In celebration of the month of October, the fall season, and Halloween being right around the corner, us here at The Latest Pull decided to post a horror related article for each day in October. Make sure you check the site every day this month for new coverage.
For the first day, we decided to pay respect to one of the greatest minds in horror, Wes Craven, and what many consider to be his magnum opus, “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” With Craven’s passing this past August, people who grew up with his classic horror films are now reliving that nostalgia while still getting the classic scares can deliver. However, with any great series of horror movies, there will, of course, be one or two films that don’t quite meet the standard set by the original. The first three “Friday the 13th” movies flow like a decent trilogy, then they tried to end the series with a fourth addition, then they made another four, then Jason went to hell, and, finally, Jason went to outer space. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” never got quite that silly, but it for sure had its moments. With that being said, here is a list of all the movies in the series ranked from worst to best.
#9 A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010
Let’s just get this one out of the way. Basically from 2000-2010 Hollywood was remaking every single horror series as fast as they could without paying much attention to quality. If they had a decent director like Rob Zombie, they would get a decent film like his 2007 retelling of John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” If you get a bad director like Jaume Collet Serra who won’t stop giving Liam Neeson work, you get something like 2005’s “House of Wax.” So, who was chosen to remake the classic “A Nightmare on Elm Street?” Sam Bayer, a director who has only done music videos.
Aside from the directing, there are still many more issues with the film. The most noticeable is that Robert Englund, the actor who played Freddy Krueger in each installment of the film, was not chosen to return to reprise his role. Instead, Jackie Earle Haley was chosen to play Krueger. Now, several people have played Jason Voorhees, and several people have played Michael Myers, but only one man has played Freddy Krueger for a reason. Only Englund has the ability to showcase the tenacity and the showmanship that Krueger brings to the screen. Jackie Earle Haley is a phenomenal actor. I honestly thought he could do the role after I saw his performance as Rorschach in “Watchmen.” However, the dialogue he is fed mixed in with the make-up that makes him look and act more like a ferret than a burn victim. In some cases, the remake gives a fresh retelling of a classic story, but this film was just a lazy shot-for-shot rehash with a bland cast of characters.
#8 A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child
After the first two films, Craven decided to make a trilogy in the series about a group of kids that continuously fights off Krueger with one of the main characters from the previous film dying in the new film. This series is typically known as the “Dream Series.” Now the other two films will be higher on this list, and for good reason, but this film not only missed the mark, but it crashed and burned. The film stars returning character Alice as she discovers that she is pregnant not long after her boyfriend Dan dies in a motorcycle accident. The accident, of course, was done by Freddy. The rest of the film involves Alice trying to learn more about Freddy’s mother, and what Freddy wants with her unborn son.
The film has a few decent kills, and Englund is as charming as ever, but the film is just hard to watch due to the bland story and the awful acting. Slasher films typically don’t get an all-star cast of actors, but they usually at least get some people who look like they somewhat give a shit about what they are doing. None of that can be found in this film. The actors look bored throughout the film. What only makes it worse is the incredibly odd storyline. Krueger wants to take over Alice’s baby so that he can be reborn into the world. The question to that is “Why?” Freddy seems much happier dead, than he did alive. Plus, what the hell will he be able to do as a toddler? If you are an avid fan of the series, this won’t ruin it for you, but it can definitely be skipped.
#7 Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
This is what I like to call a fourth wall horror movie. It’s a film that takes place in the real world with full knowledge of the horror movie industry, while still having elements of the horror industry. Now, some people believe this is one of the best movies in the series, but when compared to the other films in the series, I feel it falls short.
First, Freddy looks weird. His blood-red burn scars are now purple making him look like Barney is trying to jump out of his body. He also isn’t in much of the film as it focuses on the original star, Heather Langenkamp who played Nancy. Also, Freddy is technically not the villain of the series. The real villain is a demon that feeds off of what scares people. According to the film, Freddy Krueger became so scary that a demon was able to use that fear to enter the real world and kill people. Now, I love this series of movies, but it is not a series that will especially terrify you. The joy that comes from this series does not as much come from the scares as much as it comes from Englund’s performance, and the awesome kill scenes. Wes Craven saying that his movies have the power to cause demons to come from hell and kill people is a bit of a stretch.
#6 A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master
After the success of “The Dream Warriors,” “The Dream Master” came out the following year. The film wasn’t as good as its predecessor, but it still has its charm in a few ways. First, it has one of my favorite kills in the series. When Freddy kills someone, he tries to make them live out their greatest fear while he is killing them. In this film a girl is terrified of bugs, more specifically cockroaches. Freddy turns the girl into a giant cockroach resembling that of when Jeff Goldblum turned into a giant fly. The scene is absolutely disgusting, and only gets better when Freddy squeezes a roach motel in his hand causing roach guts to fly outside.
Aside from that, the film still has the Robert Englund charm, and more kills that keep the audience happy.
#5 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
Even though this film was called “The Final Nightmare,” “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” came out only three years after this one. Despite the poor choice in name, “Freddy’s Dead” represents what everyone wants in a “A Nightmare on Elm Street” movie. Englund is at his best in this film with some of his best one-liners of all time. Englund has more screen time in this film than any other film in the series, which is exactly what fans wanted to see.
The movie adds a bit more to Freddy’s backstory, which is nice to get when it isn’t overdone. The movie doesn’t get too far into weird supernatural aspects; it basically just remains true to the original source material. To put it simply, “Freddy’s Dead” has everything you want to see in a “A Nightmare on Elm Street” film.
#4 A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Representing the second installment in the series, “Freddy’s Revenge” is without a doubt the most unlike the rest of the films. “Freddy’s Revenge” revolves around Freddy trying to enter the world through the body of a teenage boy to get people to fear him, and to kill a few others as well. In this film, the gore is at an all-time high. When Freddy enters the human world, he doesn’t just mosey through a closet. He cuts his way out of his host’s body to menace the world.
In one of my favorite scenes in the whole series, Freddy jumps through his host’s body during a college keg party. When Freddy kills people, he typically does it one at a time, which is very unlike Jason and Michael Myers who kill several at once. In this scene and this scene alone, Freddy walks around the party clawing everyone in his sight, giving the film a huge bodycount.
#3 A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: The Dream Warriors
The best deaths of the entire series are featured in this film. The story is absolutely ridiculous. Children in a psychiatric ward learn that they have super-powers when they enter their dreams which they use to fight Freddy. Some actually have pretty cool powers like super strength, gymnastics, wizard power, and supersonic, but then there is one girl who literally just gets two tiny switchblades and a makeover. She is literally pointless, and gets her ass kicked by Freddy.
However, the kills more than make up for all of that. In a famous scene, Freddy picks up a girl whose dream is to become a TV star. Freddy then says, “Welcome to primetime, bitch” as he slams her head through a TV screen. Aside from that kill, we also have a scene where Freddy cuts the tendons out of a boy’s arms and legs and turns him into a puppet who jumps out of a window. This movie is a staple for all fans of slasher films.
#2 Freddy Vs. Jason
A film that was hyped as much as “Alien Vs. Predator” and adored as much as “Godzilla Vs. King Kong,” “Freddy Vs. Jason” gave us an incredible bout between the two heaviest hitters in the slasher drama. Now some might not consider this to be a “A Nightmare on Elm Street” movie, but it technically is considered to be both that and a “Friday the 13th” movie.
Freddy’s showmanship mixed with Jason’s quiet nature are a perfect contrast for each other. Freddy turns out to be the main villain of the film, although Jason gets the best kills. Essentially Jason is the style while Freddy is the substance, which makes for one of the best slasher films ever.
#1 A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984