The Woodsboro Murders

Scream 2 overcomes the horror movie sequel curse that it’s trying to satirize. Since everyone knows those tend to suck. Unlike with his Nightmare franchise, Wes Craven actually returned to direct. Meaning Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, and Jamie Kennedy would return too. Instead of having an entirely new cast of victims like most sequels do. Sidney and Randy are now in college where they try to move on from “The Woodsboro Murders.” Which is difficult considering Gale just wrote a book about it. Something that gets between her and a now disabled Deputy Dewey. There’s also a newly released movie based on the events called Stab. Just like Scream, Scream 2 has a very chilling opening sequence. One question some viewers might of had about the first movie is, “Where are all the black people?” Well now there’s plenty, including Jada Pinkett-Smith whose killed in a theater packed with people dressed like Ghostface. Kind of in poor taste if you think about it. Well just like in real life, the previous murders inspire a copycat killer. This new Ghostface seems to be killing people in accordance with the names of the previous victims. Buffy herself Sarah Michelle Gellar is one of them. Sidney is so on edge that she even suspects her new boyfriend might be the killer. He almost was but it was drastically altered due to a script leak. Newly exonerated Cotton Weary is also a suspect. According to Randy, the rules to a horror movie sequel are: the body count is bigger, the death scenes are more elaborate, and something about having a successful franchise. SPOILER ALERT! Random creep Mickey is the killer, but he’s not as important as Mrs. Loomis. Out to avenge her son’s death à la Mrs. Voorhees. With more creative kills and wit, Scream 2 is a sequel done fright.

2. Scream 2

Possible Ghostfaces

Preceded by: Scream & Followed by: Scream 3

Do You Like Scary Movies?

Scream wants to know, “Do you like scary movies?” If the answer is yes, then “What’s your favorite scary movie?” Well back in the early 90’s that would have been tough to say. Since genuine horror films were scarce at the time. So just as he did with New Nightmare, horror legend Wes Craven decided to turn the genre on its head. This time by making teenagers well aware of classic horror movies and clichés. I’ve certainly become an expert. Scream has one of the most chilling horror movie openings of all time. Where a mysterious voice on a cellphone calls teenager Casey Becker played by Drew Barrymore. Who is of course the star of the movie… psych! The calls are flirty at first before becoming very sinister, and when she fails to answer horror movie trivia, she’s killed before the title even appears. The real “Scream Queen” is Neve Campbell who plays legendary final girl Sidney Prescott. Her quiet little town of Woodsboro is stalked by a knife wielding maniac. Ghostface is an instant icon wearing a tattered black robe and long white ghost mask. Halloween costumes where unavoidable growing up. Police Deputy Dewey or desperate reporter Gale Weathers aren’t much help. Though romance did spark between David Arquette and Courtney Cox. Sidney is incessantly stalked by Ghostface. So if you want to survive you have to follow Randy’s 3 simple rules: you can never have sex, drink/do drugs, or say “I’ll be right back.” After killing principal Fonz and Ghostface namer Tatum, the killer is revealed to be (SPOILER ALERT!) Sidney’s boyfriend Billy Loomis and his shaggy friend Stu. All for the love of horror movies and an incident involving Sid’s mother. Despite it’s satirical tone, the kills are still effectively terrifying. Scream is the youthful breath of fresh scare that the horror genre needed.

1. Scream

Ghostface goes in for the kill

Followed by: Scream 2

Don’t Fall Asleep

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) almost officially killed the idea of remaking 80’s slasher movies. Remaking Wes Craven’s magnum opus was the final straw. Yet Michael Bay still wanted to force a remake. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) could have done what Friday the 13th (2009) did and make an original film out of existing movies, but no. It’s just a shameless rehash of the original movie. They redo all the most iconic moments like Freddy’s first victim hovering over her bed, Freddy in a boiler room, Nancy in the bathtub, and just about everything else. Though somehow it’s worse. The only way they differentiate between the original is by making it darker. This is the first and only time Freddy Krueger was played by someone other than Robert Englund. Jackie Earle Haley tries his best, but there’s just no competition. Englund is and always will be Freddy. This version may look like Freddy, but he’s completely different. His occasional jokes are more sinister and he barely makes use of his dream powers. Although they did make use of something Wes Craven originally wanted to do with the character. By making Freddy a child molester instead of just a child killer. The original wouldn’t have worked if they went with that disturbing detail. They also make Freddy look like a real burn victim. Which is realistic, but not at all scary. All the dream sequences come across as bland and easy to distinguish. Though the inclusion of microsleep is somewhat interesting. Most of the young actors in the movie barely leave an impression at all. Especially Rooney Mara who plays the new Nancy. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) is just a pointless nightmare of a remake.

8. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Freddy taunts his victim

Remake of: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Four Friday’s in One

Friday the 13th (2009) is currently the last movie made in this excruciatingly long franchise. As Michael Bay had the “brilliant” idea of remaking popular slasher movies of the 80’s. Unlike other horror franchises though, the Friday the 13th series was arguably never good to begin with. I’d consider them to be more guilty pleasure as they’ve always cared more about their body count (158 in total) then quality. That’s why this remake isn’t exactly a bad idea. It’s just overkill, no pun intended. The interesting thing about Friday the 13th (2009) is that it’s not a direct remake of the first movie. It actually blends together elements from Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th Part 2, Friday the 13th Part III, and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. Since it took Jason four movies to become an icon, they decided to use everything. Friday the 13th (2009) opens with Jason’s mother being killed, then it has a scene of Jason killing teenagers with a burlap sack on, and finally Jason finds a hockey mask to wear instead. The main story is a group of sex-crazed teenagers vacationing at Camp Crystal Lake. This movie is a lot more hard R with more gruesome kills and extremely graphic nudity. You can tell they’re taking advantage of it. This version of Jason is still big, but he’s also leaner, quicker, and even craftier. He even uses underground tunnels to get around faster. SPOILER ALERT! Whitney is the final girl who is kidnaped by Jason. She survives along with her brother that was looking for her. Even though it ends with a forced jump scare. With Friday the 13th (2009) being the last installment, it looks like Jason’s luck has finally run out.

12. Friday the 13th

Jason gets chained up

Remake of: Friday the 13th (1980)

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. 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 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?). 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 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 and his face is smoother with less scarring. The only notable thing about the movie is the reveal of Freddy Krueger’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 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. 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 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. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is a serviceable showdown with a bizzare 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 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 teens at a mental health hospital. Freddy returns to his roots of being both creative and comedic. He uses 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. 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 does manage to deliver the final blow and kill Freddy once and for all. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is super 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