How to watch the Nightmare on Elm Street film series

Watching horror series for the first time can be a daunting task since they tend to have a lot of entries. The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise is no exception with eight films in the original series, one spin-off, one remake, three documentaries AND a TV show. Since the only connections every film has is Freddy Krueger, there are a few ways to watch the series, depending on if you want to watch all of them or just a selected few. Here are a few suggestions from me, someone who has seen all of them dozens of times.

Table of Contents

The Nancy Connection

The Nightmare on Elm Street films that have Nancy Thompson and the actress who portrays her as the Scream Queen, Heather Langenkamp. The only fact you need to know outside these films is that there was a film called “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare” (1991) released before “New Nightmare” (1987) happens. These also happen to be the best Freddy Krueger films.

“New Nightmare” takes place in the real world where Wes Craven is a director, Robert Englund and Heather Langenkamp are actors and an evil entity that took the form of Freddy to get power isn’t happy that the series has ended. It’s the proto-meta horror film that the 90s needed and Wes perfected when he made “Scream.”

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

👑Scream Queen: Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

👑Scream Queen: Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp)
🤴 Introduces: Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette)

New Nightmare (1994)

👑Scream Queen: Heather Langenkamp

The Dream Trilogy

These films are the sequel trilogy to the first one. Nancy is all grown up and passes the torch to a new Scream Queen in “Dream Warriors”, which also introduces a cast of characters that are in “The Dream Master,” where a new Scream Queen and new characters are introduced that take the helm in “The Dream Child.”

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

👑Scream Queen: Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp)
🤴 Introduces: Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

👑Scream Queen: Kristen Parker (Tuesday Knight)
🤴 Introduces: Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox)

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989)

👑 Scream Queen: Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox)

The Just Freddy Ones

These are the Nightmare on Elm Street films that don’t have any other recurring character than Freddy Krueger. “Freddy’s Revenge” was made hastily because of the success of the first film and they didn’t quite know what to do with him or even what powers he had. It’s an outliner mostly remembered today because of its homoerotic themes. It’s good.

“Freddy’s Dead” was a way of ending the series in a way that might generate some money in a marketplace that had abandoned horror films. It has a lot of cameos, including Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp, however it’s remarkably bad.

“Freddy vs. Jason” was the long-awaited fight movie between two of Horror’s greatest icons, Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees. It’s not canon for either series, but it’s fun.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

👑Scream Queen: Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton)

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

👑 Scream Queen: Maggie Burroughs / Katherine Krueger (Lisa Zane)

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

👑Scream Queen: Lori Campbell (Monica Keena)

The Documentaries

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)

A four-hour extravaganza of everything Nightmare on Elm Street related. Includes interviews with almost everybody connected to the film series.

I Am Nancy (2011)

Focuses on Heather Langenkamp and her journey after becoming the best known Scream Queen since Jamie Lee Curtis.

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (2019)

A marvelous documentary about Mark Patton, the actor who portrayed Jesse Walsh, the first male Scream Queen, in “Freddy’s Revenge.”

The Completionist Extras

Freddy’s Nightmares (1988-1990)

An anthology series where Freddy Krueger is the crypt keeper who tells us stories of the macabre. The first episode is actually a prequel to the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” as it tells the story of how Fred got acquitted and burned alive by the people of Elm Street.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

👑Scream Queen: Nancy Holbrook (Rooney Mara)
The remake. It’s complete garbage.

In Chronological Order

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

👑Scream Queen: Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

👑Scream Queen: Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

👑Scream Queen: Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp)
🤴 Introduces: Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

👑Scream Queen: Kristen Parker (Tuesday Knight)
🤴 Introduces: Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox)

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989)

👑 Scream Queen: Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox)

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

👑 Scream Queen: Maggie Burroughs / Katherine Krueger (Lisa Zane)

New Nightmare (1994)

👑Scream Queen: Heather Langenkamp

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

👑Scream Queen: Lori Campbell (Monica Keena)

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