While Wes Craven’s original Elm Street is a true masterpiece, some sequels are undoubtedly hit or miss. But which is the second best Nightmare?
A Nightmare on Elm Street is brilliant but what’s the best sequel? (I just like the Freddy’s Dead photo…that film is fun but terrible)
Whenever I Want You, All I Have To Do Is Dream
After the changing the genre forever, Wes Craven is famously kicked out of the series by New Line Cinema honcho Bob Shaye — Freddy’s Revenge shows this is a horrible decision. For the next 10 years, the emerging mini-major produces six films set in the world of Elm Street. And as we all know, some of the sequels are dreamy while others are a nightmare. But the true questions is: Which is the best? We’ll, only three truly deserve examination.
With The Dream Warriors, Don’t Want To Dream No More
After the shit-fest that’s Freddy’s Revenge, the Elm Street series gives us one of the best sequels in horror history. With an early script by Craven, Chuck Russell and Frank Darabount (future Oscar nominee) bring the series back from almost certain oblivion — and bring a few dream warriors with them.
Bringing back premier heroine Nancy Thompson, Dream Warriors is a prime example of doing everything right in a sequel. While developing the mythology of previous outings (Nancy, the now tragic Thompson family dynamic, Freddy’s evil), the third Nightmare introduces new characters we quickly care about. The beloved sequel eventually ends with a bang, further proving the greats don’t just push the boundaries — they hack them to pieces.
Running From This Nightmare
After the success of Dream Warriors, taking the series to true franchise levels, New Line is looking for more nights with Freddy. Taking a chance on a Finnish unknown, the “House The Freddy Built” hires Renny Harlin to bring the fedora freak back to the big screen. What comes of the entertainment experiment is The Dream Master.
Featuring some of the best direction in the entire series, The Dream Child is one of the most underrated films in horror. Giving us the second greatest protagonist in series history in Alice Johnson, the fourth Nightmare is truly an unforgettable experience. Matching Dream Warriors in bringing fresh characters you want to see live instead of falling on four blades, It’s a viewing experience I’ve been trying to master for years, consistently finding new intricacies 20 years after my first. It’s the MTV Nightmare. And in the immortal words of Dire Straights…I want my MTV.
This Time, Staying Awake Won’t Save You
More from A Nightmare on Elm Street
- 31 Days of Horror: ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ rules!
- Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: A must-see for Freddy fans
- Queer Themes in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
- Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare — A nuanced take on abuse?!
- Robert Englund: Stay awake with his special Nightmare Blend coffee
After Freddy loses steam in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the Elm Street series ends with Freddy’s Dead — or does it? Leaving the series after the original — also providing the templet for what became Dream Warriors — Wes Craven returns to the street he created with a original terror. The king comes back to reclaim the crown with a New Nightmare.
One of the most creative films in the history of the medium, the seventh Nightmare is an underappreciated achievement in cinema. With originality arguably matching the first Nightmare’s brilliance, New Nightmare takes what came before it and amplifies it entirely. The sequel makes Freddy scary again — and arguably better than ever.
Providing commentary on not only the film business but the concept of sequels themselves, New Nightmare is unlike anything I’ve seen before or since. Using Heather Langemkamp’s actual life as its base, the film stands as an example of never saying never. Never saying never to a returning mastermind. And for Craven, who refused to say his biggest, brightest and most creative works were behind him. Did we miss you Freddy? You must be dreaming to think otherwise.
A Favorite Child Among Children
While truly adoring each, the sequel I love the most is New Nightmare. While the other two surely have a special place in my demented heart, there’s simply nothing like the 1993 sequel. It’s a true work of art, still inspiring me to rise about my own perceived abilities and aim for greater nightmares.
It continues to teach me dreams aren’t only for sleeping. And for that, I’ll forever be in your debt Wes. Wherever you are, we still miss your unforgettable talent. Thanks for giving us as many dream as nightmare. This one’s for you.