The ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ Franchise, Ranked!

As far as I’m concerned, Freddy Krueger stands high above most other horror icons. I’ve always favored the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise over the other popular horror series – not so much because they were scarier, but because of Freddy himself and his creative kills. Every movie in the franchise stood out to me in some way, whether it be for bad or good reasons. 

I’ve already discussed the best Freddy kills throughout the entire franchise, but this time, we’re going to look at the movies themselves as a whole. As of 2016, there are 9 feature films that completed the series, including the 2010 remake. It’s no secret that as each sequel came out, the cheesier and more ridiculous they became. However, I’m happy that they kept going as each movie brought something new and crazy to the table, no matter how audiences felt about them. On that note, let’s rank the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise from worst to best!

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

The dreadful remake…

Okay… honestly, even though I’m a huuuuge Freddy fan, I won’t bash the reboot. While some remakes can bring something more to the table, this one just didn’t cut it for me. I give them props for trying to make a darker, scarier version of Freddy, portraying him as much more than just a vicious kid killer, but as a child molester as well – which was how Freddy was originally written but changed later. Jackie Earle Haley is a fantastic actor and he portrayed his specific Freddy role perfectly for how it was written. I also enjoyed the backstory of not only Freddy but some of the kids on Elm Street as well. Backstories always make a movie more interesting in my opinion. However, the rest of the cast was horrible… not that they can’t act, but they simply didn’t suit the roles they were given. The scenes were weak compared to the original and there were no lasting impression.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

“Hi, Alice. Want to make babies?”

In the 5th installment of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Freddy hits an all time low when he invades the dreams of an unborn child. Even though I love him, he sure can act like a little bitch sometimes – and this movie shows it. The idea of Freddy trying to be born again through the life of this child is just silly and pointless, but the dude just refuses to die. I thought the movie dragged on and on, although the idea of bringing back his dead mother and telling her history has always been a huge plus in the franchise. Plus, there are some awesome kills… like Greta’s epic food kill!

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

“Every town has an Elm Street!”

Freddy is back again, but since he’s killed all the kids on the original Elm Street, he recruits his daughter to help him find new victims to kill. As the 6th installment in the series, it’s a little silly to bring in Freddy’s daughter now, but they had to keep the story going somehow. This one was cheesy just like most of the others. The quotes and kills are just as great as ever. In the scene when Spencer (Breckin Meyer) is watching TV, fans get a cameo of Johnny Depp doing an infomercial on why drugs are bad and, soon after, Spencer is sucked into the television and turned into a character in a video game with Freddy in charge of the controller. It’s silly and ridiculous but memorable. “I’ll get you, my pretty! And your little soul, too!”

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

“Miss me?”

This was an exciting one for fans – a movie within a movie! Heather Langenkamp is back but as herself, reminiscing about her days as the famous Nancy who took on Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies. But this time, Freddy is back and he’s come into the real world to kill both her and her son, Dylan (Miko Hughes). I loved that there were cameos with Wes Craven as himself, Robert Englund as himself, and of course Heather Langenkamp as herself. It was quite an experience seeing the actors talk about a beloved movie that they starred in and give audiences a different perspective on it. It was also great seeing Miko Huges back in a scary role after his legendary role as Gage in Pet Semetary!

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

“Oh, that’s right! Everyone forgot! That’s why they weren’t afraid anymore! That’s why I needed Jason to kill for me to get them to remember. But now he just won’t stop…”

Everyone has nearly forgotten about Freddy, but he’s not about to let that happen. He awakens Jason Voorhees from a deep sleep in order to bring bloodshed back onto Elm Street in the hopes that people will start to remember the man who haunted the dreams of children years ago. But now that he’s awake, Jason won’t stop killing! These are Freddy’s children, Freddy’s territory…  Most people probably wouldn’t put this one high on the list, but I loved the battle between Freddy and Jason. Everything about it: the kills, the one-liners, the ultimately ridiculous fighting scene and the characters. But let’s be honest… Jason could take on Freddy any day and the only advantage Freddy has over him is messing with his dreams. This is the last A Nightmare on Elm Street that stars Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger and stars Ken Kirzinger as the tallest actor thus far to portray Jason.

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

“Welcome to Wonderland, Alice.”

Freddy tracks down the remaining survivors of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, killing them one by one.  Kirsten, however, the last survivor, passes on her ability to bring people into her dreams along to her friend, Alice before Freddy can get his hands on her. Alice has to learn how to control her new power before Freddy takes complete advantage of it. This one is a great movie altogether. Amazing characters, a good storyline, fun kills… especially the wet dream one. It also followed along well with the previous movie. Plus, I usually hate when they change the actors for characters, however, filmmakers cast Tuesday Knight who did a great job as Kristen and she got to carry on her role from Dream Warriors.

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

“You’ve got the body… I’ve got the brains.”

A family moves into a house on Elm Street and soon after, the kids begin to have nightmares of Freddy Krueger. This time, though, Freddy possesses a young teenage boy, Jesse (Mark Patton), to do his dirty work. Fans either love or hate this one, but it most definitely is one of the darker movies in the franchise. It also gets a lot of hate for its homoerotic undertones, but it’s also why other people love it. It has been mentioned that those undertones were done on purpose. It gave a different vibe to the story and helps build the character for Jesse. There are a lot of fun facts about the 2nd film in the franchise, including it grossed nearly twice as much as the original; it was the only film where Freddy killed people outside of their dreams; it was the only movie in the franchise in which the lead character was male; and Freddy was only on the screen for around 13 minutes during the whole movie.

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

“Welcome to Prime Time, bitch!”

Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) is back. She’s a bit older now and has become a psychiatrist specializing in dream therapy. She meets with a group of teenagers in a hospital who have all come in contact with Freddy in their dreams. One of the patients, Kristen (Patricia Arquette), has a special ability where she can bring people into her dreams. When Freddy decides to go on a rampage, taking his time to torture and kill each patient creatively, they decide to use Kristen’s ability against Freddy and give him a taste of his own medicine. Honestly, this movie is tied with the original for me as my favorite. First, it came out the year I was born – 1987, baby! Plus, I absolutely love the characters, I think the setting is perfect and the soundtrack is brilliant. I also loved the fact that they brought Nancy back and that the kills are some of the best ones out of the entire franchise. Plus Freddy gets his ass kicked! Fun facts: Craven wanted nothing to do with the 2nd film in the franchise, but because of its success, he came back for this one. It’s also the 3rd highest grossing movie in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

“One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. Nine, ten, never sleep again.”

Finally, we’re back to where the magic all began, talking about the role that has made Robert Englund a household name and the story that has made fans everywhere never want to sleep again, A Nightmare on Elm Street! Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a deceased child murderer, is back on his killing grounds of Elm Street but this time, he’s haunting children in their dreams. Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), Tina (Amanda Wyss), Glen (Johnny Depp) and Rod (Jsu Garcia) are the targets of Freddy and, one by one, he kills them off in horrible, bloody, and creative ways in their sleep. They can see the killer in their dreams, but who will believe them? Directed by Wes Craven, this creepy slasher had an estimated budget of $1,800,000 and grossed over $26 million dollars. New Line Cinema was saved from bankruptcy by this film. It was Johnny Depp’s debut film role who got the role by chance when he accompanied his friend to the audition. Who was that friend? Jackie Earle Haley, they guy who would go on the play Freddy in the reboot! Wes Craven’s daughter thought Depp was beautiful so he got the job.

As said before, Freddy was originally written as a child molester but was changed to an out and out killer due to the dark nature of the idea plus real life situations happening around the time. It took around 3 hours to get Robert Englund into his makeup, yet Freddy was only onscreen for a maximum time of 7 minutes. One more crazy fact is that they used over 500 gallons of fake blood during the making of this movie – which is insane! Besides all these awesome facts, the introduction to Freddy was brilliant, his one-liners were great from the get-go, the scenes were some of the bloodiest ones in the entire series, and the characters were perfect for their roles. On that note, although the role of Freddy has been attempted by other actors, there is truly only one man who can give justice to the dream killer – Robert Englund. He will forever be Freddy Krueger in my eyes and in many others.

 

This 9-movie horror franchise has given fans some cheesy, bizarre, ridiculous, and entertaining memories over the years and I, for one, am truly grateful. I’m happy that there is a character like Freddy out there and that Wes Craven wanted something different for horror fans. Although his vision, at first, didn’t extend beyond one movie, it became much more! I’m also guessing there’s a huge chance that many fans won’t agree on this ranking list. However, it is only how I personally feel about the franchise and I would love to know how others fans would rank them, as I am a huge fan myself, and love any discussion about Freddy Kruger and A Nightmare on Elm Street. 

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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