If you didn’t want to feel old today, I have some bad news. Next week is the 30th anniversary of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS. The classic horror sequel which some fans argue is even better than the original (wrongly, but I respect their temerity) hit theaters in 1987 like a cannonball, raking in $44 million and hitting number 24 in the top films of the year. It has influenced millions of horror fans across time thanks to its delightful combination of thrills and chills, and today we will honor it with the definite ranking of Freddy’s greatest foes, the titular Dream Warriors.
Made up of several institutionalized teens who discover they can access superpowers in their dreams, like all heroic teams, not all Dream Warriors are created equal. So click play on the Dokken track below and see how your favorites stack up!
8) Joey Crusel
Played by: Rodney Eastman
Powers: Supersonic Voice
Let’s face it; Joey is kind of a dumb-dumb. He knows a vicious killer is chasing them in their dreams, but his hormonal teenage brain falls for Freddy’s hot nurse disguise hook, line, and sinker. His kidnapping is the lure that leads many of his fellow Dream Warriors to their deaths, so I daresay he ain’t winning MVP this round.
7) Will Stanton
Played by: Ira Heiden
Powers: Wizard Magic, Can Walk
The wheelchair-bound Will has the ability to walk in his dreams, which is kind of poetic, but you’d think he could use his vast imagination to cook up some more useful wizard powers. Audiences would have loved to see Freddy face off against somebody else with reality-bending powers, but all Will can muster is a sputtering blast of VFX lightning before he kicks the bucket.
6) Jennifer Caulfield
Played by: Penelope Sudrow
Jennifer isn’t as effective as Will (faint praise indeed), but her spectacular death earns her a higher spot on the list. Although she dies before the Dream Warriors have really had a chance to explore her powers, her welcome into prime time is pretty inarguably the kill that sparked Freddy’s transition from shadowy killer to one of the most pervasive pop culture icons of the late 80’s.
5) Phillip Anderson
Played by: Bradley Gregg
Another gone-too-soon character who didn’t get a chance to develop his powers, Phillip nevertheless has the most personality of the early victims and he gets by far the coolest death, when Freddy gruesomely pulls out his veins and tendons to operate him like a marionette.
4) Roland Kincaid
Played by: Ken Sagoes
Here’s where things start to heat up. Kincaid is a major player in Freddy’s ultimate demise. He even lives to see the end credits! His outspoken personality makes him a favorite for many fans, but he’s just the bruiser of the team. He’s the Avengers’ Hulk or Fantastic 4’s Thing. Beyond brute strength, he doesn’t have much to offer, and Freddy can easily outwit him.
3) Kristen Park
Played by: Patricia Arquette
Powers: Pulling People Into Her Dreams, Acrobatics
Kristen parker is certainly the most prominent member of the group, and the one who facilitates Nancy’s discovery of dream powers. However, her skills aren’t especially useful when it comes to mano a mano combat. She can get everybody there, but then she has to sit on the sidelines and watch. Sure, her flips are pretty sweet, but Freddy and his razor glove won’t be defeated by an Olympics routine.
2) Nancy Thompson
Played by: Heather Langenkamp
Powers: Grad School Education
Nancy obviously gets a boost because she survived Freddy in the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, but although she has no dream powers herself, she’s the key to unlocking the group’s potential. She’s basically their Obi-Wan Kenobi, right down to (SPOILERS) her sacrificing her life during their skirmish for survival. She should have seen through Freddy’s schmaltzy “ghost of her dead father” ruse immediately, which is why she’s not at the highest slot on this list, but throughout her too-short life, she always fought tirelessly to protect those around her from harm.
1) Taryn White
Played by: Jennifer Rubin
Powers: Beautiful, Bad
Oh, Taryn. We hardly knew ye. Easily the most sympathetic of the Dream Warriors, her hard-hitting backstory of drug addiction instantly gets people on her side, and her incredible punk ensemble is just the cherry on top. What horror fan doesn’t dream of being “beautiful… and bad?” She’s the poster child for the highs and lows of the 80’s, a perfectly badass dynamo in spite of her bruises.