During the lockdown I picked up the DVD box Box set of these movies. I was building a DVD collection and I just wanted the first one cause it's a classic but I couldn't find it. All they had at the store was this box set of every Nightmare On Elm Street movie so that's what I got.
For those who don't know, these are the films in which Freddy Krueger was introduced to the world. This will be more of a review of each movie rather than a take on all of it as a whole. Well sort of a bit of both. However I didn't include Wes Craven's New Nightmare. I don't consider it to be cannon cause it's not. It did come in the set though.
So let's get into it. I've watched all 6 movies now but it's been over a couple of weeks as some of these films actually require a recovery period. So excuse me if I forget major plot details of your favourite movie of the series. *CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS* from this point on
#1. A Nightmare On Elm Street.
This is the one that most people would be familiar with. It follows the story of Nancy Thompson whose friend Tina is brutally murdered in unknown circumstances during a friendly after school get together. The murder occurs while Tina is asleep and having a nightmare about Freddy Krueger. Her boyfriend is right there in the room and he is obviously considered a suspect by the police. Before the murder took place, Nancy and Tina discussed having the same dream of a burned man with a green and red striped sweater, a dirty brown hat and a glove with knives on the end of the fingers.
Nancy eventually tells her parents about the dreams. She is taken to a clinic specialising in sleep disorders where she has a nightmare and wakes up with Freddy Krueger's hat which she had physically pulled from the nightmare. Nancy is eventually told the story of Freddy Krueger by her alcoholic mother. The story goes that he was murdered by a group of neighbourhood parents after being aquitted for child murder on a technicality. The rest of the movie is about Freddy Krueger picking off Nancy's friends one by one leading to a showdown between the two of them.
I found this movie to be pretty good but I felt the acting was pretty terrible. Heather Langenkamp who plays Nancy is actually an atrocious actor but she does have a unique sort of 1980s girl next doorish beauty. She looked like a "star". Pretty much every other actor in this film is terrible and I found Freddy Krueger's backstory to be extremely corny. Some of the death scenes are outrageously terrible because of dated special effects.
Johnny Depp actually appears here in his first ever movie. He doesn't really have enough lines to really say that his performance was good or bad. His death scene is particularly entertaining.
I'd give this one about a 7/10 just for the original story and unexpected ending. I will say right now that if you were to choose to watch just one movie from this series, just watch this one.
#2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
This movie is set 5 years after the events of the first film and this time around, we have a male antagonist. It focuses on the life of Jesse Walshe. He is a teenage boy of questionable sexuality probably in his senior year or the one before.
Jesse's family move into Nancy Thompson's old house. We get some mildly suspenseful nightmare scenes involving Jesse riding the school bus. The Walshe's seem to experience an uncomfortable level of heat inside their house which is never fully explained but seems to be attributed to Freddy Krueger's spirit igniting the furnace in the basement. The heat is always apparent when Jesse wakes from a nightmare.
Jesse meets a girl at school - Lisa. Lisa appears to be attracted to Jesse but it's unclear whether Jesse doesn't reciprocate because of an internal struggle with his sexuality or just because he is shy. Anyway, Jesse and Lisa find Nancy's old diary where she had written about Freddy Krueger. Jesse relates to the descriptions of the nightmares and immediately knows he is in danger.
Freddy isn't trying to kill Jesse at first but asks Jesse to kill for him and eventually possesses him. The possession seems to work both internally and externally as Freddy seems to replace Jesse's body in the real world. There is a bit where Jesse goes to a gay bar where he meets his gym class teacher and kills him in the showers while he is posessed by Freddy Krueger.
The end of this movie makes zero sense whatsoever. Lisa telling a Freddy possessed Jesse that she loves him seems to release Jesse and vanquish Freddy Krueger. It matters for nothing in the real end of the movie though.
I'd give this one a 6/10. The actual story and arch of the movie isn't bad at all but the ending is just stupid and corny.
#3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
The third movie brings back the 80s girl next door beauty Heather Langenkamp but she is not the main protagonist this time. That role goes to Kristen Parker who is played by that woman from the series "medium" when she was very young. This film is a bit hit and miss.
We get to find out a bit more about Freddy Krueger's backstory in this movie. Apparently his mother was a nun who worked in an insane asylum where she was mistakenly locked in during Christmas shutdown and repeatedly raped by the inmates until it opened again. Meaning Freddy Krueger is "the son of 100 maniacs".
We go back to a story where Freddy Krueger is invading people's dreams rather than possessing their actual bodies. Kristen starts having the nightmares and is taken back to Nancy's house in her dreams. It is now a dilapidated horror house for Freddy to torment his victims in. The familiar story of Kristen suffering from sleep disorders and telling her parents about being hunted by a madman in her nightmares plays out and she is eventually institutionalized.
Once in the hospital, Kristen meets other kids who are suffering the same nightmares, Nancy from the first movie appears as an unlikely intern working at the hospital and they band together to try and defeat Freddy Krueger. There are some pretty cool and some pretty cringeworthy death scenes in this one. At one point, a kid pretty much becomes Harry Potter in his nightmare and attempts to use wizardry to fight Freddy Krueger. Let's just say Freddy "doesn't believe in fairytales".
The end sequence of the film is not that bad. The actual end which comes for Freddy is a bit weak though.
I also give this one a 6 out of 10. The story is not bad at all but the acting really let's it down and at times it's too corny to be taken seriously at all.
#4 A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Dream master is where the series jumps the shark. This movie is almost irredeemable. I had to not watch any of these movies for a few days after this, it was that shit. It actually follows on from the story of number 3 but Kristen has been replaced by a different actor. I'm unsure what the reason was. Anyway, Kristen and friends are out of the institution now but Kristen starts having the nightmares again and pulls her friends with her into her dreams. After this its pretty much game on again with Freddy Krueger picking them all off one by one.
Kristen is killed off and a new character named Alice takes her place as the main antagonist of the film. The film has a couple of good death scenes but as a whole its quite patchy with creative stuff and boring stuff all mixed together. It's like a few good ideas on a web of shit with the spider of shitness always eating up the good. I don't know, maybe I had just watched too much of this crap by the time I hit this movie.
There is a cool death scene where Freddy Krueger has a guy on a whole planet of car yard and another where the chick from the poster on a teenage boy's wall appears naked inside his water bed. Other than that the rest of the film is a blur or a smear of shit.
The end is absolutely ridiculous as Alice manages to beat Freddy by showing him his own reflection in a piece of broken stain glass window. Its the ending, the acting, the plot direction and the execution which let this movie down. 3/10.
#5 A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
I found out by looking online that I have a minority opinion of The Dream Child. I actually like this one. It opens with a bit of a sexy opening sequence which sets the pretence for the plot. This is followed by a steamy shower scene with Alice. She is naked behind frosted glass in a shower cubicle which suddenly starts filling up with water and it is apparent she is having a nightmare. eventually she breaks out of the shower and lands inside the creepy halls of a hospital where she witnesses Freddy krueger's mother giving birth to a disgusting looking baby Freddy Krueger. The baby escapes and Freddy is once again free to torment the lives of his victims.
Krueger is very comical in this movie but he does it in a way that suits him really well and I think it works. Most of the death scenes in this one are pretty creative and they play on the mental or circumstantial weaknesses of the victims.
Alice's boyfriend is killed in a pretty cool death scene when he falls asleep at the wheel and has a nightmare. After his death, Alice discovers she is pregnant and Krueger tries to use her baby to be reborn into the world. We again hark back to more of Freddy Krueger's back story and his mother who was raped in the tower at the old mental asylum is an integral part to the plot.
The end of this movie makes more sense than the last but still makes no sense at the same time. some of his own victim's souls are released back at him by Alice's unborn child who is older in the dream world and this somehow vanquishes Freddy Krueger.
Good story, cool death scenes. Just a bit of shit acting. A good horror movie at the end of the day 6.5/10 from me.
#6. Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
Ok... what can I say about this movie without being too harsh on it? I think the studio must have been under contract to make a certain number of movies and this had to be rushed to completion because I cannot understand how this movie was released to the general public. I feel sorry for Robert Englund having to end his iconic role in such dire fashion.
Set many years after the events of number 5, it initially follows the story of an unnamed antagonist whose dreams are invaded by Freddy Krueger. He loses his memory and is picked up and placed in a half way house for wayward teenagers. There he meets a Dr. Maggie Burroughs who turns out to be Freddy Krueger's daughter. After discovering who is behind his dreams, the unnamed John Doe, Dr. Maggie Burroughs and 3 other wayward teens go back to Springfield or Springwood or whatever which is the town from the original movie and where Freddy Krueger was murdered. The town is near abandoned now and it is said that Freddy Krueger has killed all the children in the town and the adults have gone crazy.
They decide to go back to the half way house but rest the night in springwood first. Freddy tricks them into staying at Nancy's house where a couple of them are killed off. Some really stupid death scenes happen where the only saving grace is Robert Englund's comical acting.
Eventually they work out that Freddy is kept alive by dream demons who keep bringing him back to life which cannot help him in the real world. Freddy can be pulled into reality and they bring him out and kill him with a pipe bomb.
There are some cameo appearances by Tom Arnold, Roseanne Barr and Johnny Depp but they do nothing to kill the odour of this steaming pile of shit.
The storytelling here is very poorly executed. None of the actors except for Robert Englund are any good and even he struggles with what they have written for him here. A sad end to a famous film series. 2/10. After watching this movie, I cannot bring myself to watch Wes Craven's New Nightmare. I need a long recovery period after this shit.
Robert Englund is ironically the one who saves most of these movies when everyone is meant to be saved from him. Number 6 and number 4 are probably unsavable though.