A Nightmare on Elm Street – Ranking the Films

I already took a look at how I’d rank the Friday the 13th movies, so now I’m releasing how I’d rank all the movies in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise from worst to the best.

I am not including Freddy vs. Jason (2003) as I’ll probably take a separate look at that and I’m also not including the reboot as A) it sucks and automatically would go on the bottom and b) I don’t want to waste any time or energy on it except what you just read. With that being said, here’s my list and yes, there are spoilers if you haven’t seen any of these films!

7. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

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If the remake of the series never existed, I would have said this was the worst film with Freddy Kruger in it. I think the movie is horrible for so many reasons: the plot featuring Freddy trying to leave Springwood is lazy, the notion of introducing Freddy’s daughter after all these films was vomit inducing, the characters sucked, and there just wasn’t any fire in Freddy anymore.

6. A Nightmare of Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

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While this film has a few good scenes where Freddy gets his victims, I wasn’t as much of a fan of the plot regarding babies and the womb. How Freddy comes back to life at the beginning is a pretty good sequence, though. I found humour to be used way too much in different parts of the movie and I didn’t find Freddy evil enough.

One reason I haven’t gone back to this movie in ages is because when I first saw it, it was the unrated cut that was released on VHS (I still have my copy). That meant that there was extra footage when Freddy was offing his victims.  The scenes where Dan is riding the bike and Greta is at the kitchen table are particularly longer and more gruesome. When I scored the DVD anthology and watched the movie, it was back to the theatrical cut and the same goes when I got the Blu Ray collection.

Suffice to say, I can’t watch that cut of the movie as it’s just not the same. I finally got a VHS player again last year and found my copy, so I think I’ll be popping it in the old tape player within the next week.

5. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

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This one is hard to rank as it’s out of cannon, but it still is in the lore, if you get me. Freddy is DARK and evil here and I really think the plot is creative – with Freddy actually going after the people who were in the movies. It’s like reality meets fiction IN a fictional movie that almost breaks the third wall, if you follow me. I may have ranked this higher, as I do find it to be a satisfying movie – more so if you’re a huge fan of the franchise, but the other movies mean more to me.

Trivia: supposedly this was very similar to what Wes Craven wanted to do for Part 3 but New Line Cinema said no.

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4:  The Dream Master (1988)

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I think this is a fun movie and had the best blend of Freddy being humourous while still being a mean SOB. Yeah, there were a few scenes that weren’t the best (fighting an invisible Freddy), but I just love the late 80s feel. The characters are likable for the most part and I love the soundtrack (c’mon…Dramarama, people!). I also liked how parts 3, 4, and 5 had some continuity with characters. Too back Patricia Arquette didn’t return.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2:  Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

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Some hate on this one and I’m not even going into the sexual overtone debate or commentary that people have when discussing this movie (that’s for you to decide what was deliberate).

I always dug this movie (and still do like) because I thought it’s dark, suspenseful and Freddy was one evil and nasty motherfucker in it (although I think he appeared the least in all films in this one – something like 13-14 minutes total).

Two classic scenes really freaked me the hell out the first time I saw them when I was a kid: Freddy ripping back the skin on his head to show his brain and Freddy bursting through Jessie’s chest.

While no one from the original cast appeared, it took place in Nancy Thompson’s old house so there was some sort of tie in to the original.

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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While I saw parts two and three before I even saw the first one (sometimes when you’re ten years old, things work out that way), this one still ruled and blew me away, although I thought it would be more tame because it was older.

This is one of those movies that you can go back to multiple times and never get sick of watching it. The plot made sense and it was different. Freddy was, again, dark, brooding, and sinister. You also really got attached to the characters, which helps when you’re watching a movie where someone may die at any time.

Robert Englund should be given more credit than he may get from some because it was his portrayal of Freddy that really helped turn this amazing script and vision of Wes Craven (who also deserves the praise he gets) from a one-off, to well-loved horror franchise.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3:  Dream Warriors (1987)

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Just like my choice for my favourite Friday the 13th movie (Part VI: Jason Lives), I think it all boils down to the movie from the franchise you saw first and the most before others and the nostalgia bug. I loved the gore, the jumps, the effects, the story and rooting for all the characters in this film. Just like the original, I can watch this movie over and over again and not be sick of it. Then ending is enough to get you pumped up as well.  Don’t forget…this movie also had SNAKE FREDDY!!!!

It was because of this movie I found a love of horror movies. I got in shit a lot of school because my stories that I had to write (yes, I was doing Freddy fan-fiction at 10) and art in school featured Freddy and Jason. Catholic school really didn’t like that.

It would be so cool to have a line of the Dream Warriors cast, each with their own accessories or sets that depict the way they were offed. I’m not sure the female nurse that turns into Freddy would ever be green-lit, mind you. I know that those characters would only appeal to a niche market and the licensing rights would be crazy to obtain (or justify the cost vs. sales). Oh well, it’s nice to “dream.”

Thanks for reading, people! Add your thoughts in the comment section. As well, if you missed it the first time, check out my look at McFarlanes’ Movie Maniacs Series 1 that featured Freddy and Jason. I also have some more Freddy and Jason goodness to come before Halloween (if you can’t wait, use the search feature on my site to check out some figures of these two I’ve already featured).

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