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Superior Sequels: A Nightmare on Elm Street vs A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Since we’re just a few days away from Halloween I thought it only right to make this week's Superior Sequels debate a horror-related one.

There really aren’t that many horror sequels that I’d say are better that the originals. I know some people consider Halloween II (1981) to be better than Halloween (1978), and Evil Dead II (1987) to be better than The Evil Dead (1981) (I’ve already covered that one), but personally I don’t think they are.

There is one however that could be worthy of a debate…

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) vs A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

Now, I take this kind of thing pretty seriously. I’d have to be a bit of a d#ck to do these posts and not be invested myself. As a result, just to remind myself, a couple of weeks ago I rewatched both of these films and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare which, I personally think is a better sequel than Dream Warriors. BUT, this isn’t really about what I think…

If you weren’t aware, Wes Craven (who created the franchise) was only involved in the three films I mentioned above. The others were all written and directed by other writers and directors who took Craven’s story and basically ran it into the ground.

Craven cleverly brought back Heather Langencamp (Nancy from the first movie) and made her an integral part of the second sequel. It follows a group of teenagers at a psychiatric hospital who all have horrific nightmares of a creepy guy in a dirty red and green striped sweater with “razors on his right hand”.

This movie has more of a fantasy element about it than the original, not to mention some really inventive death scenes. In fact my most prominent memory of it before watching it again recently has always been the scene where Freddy makes a human string puppet out of the one guy using his veins and tendons. It obviously traumatised me as a kid.

For its time it also has a pretty diverse cast, a Jason and the Argonauts-style “Freddy skeleton”, and lines like “Welcome to prime time b#tch!”

The first film on the other hand has a completely original story, a scarier tone, and a very young Johnny Depp in his debut role. And is if all that wasn’t enough, it gave birth to one of the most iconic horror movie villains ever conceived.

But which is the better film..?

Is originality and Johnny Depp enough to keep A Nightmare on Elm Street at the top, or does Dream Warriors’ fantasy element and more elaborate death scenes make it a superior sequel? Perhaps you think Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) is the better sequel…?

Either way, let me know below in the comments.

“One, two Freddy’s coming for you…”


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