Best Elm Street films. From best of the best...to the worst of the worst.
In the past I've done this kind of post dealing with the Friday the 13th films. Today, I'm tacking my all time favorite slasher series. The Nightmare On Elm Street films. Here, I will briefly list my favorite films to my least favorite films, showing what works, and what doesn't.
1) A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 The Dream Master.
What works - This was called the MTV Elm Street movie. It was splashy, colorful, visually stunning, with amazing effects done by a huge crew of beyond talented makeup artist. This was released during the height of Freddy's popularity, and in my eyes was one of the last times for a while that he seemed actually truly scary. Picking up directly after part 3, we have returning faces/characters. I LOVED the opening with the dream warriors. "Joey! Kincaid! Help me!" as well as Freddy's chilling line "One down...two to go..." We also get ourselves Alice, a pretty kick ass final girl who gives Freddy a true run for his money. I would say between the soundtrack, and Freddy's EPIC death by makeup master Steve Johnson, this one in my eyes has always been one of the strongest entries in the series. In fact, I've always believed it should have been the last film in the series before part 7. Plus, I've always loved the fact this movie was released the same month and year that I was born in!
What doesn't work - Tuesday Knight did a good job as Kristin, but honestly replacing the actress rarely works (it did in Hatchet 2, but that was a very rare case.) Just something about it seemed "off" My other biggest problem was how brief the dream warriors were in the movie. I for one feel it would have been ten times better to continue them in this entry. I loved the new batch of characters, but it truly blew seeing them get killed off so quickly. Also I would of ended the movie with Alice walking out of the church, bang credits. Would have worked much better.
2) A Nightmare On Elm Street.
What works - The beginning of it all. This movie was responsible for my fascination with horror. This movie truly terrified me. With a very creative storyline, we get a new kind of slasher that had never been seen before. A fantasy horror with a very effective villain. The surreal dream like look of the film, the few but VERY creative deaths, and of course Freddy himself. To this day the scene where he jumps out from the tree and yells for Tina to "Watch this!" and cuts his fingers off always gets me. Tina's, Rod's, Glen's, and Marge's deaths were beyond mind blowing. The biggest and strongest thing in this film is the character of Nancy. One of my all time favorite final girls. Not only is she beautiful, she kicks total ass.
What doesn't work - The ending. Argh, it always gets me. I feel a stronger ending would have made this film perfect. The whole them getting trapped in the car made zero sense to me. I think had there been a stronger ending it would of made more sense for a sequel to work.
3) A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors.
What works - Not only did it have a strong script by the original director/writer Mr. Craven, it also had a strong director, and one HELL of an amazing effects crew. This is a fan favorite. It's the original cranked up to 11. Making up for some of the silly mistakes in part 2, this was the true sequel everyone wanted to the first film. With Freddy now more out in the open, the deaths, sets, and backstory was all on it's game. We got a new batch of characters who weren't just likable, but lovable as well. These are people you wanted to win. I loved the return of the character of Nancy, teaming up with all these teens. Think of this movie as the X-Men of slasher films. The deaths were all amazing (Philip's my personal favorite.) We got a chilling score, memorable scenes, and one hell of a fitting and final death to Freddy. Even the ending scene gives me chills as well as the rock anthem Dream Warriors blasting from the stereo. This in my eyes was the most epic entry of the series.
What didn't work - Besides some cringe worthy lines "What can you do in your dreams?" or "In my dreams I'm beautiful...and bad!" this movie is pretty flawless. I hate to admit I didn't exactly feel the chemistry between Nancy and Neil. Nothing against that actor, but it would have been better with a different actor. Besides that, I really truly love this movie.
4) New Nightmare.
What works - Wes Craven did it again, thinking outside the box, and making things even more surreal. It was wonderful having him truly return to the series. This was truly, one of a kind, and would really only work in this type of series. It sounds crazy, but it actually works perfectly. We get a darker look of Hollywood, and see Heather aka Nancy returning once and for all to defeat Freddy. Not only, yet again is this visually stunning (Loved the coffin scene, or the tunnel scene.) we get nods to the classic original, and shows the bond between mother and child. Freddy for the first time since 4 looks really terrifying and it works. It's a twisted fairytale, with tons of cameos, and epic moments. My all time favorite has to be as Freddy enters the real world and transforms everything around him. "Why are you calling me Nancy John?!" "Why are you calling me John?" The original score swelling as Heather runs back into the original house (LOVE how they kept the door blue) it's little moments like this that work so well.) Hardly any of the effects look dated, and this is the perfect example that 90's horror rocked.
What didn't work - It would have been great to get Johnny in here. I guess he was actually mad Wes never offered him a cameo. If the man did Freddy's Dead, I bet he would have come back for this one. In fact I would have crammed this movie full of cameos from all the sequels. Also such a shame Heather's real husband couldn't of played his role. He's a fox!
5) A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 Freddy's Revenge.
What works - Freddy is still just as terrifying in this entry. He's dark, he's scary, and there are some moments you honestly have to say "Holy shit!" I also loved the setting of Springwood. Sorry guys, never bought the fact this took place in Ohio. This was LA at it's finest, and I love how they returned to the same house. I do wish they would have kept the same high school. Still, this movie has gained cult classic status for being now an openly gay film with lots of undertones. I like this movie because it's weird, and even though there isn't a high body count, the scenes where Freddy appears, or uses Jessie is very effective. I loved the pool scene, or the moment he burst out of Jessie and attacks Grady. Speaking of Grady...man oh man. What a man!
What doesn't work - Where do I begin? This movie was a mess. Had it kept a little of the same direction as the original, and had a slightly stronger script I think we would have been in business. Still, it's a fun movie, but exploding birds? Devil dogs? Jessie's dancing? Man, there's a lot to take in, but I guess that's what makes it a fun movie right?
6) A Nightmare On Elm Street 5 The Dream Child.
What works - This was not the sequel I wanted after how epic part 4 was. Still props for trying to think outside the box with the storyline. Still, I find baby stuff a total bore. I think they ruined the Alice character. She kicked so much ass in part 4, and boom here she is just putting me to sleep in this entry. Nothing against the character or the actress. I mean it's pretty bad ass that she fights for her unborn child, but man oh man. Still, this is another one of the stronger visually stunning films in the series. The director made everything look gothic and surreal. The bodycount again was low, but pretty awesome. Most of all Gretchen's death. Loved her coming back in Mark's dream looking like a doll before she tumbles and shatters. The colors, the sets, all of it was amazing looking. This one wins by adding to more of the background, and looking like a living breathing piece of art.
What doesn't work - I love how I all ready started to bitch about what doesn't work. See, this bums me out because a lot of people love this movie. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I hated what they did with the Alice character, the Freddy makeup looked HORRIBLE, and his death? Come on people...
7) Freddy's Dead The Final Nightmare.
What works - Oh Freddy's Dead. What is there to say. I guess what worked was adding more backstory, using the whole fun 3D trick, and showing Springwood as this dried up old ghost town. Besides that, it's a fun movie to watch after a few beers...am I right?
What doesn't work - There is legit so many things to say. They could have done ANYTHING and this was the route they took? Shame of you Rachel, shame on you. Some people love this movie, but I think it's down right embarrassing. Sure it's a guilty pleasure of mine, but besides for a few laughs this added nothing to the series. At least Jason Goes To Hell tried to do something different. This was a complete mess. Everything was just a big joke and fell very flat.
8) Freddy Vs. Jason.
What works - This was the film horror fans had been waiting for since the epic ending scene in Jason Goes To Hell. I'm not a fan of this movie since yet again, they had a true chance to make something awesome and it just fell flat. Still, the battle between Jason and Freddy was pretty awesome. In fact it's one of the only good moments in the whole mess of the film.
What doesn't work - Unlikeable characters, Freddy just not plain working, nothing...I mean nothing working at all. Besides the fight, with ended up being a total cop out, this film sucked.
9) A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010).
What works - Nothing. I truly hated this movie and not because it was a remake. I love remakes (Dawn Of The Dead, My Bloody Valentine, ect.) but they had the chance YET again to do something amazing, and it ended up being CGI shit.
What didn't work - See above.