Cory Angen
Nightmares on Elm Street
After going through the Halloween movies last year, it's time to watch the other iconic horror franchises that I've never really seen.

On this page, I will be watching all of the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies and ranking them based on my liking. Again, this is my first time watching these, so some of the choices may be reactionary. But that's what you get here!
*as of September 2023

A Nightmare on Elm Street

This is my first time watching almost all of these movies (other than Freddy vs Jason), so I'm going in with pretty fresh eyes. Lots of scenes I'd seen before in stills and things over the years. I definitely see the promise in this first one and I think it was great up until the last 5-10 minutes. The ending is weird and clunky after such a cool build and story.

  • I was very wrong about who was going to be the main protagonists right from the start. Had almost every death in the wrong order.
  • There's a shot of Freddy running and it's the weirdest clown run I've ever seen. Hard to find that scary, to be honest but very memorable.
  • I enjoy the mix of general creepiness with the little drops of humor. They don't overdo it on the humor in this one, so it's a good combination.
  • The ending is a bummer. I've now read that there was some drama around which ending to use and I don't know if any of them would've been good.
  • Most Memorable Kill: Johnny Depp's fountain of blood

  • Ranking: 2/8

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

    It's interesting that this is the first sequel because I feel like it's a big departure. I'm writing this after watching a few more and it just seems like the idea of controlling one person in the real world to do his bidding such a different story (albeit still a very interesting one) than the rest of the series. Some good moments, but definitely one of the stinkers of the bunch.

  • The use of miniatures and the very old timey looking school bus to start are an interesting choice in my opinion. Feels more like a scene from Beetlejuice than a horror movie.
  • Leading protagonist is a boy named Jesse which is rare for the genre and especially for it being in the mid 80s.
  • Unlike the Halloween movies, they keep the house looking pretty similar from film to film.
  • The Alien-style chest burst from Freddy is more memorable than any of his kills.
  • The pool party where Freddy is just out in the real world slashing people is very out of place.
  • Lisa has to pull a Princess and the Frog moment and kiss Freddy (who has taken over Jesse's body) to get him to release him.  Very strange.
  • Most Memorable Death: Freddy's melting. 

  • Ranking: 8/9

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

    Was fully expecting this one to go off the rails with the subtitle like Dream Warriors, but it actually turned out to be one of my favorites in the series. They introduce a handful of elements that I remember from Freddy vs Jason (we'll get to that later), they bring Nancy back from the first one, and it's kind of fun seeing a group try to go at Freddy together as opposed to just one person seeming to be going crazy.

  • A young Laurence (aka Larry) Fishbourne in a supporting role was not something I was prepared for, but that was fun.
  • The "Creepy X-Men" vibe should've been cooler and paid off more. I was hoping Will and Taryn's powers in the Dream World would actually help at least a little.
  • Patricia Arquette can scream her fucking head off. Yikes.
  • There are some truly creative kills in this one. Some more gruesome and some more silly, but a good batch overall.
  • The creepy nun and having to bury Freddy's remains is a weird subplot that doesn't really seem necessary to me. We could've spent more of that time in the Dream World.
  • The Dokken theme song at the end is very nice.
  • Most Memorable Kill: Jennifer's big break on TV.

  • Ranking: 1/9

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

    Very strange that they brought back some of the characters from Dream Warriors, but didn't bring back Arquette. Also strange that they're all out of the picture less than halfway through the movie. I understand that we need some new characters, but I feel like we don't get much time learning about the new ones before Freddy starts picking them off too. I don't mind the rest of the story and the slightly convoluted transfer of powers thing, so I had fun with this one for the most part.

  • New Kristen actress looks like Maisie Williams.
  • Not sure why the people from the last one stopped taking the drug that suppresses dreams. Even if they think they got him at the end of the last one, why not keep taking it just in case?
  • The dog pissing fire on Freddy's grave from the last one to reanimate him sure is one way to get around him being defeated. Not sure how it makes sense, but it's memorable, I'll give it that.
  • The sick ass faces on Freddy's chest eventually rise up and kill him. There were some other good kills in this one, but that was almost the most memorable again.
  • Most Memorable Kill: Debbie's elbows/bug trap.

  • Ranking: 4/9

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

    This is the weirdest and my least favorite so far. They keep the story going from the last one with Alice and Dan graduating high school (with totally new classmates who don't seem to care about what transpired in the last one?). Freddy is using Alice's (very) unborn baby's dreams to control her when she's awake. It's a stretch to say the least and none of the characters here really have much in terms of redeeming qualities. By far the most tidied up ending, but the most convoluted story so far.

  • The subtitle Dream Child had me picturing pretty gross Freddy babies and I was not let down on that front.
  • Up until now, it's been mostly believable that these have been high school kids, but it's supposed to be graduation day and they all look at least 30.
  • The mother / baby connection is very similar to Halloween 6 and it didn't really do anything for that movie either. Maybe just keep babies out of slasher films.
  • More use of miniatures in Dan's death. It was like a toy motorcycle that lead to a giant explosion. The CGI definitely gets away from them in this one, but the practical effects don't seem to be great either.
  • By far the weirdest set designs so far. Felt like very low budget stuff which I'm pretty certain is not the case.
  • Most Memorable Kill: Greta's last meal

  • Ranking: 9/9

    Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare

    This one has the worst IMDb rating of the original run and I don't think that's really fair. They definitely tried to build on the lore and history while also clearly trying to put the series to bed. It sounds like a weird combination, but it kind of works in the end. The whole part of him having a family while he was committing all those murders seems like an odd inclusion this late in the series, but again, I kind of works? While it's not anywhere near my favorite one, it's still deserves a higher rating than it has and sits in the middle somewhere for me.

  • We get short cameos from Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold as crazy adults in Springwood and that turned out to be a little prophetic.
  • A young Breckin Meyer is co-starring and we get a brief cameo from the original supporting male character, Johnny Depp!
  • First of the series that's set in the 90s and it feels like it.
  • The opening credits have "Freddy Vision Visual Effects" but I don't know when it was ever used. Nothing seemed any different than the last ones. (Apparently this one came out in 3D back in 91, which is what this refers to).
  • They finally try to use Nancy's original plan to pull Freddy out of the Dream World. Took 'em long enough.
  • None of the bodies are still around after Freddy kills them this time and the climax is in a weird Dream World / Real World hybrid that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
  • Most Memorable Kill: Carlos's super hearing

  • Ranking: 5/9

    Wes Craven's New Nightmare

    So meta. The story is that Wes Craven is writing a new Nightmare on Elm Street movie and what he's writing in the script is actually happening in real life to the star of the first and third movies, Heather (aka Nancy). There were a lot of great callbacks and references to other horror franchises throughout that I found fun, but I can see why some people didn't at the time. I don't think it was entirely necessary as the ending of Freddy's Dead did a pretty decent job of putting this series to bed (so to speak), but it doesn't totally undo everything in the previous movies, so I think it does a good job of putting that final exclamation mark on it.

  • The kid from Pet Sematary and Kindergarten Cop is Heather's son and he does a great job of being a creepy little fuck.
  • It's weird seeing Robert Englund in the movie as himself and then killing people as Freddy.
  • They changed up Freddy's look to be more of a monster than a man with sever burns all over his body and I'm not sure if I like it more or less.
  • There weren't that many creative deaths in this one. That's a bit of a bummer.
  • Most Memorable Kill: Julie on the ceiling

  • Ranking: 6/9

    Freddy Vs. Jason

    This was the first of these that I had ever seen randomly in high school, so it  and it's soundtrack definitely holds a special place for me. It's a little hard to get past that nostalgia, but I do think this is in the better half of the whole series after finally getting through both franchises individually. The story at it's core feels like a Nightmare movie, but Jason gets most of the kills and it's hard to not root for him a little bit towards the end. Some decent callbacks to earlier installments of both, but a little lacking on the creative Freddy kills, which is a bummer. Pretty fun and does well to pay homage to both original franchises in a modern way that doesn't totally jump the shark.

  • They never really said where Crystal Lake was, but we got clues it was in New Jersey (or at least the NE) and we definitely saw that Springwood was in Ohio. They kind of just ignore that detail and make them close enough to be drivable (or walkable in Jason's case).
  • Our main girl's name is Lori, which is a nice nod to the third big slasher franchise.
  • Accurate to the original Nightmare series with the adults being manipulative and trying to hide all of their bad deeds from the kids.
  • Some solid boiler room scenes. Also accurate to the original Nightmare movies.
  • Like the last entry in the Halloween series, we get a musician to come in and add some diversity and this time we get Kelly Rowland. Lots of familiar faces in this one, but she's always the fun one to note.

  • Ranking: 3/9

    A Nightmare on Elm Street

    I'm conflicted with this one. On one hand, it's pretty predictable and doesn't have as much charm as the original, but on the other it does feel like a decent, modern take on it. I will say that the kills aren't nearly as creative as they'd been in the latter stages of the original run, which is kind of a bummer as the advancement in visual effects could've made for some really interesting ones. I also know the original story called for him to be a pedo, but they did such a good job with him just being a child murderer that I don't think that ramp up was very necessary to the story. 

  • Lots of good callbacks to the original and some of the others throughout the series.
  • The parents seem even worse in this one. Nearly all of the adults feel evil.
  • It had been at least a decade since I'd seen this movie the one time that I did, but I still predicted most of the jump scares in the first in the first half. Very predictable.
  • The fashion screams 2010 even if there's no way any of these "kids" are teenagers.
  • Jackie Earle Haley does a fine job as Freddy, but really lacks the charisma to bring the character to life the way that Robert Englund had.
  • As much as I disliked the ending of the original, I do like the callback to it here.
  • Most Memorable Kill: Kris's trip around the room

  • Ranking: 7/9

    Fridays the 13th