Sunday, November 30, 2014

Welcome To Prime Time: Ranking The A Nightmare On Elm Street Films

Okay, we've done it.  A month of Freddy.  I hope you've enjoyed a month-long retrospective dedicated to one of my favorite cinematic villains of all time.  If you can't tell from my profile picture on this blog...I'm kinda  big fan of this series.  This franchise is one, unlike its contemporaries, that actually gets to sort of have its own story play out without dodging entries or starting fresh multiple times within the original canon.  Unfortunately it winds up being the one that had the worst of the remakes.  

Freddy rose to the highest possible point of pop cultural phenomenon in horror.  His original cannon reaped some of the biggest success and he was a household name complete with a children's pull string doll.  Some of his movies may have worked much better back in the day, but I argue there's still some fun to be had in each of his entries if you're up for it.  

I'd also like to once again thank my guest writers, Randy and Cullen for putting forth some astounding efforts for their pieces.  I completed appreciate all the work you guys put in for this little dump.  You guys sure class this place up.

I forewarn that my rankings on this franchise can change from day to day and in different tiers.  Depending on the day, the bottom 2 could swap places.  Then, the next 3 after that could be changed around.  The top 3 also could swing around.  Any of my top 3 in the franchise could make a case for number one and the person who's preference for that isn't wrong.  As I said, mine even changes.  But here's how it went for this round with the burned man in the striped shirt.

9.  A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)

After the first act comes to a close, this movie really drags to its finish.  I found myself pretty bored with it this time.  Its a film that feels directed by a beginner and every deliver within it just comes off as flat.  Nobody in the movie seems to be enjoying themselves or committing to the material either.  Just unimaginative and uninteresting.  Of all the 80s horror films being remade, this was the one that could have done the most with a modern update, and instead it tried to just copy itself.

8.  Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

On one hand, this is a pretty embarrassing entry and flat out lame send off for Freddy Krueger.  However, unlike the remake, this one could be made enjoyable on the level of just watching some horror trash.  Time has both been kind and unkind to this movie.  What helps it hop over the remake in these rankings this time around, is Robert England.  He's at least having a blast here with this movie.

7.  A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

Ugh...I don't like having this one so low, but know that I THOROUGHLY enjoy this film for all sorts of reasons.  Its funny, its weird, its got some great horror elements and its got a great Freddy in it.  Its here at #7, but I could wake up tomorrow and its #5.  I really struggled pretty good with this Nightmare list, but I'm not cheap and put "ties" in these.  

6.  A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

Maybe its because I've spent so much time defending this movie that it hopped over the previous one, I dunno.  I really like that this one is trying to expand the franchise's mythology and be about something.  Its Freddy Krueger that just feels way out of place in this movie. However, I complimented 2 of the kills in my top 10, so its not all that bad.  And the motorcycle kills looks cool, but it makes no damn sense.  Dream Child is also visually interesting too.  This movie grows on me more every time I come back to the series.  And I really don't think there's very much of a quality difference between this and...

5.  A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

The popcorn Freddy movie.  This one is pretty hollow, but it makes up for it with some solid action and visual palette that Renny Harlin has put together.  This is one that worked like gangbusters in 1988 but really hasn't held up too much, because people can't really understand again how things were back then and that this movie was crowd pleasing.  Still good on a horror-action level of entertainment.

4.  Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)

Yup, I am a big fan of this movie and it didn't disappoint.  I think it recaptured what made Freddy work in the original 3 movies and took it to an acceptable camp level.  Also, the royal rumble at the end was just something of my own imagination come to life.  Awesome time.  Could we have Ronny Yu do another horror icon's movie?  Maybe he could make a good Leprechaun?

3.  A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

Difficult choice again...UGH!  On a lot of days this is my favorite.  But then on this time through I feel like its a terrific stage setter that people and Craven himself would run with the idea a lot better.  This is terrific classic horror and scared me plenty back in the day.  I love it all, I can quote the hell out of the movie and I love so much about it.  Reminder, these top 3 could all interchange with each other.

2.  Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

For many years this was my favorite film.  This is one that also impacted me a lot watching it.  The film is ahead of its time and a great horror film just in its own right aside from the Elm Street series itself.  Craven took his idea to a whole other level and managed to successfully both make a big idea and make Freddy scary again.  Great stuff, and a great great movie.

1.  A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

Here's what it is...this movie is just so much damn fun.  Its got an outstanding cast of characters that I love.  Also, Frank Darabont and Chuck Russell go wild making such a creepy and imaginative world for Freddy and the Dream Warriors to play in.  There are some great deaths, mythology, effects and character work on display.  Also, Freddy's intensity, fright factor and dark humor were balanced perfectly once and just this once.  Scary or not, this feels like a "classic horror" in the vein of the 1980s as Hammer Dracula or Universal Frankenstein was to their respective eras.  You get everything you want out of a Freddy movie here.  And you get to do it all to the sounds of a kick ass Dokken song.  I could always be in the mood for this movie.  And that's why its taking #1 this time around. 

Although, tomorrow after my corn flakes...I might tell you its New Nightmare again :)

Thank you so much for following along.  And thanks to those of you who have been with me for this run of horror franchises.  We're stepping away from the genre for the next one and jumping into one I don't think we've been.  

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