Not counting the 2010 remake of the original, there are 8 films in the series:
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), written and directed by Wes Craven. Teenager Tina Gray (Amanda Wyss) has been having horrific nightmares in which she is stalked by a figure with razor-sharp knives attached to his glove. She soon discovers that her best friend, Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) has been experiencing similar dreams. At a sleep-over with Nancy and her boyfriend Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp), Tina and her rebellious boyfriend, Rod Lane (Jsu Garcia) go to bed. Later that night, Tina has another nightmare, in which she is killed. As she dies in the dream, Rod wakes up and sees Tina being cut open by invisible hands in real life. He flees and is accused of the murder. Nancy is not convinced he did it, and is still worried about the fact that both she and Tina had the same dream. Rod is caught the next day and imprisoned, and when Nancy visits him, he reveals that he too dreamed of the mysterious figure with the knives. Soon after, Rod is killed in his sleep, although it's made to look like he hung himself. Fearing for her daughter, whose dreams continue, Nancy's mother Marge (Ronee Blakley), tells her about a man named Fred Krueger (Robert Englund), a child murderer who killed at least twenty children over a decade earlier. Vengeful parents, including Marge and Nancy's father, Donald (John Saxon) burned him alive in his boiler room hideout when he was released from prison on a technicality. Marge shows Nancy the weapon used by Krueger to kill his victims - it is the same knifed glove she and her friends have been dreaming about. Determined to defeat Fred, Nancy devises a plan which requires the assistance of Glen but before she can put it into action, Glen is killed. Nancy then goes to sleep, and manages to pull Freddy into the real world. She sets him on fire but he runs to her mother's room, where both he and Marge seem to disappear into the bed. Freddy then appears to Nancy again, but she turns her back on him, telling him she doesn't believe in him. At this point he disappears. The next morning, Nancy tells her mother that she has had a great night's sleep, and then gets in a car with Glen, Rod and Tina. However, the roof of the car slams shut, and the car then speeds away with all four screaming for help. Marge is then pulled in through the door window by Krueger's bladed hand.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985), written by David Chaskin and directed by Jack Sholder. Set five years after the events of the first film, a new family, the Walshs, have moved into 1428 Elm Street, with their son, Jesse (Mark Patton) taking Nancy's old room. He soon begins to experience nightmares involving the school bus driving off into a desert, and a mysterious man with a knifed glove. Krueger reveals to Jessie that he wants to use Jessie's body as a host so he can return to the real world, and to this end he 'possess' Jessie, and drives him to murder both the gym coach (Marshall Bell), and his own best friend, Ron Grady (Robert Rusler). At a pool party then, Freddy seemingly takes over Jessie's body completely, and after killing several people, he flees. Meanwhile, Jessie's friend, Lisa Webber (Kim Myers) finds Nancy's old diary, which contains information about the power planet where Freddy used to work and where he killed his victims in real life. Lisa finds Jessie/Freddy there. Telling him she loves him, she removes Freddy's hat and kisses him. The entire power-plant and Freddy himself then burst into flames. After Freddy is dead, the fire in the plant stops, and out of Freddy's ashes crawls Jessie. The following week, Jessie gets on the school bus and meets Lisa as they head to school. As they are discussing how glad they are that the horrific events of the previous few weeks are over, Freddy's hand bursts through a girl's chest, and the bus races off onto barren land, just like Jessie's initial dreams.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), written by Wes Craven, Bruce Wagner, Frank Darabont and Chuck Russell and directed by Chuck Russell. Set six years after A Nightmare on Elm Street and one year after Freddy's Revenge, Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has been recently dreaming of running into an old, condemned house, 1428 Elm Street. In the house she encounters a man with a knifed glove, who seems to be trying to kill her. As she wakes up, Freddy attacks her, and, in the real world, Kristen's mother bursts into her room to find that Kristen has (apparently) slashed her own wrists. Kristen is then placed in Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital, where she meets dream therapist Nancy Thompson (again played by Langenkamp). Having discussed the situation with Kristen, Nancy realizes that Freddy is not dead, and that Kristen and several other young patients who are also experiencing dreams are the last remaining children of the vigilantes who killed Freddy in real life. As such, Freddy is determent to kill them one by one. Meanwhile, Dr. Neil Gordon (Craig Wasson), the psychiatrist who works with the kids, discovers that in real life, Freddy Krueger was born in the abandoned wing of Westin Hills, after 100 maniacs raped his mother, Amanda, a staff member who was accidentally locked inside with them over the Christmas holidays. Gordon comes to believe that Freddy's remains are somewhere on the grounds of the hospital, and need to be placed in consecrated earth. Neil and Nancy's father (again played by Saxon), now a drunk, set out to attempt to find the bones, whilst Nancy and the remaining kids attempt a group sleep session in an effort to confront Freddy. Freddy isolates each one, and kills several of them, but Nancy, Kristen, and two young teens, Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) and Joey (Rodney Eastman), manage to meet up. Freddy confronts them and reveals that he doesn't simply kill his victims; he holds their souls captive. Freddy is about to kill them all, when in the real world, Gordon and Thompson begin to bury the bones. Freddy however takes possession of the bones, and impales Thompson on a spike. He returns to the dream world, and is apparently killed by Joey. Thompson then appears to Nancy, telling her he is dead and is moving on to heaven. He hugs her, but he then turns into Freddy and stabs her in the stomach. Freddy attacks Kristen, but as he is about to kill her, Nancy grabs his glove and stabs him with it. At the same time, Neil buries the bones and douses them in holy water, at which point, Freddy explodes into light. Nancy dies, but Kristen, Kincaid and Joey survive. Later, as Neil falls asleep with a toy house next to his bed, a light suddenly comes on in its window.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), written by David Chaskin and directed by Renny Harlin. Set a year after the previous film, Kristen (now played by Tuesday Knight), Joey (again played by Eastman) and Kincaid (again played by Sagoes) have been released from Westin Hills and are in high school. Kristen has made some new friends, including Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox), whose brother, Rick (Andras Jones), she is dating. However, she begins to have bad dreams again. The night after she tells Kincaid and Joey, Kincaid himself has a dream, where he sees Freddy reborn from the bones which were buried in the last film. Immediately, Freddy kills Kincaid and later that night he kills Joey. Terrified of what might happen, Kristen goes to 1428 Elm Street and tells Alice and Rick about her experiences. Alice tells her about the dream master spell, how you are in control of your own dreams. That night, when Kristen falls asleep, she tries to convert nightmares into pleasant dreams, but she fails and finds herself in Freddy's boiler room. Freddy then tells her that she is the last of the Elm Street children, so he needs her help to get more children for him as he doesn't want to stop killing. Just as Freddy is about to kill her, she screams for Alice, who suddenly appears. Freddy stabs Kristen and, shocked at the unexpected appearance of Alice, flees. Before she dies, Kristen transfers the power to pull people into her dreams to Alice. Soon thereafter, Alice's friends begin to die, and Rick is also killed. However, with every death, Alice grows stronger, absorbing more and more dream power. She teams up with Dan Jordan (Danny Hassel), Rick's best friend, and they set about trying to defeat Freddy. However, he is in control of their movements and traps them in a time loop. Dan is injured in a car accident, so Alice returns home to prepare for a final confrontation with Freddy, going to sleep before Freddy can kill Dan. As Alice and Dan search for Freddy, Dan is injured. Alice wills him awake and he is pulled from the dream world. Alice then faces Freddy alone. He is about to kill her, but she forces him to see the evil inside himself. Using her dream powers, she releases the tortured souls that Freddy imprisoned into the gates of good dreams where he can no longer harm them. Freddy then disappears. Back in the real, world, Dan and Alice walk hand in hand through a park. Alice tosses a coin into a fountain, making a wish, but as she and Dan depart, Freddy's image appears in the distorted ripples of the fountain.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), written by Brian Helgeland, Jim Wheat and Ken Wheat and directed by Stephen Hopkins. Set just less than a year after the last film, Alice and Dan are a happy couple. Alice however begins to have dreams of a young nun, whose nametag reads "Amanda Krueger", being locked away in an asylum full of maniacs. Meanwhile, Alice and Dan plan a getaway to Europe with some friends of theirs. Alice then has a dream where she is in the mental hospital Westin Hills, wearing Amanda's uniform, and screaming in pain. She then sees Amanda (Beatrice Boepple) giving birth. Immediately upon being born, the baby flees, and Alice follows it into a church rectory, the same place that Alice defeated Freddy in the previous film. Before she can stop him, the baby finds Freddy's clothes and quickly grows into an adult. Upon waking up, Alice phones Dan who heads to see her. However, he falls asleep en-route, and Freddy kills him by forcing him to crash. Upon hearing the news, Alice faints, and when she wakes up she is told she is pregnant. Alice's friends then begin to die one by one, all except Yvonne (Kelly Jo Minter). Alice then meets a young boy called Jacob (Whit Hertford), who, it is subsequently revealed, is actually Alice's unborn child. Alice then realizes that Freddy is hiding inside her, in Jacob, and using him to get into the dreams of her friends (which is one of Alice's dream skills). Yvonne heads to the now abandoned Westin Hills to release Amanda's soul whilst Alice forces Freddy out of her baby. In doing so however, she is left extremely weak. In the real world, Amanda's soul is freed, and she explains to Yvonne how to defeat Freddy. In the dream world, Jacob then appears and forces himself and Freddy to revert back to infants. Alice picks up Jacob and absorbs him, while the now-infant Freddy tries to escape. Before he can, though, Amanda picks him up and absorbs him too, locking him inside her. Several months then pass, and Jacob is born. As the film ends, the children are heard singing the "One, two, Freddy's coming for you" song.
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), written by Rachel Talalay and Michael De Luca and directed by Rachel Talalay. Set in 1999, seven years after the events of the last film (which, if one follows the chronology, was set in 1992), Alice Johnson and Jacob have moved away from Springwood, but Freddy has returned and killed nearly every child in the entire town. All except "John Doe" (Shon Greenblatt); Doe met Freddy in a dream, but Freddy knocked him beyond the city's limits, which serve as a barrier to Freddy's power. However, upon being thrown from the town, Doe lost his memory. He is placed in a delinquent centre, where he meets Dr. Maggie Burroughs (Lisa Zane). She notices a newspaper clipping in his pocket talking about all the child deaths in Springwood, and in an attempt to relieve his amnesia, they and several other kids head to the town hoping to find out who he is. Upon arriving, they discover that in reality, Freddy had a child which was taken from him, and this was the reason he went on his murderous (real life) rampage. John begins to suspect that he is Freddy's child. However, Freddy then begins to kill off the party, leaving only Maggie, John and Tracy (Lezlie Deane). In the dream world, Freddy then reveals to John that he was using him to get to his daughter, and then kills him. Before he dies, John tells Maggie that Freddy's child was not a boy. Freddy then possesses Maggie as she and Tracy flee the town, and when Maggie and Tracy cross the Springwood town limit, the supernatural barrier shatters and Freddy is free. Tracy and Maggie return to the shelter, and Maggie soon discovers that she is Freddy's daughter. In a dream, Freddy confirms this, telling her that her real name is Katherine Krueger. He explains to her that he used her to escape Springwood and now wants to start his killing spree in a new town. Meanwhile, another employee of the centre, Doc (Yaphet Kotto), discovers that Freddy's power comes from the "dream demons" who continually revive him, and that Freddy can only be killed if he's pulled into the real world. Maggie decides that she will be the one to do so. In a dream, she enters Freddy's mind, discovering that Freddy was abused by his foster father (Alice Cooper). Later, Freddy murdered his own wife Loretta (Lindsey Fields), in front of the infant Katherine. While being burned from Molotov cocktails thrown upon him by angry parents, he was given the power to become immortal from the demons. Maggie then manages to pull Freddy into the real world. She stabs him in the stomach with his own glove and then impales him to a steel support beam, throwing a pipe bomb made by Doc into his chest. Freddy then explodes, and the dream demons flee his body. Maggie then confidently tells Doc and Tracy, "Freddy's dead."
New Nightmare (1994), written and directed by Wes Craven. The film begins on a film set as an actor sets about making a glove similar to Freddy's. The director, Wes Craven (playing himself), is then visited by Heather Langenkamp (playing herself), her husband, Chase (David Newsom), and their son, Dylan (Miko Hughes), who wanted to see the set of the new Nightmare on Elm Street movie. However, the claw suddenly comes to life and starts killing the special effects crew. As it heads to Chase, Heather screams and wakes up in her own bed. Chase however has the same scratches in real life that he got in the dream. She then reveals she has been receiving harassing phone calls from "someone who sounds an awful lot like Freddy". Heather appears on a morning talk show to discuss the 10th anniversary of the Nightmare films. Also on the show is Robert Englund (playing himself), in full Freddy makeup. Producer Robert Shaye (playing himself) tells Heather that Craven is working on a script for the new and final Nightmare film, and he asks her to return as Nancy. She turns him down, although her husband has been employed on the film to design a new glove for Freddy. Later that day, Chase falls asleep at the wheel and dies in a car crash. When Heather goes to identify the body however, she sees more scratch marks. Craven tells Heather that he too has been experiencing dreams of Freddy, which are serving as the basis of the new script. In the film, Craven tells her that pure evil can be temporarily defeated if its essence is captured in a work of art that is able to allow evil to express itself. He thinks that the evil has taken the form of Freddy Krueger because it is familiar, and that it sees Heather/Nancy as an enemy, because she defeated Freddy first time around. Meanwhile, Dylan begins to mimic Freddy. Heather brings him to the hospital, but a doctor comes to the conclusion that Heather is insane, and tries to convince her to give Dylan up for adoption. Meanwhile, as Dylan sleeps, Freddy appears in the real world and kills his babysitter, Julie (Tracy Middendorf). Dylan flees and Heather heads after him. She meets him at their house, but Freddy begins to manipulate the world around her, causing her to become Nancy and her house to become 1428 Elm Street. Dylan then disappears. Heather takes sleeping pills for a showdown with Freddy. After a lengthy fight, Heather and Dylan defeat Freddy by locking him in a lit furnace where he catches fire, revealing his true visage. Dylan and Heather then flee, returning to the real world.
In relation to the unusual, self-reflexive premise of the movie, Wes Craven has stated,
Freddy vs. Jason
If there were a series that had begun around this character and that series was to stop production, that wouldn't mean that this eternal evil being or entity would be stopped, it would simply be out there without a name. At the same time, there was this whole view of horror films, questions about whether horror films harmed children. My conclusion was that, as I never felt these things were harmful, the good that they do and the reason they are so popular is that they somehow give shape and form and name to this unknowable, very frightening and very destructive thing. They somehow contain it, to the extent that they make it a bit more bearable. So, Freddy, by being in the series of movies, captures a bit of the evil and makes it knowable to us. The simple way to put this is, what if New Line stopped making the Nightmare series and unintentionally released the spirit of Freddy to go where he will, and he decided to cross over into our reality. His only limitation is that he must pass through the actress who played the character who first defeated him. I proposed that to New Line and they went for it surprisingly quickly, so I wrote and directed New Nightmare (extract from Screams and Nightmares: The Films of Wes Craven by Brian J. Robb (2000); quoted here).
(2003), written by Damian Shannon
and Mark Swift
and directed by Ronny Yu
. Set several years after Freddy's Dead
, Freddy is trapped in Hell, and enraged as the children of Springwood have forgotten about him, making him powerless, so he cannot return to their dreams. Determined to make them remember and fear him, Freddy locates Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger
) in Hell and disguises himself as Jason's mother, Pamela Voorhees (Paula Shaw
), convincing him to rise again and go to Springwood to kill children, allowing Freddy to be remembered. Jason arrives in Elm Street, sneaking into 1428, and attacking a group of people. Lori Campbell (Monica Keena
), who now lives in the refurbished house with her father is questioned about the attack, but she doesn't know anything. Later, she falls asleep and has a dream about Freddy. He tries, but fails, to kill her, so he decides to rest for a while and "let Jason have some fun". Lori then has recurring dreams about Freddy, and is reunited with her boyfriend, Will Rollins (Jason Ritter
), who was institutionalized in Westin Hills. Meanwhile, Freddy discovers that Jason will not stop killing no matter what happens and that the public is becoming more afraid of Jason than him. Lori, Will and several friends meet up and form a plan to defeat Freddy and Jason by pulling Freddy into the real world and luring Jason to Camp Crystal Lake. Between them, Freddy and Jason kill several of the group, but Freddy then drugs Jason, causing Jason to enter into the dream world. Freddy is now at full strength and plans to kill Jason to get him out of the way, but Jason realizes Freddy's plan and attacks him. Freddy defeats Jason and turns him into a little boy, but before he can kill him, Jason wakes up and attacks the group who are now at Crystal Lake in the real world. During Jason's attack, Lori goes to sleep and drags Freddy into the real world. Freddy and Jason then confront one another, and as they fight, Lori and Will flee. After a lengthy battle between Freddy and Jason, they both fall into Crystal Lake due to their injuries. However, after they have both disappeared, Jason rises from the water, carrying Freddy's severed head with him. As Jason walks away however, Freddy's head winks at the camera.