A sixteen-year-old Jacob Johnson, the son that was born to Alice Johnson in the previous installment, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), was a major character in the original script written for the movie by Michael Almereyda. In this first draft of the film, Alice, now in her thirties, was killed by Freddy. Taryn, Joey, and Kincaid from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) also returned as the "Dream Police". In the script, Taryn was the "Blade Cop", Joey was the "Sound Cop", and Kincaid was the "Power Cop". Director Rachel Talalay has stated that she greatly disliked the original script, and that the replacement script by Michael De Luca "saved the day". De Luca also said that he was surprised he wasn't asked to write the screenplay in the first place, since he had done a similar last-minute re-write on A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989).
Peter Jackson's original screenplay for Freddy's Dead saw Freddy aging and growing weak within the dream world. The teens of Springwood would have drug-fuelled slumber parties for kicks, and enter the dream world to beat him up.
John Doe was supposed to be Jacob from the previous film. When they could not secure the return of Lisa Wilcox (who played Alice), this was made vague. Earlier versions of the script, had Freddy level up by absorbing the entire town of Springwood into the Dream World before moving onto the next town, with the Dream Police chasing after him.
When shown theatrically audience members were given one pair of red cardboard 3-D glasses with movie taglines printed on it. The inside arms had adhesives for attaching to standard glasses. There was also an advertisement for House Party 2 (1991) printed on the outside of one arm.
(At around fifty-seven minutes) When Maggie goes to speak with her mother, she enters the house, screams "Mother!" and slams the door behind her. This is exactly the same as when Nancy comes home to see that her mother has placed bars over all the windows of their house in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
In the last portion of the movie, from the point at which Maggie puts on the special glasses, to the time at which she takes them off, was originally filmed entirely in 3-D. The effect was removed for most home video releases, but the UK rental version included the 3-D effect in its entirety, with five pairs of anagylphic Red/Blue 3-D glasses (similar to the ones in cinemas, but without the advertising) inside the box. The UK retail version was the standard 2-D version, and the cover artwork differed slightly from the rental one.
One of the writers, Rachel Talalay, got really sick toward the end of the filming schedule, and being a low-budget movie, they couldn't delay production to wait for her recovery. So, according to Shon Greenblatt, "Aron Warner actually directed the last several hours of the filming of the movie," including the final scene between Freddy and John Doe.
Although this movie is the final installment of the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" films. Robert Englund would return as the iconic horror antagonist again for New Nightmare (1994), and he would play the role one last time in Freddy vs. Jason (2003).
Ricky Dean Logan, the actor who played Carlos, was originally cast as John Doe. The role of Carlos simply spoke to him more, and that was the one, for which he lobbied, even though that's not who they had brought him to play. Shon Greenblatt then got the part of John Doe.
When released to home video, the 3-D sequence was shown in standard format, excluding the UK rental version. However, the LaserDisc version had the full 3-D sequence, along with the regular version. Two pairs of 3-D glasses were included with the disc. The glasses were similar to the ones given out in theaters, minus the advertisements, adhesives, and taglines. They were also printed on a thinner cardstock. This was the only way to view the 3-D sequence prior to the DVD release in the U.S.
(At around twenty-eight minutes) During the scene at Springwood High School, several newspaper clippings, and other references to Freddy victims appear. Also, written on the chalkboard, is "1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki attempts fail".
According to Alice Cooper in Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010), he stated that he gets asked to be in films all the time but they always want him in make-up as his onstage persona. He agreed to be in this film not only because he was a fan of the franchise, but also if he could play his character as Freddy's father as himself without his usual Alice Cooper look.
Executive Meddling: A rare after-the-fact example. When the movie was in U.S. theaters in 1991, it ran one hundred minutes, featuring many character moments and introductions (Maggie's foster mother doesn't just randomly show up near the end of the movie). However, for whatever reasons, New Line Cinema cut the movie down to 88 minutes for all home video releases, which unfortunately is all that has been available to this day. The German version of the movie, while cut down from the one hundred minute version, also featured many of the scenes removed from the home video version.
Said to take place "Ten years from now". The official "A Nightmare on Elm Street" website's timeline opted for 1999 in place of 2001, despite the release date of the film in 1991, taking ten years from now to refer to the conclusion of A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989). This actually impacts the placement of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), since Freddy Krueger's claw emerged from the portal to Hell at the end of that film to seize Jason's hockey mask. This indicates that the defeat of Freddy in his film preceded the events of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993).
John Doe comes to think he may be Freddy's son. As noted earlier, this film takes place ten years in the future, circa 1999. The "A Nightmare on Elm Street" official website's time line notes that Freddy Krueger's death at the hands of the Springwood parents, took place in 1968 (based on the fact that in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), Freddy's mother is said to have died soon after Freddy's trial). This film notes that Freddy's child was taken away from him in 1966 (see the chalkboard scene at Springwood High School). Therefore, John Doe would have to be in his thirties to be Freddy's son, which he obviously was not.
Although the original script with Jacob Johnson as the leading character was scrapped , there are a few key elements which were retained. The most notable, was that Jacob was killed two thirds into the film, leaving his girlfriend to take the reins, a shocking plot twist which would throw off the audience. This was adapted into the final script, with John Doe's psychiatrist becoming the "final girl" after his unexpected demise.