Rayzor’s Rankings: A Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise

I really didn’t plan on doing this again.  But I took a look at my original ranking of the Elm Street series and I cringed at the list.  Here, you check it out.  I think I was trying to be objective about the list, more so of what I have seen in the community.  But, everyone has their own rankings, so this time I will take ownership over the list rather than think about the community.  You guys can always tell us in the Facebook group on in the comments on Facebook.

I am going to include a couple of things in this article, our Youtube video explaining why Scream Factory needs to release an Elm Street box set like the wonderful Halloween and Friday the 13th box sets.  That will be at the bottom of the page.  This is the Kill Count I did a few years ago, you can check that out as well.  But here is the original list, it makes me cringe.  Click here to read this 6 year old, poorly aged article.

So, now here we are, it is 2022 and 12 years since the last Elm Street film was released.  Everyone is clambering for Robert Englund to come back, but I think it is time to let go and leave the series as is.  This is my favorite horror series and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) is without a doubt my favorite horror movie of all-time and responsible for making me the horror fan I am today.  But, while I am here…I will toss out my 2 cents on what I’d like to see for an Elm Street movie.

First I don’t want to disregard the original 5 movies.  I put Freddy’s Dead and New Nightmare in the their own timeline.

Second, I would make a direct sequel to Dream Child.  It would be the actual 6th film and take place years later.  I’d bring back Lisa Wilcox and Jacob.

Third, Well, this has been said numerous times, but Freddy has lost his powers and things have been quiet in Springwood for nearly 2 decades, making this 2005ish.  Jacob has dreams of Freddy as he is trying to get back in and be the killer he once was.  Robert Englund comes back as Freddy, no make-up in Jacob’s dreams and acts as a guide for him, gaining his trust in the dream world before revealing himself, this happens with numerous teens in Springwood.  Eventually Freddy reveals his true form and kills again giving him his power, which gives him the power to change his appearance, this is how he is recast and Englund and finally rest.  Of course it’ll take a pro who believes to help take Freddy down again.

That is really thin there is more to it, but I’ll keep that to myself…for now.

Let’s get to the rankings.  Oh and yes, Freddy vs Jason will be included.

9. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

I know, shocker.  This one continues to grow on me.  I have a sit down and watch this once a year and every year I like it better.  There are so many issues with this movie, they are hard to overlook.  I think Jackie Earle Haley was a good choice in many ways, but overall a bad choice.  He is such a small guy, standing next to the victims he looks silly and not imposing as Robert Englund did.  I hate to say that, but his stature makes a big difference.

Too much CGI and unlikeable characters are some of the other issues  But, I am looking over movie in a different light regardless of its flaws.  I do wonder if I’ll ever love it, probably not.  But, I don’t know that 12 years later it deserves the hate it deserves.  That is of course up to all of us.  I know I don’t hate this anymore, but it does belong on the bottom.

8. Freddy vs Jason (2003)

Yeah, I know there is a bunch who love this, but it has aged poorly.  After nearly 2 decades of waiting for this match up, we finally got the fight of the century.  This came up super short, it didn’t feel like an Elm Street or a Friday movie.  Robert Englund was on his game, but Jason was…one of the worst we’ve ever seen.  They made a huge mistake by not casting Kane Hodder, Kirzinger may be bigger, but he was terrible and even worse, the costume and make-up and even the mask, terrible.

I wanted to love this movie so badly, that I have been forgiving it for all the issues, I do have.  But, nearly 20 years later, I just don’t care for Freddy vs Jason at all.  Yearly viewings make it worse.  The cast to me gets worse and the use of CGI in 2003, well it was bad.  The nightmares we all once loved were just not working in this film and oh Jason being afraid of water…WHAT?  Ever see Jason Lives?

In a few years I fully expect this to be on the bottom of the Elm Street rankings, I am just not completely there yet.

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

I saw Dream Child at a Drive In back in the summer of 1989.  It was awesome, but over the years and really even then…this was not one of my favorites.  It’s too bad that this is how the timeline ends.  We do get Lisa Wilcox back, but the story is weird and the make-up on Freddy isn’t great.  There are some really cool character deaths, but far too few.  I would love to see an extended, unrated cut of Dream Child, the more graphic the kills the better, especially Dan and the need for speed.

I will give the nightmares a high grade, Greta’s and Dan’s were so damn cool, Mark’s was really cool too, but lacked in the end.  I would have loved to see more Phantom Prowler.  How cool would it be if there were some Elm Street movie where all of the victims came back with dream powers, like Dream Warriors.  They work together to finally defeat Freddy once and for all.

I still like Dream Child overall, just not one of my favorites.

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

I love Freddy’s Dead, there…I said it.  I do, it is one of my favorites, but it really isn’t a very good movie.  This is a cartoon and it falls out of the timeline.  This movie is goofy and tons of fun, if you take it that way.  But there are so many people who hate this movie because of the way it is.  I remember the anticipation for Freddy’s Dead.

The way this movie fails is the origins of Freddy.  He had a family, wife and a kid.  In the multiverse, this could have been a separate timeline, which is kind of fun to think about.  Maybe Freddy’s Dead is more of a direct sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street.  But seriously, don’t take Freddy’s Dead too seriously, it is silly and funny and give Rachel Talalay a break, am talking to myself in saying this.

30 years later and I don’t think I’ve loved Freddy’s Dead more, it is fun and it is silly.  We had 5 serious films that all followed the timeline, to me, this one makes sense.  Remember, look at Freddy’s Dead and New Nightmare and Freddy vs Jason and 2010 as their own separate thing.  Have fun with it, remember Halloween branches off in to so many directions and timelines, the Nightmare films are kind of like an anthology.

Oh and…The Goo Goo Dolls did most of the soundtrack, that just seems odd.

5. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

I recognize how great this movie actually is.  It is terrific and honestly one of Craven’s finest films and concepts of all-time.  But, sometimes, most times I just have to be in the right mood for this one.  I don’t know why, if it is the reality meet fiction, that it isn’t really Freddy.  I don’t actually know.  I do like this one, but it is probably the least viewed of all the Elm Street films I’ve seen.  I love that this film follows Heather Langenkamp and what her life has become since the original Elm Street.  She is as important to the series as Robert Englund…well almost.

Again, this is actually one of the better Elm Street films in the series and realistically it probably should rank, maybe number 3.  But, this is how I love these movies.

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

Yes I love this movie.  Yes, I know this is one of the best Elm Street movies.  But, there are two more of the sequels that are very important to me.  The best part of Dream Warriors is…everything.  This is the best sequel and it adds so much to the series in one film, where Freddy’s Revenge failed.  I would have loved to see Wes Craven’s movie.

The cast is so great, I love the idea of a team coming together to fight Freddy and try to end the nightmare once and for all.  We get Nancy back for one more movie to pass on her knowledge to the next class of Elm Street kids, mostly Kristin Parker.  This is a dark chapter, the last real dark movie in the Elm Street series.  It does belong at #2 on any Elm Street ranking.

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

Freddy’s Revenge is the reason I am here.  If I did not see this movie on HBO in 1986…I know life would be different, I would have never fallen in love with Freddy and horror.  Meeting Freddy was like meeting a lifelong friend and someone who I’ve loved my entire life and it is all thanks to this movie.  Jesse Walsh and his family were my first Elm Street family.  The idea of Freddy trying to come in to the real world goes against Wes Craven’s rules, but this was the second movie, they didn’t have a fucking playbook.

First of all, I want to just mention Clu Gulager.  He passed away the other day and it was a damn same, he was 93, but damn he was amazing in this and of course Return of the Living Dead.

I think Freddy’s Revenge is underrated and it does get labeled as one of the worst in the series.  But, why?  We get some awesome scenes, Freddy literally grows out of Jesse’s body, he bursts out of the glass door and disappears.  We get the line the Craven said didn’t make sense, but come on Wes, “You are all my children now.”  I will also say, knowing Mark Patton a little after having him on our show changes your perception of this movie.

Freddy’s Revenge…Underrated

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

This is my go to Elm Street.  Dream Master is the culmination of the first three movies.  It is the most “MTV” of the series and Freddy is fully fledged star at this point.  We get an awesome concept for the story, Alice consumes the powers or abilities of anyone who dies in the film making her stronger and well, the Dream Master.  While Nancy had to learn an work to fight Freddy in the original film, Lisa Wilcox’s Alice stood toe to toe with Freddy and he finally met his match.  Robert Englund called her a “femme fatale” and she is.

I love this movie so much, I think this was the height of the Freddy make-up, the best cast and it was such a fun story.  We did a show on Dream Master as I tried to explain why I love it.  It is another film I think is underrated by the Elm Street crowd, but it is loved.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

I may have seen Freddy’s Revenge first, but the original is the first film to really bring me in.  I actually saw it right after Freddy’s Revenge, some genius at HBO thought, hey lets premiere Freddy’s Revenge and show the original after.  While Freddy’s Revenge of very effective, this one scared the shit out of me.  Wes Craven really knew how to make a movie that can scare you.

Over the years I’ve grown to understand the film better and get why it is so terrifying.  It has also become more of a comfort movie.  I can put it on any time, it I am having a bad day, I can put on Elm Street or Dream Master and it takes me out of real life.

Freddy Krueger is an icon.  From the fedora to the red and green sweater to the iconic bladed glove he constructs in the opening in the original film.  I am sorry if you thought would be some kind of deep dive into each movie, rather than my personal feelings on each film.

Thanks for checking this out, it is my 600th article for The Horro Syndicate and it had to be special.  A Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite horror series and the original is my #1 favorite horror film.  Let me know what you think on Facebook or…wherever.

And, whatever you do…don’t fall asleep…

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Also, our co-host Nathan Thomas Milliner directed and wrote this kind of Freddy origin story.  Check it out!

About Ray Marek III 699 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)