A Friday on Elm Street

Freddy vs. Jason is the slasher movie event fans have been waiting a decade and a half to see. It brings together the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises in one big crossover. By pitting two of the 80’s biggest slashers Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees against each other. Freddy the fedora wearing striped shirt bladed glove wielding dream killer and Jason the hockey mask wearing giant machete wielding psychopath. The Friday the 13th series lasted from 1980 to 2001. The series was popular due to its unstoppable killer and high body count. As a killer, Jason has since avenged his mother’s death, died twice, came back as a zombie, fought a girl with telekinesis, took Manhattan, and gone to space.

The A Nightmare on Elm Street series lasted from 1984 to 1994. The series was popular due to its wise cracking killer and creativity. As a killer, Freddy has since stalked the dreams of all the children from Elm Street and figured out new ways to come back every time. The idea for a crossover is as old as 1987, but it always ended up in development Hell. With the main problem being the lack of a good storyline that logically pits the horror icons against each other. Both franchises began to follow each other closely to the point where they themselves ended up in Hell. But the idea for a crossover survived long enough for them to finally get it made in 2003…

11a. Freddy vs. Jason

Freddy vs. Jason in the real world

Freddy vs. Jason has a very standard cliché storyline. A group of dumb attractive mostly naked teenagers who live on Elm Street end up dropping dead after doing things like smoking, drinking, and having premarital sex. After Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Freddy has been forgotten by the people of Elm Street. The only way he can return is by using Jason to do his killing for him. Thus tricking people into thinking Freddy has returned. Half of the movie goes by without any fighting. Until Freddy starts to get jealous of Jason and then they fight each other.

Freddy vs. Jason was marketed as a big pro wrestling style event. I know I remember when the movie came out. I recall seeing several TV spots and being very intrigued even though I didn’t know anything about either franchise. I just knew it was a big deal. That’s why I eventually watched every installment of both horror franchises. Just to get to Freddy vs. Jason. Despite the many usual flaws this movie has (underwritten characters, over-the-top violence, and gratuitous nudity), when they do face off it’s very satisfying. Seeing two psychopaths trying to kill each other for a change. Even if Freddy and Jason are a bit of an odd match up. Freddy being a thin talkative killer and Jason being a giant silent killer. Really the main thing they have in common is that they’re both supernatural in some way and both started out scary, but devolved into crappy cheesiness.

This movie actually portrays Freddy as the villain and Jason as some kind of evil pseudo anti-hero. Freddy vs. Jason is also notably Robert Englund’s last time portraying Freddy. While fan’s criticized the movie for not casting Kane Hodder as Jason. The guy who played Jason the most, but they wanted someone with a faster build. SPOILER ALERT! Lori is the final girl who, along with her friends, lures a dreaming Jason to Camp Crystal Lake (which is apparently right next to Elm Street). It’s there Freddy and Jason engage in a fight that seemingly ends with the two of them killing each other (or did they?). To we’ll never know since this ended the original timeline for both slashers. Freddy vs. Jason is a crossover that fans of both franchises will more than enjoy.

11b. Freddy vs. Jason

Freddy vs. Jason in the dream world

Crossover of: The Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises

Behind the Screams

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is based on a true story. Not really, but it’s still one of the most inventive horror movies made at the time. Just when you thought the A Nightmare on Elm Street series couldn’t come back from its mediocre sequels, Wes Craven makes this movie. What makes Wes Craven’s New Nightmare so unique is that it’s actually set in the real world. Where Freddy is a beloved fictional character that’s recently been killed off in the movie Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.

Actress Heather Langenkamp, who played final girl Nancy Thompson, plays herself and so does Robert Englund who’s played Freddy since the beginning. Even director Wes Craven and a handful of actors/executives play themselves in the movie. After doing an interview for the movie’s 10 year anniversary, Heather starts getting nightmares and weird phone calls. So Wes Craven explains to her that Freddy Krueger is a real evil entity that’s drawn to his films. The only way to save her son is for her to play Nancy one last time and act out the original A Nightmare on Elm Street.

As bizarre as this idea is, it actually works very well. Wes Craven knew the only way to bring back better horror movies was to challenge the established formula. An idea that would give him great success 2 years later with Scream. He even saw it as an opportunity to portray Freddy the way he originally intended. As a serious killer with a trench coat and a skeletal bladed hand. It’s an interesting look, but its better he went with the design we all know today. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is a nightmare come to life.

7. Wes Craven's New Nightmare

Freddy makes his presence known

Preceded by: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare & Followed by: Freddy vs. Jason

Definitely Not the Final Nightmare

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare takes everything terrifying about the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and turns it into a joke. With zero explanation, Freddy is alive yet again and kills all but one Elm Street teen. So he tracks him down, but discovers someone else in the process. By this point in the franchise, Freddy Krueger became a widely known icon. Games, merchandise, and even an anthology TV series.

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare softens Freddy to the point where people seem to forget he’s an evil psychotic killer. Freddy parodies the wicked witch, messes with a guy’s hearing aid, uses 3D glasses in a final act shot entirely in 3D for some reason, and even plays a video game with a freaking Power Glove! There are even embarrassing cameos from a bunch of celebrities including Johnny Depp, Roseanne Barr, and Alice Cooper. You’d think this slasher movie was made for children. It must be why his one liners are so juvenile, his face is smoother with less scarring, and no nudity is present.

The only notable thing about the movie is the reveal of Freddy’s full origin. SPOILER ALERT! Freddy only became the “Springwood Slasher” because his surprise daughter Maggie was taken away from him. When he was burned, three “Fiery Demon” puppet head creatures gave him dream powers. Yes it looks just as ridiculous as it sounds. His daughter along with other final girl Tracy, kill him in the real world and Freddy is (clearly not) dead for good. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare is just embarrassing.

6. Freddy's Dead The Final Nightmare

Freddy plays a video game

Preceded by: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child & Followed by: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

Never Sleep Again…

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child finally follows up on the question of who Freddy’s mother is. Even though that was answered two movies ago. His messed up origin involves his nun mother being locked in a room with 100 psychopaths. When final girl Alice defeated Freddy Krueger at the end of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, it seemed to be for good. But through a series of complicated reasons, Freddy returns through Alice’s unborn baby. Attempting to merge the baby’s soul with his own.

It doesn’t make much sense, but then again neither does the rest of the movie, because A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is stupid. It’s the first sequel that misses the mark entirely. The reason being their inability to find a clear tone. The last movie had that problem, but this is ridiculous. The movie strangely deals with a variety of heavy topics including, teen pregnancy, abortion, drinking & driving, and eating disorders. Something a slasher movie isn’t equipped to handle.

Especially since Freddy’s killing methods are more wacky than ever. Their creative, but utterly ridiculous. Freddy morphs into a motorcycle, feeds a girl food until she inflates, and turns into a comic book superhero. That and the darker tone don’t mix at all. Not to mention the lack of nudity. SPOILER ALERT! Alice survives along with her friend Yvonne. I’m not joking when I say Freddy is defeated by being sucked into his mother’s womb. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child was so rushed that it doesn’t make any sense.

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 The Dream Child

Freddy feeds Jacob lies

Preceded by: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master & Followed by: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

Gonna Stay Up Late

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master finally gave Freddy a worthy opponent to fight. Even if that opponent is a girl who can control dreams just like Freddy can. After Freddy Krueger was laid to rest at the end of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, he’s revived in the most ridiculous way possible. Thus giving him a chance to kill the surviving Elm Street children. His only problem is, he can’t kill anyone else, because they’re the only dreams he can access.

So Freddy tricks Kristen (the girl who can bring people into her dreams) into bringing someone new into her dream. That’s where Alice comes in. Alice has the ability to control her dreams. She receives Kristen’s abilities as well as her friend’s personality traits. That makes her the titular “Dream master.” Much like a certain hockey mask sporting slasher’s 7th movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master was originally meant to be the crossover. Since it didn’t happen, they ended up with a dream rival instead.

SPOILER ALERT! Alice is the final girl and she makes an impression on the franchise. Coming into her own and engaging in an intense final confrontation with Freddy. My only complaint would be the hard to place tone. Freddy still acts silly (he actually wears sunglasses on a sunny beach), but the kills feel colder. Like having him exploit a girl’s asthma and turning a girl into a cockroach. The nudity is balanced though. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is a serviceable showdown with a bizarre payoff.

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 The Dream Master

Freddy confronts Alice

Preceded by: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors & Followed by: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

Grab a Crucifix

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is the first decent sequel in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. It’s easy to see why, since Wes Craven returned to write (but not direct) the movie. After nothing of importance in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Freddy has returned once more. This time he sets his sights on the remaining children of Elm Street. From the parents who burned him alive, as explained in the first movie.

What makes A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors especially notable is that original final girl Nancy Thompson returns. Grey streak and all. Which makes things feel a lot more personal. Speaking of personal, a mysterious nun also informs us of the messed up circumstances surrounding Freddy’s birth. Nancy is now a therapist who consoles the remaining troubled teens at a mental health hospital. Freddy Krueger returns to his roots of being both creative and comedic. Using a variety of unique killing techniques including, turning into a giant snake, using puppet strings, morphing into a TV, and syringe fingers.

However, Nancy helps the group of teens to better control their dreams. Thus giving them superhuman powers that match Freddy’s. Giving the movie more of a fantasy feel. The violence is just more brutal and there’s actual nudity. There are also performances from a young Laurence Fishburne and Patricia Arquette. She plays final girl Kristen, a girl with the ability to bring people into her dreams. SPOILER ALERT! Nancy sadly dies, but she manages to deliver the final blow and kill Freddy once and for all. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is very creative and a far more worthy sequel.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors

Freddy pulls out syringes

Preceded by: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge & Followed by: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Better Lock Your Door

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge has almost nothing to do with A Nightmare on Elm Street. Which is mostly caused by Wes Craven’s lack of involvement. Aside from the new lead character Jesse moving into Nancy’s house on Elm Street. The tone is different, the style is different, and even the dream aspect is different. There’s also a bizarre amount of homoerotic subtext in the movie.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge is played more like a coming of age story. With final boy Jesse dealing with teen problems like talking to final girl Lisa. The gay subtext mostly comes from lingering shots of male characters, obvious symbolism, and predominantly male nudity. Jesse also has to deal with frequent dreams he has about Freddy Krueger. Who tells Jesse to kill for him since he’s not strong enough to do it on his own.

SPOILER ALERT! Freddy only appears in 13 minutes of the entire movie! Jesse is the one we see possibly doing most of the out of body killing. Which is kinda lame for a movie that promises “Freddy’s revenge.” And when he does appear, he’s much less comedic and a lot more creepy looking. With demonic facial features. Freddy doesn’t even use his dream powers in a creative way. All he does is slash a couple of teens at a pool party (that’s it). Before dying in an icky way. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge is just not the kind of follow up anyone was hoping for.

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 Freddy's Revenge

Freddy makes his entrance

Preceded by: A Nightmare on Elm Street & Followed by: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Freddy’s Coming for You

A Nightmare on Elm Street is the best idea late great director Wes Craven ever had. Having a horror movie centered on nightmares was pure genius. Falling asleep and dreaming are things we all do inevitably. So to think there would be a psychotic killer after you is terrifying. I’ve known about A Nightmare on Elm Street for years, but it was actually my mom who brought it to my attention. As she saw the movie with her friends and it disturbed them. I would go on to have many ironic nightmares myself.

A Nightmare on Elm Street centers on a group of mildly sex-crazed teenagers who live on Elm Street (because every town has an Elm Street). Their lives get significantly worse when their friend Tina dies and the only logical solution is that she was killed in her dream. The one who killed her is Freddy Krueger. One of the most iconic/original horror movie slashers of all time played by Robert Englund. Freddy is different because he uses a bladed glove to kill, wears a striped red and green sweater, a fedora, has a burned face, and actually talks. Which means he can taunt his victims in an occasionally perverted manner.

Freddy also has control of the dream world. He can extend his arms, manipulate the environment (including a bathtub and bed), and morph into objects like a phone or car. The kills are frightening and so is the theme music. The main theme is fine, but I’m mainly referring to the creepy children’s rhyme. SPOILER ALERT! Freddy is defeated by Nancy Thompson. One of the all-time best final girls, because she figures out his weakness. By staying awake long enough to set a trap. This is also famously Johnny Depp’s debut performance as one of Freddy’s victims. A Nightmare on Elm Street is a quintessential slasher movie that made it really hard for us to go back to sleep.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Freddy taunts his victim

Followed by: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

Jason in SPACE!

Jason X is what you get when a long running franchise gives up. You get Jason in space! In 2010, Jason is once again alive and now captured by the government in a facility where Camp Crystal Lake used to be. After killing nearly everyone, Jason gets frozen and wakes up in the distant future of 2455. Where he ends up on a spaceship full of soldiers and sexed up teenagers. So basically Jason Takes Manhattan on a spaceship.

Jason X was only made because they needed to keep the character alive before the crossover came out. Setting things in the far future was their only option. It was also the other sequel in the Friday the 13th franchise I looked the most forward to seeing. Unlike the other films, I actually remember when Jason X came out. Seeing the poster for it is how I discovered Jason in the first place. Little did I know it was the 10th movie in the series.

Jason X has the same problems as all the other movies, but with a sci-fi twist. There’s multiple spaceships, a warrior sex robot, healing nanobots, and holograms of naked campers. Jason’s most unique kill involves the use of liquid nitrogen. When his body is blown away, Jason is turned into a cyborg named Uber Jason. SPOILER ALERT! Rowan, who was also frozen in time, is the final girl. To finish him off, Jason is blasted out of the ship and sent hurdling to a second Earth like an asteroid. I wish I was making this up, but that’s why Jason X was destined to fail.

10. Jason X

Jason gets an upgrade

Preceded by: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday & Followed by: Freddy vs. Jason

Still Not the Final Friday

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is for many reasons my least favorite installment in the Friday the 13th franchise. After “Jumping the shark” with Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, it seemed like the series was over. Paramount Pictures sold their rights, it was no longer the 80’s, and no one seemed to care anymore. Well as if they hadn’t learned their lesson, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday was made (once again having “Final” in its title).

With literally no explanation as to his toxic waste death, Jason is still alive and stalking a naked woman in Camp Crystal Lake. Only for him to end up being blown up by the FBI in the first few minutes. One of the main reasons I hate this movie is what they do to solve this problem. A slug-like parasite leaves Jason’s body and possesses victims with his soul. I can accept Jason being an unkillable zombie, but parasite possession is where I draw the line. This idea is beyond stupid and completely ruins the character. I wasn’t crazy about his mask being fused to his face either.

Now Jason hardly has any screen time. A bunch of random guys do all the killings instead. Which were so brutal, the movie needed an unrated cut. A graphic sex scene with a graphic death to be specific. SPOILER ALERT! Jason’s surprise niece Jessica is the final girl who sends him to Hell using an enchanted dagger (also very stupid). The only good things about Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday are the unexpected use of the Necronomicon from Evil Dead or the surprise appearance of Freddy Krueger’s bladed glove pulling Jason’s mask to Hell.

9. Jason Goes to Hell The Final Friday

Jason goes in for the kill

Preceded by: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan & Followed by: Jason X