Star Wars fans have introduced the Machete Order, a way of watching the films in sequence that helpfully cuts out The Phantom Menace (but weirdly still includes Attack of the Clones). A similar system can be applied to the Elm Street franchise – we’ll call it the Razor Glove Order:
- A Nightmare on Elm Street
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
— Wes Craven (@wescraven) July 28, 2015
Fred Krueger. Freddy. The Mick Jagger of slasher flicks (according to Rolling Stone magazine – possibly a reference to his longevity and scary face). Named after Wes Craven’s childhood bully, Krueger is a true icon; he could be bounded in a nutshell, and count himself a king of infinite space, were it not that he has bad
But if we watch the original trilogy, skip parts 4-6 and jump straight to the 7th film, we’re left with the essential Freddy Krueger quadrilogy. Let’s look at the films in question – and whatever you do, don’t… fall… asleep…
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Craven’s original is a slasher classic, introducing the instantly iconic Freddy Krueger, who haunts kids’ dreams like Michael Gove. Let’s call him Michael Glove. The film boasts surreal special effects, great music by Charles Bernstein and strong performances from Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp and a 21-year-old Johnny Depp, who looks a whole 10 years younger than 52-year-old Johnny Depp.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
This may be the most controversial inclusion. Unlike most slasher films, this sequel features a male protagonist, Jesse (Mark Patton). This gives the film oddly homoerotic undertones, as Jesse’s sexuality is manifested through Freddy. It lacks Craven’s razor-sharp touch, but Freddy’s Revenge subverts our expectations, and manages to do something strangely interesting.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Craven returns to the franchise for Dream Warriors, co-written with Bruce Wagner, Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont. Langenkamp is back too, making this a hugely enjoyable entry. But this is also where things start going downhill; Freddy’s backstory is ruined, by making him the spawn of a rape in an asylum. It makes him substantially less scary than the original, unembellished and heavily blemished Fred Krueger.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
We can safely skip the next three franchise botherers, which are virtually indistinguishable. Some of the nightmare sequences are quite fun, but they’re so poorly strung together that it’s impossible to remember which one belongs to which movie. Freddy’s Dead is the worst offender, for three reasons:
- We learn that Freddy had a child, which makes no sense
- There’s a 3D sequence in which the protagonist puts on a pair of 3D glasses
- Alice Cooper plays Freddy’s dad
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
This means we can jump to part 7, the first instalment since part 1 to be written and directed by Wes Craven. And it’s worth the wait; the wonderfully clever plot sees the cast of A Nightmare on Elm Street terrorised by the actual Freddy Krueger. Craven displays the witty post-modernism that would soon characterise his smash hit Scream, making New Nightmare a work of genius to rival the original.
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
So there you have it: Razor Glove Order – cutting to the heart of Freddy Krueger. We’ll leave you with an Elm Street rhyme to help remember the sequence:
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. / Three, seven, you’re in Elm Street heaven…