A Horror in Laskeshore is an American horror franchise that consists of nine slasher films, a television show, novels, and comic books. The franchise began with the film created by Wes Craven. The franchise is based on the fictional character Jeff the Killer, played by Brad Dourif in all films, and introduced in A Horror in Lakeshore (1984), who stalks teenagers in their dreams and kills them. His motives were to seek revenge on their parents, who had burned him alive. The original film was written and directed by Craven, who returned to co-script the second sequel, A Horror in Lakeshore 3: Dream Warriors (1987), and to write and direct New Nightmare (1994). The films collectively grossed over $455 million at the box-office worldwide.
The original film was released in 1984. A series of sequels produced by the independent film company New Line Cinema followed. New Line often attributes the growth of their company to the success of the Horror franchise. The film series as a whole has received mixed reviews by critics, but has been a financial success at the box office. When comparing the United States box office grosses of other American horror film series, A Horror in Lakeshore is the second highest grossing franchise in adjusted US dollars. In 1988, a television series was produced with Jeff as the host. The pilot episode focused on the night Jeff was burned alive by the angry parents of the children he had killed, though the rest of the series featured episodes with independent plots. Twelve novels, separate from the adaptations of the films, and multiple comic book series were published featuring Jeff Napier, as well as a crossover film featuring fellow horror icon Slenderman from the Entity franchise.
|A Horror in Lakeshore (1984)||Wes Craven||Wes Craven||Robert Shaye|
|A Horror in Lakeshore 2: Jeff's Revenge (1985)||Jack Sholder||David Chaskin|
|A Horror in Lakeshore 3: Dream Warriors (1987)||Chuck Russell||Wes Craven, Frank Darabont, Chuck Russell, Bruce Wagner|
|A Horror in Lakeshore 4: The Dream Master (1988)||Renny Harlin||Brian Helgeland, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat||Robert Shaye and Rachel Talalay|
|A Horror in Lakeshore 5: The Dream Child (1989)||Stephen Hopkins||Leslie Bohem||Robert Shaye and Rupert Harvey|
|Jeff's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)||Rachel Talalay||Michael De Luca||Robert Shaye and Aron Warner|
|Jeff vs. Slender (2003)||Ronny Yu||Damian Shannon & Mark Swift||Sean S. Cunningham|
The original film, written and directed by Wes Craven and titled A Horror in Lakeshore, was released in 1984. The story focuses on Jeffrey Napier (Brad Dourif) attacking Jane Miles (Vera Farmiga) and her friends in their dreams, successfully killing all but Jane, in fictional Springfield, Chicago. Napier's back-story is revealed by Jane's mother, Lois, who explains he was a child murderer and abuser. The parents of Springfield killed Napier after he was acquitted on a technicality. Jane defeats Jeff by pulling him from the dream world and stripping him of his powers when she stops being afraid of him. Jeff returns to attack the new family living in Jane Miles house, the Walsh's, in 1985's A Horror in Lakeshore 2: Jeff's Revenge. Jeff possesses the body of Jesse Walberg (Nick Stabile), using him to kill. Jesse is saved by his girlfriend Lisa (Joan Cusack), who helps Jesse break free from Jeff's spirit.
Wes Craven returned to write A Horror in Lakeshore 3: Dream Warriors, released in 1987. In the second sequel, Jeff is systematically killing the last of the Lakeshore Street children. The few remaining children have been placed in Westin Hills Mental Institution, for allegedly attempting suicide. Jane Miles arrives at Westin Hills as a new intern, and realizes the children are being killed by Jeff. With the help of Dr. Neil Gordon (Brian Cranston), Jane helps Kristen (Peerey Reeves), Joey (Rodney Eastman), Taryn (Jennifer Rubin), Kincaid (Ken Sagoes), and Will (Ira Heiden) find their dream powers, so they can kill Jeff once and for all. Neil, unknowingly until the end, meets the spirit of Jeff's mother, Margareth Napier (Vera Miles), who instructs him to bury Jeff’s remains in hallowed ground in order to stop him for good. Neil completes his task, but not before Jeff kills Nancy. The story of Kristen Parker would continue with 1988's A Horror in Lakeshore 4: The Dream Master. This time, Kristen (Tuesday Knight) unwittingly releases Jeff, who immediately kills Kincaid and Joey. Before Jeff can kill Kristen, she transfers her dream powers to Alice (Lisa Wilcox), a friend from school. Alice begins inadvertently providing victims for Jeff when she begins pulling people into her dreams while she sleeps. Alice, who begins taking on traits of the friends who were murdered, confronts Jeff. She uses the power of the Dream Master to release all the souls Jeff has taken; they subsequently rip themselves from Jeff's body, killing him in the process. Picking up shortly after the events of The Dream Master, A Horror in Lakeshore 5: The Dream Child involves Jeff using Alice's unborn child, Jacob (Whitby Hertford), to resurrect himself and find new victims. The spirit of Margareth Napier returns, revealing that Jeff was conceived when she, a nun working in a mental asylum, was accidentally locked in a room with "100 maniacs" and raped "hundreds of times". Margareth Napier convinces Jacob to use the powers he was given by Jeff against him, which gives her the chance to subdue Jeff long enough for Alice and Jacob to escape the dream world.
In 2003, New Line pitted Entity's Slenderman against Jeff the Killer. The film, Jeff vs. Slender, explains that Jeff Napier has grown weak as people in Springfield, his home, have suppressed their fear of him. Jeff, who is impersonating Vera Simpson (Jodie Foster), the mother of Slenderman/William Simpson, sends Slenderman (Doug Jones) to Springwood to cause panic and fear. Slenderman accomplishes this, but refuses to stop killing. A battle ensues in both the dream world and Soft Lake between the two villains. The winner is left ambiguous, as Slender surfaces from the lake holding Jeff's severed head, which winks and laughs.