What do you do when you see a film series succeed? Applaud it? Or try to outright ape it and make your own version? Well, the ten folks on this list did the latter. Would you really want to enrage Freddy Krueger?
1. Bad Dreams: Let’s get it straight: I love this movie. But I am also willing to admit that a film about a burned maniac haunting the dreams of a mental ward full of teenagers seems like the Dream Warriors all over again. The producers of this film doubled down by putting Jennifer Rubin, Taryn from its inspiration, into the main role.
2. Night Killer: Imagine this: Claudio Fragasso wasn’t content with writing an Aliens/Terminator ripoff like Shocking Dark or blowing minds with Troll 2. Nope, he created this film, which takes the Italian title of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Non Aprite Quella Porta 3 or Don’t Open the Door 3) while giving us a killer with a bargain-basement Freddy mask and claws. Pure Italian scum movie-making magic.
3. Satan’s Bed: Have you just wanted Freddy to dress up, throwing on a white button up and stonewashed jeans while he throws up fireballs? Good news. This movie has you covered.
4. Mahakaal: A killer becomes a demon that torments the family and friends of Anita in revenge for his death, which was caused by her police-officer father. In other words, A Nightmare on Elm Street, India – The Mix Tape, with bits and pieces of all of your favorite series moments, plus, you know, dance numbers and a Michael Jackson impersonator.
5. The Fear: No, not Fear with Marky Mark. No, this movie, about a professor gathering kids with major phobias along with a wooden doll named Morty, who kills them with those fears. Sound like Freddy? Well, at least they gave Wes Craven a cameo, possibly as a way to apologize or ensure that he wouldn’t sue them.
6. Shocker: Speaking of Wes Craven, he was expressly trying to make a new Freddy when he created Horace Pinker, an electrocuted convict who comes back from the dead for revenge and one-liners. No, this movie isn’t House 3 or Prison. But I get how you could be confused. Freddy uses dreams. Horace uses TV. The fact that I didn’t just spend three days discussing all the sequels to this movie should tell you how well it all worked out.
7. Sleepstalker: Another death in the electric chair, another killer that comes back. Except this one is made of sand. Like a sandman. Who brings sleep. Really.
8. Khooni Murdaa: India really loves A Nightmare on Elm Street. This is the third entry on the list and the only one where Freddy stops killing kids to take a dump. Also, it totally rips off the bathtub scene and the ending of Dream Warriors. Also, Freddy’s name in India is Ranjit and he spends the first 40 minutes of this film as a stalker who gets caught, tried and convicted before escaping jail and interrupting our heroes’ Bollywood dance number at a campfire before they shove him into it. You can guess what happens next.
9. Brainscan: Ed Furlong, the former John Connor, is obsessed with horror movies and video games, including Brainscan, a game that takes over his life and brings murders into the real world thanks to The Trickster, the first Freddy ripoff who lives on a CD-Rom.
10. Slumber Party Massacre II: The killer from the original gets reincarnated as a 1950’s rockabilly dude with a drillbit guitar weapon. Dream warnings. Dreams that warn about sex. Dreams within dreams. Complete insanity and a movie that’s better than every Elm Street movie after 4.
That’s our list! Do you have some that we missed? Let us know!
UPDATE: Since writing this list, I’ve discovered this movie.
Don’t Panic: A truly out there mashup of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Saved by the Bell, complete with Ouija boards, demons named Virgil and a hero who wears pajamas covered with dinosaurs for the entire movie.
Update #2: Then, as our October 2021 “Slasher Month” arrived, we discovered:
Stones of Death: An aborigine-styled Freddy is disturbed when a new housing development is built on an outback ancient burial ground. As derivative and boring as it sounds.
I really love this nightmare on elm street riff offs