How to Watch the ‘Elm Street’ Movies, Including the Reboot and TV Series

in Movies & TV

Credit: New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.)

Halloween is right around the corner, so there’s no better time to make some hot chocolate and buttered popcorn and put on your favorite horror movie franchise. But there’s so much to choose from, right? This is why it helps to narrow things down to the slasher genre.

But even then, there are countless slasher franchises, which is why it’s a good idea to narrow it down to the iconic ones, like Scream, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Child’s Play, Friday the 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Kruger in his boiler room in 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' reboot
Credit: Platinum Dunes / New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.)

Related: Every ‘Halloween’ Movie Ranked Worst to Best

It’s hard to tell where the slasher genre truly started. Many think it was Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), but you could make the case that John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) did the trick, as it led to a slasher boom that lasted through the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s.

Either way, one thing is certain: A Nightmare on Elm Street is the most frightening of them all. Unfortunately, as with any slasher franchise, it’s not all doom and gloom, as there are a fair few stinkers in the series. But for every bad film, there’s a great one.

Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger (L) and Ken Kirzinger as Jason Voorhees (R) in 'Freddy vs. Jason'
Credit: New Line Cinema

Related: Every ‘Child’s Play’ Movie Ranked From Worst to Best

While all the other iconic slashers continue to churn out new content — Scream VII (TBA) is in development, Friday the 13th and Halloween have television shows in the works, and Chucky (2021) is already on Season 3 — there are no signs of an Elm Street reboot.

There’s no telling what the future holds for the Elm Street franchise, but the existing installments aren’t going anywhere, and there’s no better time to re-familiarize yourself with Freddy Krueger’s horrifying reign of terror than in the coming days.

Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Kruger terrorizing a teen in 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' reboot
Credit: Platinum Dunes / New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.)

Related: Fans Praise New Freddy Krueger Actor in ‘Elm Street’ Sequel

As it stands, the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise is made up of 10 installments, including the reboot and television series (which many fans don’t even know about). But it has also enjoyed sequels, spinoffs, and crossovers.

So, where to start? The continuity in this franchise is as fractured as it is in many other slashers, so we’ve broken down every timeline in the series.

Original Elm Street Timeline

Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) on the phone in 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (1984)
Credit: New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

The prime Elm Street timeline begins with the 1984 classic by the late Wes Craven. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) introduces Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) and the final girl, Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp).

Freddy’s Revenge

The first sequel in the series, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), sees the return of Freddy as he possesses a teenage boy. Though it was panned at the time, it has since gained cult status for being a misunderstood film due to its homoerotic themes.

Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) is widely considered the best film in the franchise. It sees the return of Nancy Thompson as she helps a group of teens in a psychiatric ward who are being picked off one by one by Freddy Krueger.

Many fans consider Dream Warriors to mark the end of one timeline (you’ll see why), in the same way Halloween: Resurrection (2002) isn’t considered to be canon with its predecessor, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), instead being viewed as an “optional” sequel.

The Dream Master

The franchise takes a sharp nose dive in both quality and storytelling with A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), in which Freddy kills all the surviving Dream Warriors from the previous film (which also didn’t go down well with audiences).

The Dream Child

In A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), we learn that Freddy is haunting the dreams of the main character’s unborn child. It’s a good idea on paper, but the film is as shockingly bad as its predecessor, and things only get worse with the next installment.

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

Forget about wearing old-school 3-D glasses for this film (it was released in 3-D) — all you need are some beer goggles. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) is the final entry in the original Elm Street timeline, and it’s just as well because it’s so bad it isn’t funny.

Related: The Most Iconic Slasher Movie Villains Ranked

A Nightmare on Elm Street TV Series

Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) in 'Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare'
Credit: New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.)

Freddy’s Nightmares (1988 — 1990) is an anthology and spinoff series. However, only eight of the 44 episodes feature Freddy (Robert Englund) as the main antagonist. He also talks to the camera, so this is best viewed as its own entity, even separate to the original 1984 film.

Related: ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ Reboot From the Creators of ‘Stranger Things’? Yes, Please!

Nancy Thompson Trilogy

Heather Langenkamp looking horrified in 'Wes Craven's New Nightmare'
Credit: New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.)

The “Nancy Thompson Trilogy” isn’t the official name given to these three particular films in the franchise, but naming it so makes a lot of sense because together, they form a trilogy whose throughline involves the titular final girl played by Heather Langenkamp.

It starts with the original 1984 film by Wes Craven, continues with Dream Warriors, which sees the return of Nancy, and concludes with the genre-defying and genre-defining Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994), which takes place “outside” the Elm Street films.

You might wonder how this could be connected to the previous films, however, towards the end of New Nightmare, Heather Langenkamp starts to “become” Nancy Thompson, and her Los Angeles home “becomes” Elm Street, so that she can face Freddy one last time.

Related: ‘Friday the 13th’ TV Series Showrunner Says the Show Could Go Into Space

Dream Warriors Trilogy

Children at Weston Hills hospital in 'Freddy vs. Jason'
Credit: New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.) / Crystal Lake Entertainment

There’s no escaping the fact that the long-awaited crossover movie Freddy vs. Jason (2003) is a bad film. That said, the slasher-clasher is a masterpiece compared to the truly abysmal series-topping Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.

The way in which A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th are intertwined is quite clever. Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), long weakened by Elm Street’s decision to cover up his reign of terror, leads Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger) into town to kill some teens so that everyone thinks it’s him, so that, in turn, he can regain his power through mass fear.

Jason Voorhees in the dream world in 'Freddy vs. Jason'
Credit: New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.) / Crystal Lake Entertainment

Freddy vs. Jason also feels like an Elm Street film, which deserves some praise. It also acts as a sequel to Dream Warriors by revisiting a storyline from that film in which Weston Hills Hospital uses an experimental drug called “hypnocil.”

With that in mind, Freddy vs. Jason quite easily slots in as the final chapter in a trilogy that includes the original Wes Craven film and Dream Warriors. The fact that the crossover movie is widely considered canon to the original series (mainly on the Elm Street side) also helps.

Related: Every ‘Scream’ Movie Ranked From Worst to Best

Elm Street Reboot

Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Kruger in 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' reboot
Credit: Platinum Dunes / New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) is a direct reboot of the original 1984 film, and as it never got any sequels or follow-ups, it’s a standalone film that can be viewed on its own. However, if you feel like comparing both films, they can of course be watched back to back.

The film stars Jackie Earl Haley as Freddy Krueger, who replaces Robert Englund after he played the character in the previous eight movies and the television series. However, this is Haley’s only outing as Freddy, and it’s unlikely he’ll return in the inevitable reboot.

Related: ‘Elm Street’ Reboot May Feature a Female Freddy Krueger

Dave McRae as Freddy Krueger in 'Dylan's New Nightmare'
Credit: Womp Stomp Films / ‘Elm Street’ IP Owners New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. (International) / Wes Craven’s Estate (US)

Related: Brand-New ‘Elm Street’ Sequel Is Now Available to Watch Online!

The new A Nightmare on Elm Street fan film Dylan’s New Nightmare (2023) is now available on The Horror Show YouTube channel.

The Indiegogo page for the film lists the synopsis as follows:

Dylan’s New Nightmare is an unofficial sequel to Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, one of the most unique and high concept installments to the [A] Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

This short film picks up 25 years after the events of New Nightmare and follows Dylan Porter (Miko Hughes), the young son of Heather Langenkamp, now a grown man trying to make his way in the world his parents raised him in –Hollywood. Little does he know that the evil entity known as Freddy Krueger is back, and eager to once again break into our world through the son of his favorite victim!

Will you be watching the Elm Street movies in the run-up to Halloween? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Movies & TV

Comments Off on How to Watch the ‘Elm Street’ Movies, Including the Reboot and TV Series