Is Nightmare on Elm Street Dream Warriors Based on Dungeons and Dragons?

Scary Movies and Series

Dungeons and Dragons and Nightmare on Elm Street [Horror Movie Trivia]

The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise relies heavily on the underlying beliefs that supernatural powers are possible.  Without belief in the supernatural, Freddy is literally powerless.  Besides, what isn’t supernatural about an immoral slasher who kills from within your nightmares?  With Freddy’s increasing popularity, writers were probably under a lot of stress to produce a creative story line.  Dungeons and Dragons, commonly known as “D&D”, was a tabletop game that gave people a way to roleplay a fictional character, such as a ninja, a wizard or a knight. D&D was a big deal in the eighties, so it only makes sense it would work its way into a movie or two. 

Do They Use D&D to Defeat Freddy Krueger in the Dream Warriors Sequel?

Dungeons and Dragons is about the use of character abilities, talents that are unique to a certain class, to defeat enemies and advance throughout the dungeon.  There is almost always a supreme monster or ‘boss’ at the end of a dungeon or series of dungeons.  Drawing a parallel to the Nightmare on Elm Street  movies, the boss would be Freddy Krueger. The script of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) gives each of the main protagonists an “ability” which is unique to their character.  The abilities may only be available in their dreams, but that’s exactly where they are needed, for that’s where they’re haunted!  Here are some of the characters and their respective abilities.

  • Kristen may be an ordinary, troubled girl in real life, but she has a powerful ability when she is sleeping. Kristen is able to pull other people into her dream. This ultimately (at the cost of a few lives), helps the entire team defeat Freddy (working together as a “party” is normally an important facet of victory in D&D).  Her class would likely be “paladin,” being able to use some good magic but also possessing some agility.
  • Kincaid may love chilling with his dog in the real world, but when he falls asleep…he is super strong. Very similar to the warrior class in D&D.
  • Taryn is a lot like a Ninja. She is decked out in 80s style grunge leather, looks pretty cool and can do some high flying karate.  She also has blades, making her a dangerous adversary in the dream world.
  • Will is probably the coolest of them all. He is a wheelchair-bound paraplegic who is actually into D&D in the real world…but becomes a magic-wielding wizard in the dream world.

The characters all have their unique abilities which can be used to help defeat Freddy.  Just like a party in D&D, the characters have to work together to successfully take him on, and kick his butt back to hell!

Final Notes: D&D in Nightmare on Elm Street

Whether it was Wes Craven or suspected D&D enthusiast Frank Darabont who suggested and eventually implemented Dungeons and Dragons into the script itself…the movie is a masterpiece as it stands.  A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) may or may not be based upon Dungeons and Dragons, but it is most certainly resonating with a strong D&D vibe.  Watching it today, is like sitting in on an old D&D adventure from back in the day!

Fun Fact: Did you know that Ira Heiden (who played wheel-chair bound Will) was a real life Dungeon Master? His real life skills of providing players a Dungeon Master in Dungeons and Dragons, made him an excellent fit for his role as a DM in one scene, as well as his role as a wizard in the nightmare world.


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