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For the novelization of this film, see Wes Craven's New Nightmare (novelization).

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (internationally known in most countries as Freddy's New Nightmare) is a 1994 horror meta slasher film written and directed by the late Wes Craven, who is also a character in it.

It is technically not part of the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series, but is associated with it.



The plot focuses on a unnamed demon, which has taken the form of Freddy Krueger and invaded the real world to haunt the actors and film crew responsible for the A Nightmare on Elm Street films that existed at the time. (Freddy vs. Jason and A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) had not been made at the time.)


The film received positive reviews, but failed on box office performance. After its release, the film grossed only $18.6 million on North America box office, becoming the lowest grossing film of the series.



A wooden worktable, covered with tools and parts, is shown from above. Presumably, it is the same worktable Freddy Krueger made his glove on in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984 film). It has an anvil on it.

An obviously alive and unburned Freddy Krueger is making a mechanical right hand, with five claws, on it.

He picks up a meat cleaver with his left hand and appears to chop off his right hand in preparation for attaching the mechanical right hand to his right wrist.

This scene is an imitation of the scene of Freddy Krueger making his glove at the beginning of the 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Heather covers Dylan's eyes.

It is then revealed that everything before Heather covering Dylan's eyes was an A Nightmare on Elm Street film being filmed. (Such a film would just about have to be a reboot. It would be difficult, at best, to fit such a film into the story of the first six A Nightmare on Elm Street films.)

The other people on the set wince, and the director, Wes Craven, encourages the effects specialists to pump more blood. Soon he yells, "Cut! Print that Gretchen!".

Heather Langenkamp, her husband Chase, and their son, Dylan then start wandering around the set of the new A Nightmare on Elm Street movie.

Presently the mechanical right hand, which was only a prop a minute ago, comes to life and starts maiming and killing the special effects crew.

Dylan gets on a bed that is apparently going to be featured in the movie.

As the mechanical right hand advances to attack Chase, Heather screams waking up in her own bed in her own house with Chase, during an earthquake in Los Angeles. Everything up to this point had been a dream.

After the earthquake dies down Chase has a couple of scratches, which are the very same as he had received in the dream. This causes Heather to wonder if they were sustained in the earthquake or during the dream. Heather reveals she has been receiving harassing phone calls from "someone who sounds an awful lot like Freddy", but they've stopped for the last couple weeks until now.

Heather is a guest on a morning talk show the very same day, where they discuss the 10th anniversary of the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" films. Also, as part of the talk show line-up, Robert Englund as himself tears through a screen dressed up as Freddy Krueger to surprise Heather, Heather is slightly disturbed by this.

After the show, producer Bob Shaye asks Heather to visit his office at New Line Cinema, and explains that Wes Craven is working on a script for the new and final A Nightmare on Elm Street film. Heather is asked to reprise her role as main character "Nancy", but decides against it with her own recent nightmares, disturbing phone calls, and disgruntlement over her son's change in behavior. Bob explains that her husband Chase Porter is also working on the film and he is creating a scary new glove for Freddy, much to Heather's dismay.

When she gets home, her son has an episode during which he warns her in a voice not of his own, "Never sleep again!".

Worried, Heather calls Chase at Cut to the Chase FX. A prop that looks like The Entity's right hand is on a counter. While there are similarities, it is clearly not the mechanical right hand seen at the beginning of the film. She asks him to come home and he agrees to. As he leaves, it is shown that the prop is no longer on the counter.

Heather reads Dylan Hansel and Gretel.



Chase is shown driving home. He repeatedly dozes off.


Heather wakes up. It is strongly implied that the previous scene was a nightmare that Heather was having and many people probably have and would take for granted that it was. However, this can be interpreted multiple ways.

Police inform Heather of Chase's death.

Heather goes to the morgue to identify the body.



it seems to her that there may have been more than meets the eye to the "crash", as was made apparent by the claw-like marks on his chest.


Heather leaves the morgue.

There is a funeral for Chase.

Heather and Dylan are back at their house.

Dylan, now also grief stricken, continues acting even more strangely.

Heather, Dylan, and John Saxon are at a park.

She enlists Wes Craven's help for making sense of what's been happening. Craven explains that he does not know much more than she does. He dreams a scene or two each night and wakes up and writes them down.

Craven goes on to tell her that in the script he's been writing, pure evil can be temporarily defeated if its essence is effectively captured in a work of art that is able to allow evil to express itself.

Craven explains that the evil has taken the form of Freddy Krueger because it is a familiar one. "Freddy" sees her as the gatekeeper who holds Freddy at bay, since Heather's character Nancy defeated Freddy in the first movie. To Freddy it is Heather that gave the character of Nancy her fortitude. Freddy is attacking her at her weakest points, trying to break her down before confronting her, prompting her to leave just as confused as when she arrived.

After a short sleep in Dylan's room, Heather wakes to discover Dylan is gone, she goes downstairs and finds Dylan in another episode. Heather finally takes Dylan to the hospital, there a doctor asks if Dylan said anything during his trance, Heather says "No" but the doctor later gets it out of her that Dylan has been doing Freddy-like actions and singing Freddy's theme. Later, Julie (Dylan's babysitter) shows up at the hospital and tells Heather she had a nightmare about him.

Heather leaves, intending to head home and return with Rex, Dylan's stuffed dinosaur, which Dylan describes to her as protecting him from a man that attacks him from beneath his bed cover. Soon after, two nurses want to sedate Dylan, but Julie has been instructed by Heather not to let Dylan fall asleep in her absence. Julie punches one nurse and threatens the other (played by Jessica Craven, the director's daughter) with a syringe. Julie locks the door to the room. Meanwhile, Heather is stopped by security guards before she can leave the hospital. Dylan's doctor questions her, intimating that Heather and Dylan both suffer from hereditary mental illness, and tries to get Heather to agree to foster care for Dylan while Heather receives treatment.

Dylan drifts into sleep. Freddy appears in the locked hospital room and attacks Julie, killing her. The nurses unlock the doors and discover the murder in progress, then flee. Heather returns to her son's bed, but Dylan has disappeared. Heather soon remembers that she had sought to comfort Dylan by telling him their home is right across the freeway from the hospital. She discovers Freddy, now a gigantic figure, dangling Dylan from his claws in the freeway's nighttime traffic. Heather arrives home in pursuit of Dylan, but reality begins to change around her.

Heather's identity seems to blend with that of Nancy, the character she once played in the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series. She now stands outside Nancy's house on the movies' fictional Elm Street. Freddy is shown rising from Dylan's bed. Heather runs inside—discovering the familiar interior of her own home inside Nancy's—and into Dylan's room, finding only the toy dinosaur, "Rex", that Dylan believed was protecting him from his attacker. Rex lies in tatters, viciously sliced open.

Heather, armed with a knife from her kitchen, consumes sleeping pills in an attempt to save Dylan. She enters a hot, steamy, water-logged and ruined dream-scape. Dylan finds Heather, only for Freddy to attack them both. Heather is incapacitated, and Dylan flees.

Freddy lures Dylan into a trap and attacks him again. Heather reaches her son and fights off Freddy, but Freddy's tongue extends, wrapping around her face. Dylan attacks the tongue with Heather's knife, freeing his mother. Together, the two lock Freddy in a furnace and light its fire with their tormentor inside. Freddy's visage is shown amidst a fiery blast. Dylan and Heather flee.

Mother and son arrive back home. Craven's now-completed script is there as well, waiting for them. Dylan asks his mother to read some of it to him, which she does: "We open on an old wooden bench. There's fire and tools, and a man's grimy hands building what's soon revealed as a gleaming set of claws. And the claws are moving now as if awakening from a long and unwanted sleep..."


Non-Fictional Characters[]

Fictional Characters[]


Box Office[]

New Nightmare failed to make a big impression at the box office as any of the previous six films—the United States take-in was only $18.6 million and became the lowest earning movie of the franchise; however, this amount was still over two times the budget. The film debuted at number 1 at the United Kingdom box office in early 1995.



Heather Langenkamp, a year before the theatrical debut of New Nightmare. (External source links: 1, 2)

On Rotten Tomatoes, 79% of critics gave the film a positive review (making it the second highest rated Elm Street film). Several critics have subsequently said that New Nightmare could be regarded as a prelude to the Scream series—both sets of films deal with the idea of bringing horror movies to "real life". While the Scream films appealed to huge audiences, New Nightmare has gathered a smaller, fan-led cult following.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave Wes Craven's New Nightmare three stars out of four and said "I haven't been exactly a fan of the Nightmare series, but I found this movie, with its unsettling questions about the effect of horror on those who create it, strangely intriguing." Kevin Sommerfield from the horror website Slasher Studios gave it four out of four stars and said "New Nightmare is that rare horror film in which everything works. The performances are pitch perfect, lead by a tour-de-force performance by the amazing Langenkamp. The script is full of twists and turns and the movie is quite possibly the best looking of the entire series."

Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman however gave Wes Craven's New Nightmare a negative review, stating "After a good, gory opening, in which Freddy's glove—newly designed with sinews and muscles—slashes the throat of the special-effects guy who's been working on it, the movie succumbs to a kind of sterile inertia. Wes Craven's New Nightmare isn't about Freddy haunting a film set, which actually might have been fun. It's about Heather Langenkamp, star of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, being menaced for two long, slow hours by earthquakes, cracks in the wall, and other weary portents of doom." Gleiberman described the film as "just an empty hall of mirrors" that "lacks the trance-like dread of the original" and the "ingeniously demented special effects" of Dream Warriors.


  • In the ending credits, Freddy Krueger is listed as playing himself.
  • The film features various people involved in the motion picture industry playing themselves, including actress Heather Langenkamp, who also reprises her role as Nancy Thompson. New Nightmare features several homages to the original film.
  • Wes Craven had wanted to ask Johnny Depp to appear in this film, but figured that Depp had grown beyond interest in acting in horror films, so he never worked up the courage to ask him. After the release of the film, Craven and Depp met up and Wes mentioned this to Depp. Depp responded that he wished Craven had asked because he would have loved to have been in the film.
  • Wes Craven's daughter, "Jessica Craven" played in this movie as the junior nurse.






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