engulfed in phantom flames, and then changes before her eyes. The house suddenly becomes cleansed, looking newer and young, and similar to how it would have looked at the beginning.

Kristen re-enters the house, and see’s that it’s decorated as it had been in the 40’s. She hears the baby crying from upstairs and ascends to the second floor. She opens the bedroom door to see Freddy’s pregnant mother dead on the bed and covered with blood. Baby Freddy, as grotesque as we already know him, and armed with his own razor-clawed glove, grabs at Kristen but she fights him off. As he let’s go, Kristen takes the charred glove and impales Baby Freddy with his own weapon – one that he’ll never grow up to make.

Some time has passed since Freddy’s death, and Kristen visits with Neil, having dinner at his house. It’s revealed here that Kristen agreed with her father to be sent to a private catholic school, and that Neil continues to see Nancy in the dreamworld.

The script ends with Neil heading up to bed so that he can see Nancy, and just as he goes to bed, a light flicks on in an exact model of Freddy’s house, that Joey was seen building earlier in the script.

Obviously, you can see where this original script laid the foundation for the film that we got in 1987, but there are many notable differences:

In the film, all of the kids were the offspring of the Springwood citizens who participated in the lynch mob death of Freddy, whereas in the script the kids are not connected to Springwood or Freddy’s death. These kids are drifters from different states and towns who were drawn to this particular town that Freddy was born it.  Furthermore, his power isn’t just limited to the “Elm Street Children” as it was in the films – remember, after he killed Kristen, Joey and Kincaid in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master’, he needed Alice and her inherited power to bring him to a new, fresh batch of teenagers – but here his growing evil extends its reach across the country, and is less about revenge against those who committed vigilante justice, and is more just about his sadistic evil.

There’s also a pretty big implication at the end that could have potentially changed the story-arcs for the future of the franchise. In the film, when Nancy dies in Kristen’s arms, Kristen tells her that she won’t let her die and that she’ll dream her into a beautiful place. Those words are the same in this script, but in the movie, it just feels like it’s coming from grief and sadness. In the script, however, those words hold a little bit more meaning given that at the very end it’s implied that Neil still see’s Nancy in the dreamworld, which begs the question of if Kristen’s abilities had kept Nancy as a dream entity, and what roll could she have played in future installments?

And what about the ranch house? Sure, they ended up twisting the 1428 Elm house into being connected to Freddy and the dreamworld, but not at the level of emphasis as the ranch house was in this script, and who knows where they could have taken it.

This script has a much darker, horror-first approach to it and none of the fantasy elements that the film had. It would have been interesting to see where the franchise could have gone if they stayed strictly in the horror lane instead of going down the path of comedy.

Overall, as much as I do love the movie that we got, there’s a part of me that wishes we got this version, because not only would it have probably been my favorite of the franchise, but also because I’m curious of where they could have gone from here.

What do you think? Would you have preferred this version of the story? Or are you happy with the one we got? Go to our Facebook page and let us know.

You can find both versions of the script here:

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors — Scripts

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About Seth T. Miller 41 Articles
I am first and foremost a proud father of two daughters who may or may not be possessed by demonic entities/deadites (time will tell on that one, but I am pretty confident that one of them translated the Necronomicon). I am very passionate about writing, and spent a great many years focused on the craft of Screenwriting, but I have recently decided to switch gears and pursue my works as novels instead. While I do enjoy a variety of different genres and sub-genres, I am always and forever a horror film fanatic that loves the genre from the 30’s through the mid-90’s, and some afterward. I am particularly very fond of Werewolf fiction, as well as anything by John Carpenter, Stephen King, and George A. Romero.