Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Michael Myers: Which Horror Icon Has The Best Overall Series?

Freddy Krueger. Jason Voorhees. Michael Myers. If you’re a horror hound like myself who’s been watching some of the best horror movies of all time all their lives, then you’ve definitely (not likely, definitely) seen A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween. In fact, if you’re like me, then not only have you seen at least one movie in each of these franchises, but, you’ve also likely seen ALL of the movies in these franchises. And, in my list of the 10 best horror movie franchises, all three made the cut. They’re all that legendary.     

That said, with such a long string of movies amongst them, it begs the question: Which horror icon has the best overall series? We’ve already ranked every Halloween movie in the horror series, as well as every Friday the 13th movie (though, surprisingly not every Nightmare on Elm Street movie, which maybe I need to jump on). 

But, out of all of those movies, which horror icon has the best overall series? Well, it actually comes down to many different factors, which I hope to go over throughout this article. So, I hope you have on your big girl and big boy pants, because we’re about to get spooky. 

Oh, and massive spoilers up ahead. 

Heather Langenkamp in A Nightmare on Elm Street

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Best Origin Story 

Every horror icon needs an origin story, so, which one has the best one? 

Halloween’s Origin Story

Michael Myers’ origin story has actually changed multiple times throughout the series, but even though the series has tried to retcon the franchise on different occasions, the one constant seems to be that the first movie exists, and that the sequels might not exist. It depends on the remake. So, in the original, Michael Myers is a mental asylum inmate who has escaped on Halloween, and he’s on the loose. He was put there for killing “one of” his sisters as a child (the original does not state that Laurie is also his sister), and now he’s out, trying to kill again. 

Friday the 13th’s Origin Story

Interestingly, the hockey mask wearing Jason Voorhees the series is known for didn’t actually don his mask until Part III. In the original film, Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees is the killer, and she only kills people because her son drowned at Crystal Lake, and she blames the counselors for letting it happen. Jason becomes the killer in Part II, but it’s not until Part III that he truly becomes the iconic killer we all know and love. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Origin Story 

In the first Wes Craven film, we learn that Freddy Krueger is a product of revenge. He murdered the children of the people who bullied him as a child, and then, the parents (out for revenge since he got off on a legal technicality) burned him alive in a boiler room. And now, he haunts even more children in their dreams. Perfection! 

Origin Story Winner - A Nightmare on Elm Street

Michael Myers' origin is short and to the point, and Jason arguably didn’t actually become cool until Part III, but Freddy’s character was super established and creepy from the very first A Nightmare on Elm Street, nabbing him the win in Wes Craven’s classic film.  

Ted White as Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th: The final chapter

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Best Sequels 

Every horror icon needs a boatload of sequels, but which icon has the best ones?

Halloween’s sequels

Oh, boy. Well, there are 13 Halloween movies in total if you’re counting the two Rob Zombie movies, and the trilogy by David Gordon Green (which may or may not be the end of the series), and it seems that the franchise is somewhat embarrassed of itself since it has on more than one occasion chosen to ignore certain sequels altogether. And for good reason! Some of these sequels, like the sixth Halloween movie, The Curse of Michael Myers, is an absolute mess. Halloween: Resurrection has Busta Rhymes in some of the most ridiculous (but hilarious) scenes ever.      

So, it’s a flawed series, but out of the sequels, I’d say that Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Shut up, it’s good!), Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, Rob Zombie’s original, and the 2018 Halloween movie are either good or great. Still, that leaves eight Halloween sequels that are either subpar or terrible! Not a good look.    

Friday the 13th’s sequels

There are 12 Friday the 13th movies, if you’re counting the remake. This series’ sequels are interesting, though, since it took a lot of creative leaps, sometimes out of necessity to get the butts back in seats. Interestingly, unlike Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street, where the original films are arguably the best in their respective series, some of Friday the 13th sequels are even better than the first movie. Yeah, we have weaker films like Jason X (It's Jason…In spaaaace!), A New Beginning, and Jason Takes Manhattan, but I’d argue that Part III, and The Final Chapter are the best in the series. Sure, Friday the 13th has its ups and downs as a series, but not as much as Halloween, that’s for sure.  

A Nightmare on Elm’s Street’s sequels

There are nine A Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and this series is commonly thought to have the best batch of films out of the three franchises. And, they are pretty great. That said, here’s the thing. Other than A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors, which might be better than the original, no other film even comes close to that first film. Yes, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is pretty great in a meta movie sort of way, but it still doesn’t touch the original. The series never reaches the bottom of the barrel, but it also never reaches the heights of that first movie.   

Best Sequels Winner - Friday the 13th 

The fact that some of the best movies in the series ARE the sequels narrowly puts it above A Nightmare on Elm Street’s sequels in my book. 

Halloween 2018 Movie

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Best Remake 

All great long-running franchises are eventually remade. So, out of these franchises, which has the best remakes?  

Halloween’s remakes

Halloween actually has multiple remakes. You have Rob Zombie’s two films, and you have David Gordon Green’s trilogy. I’d say that Zombie’s first Halloween is arguably good, and that Green’s first film in the trilogy is unquestionably good. Hell, Halloween: H20 could be considered a remake of sorts (more like a reboot), and that’s pretty good, too. While ALL the remakes aren’t great, I’d say that at least two are, and that’s pretty good. 

Friday the 13th’s remake

There is one Friday the 13th remake, and it’s not good. Here’s a review of the 2019 Friday the 13th movie if you don’t believe me. Next.   

A Nightmare on Elm Street’s remake

There is also one A Nightmare on Elm Street remake. It is also not good, and probably even worse than the Friday the 13th remake. This review? I fully agree with.   

Best Remake Winner - Halloween

Quantity doesn’t always beat quality, but in this case, it does. Halloween wins.  

Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Best Kills 

People come to slasher films for the kills. So, which series has the best ones?

Halloween’s Kills

Michael has gotten creative over the years, but he’s primarily a slasher with a big knife (Though, he’s also gouged out eyes, crushed some skulls, etc). Michael’s lifeless, soulless face is usually his most intimidating feature, though.

Friday the 13th’s Kills

Now, Jason has gotten a bit more creative than Michael, using arrows, an ax, and several other means to dismember and decapitate his hapless victims. He’s even slammed somebody in a sleeping bag against a tree, and froze somebody, only to shatter them. No disrespect, but the kills are sometimes the only good things in some of these Friday the 13th films. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Kills

Given that Freddy’s kills are within dreams, it’s led to some pretty insane (and sometimes just corny) death scenes, like putting somebody in a roach motel, pulling them by their veins, and all different manner of strangeness that range in creativity, but are always interesting.

Best Kills Winner - A Nightmare on Elm Street

While not ALL great, the creativity of Freddy’s kills put him at the top of the slaughterhouse. 

Jamie Lee Curtis holding knife as Laurie Strode in 1978 Halloween

(Image credit: Universal)

Best Scream Queen 

Though not mandatory, all three of these series have what might be known as a “scream queen,” i.e., a young woman who screams a lot and gets chased by the killer. So, which series has the best one? 

Halloween’s Scream Queen

The O.G., Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is probably the most well-known scream queen of all, and she got even better in later movies. A scream queen with agency who takes charge? Sign me up! 

Friday the 13th’s Scream Queen

There have been a number of females in the Friday the 13th saga who’ve screamed, but I think most would argue that Alice Hardy (Adrienne King), who appears in the first two films (Also The Final Chapter. Sort of.), would be the series’ scream queen. She’s good, and I like her, but she’s not the most distinguishable character in the series. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Scream Queen

Now, Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) is a totally different story. Appearing in the first movie, the third movie, and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (The three best films in the series!) Nancy is a pivotal character, being extremely memorable. In fact, in New Nightmare, she even plays herself, adding to the meta quality of the film. Nancy doesn’t take crap, which makes her great! 

The Scream Queen Winner - Halloween 

Nancy came close, but you can’t beat Laurie Strode. You just can’t. 

Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Best Central Villain And Their Primary Foes 

Sure, you have protagonists’ in slasher flicks, but everybody knows they come to see the killer. So, which series has the best central villain, and primary foe to said villain?

Halloween’s Central Villain And His Primary Foe

Here’s the thing. I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Myers. I’ve always found the films around him much more intriguing than the character himself. In fact, I find Laurie Strode, who is sometimes a victim, sometimes a fighter, to be much more interesting, and the same goes for Dr. Loomis. Both are fascinating yins to Michael’s yang. But Michael himself? Blah.

Friday the 13th’s Central Villain And His Primary Foe

Jason probably looks the coolest, but that isn’t until Part III. Also, unfortunately, he doesn’t really have a CENTRAL foe. Not unless you count Freddy Krueger in Freddy vs. Jason, who I guess you could count. If you want. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Central Villain And His Primary Foe 

Freddy is another villain who doesn’t really have a CENTRAL foe, per se, not unless you count Nancy. Really, his foe is actually a bit more complex, as he needs to instill fear in his victims in order to have power. And honestly, I really love the cerebral aspects of his weakness being not a person, but a lack of power over said person if they're not scared of him. Oh, and yeah, Jason is his antagonist, too, but the constant threat of him not being seen as scary is his real enemy. Wicked cool.

Best Central Villain And Their Primary Foes Winner - A Nightmare on Elm Street

I love both Laurie Strode and Doctor Loomis, but Freddy’s weakness being his own sort of impotence is a much better villain for our “hero.” 

Overall Winner - A Nightmare on Elm Street

Halloween and Friday the 13th are great and all, but A Nightmare on Elm Street is just too dreamy to lose, and so it comes out on top. 

But, what do you think? For more news on all sorts of horror movies, make sure to swing by here often!  

Rich Knight
Content Producer

Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.