Patricia Arquette's Nightmare On Elm Street Role Explained

Patricia Arquette in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3

Patricia Arquette’s film debut was in A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, in a role that was as important as Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy Thompson. Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street was released in 1984 and quickly became a franchise with a total of nine films (so far), including a crossover with Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees and a remake in 2010. The franchise focuses on slasher Freddy Krueger, a child killer who was burned alive by the parents of his victims and returned from the grave to terrorize (and kill) teenagers in their dreams.

Like any other film series, some titles have been better received than others, and the Nightmare on Elm Street film that has been regarded by many as the best of the franchise is A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. This film had Heather Langenkamp back as Nancy Thompson, who was joined by newcomers Ira Heiden (Will), Penelope Sudrow (Jennifer), Bradley Gregg (Phillip), Ken Sagoes (Kincaid), Jennifer Rubin (Taryn), Rodney Eastman (Joey), and Patricia Arquette (Kristen). These characters joined forces to stop Freddy Krueger from killing them, but Arquette’s character was key in the story as she had a special power.

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Related: A Nightmare On Elm Street: The True Story That Inspired Freddy Krueger

Kristen Parker was sent to Westin Hills Hospital after Freddy Krueger tormented her in a dream, slitting her wrists and making it look like a suicide attempt. At the hospital she met Nancy, the new intern therapist. When Freddy attempted to kill Kristen again in another nightmare, she pulled Nancy into the dream, and her presence distracted Freddy long enough for both girls to escape. It was then revealed that Kristen had the ability to draw others into her dreams, and they used this to their advantage, as it could help them defeat Freddy once and for all. After a group hypnosis/shared dream session went wrong, leaving Joey comatose in the real world, Nancy and Dr. Neil were fired, but when they learned that Kristen was about to be sedated, Nancy went back to the hospital for one more group session so Kristen could pull them into the dream to kill Freddy. Nancy was fatally wounded by Freddy and died in Kristen’s arms.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors

Kristen came back in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, although not played by Patricia Arquette. She was replaced by Tuesday Knight, and Kristen had a bigger role in The Dream Master, still using her ability to draw people into her dreams. Kristen died in a dream when Freddy threw her into the boiler, burning her alive, and making it look like a bed-smoking accident in the real world, as Kristen became a compulsive smoker as a coping method after the events in Dream Warriors. Before she died, she passed her powers on to Alice (her boyfriend’s sister), who she pulled into her dream - although it passed through Freddy first.

Patricia Arquette made the character known, and Tuesday Knight carried on Kristen Parker's legacy. Kristen’s ability, although dangerous at times as she could pull people into her dreams against their will, was key in defeating Freddy Krueger - even though he he always found a way to come back. She’s one of the most beloved and well-remembered characters from the franchise, and key in what many consider the best A Nightmare on Elm Street film.

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