Welcome to the end of the line. This retrospective on the A Nightmare On Elm Street series is the final part of the very first Survivor Series. Within you will find different thoughts on the series as well as a definitive ranking of the films.
The Nightmare series was always different from its contemporary counterparts. While both the Halloween and Friday The 13th series had mute personality-less masked killers. Up until 1984 when the first Nightmare On Elm Street was unleashed upon the world, there had never been a slasher quite like Freddy Krueger. While in the wake of Nightmare‘s success more slashers came about that had voices and personality (most notably Chucky from Child’s Play and Pinhead from Hellraiser) none were ever quite the same as iconic boogeyman from Elm Street. No other slasher film had such set rules for the killer to infiltrate and make their attacks on victims. Through the evolution of Freddy, he went from a manifestation of pure evil, to a joking boogeyman, and then to a representation of an ancient evil. This was mostly able to happen by way of Freddy having a face, voice and personality.
For many young budding horror fans, A Nightmare On Elm Street was their introduction to the slasher subgenre. Because Freddy had a voice and personality, he was easier to relate to, and eventually would become one of the biggest pop-culture icons of the 80s. The dirty red and green sweater, fedora and clawed glove have become synonymous with the dream demon. Kids who have never even seen any of the films know who Freddy Krueger is. My four year old son knows who Freddy and Jason are, just like he knows of Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster. They’ve become a part of the mainstream, and will forever be embedded there. Not so bad for a guy who was initially murdered by a group of vengeful parents for being a child molesting murderer, let free on a technicality. The fact that a character with an origin like that would eventually become a toy doll for children is mindblowing.
It is also one of the reasons that the Nightmare On Elm Street remake was so unsuccessful. As previously mentioned, Freddy has a face and voice. As talented an actor as Jackie Earle Haley is, he simply isn’t Freddy Krueger. The only man who can portray Freddy is the incomparable Robert Englund. He is the only person involved in every Nightmare film as well as the spin off show Freddy’s Nightmares. Many people don’t remember the show, and rightfully so. It is without a doubt a product of its time, with Freddy serving as the host, introducing different stories in the same way that The Cryptkeeper did in the much more successful Tales From The Crypt. While the show gave opportunities to several actors and actresses that would go onto further fame, as well as many first time directors, the only episode that is along the lines of required viewing is the pilot episode. Directed by Tobe Hooper, director of the legendary 1974 classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the episode focuses on the trial of Freddy. Giving us more details on Freddy’s pre-dream demon life is an interesting angle, but the episode doesn’t break the mold in any way.
To sum up, the Nightmare series was and still is to this day truly one of a kind. Never before, and most likely never again, will there be a horror series that has the scope, reach or mass appeal of Freddy’s exploits. Freddy Krueger is a part of the national zeitgeist, and will remain firmly planted there for the foreseeable future. Everyone simply loves Freddy Krueger.
And now, in closing, a ranking of the best to worst of the A Nightmare On Elm Street series, not including Freddy Vs. Jason.
- A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master
- A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors
- A Nightmare On Elm Street
- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
- A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge
- A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child
- Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
Thanks for sticking around for the first edition of Survivor Series. Stay tuned for the next edition! The franchise is yet to be decided, but if you have requests be sure to check out our Facebook page or you can check out my Twitter page.