A Nightmare on Elm Street (series)

If Nancy doesn't wake up screaming, she won't wake up at all
If Nancy doesn't wake up screaming, she won't wake up at all
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (18)
D: Wes Craven
New Line/Media/Smart Egg (Robert Shaye)
US 1984
91 mins
 
Horror
 
W: Wes Craven
DP: Jacques Haitkin
Ed: Rick Shaine
Mus: Charles Bernstein
 
Heather Langenkamp (Nancy Thompson), John Saxon (Lt. Don Thompson), Ronee Blakely (Marge Thompson), Amanda Wyss (Tina Gray), Nick Corri (Rod Lane), Johnny Depp (Glen Lantz), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger)
 
Wes Craven reinvented the slasher genre with A Nightmare On Elm Street, which made enough money to save its production company from going bust and inspired a long series of films (as well as a remake).
Freddy Krueger, the villain of the series, is a razor-gloved, burned-faced boogeyman who stalks the dreams of suburban teenagers to avenge for their parent's crime of killing him when he was a real life child murderer.
Craven's style obeys the golden rule of horror by not showing all its cards until the final moments, but also uses much gore and spatter for the more unpleasant moments with some very impressive practical effects (ending aside).
Its legacy of sequels can only be admired though many would argue this is the best of the lot and the only one really worth watching. The only real disappointment is the comically tacky ending, which was an appendage forced by the studio against Wes Craven's wishes, shot with only one take with substandard special effects due to budgetary restraints.
7/10

A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The man of your dreams is back
The man of your dreams is back
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE (18)
D: Jack Sholder 
New Line/Heron/Smart Egg (Robert Shaye)
US 1985
84 mins
 
Horror
 
W: David Chaskin [based on characters created by Wes Craven]
DP: Jacques Haitkin
Ed: Bob Brady 
Mus: Christopher Young
 
Mark Patton (Jesse Walsh), Kim Myers (Lisa Webber), Hope Lange (Cheryl Walsh), Clu Gulager (Ken Walsh), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger)
 
This first sequel of the Nightmare On Elm Street series deviates from the plot from the rest of the films, so much as it's not much about a boogeyman stalking the dreams of his prey in favour of a storyline about possession.
The narrative is quite weak, but has a rather clever homoerotic subplot beneath it which much of the audience didn't give it enough credit for.
Nevertheless, aside from the subtext, it's pretty standard slasher stuff and doesn't have any real connection to the first film except for Freddy Krueger as the villain.
4/10

A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy's Revenge
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy's Revenge
If you think you'll get out alive, you must be dreaming
If you think you'll get out alive, you must be dreaming
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 3: DREAM WARRIORS (18)
D: Chuck Russell
New Line/Heron/Smart Egg (Robert Shaye)
US 1987
96 mins
 
Horror
 
W: Wes Craven & Bruce Wagner [based on characters created by Wes Craven]
DP: Roy H. Wagner
Ed: Terry Stokes
Mus: Angelo Badalamenti
 

Heather Langenkamp (Nancy Thompson), Patricia Arquette (Kristen Parker), Craig Wasson (Dr. Neil Gordon), Larry Fishburne (Max Daniels), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger)
 
The first true sequel to A Nightmare On Elm Street, following on from events in the first film with returning cast member Heather Langenkamp as haunted protagonist Nancy, this time helping other suburban teenagers in mental care after suffering vivid nightmares in which they're pursued by the razor-gloved villain Freddy Krueger. The misfits then form an alliance and give strengths to their dream-selves in order to defeat the bad guy.
Many consider this the best of the Elm Street series and it's difficult to argue with that honour. At least from a technical perspective, this film in the series probably has the best practical makeup and visual effects.
Unfortunately, all the sequels which followed this were progressively worse.
7/10

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors
Terror beyond your wildest dreams
Terror beyond your wildest dreams
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 4: THE DREAM MASTER (18)
D: Renny Harlin
New Line/Heron/Smart Egg (Robert Shaye & Rachel Talalay)
US 1988
93 mins

Horror

W: Brian Helgeland & Scott Pierce [based on characters created by Wes Craven]
DP: Steven Fierberg
Ed: Michael N. Knue, Chuck Weiss, Jack Tucker & Charley Coleman
Mus: Craig Safan

Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Lisa Wilcox (Alice Johnson), Danny Hassel (Dan Jordan), Andras Jones (Rick Johnson), Tuesday Knight (Kristen Parker), Ken Sagoes (Ronald Kincaid)

The fourth Elm Street horror is a mishmash of violence and grotesque humour as Freddy Krueger goes on his usual dreamworld killing spree.
This was the first film which have Robert Englund star billing as the infamous villain and rightly so, it's his performance which steals the film while everyone else gives a rather wooden effort, particularly Lisa Wilcox with a pathetic excuse for an acting performance. 
Unfortunately, the story is formulaic and distinctly average compared to earlier films in the series, and it's the first film in which Krueger's kills were played for laughs rather than scares, but that didn't prevent this from becoming the highest-grossing film in the franchise.
If you were to miss out on this one, you wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
5/10
 
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Freddy Delivers
Freddy Delivers
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (PART 5): THE DREAM CHILD (18)
D: Stephen Hopkins
New Line/Heron/Smart Egg (Robert Shaye & Rupert Harvey)
US 1989
89 mins
 
Horror
 
W: Leslie Boehm [based on characters created by Wes Craven]
DP: Peter Levy
Ed: Chuck Weiss & Brent Schoenfeld
Mus: Jay Ferguson 
 
Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Lisa Wilcox (Alice Johnson), Kelly Jo Minter (Yvonne Miller), Danny Hassel (Dan Jordan), Erika Anderson (Greta Gibson)
 
Nightmarish boogeyman Freddy Krueger returns once again to possess the unborn child of one his former victims.
This fifth installment of the series is complete nonsense, casting the rules from the previous movies aside in order to blend the real-life world with the vivid nightmares together, which makes for a confusing narrative held together only by the unpleasant and cartoonish death scenes (thrown together with some rather terrible visual effects and makeup).
Only Englund's grotesque performance makes it a worthwhile viewing experience, but he doesn't feature in this one nearly as much as the previous instalments, so we're mostly left with Lisa Wilcox's pathetically wooden acting to carry the film. It would actually be quite possible to sleep through this one.
The next sequel was "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare" (qv), released in 1991.
4/10

A Nightmare on Elm Street part 5: The Dream Child
A Nightmare on Elm Street part 5: The Dream Child
FREDDY'S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE (aka NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET: PART 6) (18)
D: Rachel Talalay
New Line (Robert Shaye & Aron Warner)
USA 1991
90 mins
 
Horror
 
W: Michael DeLuca [based on characters created by Wes Craven]
DP: Declan Quinn
Ed: Janice Hampton
Mus: Brian May
 
Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Lisa Zane (Maggie Burroughs), Shon Greenblatt (John Doe) Leslie Deane (Tracy), Ricky Dean Logan (Carlos), Breckin Meyer (Spencer), Yaphet Kotto (Doc)
 
The title may contain the words "The Final Nightmare" but it didn't stop razor-clawed villain Freddy Krueger appearing in further films since (including a remake of the original Nightmare On Elm Street).
All the horror & scares have practically been cast aside for this 6th film of the NOES franchise, which settles mostly for a parody style of humour and a gimmick 3D ending which consisted mostly of confusing, pointless images, none of which are particularly scary.
The plot is more of the same. Troubled teenagers running from the facially-burned serial killer in their dreams once again, the only bit of originality being that one of his victims may or may not be Krueger's own child.
A clutch of cameos turn up throughout the running time, including Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Roseanne Barr, but to little effect other than the filmmakers having an in-joke amongst themselves.
4/10

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
WES CRAVEN'S NEW NIGHTMARE (18)
D: Wes Craven
New Line (Marianne Maddalena)
US 1994
112 mins

Horror

W: Wes Craven
DP: Mark Irwin
Ed: Patrick Lussier
Mus: J. Peter Robinson


Heather Langenkamp (herself / Nancy Thompson), Robert Englund (himself / Freddy Krueger), Miko Hughes (Dylan Porter), John Saxon (himself / Donald Thompson), Wes Craven (himself)

The worst of the Nightmare On Elm Street films, trying and failing to balance between meta, satire and horror, with actors playing themselves, including director Wes Craven who explains that the only way to stop Freddy Krueger manifesting himself in the real world is to make yet another movie in which to kill him off for good. 
There were no more direct sequels to the horror series after this, so some might say that it worked. For that, I guess we can be thankful.
3/10

Robert England in Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Robert England in Wes Craven's New Nightmare