Slasher films have a long record of milking a franchise until the mil runs dry. This is an excellent tactic for some people because every now and then, a series of movies will produce some fantastic sequels, even if some are bombs. Nightmare on Elm Street is no different than the rest. Some of the films are terrific, while others, although entertaining, fall short of the rest. To write out a complete list of Nightmare on Elm Street movies, I sat down and re-watched all of them in a matter of a few days. I wanted to give each film their due respect and honor because, after all, though he didn’t work on each film, Wes Craven is their father, and he deserves it! I love slasher films. I think because most of them, Elm Street included, do this strange magic where they blend campy moments with authentic moments of terror. Among my favorite films, of course, are the Elm Street movies. After hours of Freddy terrorizing my screen, a few weird dreams, and lots of laughs, here is my ranking from worst to best.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
When a pregnant Alice begins to be tormented by Freddy, she quickly learns that Kruger is using her unborn child in an attempt to be reborn. This is still a fun movie to watch and some classic practical effect moments. However, when it comes down to it, a lot is going on in this film that causes it to derail often, and that’s saying a lot for an Elm Street film.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
A new family moves into the Thompson house on Elm Street, and this time Freddy is ready to take control of the teen boy living in Nancy’s old room. The strange direction some of the characters take in this film lands it in this spot. The story is fun, and the over-all movie is honestly incredible, but there are a few scenes that take away from the film, mostly when Mark Patton screams.
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Freddy uses the last teen in Springwood to lure in a group of fresh teens and one adult with a special connection to Freddy who may help him leave Springwood forever. One of the best parts of this entry is when Tom and Rosanne show up for really no reason. I thought it was an exciting idea to have Freddy kill all the kids in Springwood so that he has to send someone out to recruit for him and bring back his daughter for a ride out of town. The main issue I had with the film is the weird intro that feels like Escape from New York or something. Freddy using a Nintendo Power glove knock-off makes up for this a little though.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
This entry is a reboot that brings realism and more of what Cravens original vision for the night-time nuisance. Craven originally wanted Freddy to not just be a child murderer but a child molester. While about to film the first movie, however, a news story about multiple children being molested in California came out. Craven thought it best to steer clear of that story. In the 2010 reboot, they went back to this original thought and a few changes to Freddy’s character. No longer would he have one-liners and be more of a comical lousy guy. Now, he would be a terror. My main issue with this reboot is the way Freddy looks. First of all, you can’t recast Englund, and second of all, he’s not as scary looking to me.
New Nightmare (1994)
Freddy is back, but this time in an ancient demonic form. Nancy once again must stop Freddy, only this time, it’s the real Nancy, Heather Langenkamp, and if she can’t stop him, she may lose her son forever. I will say that this is one of my favorites out of all the storylines in the franchise. How unique to write the movie, as a movie, in a film, about a film. Having Heather play herself fighting off an evil entity that is obsessed with keeping Freddy alive was genius. I do wish that Robert Englund playing himself would have been in the film a little longer. Although, his updated Freddy look was much better than the 2010 reboots attempt, minus the leather pants. It was strange that Heather’s onscreen father in the first film, John Saxon, acted like they really do have a father-daughter relationship in real life. But hey, it could happen.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
The Dream Warriors from the third entry in the franchise are not out of the woods just yet. Freddy is back and looking to get even, but he may not be ready for the willpower of one specific teen. One great thing about the Freddy movies is that they will keep a few characters from previous films (sometimes) and kill them off quickly in the next entry. The same could be said for Friday the 13th, but we already ranked those films.
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
The showdown every horror lover has been waiting for—the knight of Nightmares vs. the lunatic of the lake. Freddy vs. Jason for a winner takes all (souls, that is) match to the death. What more can be said about this film? It was a blast from beginning to open ending. I am still holding out for that sequel we have been promised for years.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Nancy Thompson is back fighting Freddy in this sequel, only now she is helping a new group of teens learn how to control their dreams and fight as one. When I think back on this entire franchise, this one typically stands out above the rest. The original is hard to beat, but the scenes in this film are spectacular. The best ones are when Freddy acts as a puppeteer or possibly when he is welcoming a young actress to primetime.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Here we have the film that started them all. It is hard to beat out the original, and of course, that is the case here. With so many great scenes and the breakout role for Johnny Depp, the original Nightmare on Elm Street is still one of the best slasher films ever made. The first viewing of this movie as a kid stuck with me, and honestly, it always does. The combination of terror and comedy mixed in with the practical effects solidified this as one of my favorite movies.
Written exclusively for TheLastPicture.Show by Jacob Ruble
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