By Jim Foote
Part 1: http://uruniverse.weebly.com/timelines--tangents/welcome-to-our-nightmare
Part 2: http://uruniverse.weebly.com/reviews/welcome-to-my-nightmare-joshs-nightmare-on-elm-street-rankings
As evident in our Friday the 13th feature(s), Jason is my dude. While I've always liked Freddy, everyone picks a side eventually. I picked Jason. Nightmare is Josh's jam, though. So it's only right we jump from one to the other... from the real world to the dream world...
With that, I give you MY definite rankings on the franchise. (click read more for the jump into dreamland)
This is just NOT a good movie. When dealing with a remake, a person goes down one of two roads. You either look to recreate the exact world, changing it for modern times, or you go into an entirely different direction. Say what you want about Rob Zombie's Halloween, but it took that second road. It turned itself into something very different. The Nightmare remake, however, is pretty much half-assing the entire thing, one foot in and one foot out. They're doing the god damn hokey pokey.
They look to change the story with a fake bait and switch via Freddy's supposed innocence. Then, they'll recreate the exact same scenes and shots. The reason you can remake Jason and Michael Myers but not Freddy is because of the mask. Freddy's is pure makeup, as you get the emotion and the physicality of who's under the makeup. You can put the hockey or Shatner mask on anyone. You can't do that with Freddy.
I can go on and on about this p.o.s. No one looks as though they're trying. You don't care about any of the characters, and watching the movie, you're pretty much just going through the motions.
8. A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge
Whoaaaaaa, boy. The remake might be the worst, but Freddy's second outing is definitely the strangest, and that's saying something. After the first film, Freddy's dead and gone. Some family moves into Nancy's old house and the son finds a diary (which, I might add, was way too easy to find). He starts reading it, starts dreaming, and away we go. Freddy possesses the kid, eventually working his way into the real world.
There's also the big elephant in the room. This movie is one big gay metaphor. Everything in it has some kind of gay connotation. Heck, the gym teacher gets hit repeatedly with giant balls, then strung up naked and whipped in the ass with towels. The only cool character, Grady, of course gets killed. You're left with the main two, the couple, who really are boring and pretty much paint by numbers.
7. Freddy vs. Jason
When this flick first came out in 2003, I loved it. I sang its praises. You can see me talk about it over in the list of favorite Fridays. It doesn't hold up well. It's a weird mash up, in that it's more of a Freddy movie but Freddy gets only ONE (1) kill. So, while you get to see Freddy going all Bugs Bunny on the people, the scenes, on Jason, he doesn't really DO much.
I'll still check it out from time to time, but it's a hard one to get all the way through. Some sequences don't work, drag out, and could've been condensed. It's as if Director Ronny Yu would've rather made a Japanese style film, but got stuck with Jason and Freddy. You can tell from all the blood squirts and over the top battle scenes.
6. Wes Craven's New Nightmare
I always seem to have trouble describing how I feel about this one. It's kind of a reboot trapped within its own timeline/franchise. Sometimes a franchise, or single movie, will bring elements of breaking the fourth wall, but it's very rare an entire movie is spent on such. One thing I'll always like about this movie is what it brought after. In '94, Wes Craven was definitely beginning to go "meta" and poke at himself. Two years later, he used that method and brought us Scream.
It's always nice to see Freddy, Nancy, and good ol' Saxon (he transcends his character). Even at that, the movie falls flat near the end, after a decent build up. I also don't like kids being main characters in horror movies. You need characters that are in peril. Kids are almost never in peril. I said almost, calm down.
5. Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
The sixth in the franchise goes FULL retard. You start out with a decent enough premise; the final Elm Street kid is out there and he may be Freddy's kid. Instead of letting that drive all the action and conflict, we go into Bugs Bunny mode for Freddy, complete with the power glove, Johnny Depp cameo, and... for some reason... Tom Arnold and Roseanne. OH... and there are 3D glasses because you know... 3D and stuff?
The legit only reason it's high enough at number 5 is because the majority of Nightmare flicks aren't that good. But hey, it legit starts out with a song by the Goo Goo Dolls. You can check that clip out below. It's literally the only part of the movie you should watch.
Here's the thing. It's overall, it's not THAT bad. Having said that, it's still pretty rough. Part 5 comes in a weird transition phase for Freddy and the franchise. You're leaving the 80s and about to break into the 90s, where horror franchises of old went to die. With this, you get a bit of both. You still get some of the cool kills and looks of the earlier Nightmares, but you get the inclusion of the biggest '90s plot device, a kid. Part 5, New Nightmare, and Jason Goes To Hell all pulled this.
You still get the character of Alice, though, who I may like more than Nancy. Definitely not more than my man Kincaid, though. Good thing is we're starting to climb the list and are no longer treading water. Finally, above all, you get one of my favorite sequences and kills of the franchise, the Take On Me scene. C'mon, Freddy gets him by cutting a comic character in half.
3. A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Okay, gang. We're getting to the real good ones now. Following the ending of Part 3, we get new to the franchise Alice, who kicks all kinds of ass. She's more of a "librarian hot" type in the beginning but winds up gathering the powers of her friends, turning into Freddy's main adversary. Or... ONE of. We do say goodbye to the remaining characters of Part 3, but it actually drives the story. Freddy came back... again... and this time he's playing for keeps. Think about this; in other films, Freddy takes his time to come-a-killing. Here, he's off to the races pretty early. He's pissed, and it shows. Joey? Done. Kincaid? See ya. Kristen? Buh-bye. Alice and Nancy, who we'll get into more in a bit, are opposites who become one in the same. Nancy is one of the "cool kids," and Alice is not. They both have different circles of friends, very different parents, yet both become great fighters when the time calls for it.
Alice rules. Alice-a-Mania rules and will forever run wild. After all, she DID survive the entire series.
2. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984 Original)
This is the big shake up. Placing this one here does change my All-Time Favorite Movie list. Nightmare sits at #10 on that list, but this effectively bumps it.
I love this movie. I love everything about it. Before Freddy was all Power Glove/Bugs Bunny, he was creepy as all hell, who would torture you emotionally before offing you physically. There was a little humor, albeit twisted humor. I don't know if I give credence to Josh's theory of it all being a dream, but he does provide a fair enough debate. The sequels kill that theory, but if it stood on its own, I can't say for sure either way. Maybe it was all a dream. Maybe it wasn't. Mabe... that's the point.
Nancy is one of the best protagonists in horror. She goes from popular girl to grey haired warrior. The sets and dream sequences themselves are both to be revered and held up as an example of horror gone right. Throw in Johnny Depp and John Saxon and you've created a movie that will stand the test of time.
Again, no matter what you think about this, it belongs on the Mount Rushmore of modern horror. I love this movie... just not enough to get the number one spot.
1. A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
I had to. When I first compiled this list, I knew Parts 1 and 3 would battle for the top spot. Early on, I had the original here. Then, I thought about it and came to this conclusion; the first may be the best, but if I had to pick one from the franchise to watch, I'm picking Dream Warriors more times than not.
Dream Warriors completely ignores Part 2, which I'm sure everyone would thank them for. It's more of a sequel to the original, bringing Nancy back to help a group of troubled teens. They've been having nightmares, Freddy comes back, etc. There's so much to love in this. Let's count the ways, shall we?
Nancy, John Saxon, the Dr. who looks like Bill Maher, Larry Fishburne, an early Harry Potter, the "I'm beautiful... and baaaad" girl, Patricia Arquette (star of Boyhood, which took 12 years to make), two small characters with great deaths (sleep walker and "primetime, bitch!"), and most importantly... Kincaid. Kincaid is my favorite character in the entire franchise, with Alice coming in second. He openly calls Freddy a pussy, yells fuck you to doctors, and gives himself Superman strength. It's beautiful.
We also get a fight between fake Bill Maher and a skeleton. It's amazing.
All of those things ran through my head when trying to think of which movie was really, truly, my favorite. Dream Warriors takes the cake. After all... it's beautiful... and BAAAAAAAAAAD.