A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) — Script
Screenwriter Wesley Strick wrote the initial draft for Platinum Dunes’ re-imagining of the horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street. Feeling that the script still needed work, Platinum Dunes approached screenwriter Eric Heisserer to refine Strick’s draft. Available here is Heisserer’s draft from January 14, 2009, in PDF format.
“What elevated [the premise] so much and kept it around was the creation of a villain that you can’t run from,” said Heisserer of Nightmare’s longevity. “So many of the other horror movies or franchises gave you something that was completely ground in reality, where as long as you had your own legs and a good pair of shoes you could haul ass. With Freddy Krueger, it was trying to stave off the inevitable. Sooner or later you have to face your nightmares.”
Heisserer went back to basics to redevelop the Freddy Krueger character. “I looked at him as a mystery first, to try and figure out where he came from,” Heisserer explained. “I found that Freddy had very little in the way of a background and a mythology to him. We knew that the parents had killed him and his return to the nightmare was vengeance for that. And instead of going after the parents, he goes after their children.”
By finding symbolism in Freddy’s appearance, Heisserer found the key he needed to redefine the horror icon. “What I looked at when I was recreating Freddy Krueger,” continued Heisserer, “was all of the things we knew about him on the surface and tried to find a deeper mythology or deeper reason for what made him so iconic: Why the fedora? Why the sweater? Why the glove? In placing him as a caretaker at a preschool, as a gardener, I began to find deviations that made sense to me. I applied some base logic to why he became the character he is now. The gardening hand-claws he used landscaping the preschool suddenly turned into the glove. The sweater actually came from the mythology of the Pied Piper—the term “pied” meant stripes of contrasting colors. Finding that allowed us to see some more mythology in the sweater itself; by saying, ‘Here he is, he has come back for your children.’ All of that tied together and we realized we made sense of this [character].” (“Freddy Krueger Reborn”)
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Script by Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer
Kris steps out onto the balcony to find Dean standing precariously on the ledge. His breathing is shallow; panicked.
Dean, what, what are you doing? Hello? Oh god are you asleep?
Dean suddenly stops breathing and FOUR parallel slashes RIP through Dean’s shirt, as if by an invisible bladed weapon.
His eyes snap open and he stares right at Kris, half whispering a warning as his last words:
He’s back —
He falls backward off the ledge —
INT. ATRIUM BELOW – CONTINUOUS ACTION
— smashing through GLASS into a sun room where other teens are sleeping. His body shatters a glass-top coffee table, sending shards and blood in all directions as the other kids are awakened, spattered in Dean’s blood.
THE CHILDREN’S SECTION. Little chairs and tables. Under one table, a SWARM of rats converge, and on that table rests one book. A children’s book. THE PIED PIPER.
Quentin sees the title, and as Freddy’s gloved HAND reaches and grabs him — Quentin SNAPS AWAKE back in the reference section. Nancy stands before him, having gently grabbed him.
…Yeah. I can’t explain —
The name stops Quentin cold. Beat.
We need to talk.
We need coffee.
INT. BOILER ROOM – MOMENTS LATER
Nancy moves down the stairs into the slightly off-kilter boiler room: Like the real one except the colors are off, and the furnishings look like they did ten years ago. Spiders scurry past her feet. She backs up to the steps. From here she can see Quentin in the chair. A handful of spiders still crawl on his corpse. Nancy recoils, then steels herself.
It’s not real.
Poor Quentin. Must have been tired.
Nancy cautiously steps toward Quentin.
This is my nightmare. He’s not dead.
Freddy is somewhere in the darkness of the boiler room, behind the pipes, around a corner… somewhere.
Oh, were you relying on your boyfriend to wake you up?
Nancy, in tears, finally accepting that Freddy got to him.
You son of a bitch!
Freddy is suddenly right behind her, grabbing her and pulling her close — hoarsely flirting into her ear:
I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy.