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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3:
Dream Warriors
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chuck Russell
Produced by Robert Shaye
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on Characters 
by Wes Craven
Music by Angelo Badalamenti
Cinematography Roy H. Wagner
Edited by Terry Stokes
Chuck Weiss
Heron Communications
Smart Egg Pictures
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • February 27, 1987 (1987-02-27)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4.5 million
Box office $44.7 million (United States)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is a 1987 American slasher fantasy film and the third film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series. The film was directed by Chuck Russell, written by original creator Wes Craven and co-written by Bruce Wagner, and starred Craig Wasson, Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger and Patricia Arquette in her first role.[1] It is the sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge and is followed by A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
    • Music 3.1
  • Banned in Queensland, Australia 4
  • Reception 5
    • Box office 5.1
    • Critical reception 5.2
    • Accolades 5.3
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


One year after the events of the second film, Kristen Parker is scolded by her mother Elaine to go to bed after staying up all night making a papier-mâché house. Kristen objects but obeys her mother. As she dreams, she is stalked in her model, which is revealed to be 1428 Elm Street, the home of Nancy Thompson and Jesse Walsh. Running from him, she wakes up in her own bed again and realizes it was a dream. The stalker, who is revealed as Freddy Krueger, then appears to her when she goes to wash her face and proceeds to slash her wrists with his claws. Elaine walks in, and Freddy makes the attack appear as a suicide attempt and has her admitted to the hospital for help. Going into hysterics after an attempt to sedate her, Kristen is calmed when Nancy Thompson, a newly hired member of the hospital staff arrives and earns her trust by finishing Freddy's nursery rhyme.

Nancy is introduced to the rest of the ward; Philip, a skilled puppet maker; Kincaid, a tough kid with a short temper; aspiring actress Jennifer; former drug addict Taryn; Joey, who was so traumatized by his nightmares he refuses to speak; and Will, who is bound to a wheelchair after a failed suicide attempt. Nancy works closely with Neil Gordon, who is very invested and attached to the kids. After Kristen calls on a long-forgotten ability to bring Nancy into her dream, she is inspired that they need to work together to defeat Freddy, but their fears go unheard by the hospital staff. The following night, Philip is mistaken for sleepwalking when Freddy turns him into a living puppet and he is led up into the towers above the ward and sent falling to his death in front of the others, afterward, Jennifer is killed after Freddy possesses a TV and smashes her head into it. Neil begins to lose hope, but meets a nun named Mary Helena who warns him that the unquiet bones must be laid to rest. Nancy suggests using Hypnocil; an experimental drug designed to prevent dreaming, Neil refuses initially, but when Kincaid is sent to the quiet room for sedation he changes his mind.

Nancy lets the survivors in on Freddy's past, and through group hypnosis they enter a shared dream and discover their dream powers, but Joey is lured away and captured by Freddy, rendering his body comatose in the real world. These actions and the prescription of Hypnocil get Neil and Nancy fired by the administrator Dr. Carver. Mary Helena appears to Neil again and tells him of Freddy's origin; the bastard son of a hundred maniacs, whose mother was raped by lunatics when she was locked in the asylum for the holidays by accident. Realizing that his bones must be buried properly, Nancy and Neil approach her father Don Thompson who is the only man who would know where they were hidden. Nancy is called back to the hospital due to Kristen's outbreak that she was gone causing her to be sent to the quiet room, while Neil convinces Don to help him find Freddy's bones. She, Kincaid, Taryn and Will enter group hypnosis to unite with Kristen in the dream, but Freddy quickly separates them. He kills Taryn with a heroin overdose, and Will by cutting out his heart while the others reunite. They are led down to Joey and rescue him, but discover that the souls Freddy has collected have made him stronger. Sensing that his bones are being disturbed, Freddy leaves the dream world and possesses his skeleton. He kills Don and injures Neil before returning to the dream world. He tries to separate the group again, but Joey unlocks his dream power and shatters the mirrors Freddy was using, freeing the others from his grasp, and they believe the battle to be over. Don appears before Nancy and tells her he's crossed over, they embrace in their last goodbyes, but he turns into Freddy before stabbing and mortally wounding Nancy.

Neil awakens and finally buries Freddy's bones and consecrates the remains, destroying Freddy and saving Kristen. As Nancy dies in her arms, Kristen promises to send her off into a beautiful dream forever. At the funeral service, Neil sees Mary Helena again and rushes to meet her, but only discovers the gravestone of Amanda Krueger, who was also called Sister Mary Helena. That night, Neil sleeps peacefully in his bed with Nancy's Malaysian dream doll on his dresser along with the papier-mâché house, when suddenly the lights come on in the house.



Elm Street creator Wes Craven, who did not participate in the first sequel and did not want the first film to evolve into a franchise, had intended for this film to end the series, but its success prompted a continuation.

Craven's very first concept for this film was to have Freddy Krueger invade the "real" world, emerging to haunt the actors filming a new Elm Street sequel. New Line Cinema rejected this metacinematic idea at the time, but years later, Craven's concept was finally brought to the screen with Wes Craven's New Nightmare.

The "dream suppressant" drug Hypnocil which Neil researches is also featured and written into this film, yet more prominently figures in Freddy vs. Jason and is mentioned in Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash. The psychiatric hospital Westin Hills reappears in both A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child and Freddy vs. Jason.

In interviews with cast and crew in the DVD extras, it is revealed that the original idea for the film centered around the phenomenon of children traveling to a specific location to commit suicide, with dreams of Freddy Krueger eventually discovered to be a common link between the youths. Suicide, at the time, was a taboo social issue and this led to the abandonment of that storyline, though some aspects remained within the filmed version which still depicts suicide and self-mutilation, though they were deemed less controversial because these acts are committed with Freddy's distinct influence, inserting enough fantasy into the acts to remove it from the supposed controversial exploitation of disturbed youths in America.

In the original script by Wes Craven and Bruce Wagner the characters were somewhat different from what was eventually filmed. Nancy was not a dream expert nor any kind of mental health professional, Kristen stayed in the institution for only a while and had a father, Neil's last name was Guinness and he was much younger, Dr. Simm's last name was Maddalena, Taryn was African-American, Joey was the one who built the model of a house and had trouble getting around (although he did not use a wheelchair), and Philip was a thirteen-year-old. Will's name was originally Laredo, he had long hair, did not use a wheelchair, and was the one who made the clay puppets. This script also showed the ranch house where Krueger was born, and is the house that shows up in their dreams rather than the Elm Street house. Contrary to the film, Lt. Donald Thompson knows from the start that Krueger is real and still alive. He had been missing and Nancy was intent on finding him, she finds him and learns that he was obsessed with finding the Krueger house and burning it down. In the original script, there is a romance between Nancy and Neil and they eventually have sex. There are scenes and lines that are very reminiscent of the first film. There is no talk of Krueger's mother having been a nun or Freddy being "the bastard son of a hundred maniacs", and both Joey and Kincaid are killed. The deaths in this script were much more grotesque, with Krueger not as talkative and more vulgar. Freddy is killed by Nancy by using his own glove, not by holy water. In Jeffrey Cooper's novelization The Nightmares on Elm Street Parts 1, 2, 3: The Continuing Story (1987), the original Craven/Wagner version of the Nightmare 3 script is adapted, rather than the Russell/Darabont rewrite. Thus the book version of the story is fairly different from the finished film.


The theme song of the movie, "Dream Warriors", was written and performed by the American heavy metal band Dokken. The success of the single led to the following sequels to include a heavy metal song in its soundtrack.

In the original VHS release of the film, during the opening sequence, a hard rock instrumental version of the song "Quiet Cool" is playing. The original version of that song, performed by Joe Lamont, was written for the movie with the same name in 1986. When Dream Warriors was released on DVD, the song that was on the original theatrical release, "Into the Fire" by Dokken, was reinserted.

Banned in Queensland, Australia

In the Australian state of Queensland, Dream Warriors was banned by the then Bjelke-Petersen government due to its drug references, particularly the scene where Freddy's glove becomes a number of syringes as he injects Taryn with an amphetamine overdose. In 1990, the newly elected Goss government abolished the Queensland Film Board of Review. Consequently, Dream Warriors became available to Queenslanders through normal market channels rather than just through sympathetic video rental stores. The Australian public at the time thought the ban was absurd, as the film was not very graphic.


Box office

The film was released theatrically in the United States by New Line Cinema in February 1987. It opened in 1,343 theaters, grossing $8.9 million and debuting at number 1 during its opening weekend. It eventually made $44,793,222 at the domestic box office,[2] making it both the highest grossing film for the studio that year and the 24th highest grossing film of 1987.[3] It is the third highest grossing of the original Nightmare movies after Freddy vs. Jason and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.[4]

Critical reception

The critical reception of Dream Warriors was positive, especially when compared to the first sequel. It has an approval rating of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 34 professional reviews. It is usually considered one of the best Nightmare films but still received some negative reviews from critics because of the comedic themes present in the film; director Chuck Russell said in an interview he felt it needed to be taken down a different path, making Freddy fun to keep the audience entertained instead of being dark tone and scary over and over again.[5]

Many fans of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise rate this film as their favorite out of the series, specifically for its special effects, a new comedic tone for Freddy Krueger, the return of Nancy Thompson from the first film, the theme song of the same name by heavy metal band Dokken, celebrity cameos such as Dick Cavett and Zsa Zsa Gabor and Wes Craven returning as co-writer and executive producer. Both Robert Englund and Heather Langenkamp have even stated themselves that this film is the fans' favorite.


1988 Saturn Awards
Fantasporto Awards 1988
  • International Fantasy Film Award Best Film – Chuck Russell (Nomination)
  • Critics Awards: Special Mention – Chuck Russell (Won)

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors at the Internet Movie Database
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors at AllMovie
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors at Rotten Tomatoes
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors at Box Office Mojo
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors at Nightmare on Elm Street Companion
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