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), which is strange, considering that this movie was released by New Line Cinema, and Predator 2 (1990) was released by 20th Century Fox.
(At around six minutes) 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 make-up, 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 one of the deranged Westin Hills patients, who's portrayed by 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).
The laughter heard at the end, right before the credits roll, is a clip of Vincent Price laughing at the end of Michael Jackson's song, "Thriller". Price's laughter is sampled at the beginning of Kool Moe Dee's song, "Let's Go", which is played during the film's end credits.
If you were A Nightmare on Elm Street fan looking at that poster in 1988 and 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 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...
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 well being on her mind. The crew decided to build off of this, because they felt that teenagers and twenty 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 franchise 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, into which he could fit, but the lights they had to place inside the carriage almost caused his arm to catch on fire.
Executive Producer Sara Risher's original pitch to New Line Cinema for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), was for Freddy to have a baby. Risher states, "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, Producer Robert Shaye is quoted as saying: "She was a victim of the evil within us all. I hope she will know peace in the life hereafter."
When Mark is lying 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".
(At around forty-nine minutes) 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 franchise since the beginning in various capacities, most notably in directing Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991).
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).
Before the script was written, author Stephen King was approached to write the screenplay for this film but declined. Ironically, this film is heavily referenced in It (2017), an adaptation based off of one of King's well known novels.
Mark along with Dan and Debbie Stevens from the Dream Master (1988) are the only characters to not be human while being killed by Freddy, Mark was turned into paper, Dan was a skeleton-looking cyborg fused with a motorcycle, and Debbie was a cockroach.
The comic book Mark reads depicts Dan Jordan's death as well as several others. Also, right before being sucked into the comic it depicts Mark reading the comic book in the final panel this could suggest this comic was actually created by Freddy since it depicts the deaths exactly as they were in the movies.
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.
During the scene where Alice impales Freddy with the tail end of a pool skimmer, she can be heard screaming, "Why don't you just shut up!" This line shows up in the original draft of the script. However, it is said that the line was supposed to be, "Where is she?!" Interestingly, during the opening montage in Freddy vs. Jason (2003), the line was changed to, "Die, motherfucker!"
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 a few seconds are several 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.
During the scene where Alice confronts Freddy in a dream in which he has Yvonne hostage, Alice shoves the tail end of a pool skimmer into Freddy's mouth. In It (2017), during the fight scene between The Losers Club and Pennywise at the climax, Pennywise momentarily morphs into Beverly's father, to which Beverly responded by shoving a length of re-bar into his mouth. This film had been referenced in the film as being one of the films that's advertised at the Derry movie theater.
The shots that linger on one particular Westin Hills patient, portrayed by Robert Englund, wandering around with the other patients as well as the scene where the he attacks Alice in her bed as she wakes up has some significance. It's implied that the patient is possibly Freddy Krueger's biological father.