Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

new_nightmare_poster_02“New Nightmare” is the final installment of the series and something of a meta-movie that pre-dates Craven’s wildly overrated “Scream” series. Rather than deconstruct the slasher film, Craven deconstructs the “Nightmare” series once and for all studying the over saturation of Krueger on the masses of pop culture fanatics and dares to ponder on the notion that the “Nightmare” movies may have actually done more harm than good. Basing most of the film on reality (including the stalker sub-plot), “New Nightmare” breaks down and disavows the series opting instead to depict them as fiction that have taken on a life of their own in the midst of the pop culture overload.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 – The Dream Child (1989)

noes-5“Dream Child” is admittedly one of my favorite of the Nightmare sequels. While it doesn’t do much to further the lore like “Dream Master,” either, it does strike me as something of an entertaining installment in the series. Even years after watching it on network television time and time again, it still holds up very well to scrutiny. The premise is actually very creative this time around. Though it’s still a cheap excuse to keep the series moving, it’s quite innovative. Freddy has been revived once again and this is through the dreams of Alice. He revives his mother who gives birth to Freddy yet again, and Freddy is able to take on his true form as an adult. He knows something Alice doesn’t.

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Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

nightmare_on_elm_street_6_p“Freddy’s Dead” is what you would call absolute zero for the franchise and god help me if it isn’t one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures. This is the film that my dad took my brother and I to decades ago and we experienced it in its full 3D glory, loving every single solitary second of it. This is the moment when Freddy Krueger finally dropped all pretense and became a demonic Scud Farkus, a clown prince of the dream world who resorted to cartoon tricks and treats to murder his victims rather than revel in the evil of it all. It’s a shame too because this is technically the final entry in the series and rather than play to the Craven crowds and deliver us a helping of frightening Freddy, we’re instead given funny Freddy. I use the term funny loosely, of course.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

nightmare_on_elm_street_3As a person who has taken part in lucid dreams, it’s refreshing to see a sequel strive to turn the premise of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” completely on its head. With states of dreaming and forms of the sub-conscious there is so much one can do with the premise that it’s a dream come true to see folks like Frank Darabont and Wes Craven re-visit the material and figure out a new way to deliver it to fans. Considered arguably the best of the “Nightmare” films, “Dream Warriors” takes a look at what would happen if the kids in Freddy’s dream world decided to finally start fighting back once and for all.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 – The Dream Master (1988)

A-Nightmare-on-Elm-Street-4With “Dream Warriors” there was a purpose for its premise. It was the last of the Elm Street children and they had a score to settle with Freddy. With this Renny Harlin installment there isn’t much that can be done beyond the visual and Harlin brings it to the forefront with all sorts of surrealism that audiences will appreciate. Sadly, the cause for Freddy’s revival isn’t too creative, nor is the reason for the continuation of this narrative. There could have been a lot more to do with the concept of the dream warriors, and “Dream Master” is sadly just a vague reflection of the creativity brought to the aforementioned.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

nightmare_on_elm_street_2“He’s inside me and he wants to take me again!”

Ever since the remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” rather than looking back at the original film, many movie buffs around the web have been examining the infamous follow-up to Wes Craven’s sequel entitled “Freddy’s Revenge.” And after seeing it in its entirety for the first time ever, I’ll just say what everyone has examined from the get go: “Freddy’s Revenge” is one big metaphor for repressed homosexuality and its main hero’s confrontation with his demonizing and acceptance of his true sexuality.

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Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy 2-Disc Collector's Edition (2010) (DVD)

R980KYhWhenever someone purports to make the ultimate of anything, there’s a good chance that nine times out of ten, there will not be anything remotely resembling ultimate about the product. The makers behind “Never Sleep Again” thankfully live up to their promise that “Never Sleep Again” is “The Ultimate Nightmare Documentary” not only because it is undoubtedly one of the best horror movie documentaries ever made, but it surely is the definitive look in to the Nightmare series that is not just the chronicling of the evolution of a bonafide horror icon, but of a studio that began as an independent film studio and worked its way in to becoming a corporate juggernaut that in a sense worked against what filmmaking was originally all for in the first place.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

nightmare-on-elm-street

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” remains Wes Craven’s master opus, a film that is his most creative and most visually appealing. There aren’t many horror films that dabble in the iconology and symbolism of dreams and end up being truly horrifying, but Wes Craven’s film continues to be something of a crowd pleaser to this day. While it hasn’t aged too well since its initial release (which is the case with all of Craven’s films, I’ve found), it remains one of the most influential films of all time considering its primary character is a dream demon who plays more of a supporting role than taking center stage.

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