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Examining the original Dream Warriors

Before we got the Chuck Russell helmed Dream Warriors, the third chapter in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, the original master Wes Craven penned an original treatment alongside Bruce Wagner.

Both Craven and Wagner got writing credits on the finished film alongside Russell and Frank Darabont.

Having said this, the original Dream Warriors was a very different film.

Here are some of the differences in the original story –

  • Kirsten’s parents are revealed to be together at the start of the story, with her dad described in a similar class bracket to her mother, sporting a tennis kit as Kirsten’s first attack manifests.
  • Instead of being called Will, Ira Heiden’s character ‘The Wizard Master’ is called Larudo but showcases pretty much the same characteristics as in the film
  • Philip, although still used as a puppet by Freddy, is actually killed by being thrown in front of a moving vehicle instead of being thrown from the clock tower at Westin Hills.
  • The dream powers of the Dream Warriors are different, Kincaid can fly, Taryn can breathe fire, Joey is super strong and Jennifer can become invisible
  • Nancy when talking to Neil, mentions her father disappeared after the death of her mother in the original film. Don Thompson never does re-appear in the remainder of the story.
  • Jennifer’s death plays out similar to the film, although Freddy’s ‘Welcome to Prime Time B*tch’ narrative, is omitted – we know this was adlibbed by Robert Englund on-set
  • Nancy instead of Neil goes in search of answers about Westin Hills and finds out about something called Hathaway House, which was a facility for mentally ill women where a certain person was admitted and then transferred to Westin Hills. Here the woman was raped countless times and gave birth before burning to death after giving birth – of course, this is Amanda Krueger.
  • Nancy also goes on a dream mission to steal Freddy’s glove, but this is how Joey is captured by Krueger, with Freddy’s tongues wrapping around his skull and popping his eyes out before tying him to the bed
  • Nancy has a daydream in her apartment where the dead Joey and Taryn beg for her help to prevent further teen deaths. This sounds like a callback to the hallway scene with Tina in the original Nightmare
  • Taryn’s death is completely different, as Freddy becomes a manifestation of her grandmother, before slashing her across the face.
  • Larudo’s death is more outlandish as he comes a dragon to try to defeat Freddy, who turns into a crow before he is killed by his newly animated sword, stabbing him dead.
  • Sadly, Kincaid doesn’t make it out either, as he is sawn in half by Freddy whilst trying to escape the dreamworld.
  • Instead of being her father, Nancy is tricked by Freddy disguised as Neil (who has also become a Dream Warrior) who stabs her as she stabs him with the glove she stole previously from him.
  • Nancy is still killed off but in the finale, Neil meets Kirsten, who has gone to live in New York and is starting over after the nightmare. Neil uses Kirsten’s power to visit Nancy who has become an anti-Freddy who he can visit in the dream world.

While there are some interesting concepts here, the movie version feels a bit more solid, although Krueger is much more visceral and less wise-cracking than the finished Dream Warriors. Also, the more evolved story of Amanda Krueger works better as Sister Mary Helena in the film, adding a chilling mythos, and the ultimate corruption (the violation of a nun) to the Krueger mythos.

If you’d like to read this version of the story, you can pick up The Nightmares on Elm Street: The Continuing Story Parts 1,2, 3 by Jeffrey Cooper.

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