I think all horror fans can agree that somewhere down the line in a horror franchise, the sequels get relatively worse. This happens to be my personal opinion with the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. I will say that some later sequels outshine some of the earlier sequels, but this will also include the remake as well as the spin off Freddy vs. Jason.
Here it is everyone. My rankings of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise from worst to best!
9. Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. With this film supposedly being the last Freddy movie in the series, the creators wanted to delve into the backstory of Freddy Krueger more so than the previous installment Dream Child had. Along with the backstory came the outrageously comedic elements which would make this the funniest Elm Street entry in the whole series. Why is this the worst in my opinion? The movie tried too hard to be funny instead of scary. In this film, Freddy was on the verge of becoming a comical character, albeit a dark one, but that didn't mean that studios had to roll with that concept. The last thing that brought this movie to the bottom for me was the cheap gimmick of 3D. Typically when the element of 3D is incorporated, it means that there has to be some kind of distraction from the script.
8. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Do unborn babies dream? Judging by this entry, I would assume so. Although the writers came up with a creative way of getting the teenagers killed off while they're awake, it still doesn't hold up as well as it could. This was the pivotal moment in the franchise where Freddy started to become a lot more comedic than an audience was used to. The kills became a lot more comedic than Freddy himself, taking away all the seriousness of the film. The whole idea of Freddy becoming a father was originally written because the writer was a new mother. Since the target audience for the first film was teenagers, the studio looked at those teenagers and realized that they were growing up, meaning they needed to deal with more mature themes. I don't really see how this would help the franchise and in my opinion, it didn't.
7. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Freddy's one-liners have only begun! Although not as bad as Dream Child, this installment is a direct continuation of the third movie. With the third film being such a hit, one would expect the fourth to follow along the same road and not be a disappointment. Was it? Unfortunately for me, this new Nightmare doesn't hold up against the first three installments. As I mentioned above, the fifth film was when Freddy Krueger made the jump from darkly humorous to almost complete comedian. In this film, the gears slowly began to turn. It doesn't mean much when I say that the movie is still fun and entertaining mainly because it's one of the worst ones for me.
6. Freddy vs. Jason
When the two horror icons came head to head, there was no telling what the outcome would be. This particular film had been talked about for years and years, as fans were petitioning a crossover between the two villains. It was a major decision on who would get the rights to Freddy and who would get the rights to Jason due to the fact that the two studios wanted full control over the creative process. New Line Cinema and Paramount Pictures never could agree on a story or what to do with the two major franchises for quite a few years, which lead Paramount to do Friday the 13th: The New Blood instead. When I first sat down and watched Freddy vs. Jason, it was my first introduction to the two characters. Lucky for me, backstories were given for both of them in the first five minutes. The movie ultimately suffers from less than stellar acting and bad CGI. Sadly, this was Robert Englund's last portrayal of Freddy Krueger, leaving behind quite the legacy. The best way to watch this movie would be to enjoy it for what it is. Don't expect a masterpiece and don't expect something terrifying. Expect a battle between two iconic horror villains coming together for the first time.
5. Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Before Scream we had Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Three years after Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, fans weren't looking to let Freddy's glove stay buried forever. In fact, Wes Craven's idea was to bring back Freddy was in a new and creative way that audiences had never seen before in this series. Setting the new film in the world of the audience were the Elm Street franchise exists was something different and fresh to the series. The film brings back Heather Langenkamp as herself, who played Nancy Thompson in the first and third entry. The film follows her life in the world of Hollywood where Freddy Krueger begins to haunt the people responsible for his films. At first, the film may seem a little hokey and funny, but it ends up being a decent entry in the series. Wes Craven, John Saxon and Robert Englund all play themselves which is also interesting to see.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
Alas, this is the remake that a good percentage of people despise. In my article discussing remakes that are just as fun as the originals, I argued that it's not as bad as people may think. The point of remakes is to bring something new and different to a franchise. The new Elm Street did precisely that. With new and different characters, homages to the original and a darker storyline, this remake did a fairly good job bringing back the iconic Freddy Krueger.
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
To be completely honest, this sequel is a personal favorite of mine. The script keeps Freddy Krueger in the shadows as well as creates a storyline that tries to bring Freddy into the human world where he can kill in reality rather than dreams. After the first film was a major success, this installment was rushed into pre-production and then right into production. A lot of symbolism is placed in the movie making the audience think a little. Aside from all of the talked about undertones, I personally believe that this is one of the better sequels in this franchise.
2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
Hailed as one of the greatest sequels ever, Dream Warriors keeps with the classic elements of the original. Heather Langenkamp returns as Nancy Thompson in this Wes Craven produced sequel, delivering one of the greatest Elm Street films in the series. A new piece that was brought into the story is that each character in this film has a special dream power. This was when the special effects were taken to a whole new level for the franchise. Bigger dream sequences and fantasy elements were added the script, making it the most effects-driven Elm Street film thus far!
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street
Do I honestly need to explain why? This movie is the reason for all of the films listed above. If it wasn't for Wes Craven, none of these films would exist. The movie was original, frightening and unnerving, making everyone afraid to go to sleep. I have to say, Wes Craven knows what terrifies people and even though it may seem like he's a dark and twisted person, he certainly knows how to have fun while scaring audiences!