(at around 49 mins) On the door to Dr. Moore's office, just below his name, the name "Dr. Talalay" can be seen. This is a reference to Rachel Talalay, who had been involved with the series since the beginning in various capacities, most notably in directing Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991).
Stephen Hopkins was given just four weeks to shoot and a further four weeks to edit the film. This meant that he had to shoot on one stage while the crew dressed the other, so they could shoot almost continually. After he made it, the studio was so impressed that he was given the task of directing Predator 2 (1990).
(at around 6 mins) During the sequence in which the nun (Amanda) is raped by the criminally insane, Robert Englund is wandering around in the background without his Freddy makeup - including one shot in which the camera lingers on him for a few seconds.
When Alice wakes up from her nightmare in the asylum, and Robert Englund appears beside her in bed and pins her down, originally he said, "There's no such thing as safe sex." The line was excised from the film.
According to director Stephen Hopkins, they "got lots of tarantulas, hand-painted them green and red, and on the floor of the stage placed a little wall up in the shape of an arm and had trainers come in and around the tarantulas." The plan was to simply drop the wall and film the resulting scattering of the spiders. However, after they got the shot they were left with a studio full of around 200 angry tarantulas. Hopkins figures, "We probably carried on shooting on another set, I'm sure. I don't think anyone ever found them again." As far as the director knows, those spiders roamed freely through the studio and escaped into the free world, or maybe it was just somebody's else job to ensure the tarantulas were all accounted for.
The graduation sequence was cut down significantly to speed up the pacing of the film. As a result, there are several continuity errors. Among the cut footage was Dan's graduation speech, dialogue between Greta and Racine, a rap between Yvonne, Alice, and Greta, additional dialogue about parents and future plans, and a scene in which Alice's father gives her a camera she had been saving up for as a graduation present before she went to Paris (if you watch closely, you can see Alice hand her father a camera before they go to take the group picture).
In the documentary, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010) (V), director Stephen Hopkins admitted he thought Mark's death scene was silly, but being a comic book nerd, he just had to put it in there.
When Mark is laying on the floor looking through comic books he picks up the one titled "Nightmares From Hell." In the upper left corner there is KC in capital letters above the 50¢ price indicator. This could stand for "Krueger Comics."
The famous song is changed. Original: One, two, Freddy's coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. Nine, ten, never sleep again. Edited: One, two, Freddy's coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, better stay awake. Nine, ten, he's back again...
If you were a Nightmare on Elm Street fan looking at that poster in 1988/1989 you were probably curious what the heck "Dream Child" meant, and what was going on with the fetus in the crystal ball in Freddy's glove. Well, the people making the film thought the same thing, too. That poster came out before they actually had a clear idea what the movie was going to be about beyond its premise and title.
The idea of focusing the story around children and birth was hatched by Executive Producer Sara Risher, who was a new mother at the time and constantly had her child and its wellbeing in her mind. The crew decided to build off this because they felt that teenagers and 20 somethings who were fans of the original film were beginning to reach the age where they were likely thinking about settling down and having families. This, incorporating elements of family and birth into the film would keep the series relevant and special for fans of earlier entries.
Freddy was played by the screenwriter for the teaser trailer. David J. Schow, one of the Dream Child script re-write wizards, actually got to be in the film. That's Schow's hand in the Freddy glove at the end. The baby carriage was a big prop which he could fit into, but the lights they had to place inside the carriage almost caused his arm to catch on fire.
Executive Producer, Sara Richer's original pitch to New Line for Nightmare 3 was for Freddy to have a baby. "I went in, one of the executives was pregnant at the time, and I said, 'Picture Freddy clawing his way out of the womb.' No one liked my idea. So then I got a call for Nightmare 5 and when they came to me they said, 'Remember when you wanted Freddy to have a baby? Well, we like that idea now. What if Alice was the mom?'"
When Alice and Mark look through the pile of newspapers, for a moment, the camera is set on an article regarding Amanda Krueger's death. In this article, Robert Shaye (Producer) is quoted as he says: "She was a victim of the evil within us all. I hope she will know peace in the life hereafter".
The film was rushed into production, appearing in theaters almost exactly one year after the previous film. As a result, director Stephen Hopkins was perpetually rushed during filming and given extremely tight deadlines to meet, just four weeks to shoot and a further four weeks to edit the film. This meant that he had to shoot on one stage while the crew dressed the other, so they could shoot almost continually. The studio executives were so impressed by his ability to handle pressure, that he was immediately offered the chance to direct Predator 2 (1990).
According to Leslie Bohem, "I wrote a draft that was basically Alice was in a theater group, and they were doing Medea." Thanks to Tyler Perry we now have to pause and clarify that Bohem is not referring to Madea, a story about a black man playing a fiery old black grandma, but instead most likely the ancient Greek tragic play Medea, about a woman who takes revenge on a husband for stepping out on her. Now, back to Bohem's quote, "It was very, very weird. There was a play, and then there were the dreams. I finished, and they went, 'Yeaaaah, we have this other idea.
1989 marks the only year entries from the three biggest slasher franchises of the decade (Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween) were released in the same year; Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), and Halloween 5 (1989).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
All death sequences were cut down significantly in order to avoid an X-rating. Dan's original motorcycle death was longer and contained much more gore. Many sequences showing Dan's face racked in pain were cut, along with his screams and Freddy's laughter. Scenes which are seen on screen for only seconds are minutes long on film. The entire sequence is much longer, and the timing of Freddy's quips are different. Greta's dinner scene was also edited. Originally, Freddy filleted the Greta-doll with the claw-glove causing it to spurt blood everywhere and then force-fed her its innards. Shots of the guests laughing were cut. Also, after Freddy said, "You are what you eat," she looked down and realized he had gutted her and was feeding her mush from her own stomach. This explains why the Greta-doll in Mark's dream is bleeding from its torso. Finally, Mark's demise is also cut. As Freddy shreds the paper in the unrated release, his face is animated and shows him screaming along to his cries of pain until Freddy cuts his paper head off. All three scenes can be viewed unedited in the original unrated VHS release.