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Kristen Parker is a character from the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. She is a co-protagonist and final girl of the third film of the series A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and the false protagonist in the following film A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, and has appeared in various merchandise as well. She is played by actress Patricia Arquette in Dream Warriors and Tuesday Knight in The Dream Master. She is the central member of the 'Dream warriors', seven teens who have to learn to fight as a group in order to survive their spectral tormentor, and has the ability to bring others into her dreams as well as being an Olympic-level acrobat in her dreams.

Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) first appears in Dream Warriors in its opening scene in a nightmare, where a terrible, disfigured man is relentlessly stalking and tormenting her, ultimately making her appear to slit her wrists as a suicide attempt in real life, which forces her mother Elaine to commit her to Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital. This leads to Kristen joining up with Phillip Anderson, Joey Crusel, Roland Kincaid, Will Stanton, Jennifer Caulfield and Taryn White, who have all had the same experiences with a terrible "boogeyman" in their dreams. The conservative Dr. Elizabeth Simms refuses to acknowledge any supernatural elements in their afflictions, instead insisting that the common element of a bogeyman in their dreams is the result of mass hysteria and "the by-products of guilt". A new staff member is introduced to the teenagers – Nancy Thompson from the original Elm Street film. When her tormentor attempts to kill her in another nightmare in the form of a giant grotesque snake, a terrified Kristen desperately pulls Nancy, the only staff member she truly trusts, into the dream world, and Nancy's unexpected appearance and attack distracts the monster long enough for the two to escape. After Phil and Jennifer dies in their sleep, in what appears to be accidents or suicide, Nancy explains to the five remaining patients and Dr. Neil Gordon that the identity of the bogeyman is Freddy Krueger, a serial child killer whom their parents, including Nancy's, lynched and burned to death years ago, and his undead spirit is now after their children in their nightmares as revenge.

Nancy concludes that Kristen has the ability to draw others into her dreams and that her gifts could be used to beat Krueger. After an unauthorized group hypnosis causes Joey to be captured by Krueger and rendered comatose, Nancy and Dr. Gordon are fired, which causes Kristen to go ballistic and consequently be sedated and sent to the quiet room for her outburst. While Neil and Nancy's father Donald go on a mission to give Krueger's remains a proper burial in reality, Nancy is granted one final meeting with the teenagers, and using group hypnosis they enter the dream world just as Kristen succumbs to the sedation. Taryn and Will are both killed by Krueger, while Nancy, Kristen and Roland succeeds in rescuing Joey and later seemingly defeats Krueger, but as Kristen watches in horror, he one-ups them by appearing to and fatally stabbing Nancy in the guise of her father, whom unknown to Nancy he had killed in real life while the 'dream warriors' were busy in the dream world. Neil succeeds in sprinkling Krueger's bones with holy water and he is seemingly vanquished in the dream world before he can murder Kristen as well. In tears, Kristen promises to send the dying Nancy into a "beautiful dream", and some time after, Kristen, Neil, Roland and Joey attends Nancy's funeral.

By the time of The Dream Master, Kristen (Tuesday Knight) has returned to a seemingly normal life but experiences ominous, foreboding dreams that seem to constantly hint that Freddy Krueger is still around, although he does not directly show himself to her. In the sequel she has become a compulsive smoker in order to sooth herself. She is now romantically involved with classmate Rick Johnson and has also befriended his sister Alice, alongside with Sheila Kopecky and Debbie Stevens. Kristen's nocturnal anguish and paranoia causes her to repeatedly draw in fellow surviving dream warriors Roland Kincaid and Joey Crusel into her dreams on instinct whenever she feels threatened, a habit they both berate her for. However, Kristen's worst fears prove to be true as Krueger resurrects himself in Kincaid's dream and murders him during a night when Kristen keeps herself awake and thus incapable of coming to his aid; he then murders Joey as well, and the following morning Kristen talks about her fears to Alice, who recommend her to take control of her dreams and "think of someplace fun". Kristen panics when she notices that Joey and Kincaid are both missing from their seats in class and realizes what has happened – in the turmoil she is knocked unconscious and then dreams that the school nurse attending to her is Krueger, but is woken up by the real nurse before he can kill her.

Now resigned to her inevitable doom, Kristen finally tells Alice, Rick and his friend Dan Jordan about Freddy Krueger at the former Thompson/Walsh house at 1428 Elm Street, now a decaying haunted house. They are interrupted by Kristen's mother Elaine, who calls her daughter home. There they have dinner together, but Kristen realizes that her mother had put sleeping pills into her milk in a misguided attempt to help her. Kristen desperately tries to call Alice, but falls asleep. Kristen manages to dream herself into her "beautiful dream", a placid tropical beach, but Krueger interrupts and corrupts the dream into another nightmare. Relentlessly taunted by Krueger in his labyrinthine 1428/factory amalgamation, Kristen calls for Alice in panic, drawing her into Kristen's dream. Tearfully, Kristen tries to wake her up and apologizes, but as Kristen defiantly tries to shield Alice from Krueger, Alice watches in horror as he throws Kristen into his boiler, burning her alive, but before she dies, she gives her powers to Alice, though it passes through Krueger first, who then takes Kristen's soul. At the Parker's house, Alice, Rick and Elaine watches helplessly as Kristen's body roasts away, seemingly a bed-smoking accident in real life. Alice realizes afterwards that she has absorbed much of Kristen's personal traits as well, feeling an unexpected urge to smoke as Kristen did. Freddy later shows taunting visions of Kristen to Alice and Rick in their dreams, but her soul and many others are set free from Freddy's oppression by Alice when she defeats him.

Likely due to the transitional nature of Kristen's character arc in regards to Nancy and Alice, Kristen has not appeared as an active part of expanded universe storylines like those two, but was mentioned and shown in flashbacks or cameos in the Nightmares on Elm Street and the non-canonical Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors comic book miniseries, and is mentioned by Elaine in the unfinished A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Beginning miniseries. In Nightmares on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger's Seven Sweetest Dreams, Kristen wishing Nancy into a "beautiful dream" did send her into the good side of the dream world, independent of Freddy in his nightmare realm, which made Nancy strong enough to oppose him.

In the short story Le Morte De Freddy in the anthology book The Nightmares on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger's Seven Sweetest Dreams, Alice sent a letter to Neil Gordon after the events of The Dream Master, revealing that Freddy had murdered Kristen, Joey and Kincaid, but is convinced that she took care of Freddy. Freddy himself refers to Nancy, Alice and Kristen when accusing them of hating their parents.

The iconic scene of the Freddy-snake devouring Kristen appears in one issue of the MAD magazine; in one panel, he does swallow her whole but gets a heartburn from doing so. There is also a panel of Kristen expressing disgust over the undead pig she saw in her nightmare. A single frame depiction of the "snake scene" is also briefly shown in another issue.

Kristen Parker is a playable character in the Commodore 64 and MS-DOS game A Nightmare on Elm Street, not to be confused with the unrelated NES game by the same name. Independently of each other, both games are based upon the Dream Warriors film and concept. In the C64 game, Kristen character's unique ability is the 'power kick'. Patricia Arquette as Kristen appears as the "main character" in the music video for Dokken's song "Dream Warriors" (1987), in which a haunted Kristen must summon the band in order to enlist their help in fighting Freddy Krueger. Clips of Tuesday Knight as Kristen from The Dream Master was also shown in the music video for Vinnie Vincent Invasion's "Love Kills" (1988) from All Systems Go, which is also in the soundtrack for the film.

The scene of Kristen being swallowed by the Freddy-snake in Dream Warriors was featured at the Freddy vs. Jason section at Halloween Horror Nights #25 in 2015. Kristen Parker has been featured in one action figure, in the series Cinema of Fear #1 from Mezco Toys, also depicting the aforementioned scene.

Roy H. Wagner, the cinematographer for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, re-created scenes featuring Kristen from his film in 2019 while using only an iPhone 11 Pro for the production; in this re-creation Kristen is played by actress Taylor Kalupa. iJustine also got a shot at playing Kristen as a stand-in in her own behind-the-scenes feature of Wagner's project.

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