Nightmare on Elm Street was a revelation for the horror genre. Written and directed by Wes Craven, Nightmare marked a shift from other slasher movies of the day. For years, the slasher genre was paint-by-numbers. There was an unseen or faceless killer stalking teenagers. It was a formula that worked, but one that had begun to grow stale amongst fans… Enter the Dream Demon.
Revitalizing this sub-genre, Craven introduced a truly unique concept. Gone away were the personality-void killers of movies past and in their place was one of the most memorable villains in horror movie history.
Freddy Krueger was a character himself. He had a personality and a biting wit that set him apart from the rest. Also, being that he was a dream demon, he was able to get more creative with his kills than any other killer had.
It was that creativity that made for some entertaining kills. Kills that are still remembered fondly today. Below we will take a look at the ten best of these kills from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.
Carlos – Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
While being the weakest movie of the original series, Freddy’s Dead at least can claim one of the more memorable kills of the franchise. During the movie, Freddy used his dream powers to enlarge Carlos’s hearing aid to the point that the slightest noise would incapacitate the teenager. What followed was a hilarious routine by Krueger where he would drop pins and scrape his nails on a chalkboard until Carlos’s head exploded.
The franchise had dipped into the ridiculous by this point. This kill mirrored that and the energy with which Robert Englund played the kill was great and helped to make at least one part of the movie memorable.
Phillip – Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors
Going after the kids of Westin Hills, The Dream Demon Freddy chose a fantastic kill for his first of the film. While Phillip was sleeping Freddy appeared and tore the tendons out of Phillips’s arms and legs. He then used him like a marionette and walked him to the edge of a tower, where he cut the strings, letting Phillip fall to his death.
This was an incredibly creative and fun death. The stop-motion Freddy that started the scene was great and kept in theme with the puppet master kill. It flexed Freddy’s muscles and established how powerless the teenagers of Westin Hills were.
Coach Schneider – Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Outside of Freddy, Coach Schneider was the other antagonist of the movie. His blatant abuse of Jessie throughout the movie instantly made him a hated character. A character that we all were happy to see get what was coming to him.
After subjecting Jessie to some after-school exercise, Schneider is in his office when all of the sports equipment comes to life and begins to attack the coach. He then is dragged into the shower, where Jessie is, and is tied up and slashed repeatedly by the fingers knives.
This was a fitting end for the abusive gym coach. It had a bit of comedy to it, but the final act brought us back to the sheer terror of what was happening to the coach.
Glenn – A Nightmare on Elm Street
We will head back to the O.G Nightmare for one of the most iconic deaths in the history of the franchise. Glenn was the irresponsible boyfriend of protagonist Nancy. During the movie he was counted on for support but kept falling asleep, thereby leaving his girl hanging. Which would end up coming back to bite him later.
After falling asleep, yet again, Glenn is pulled into his bed by the burned Dream Demon killer. After he is pulled in a massive column of blood comes pouring out of the bed, covering the room with a horrifying sight. This kill was a fantastic visual for the movie and is one of the lasting memories of the film.
Julie – Wes Cravens: A New Nightmare
A New Nightmare was the most meta of Wes Cravens movies. It brought realism to the franchise by including the actual actors from the original movie. Even though there was a more realistic element there was still a great kill when Julie the babysitter met her end.
Near the third act, while tending to Dylan, Julie is attacked, slashed, and dragged up the ceiling by Krueger. It mirrors a kill from the first Nightmare movie but it showed us a different angle. We were able to see Krueger pulling the helpless girl up the wall and to the ceiling. It was a great way to mimic another kill while still bringing freshness to the Dream Demon death pool.
Greta – Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
The Nightmare series devolved into crap by the time we hit the fifth movie. The story and acting weren’t the greatest, but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t get at least one great death. Greta was the child of an overbearing parent that pushed her to her extreme. This was all done to get her into a modelling career, because of course it would.
This gave Freddy the great idea of waiting until they were eating dinner and surprising the young woman with his own meal. Trapping Greta at the table, Freddy sliced her stomach open and began feeding her insides to her. As much as the movie was sub-par, this kill was not. It was disgusting and visually wretching. It was the most watchable part of the movie.
Jennifer – Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors.
Jennifer was one of the Westin Hills kids. Her claim throughout the movie was that she was waiting to get noticed and become a star in Hollywood. Naturally, Freddy was going to use this against her. During her TV time, Jennifer made the fatal mistake of falling asleep. Not knowing she was sleeping she continued to watch TV and this is when Freddy struck. Growing out of the TV Freddy picked Jennifer up and smashed her head through the screen.
It was yet another great kill from this movie. It incorporated Jennifer’s dreams while also including the best adlib of the entire franchise. “Welcome to prime time, bitch”
Nancy – Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors
Nancy Thompson is the most recognizable character from the franchise, outside of Freddy. During three movies she provided the perfect foil for the dream demon.
Her standing in the movies is exactly why her death needs to be included on this list. In the final act of Nightmare 3 the remaining teenagers, plus Nancy, were battling Freddy when it appeared that the fight was over. An apparition of her father appears and tells Nancy that Freddy is gone and the fight is over. This is a ruse and Freddy soon appears, jamming his finger knives into Nancy’s gut, killing her.
The kill is not a graphic one or includes some great effects, but it might be the biggest gut-punch of the franchise. Nancy was the strongest character of the series and one many had identified with. Having the guts to kill her off was a bold move and one that added a great emotional ending to the movie.
Debbie – Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
This movie began the downward trend in Nightmare movies. While the film was the weakest of the Nightmare movies to be released, we still got to see a downright disgusting kill. Debbie was friends with the main characters Alice and Kirsten. She loved to work out and hated bugs. That is the extent of her character’s backstory but it at least gave us enough to build on her death later.d
Later on in the film, while working out, Debbie is attacked by Freddy. He starts by bending her arms at the elbows providfing for a gross visual. He then continues to mess with her by turning her into a cockroach. After this transformation, Debbie is put into a roach motel where she tries to wriggle herself free. This separates her body from her skin as she becomes a full-fledged roach, which Freddy then crushes. The effects of this kill were fantastic. It was disgusting and scary at the same time and was easily the best kill of the movie.
Tina – A Nightmare on Elm Street
There can’t be a list made without the kill that started the franchise. When Nightmare began it looked as if Tina was going to be our final girl. It was her dreams that we were seeing and the story seemed to be centred around her. Then we were given a great swerve.
After having a rousing sexual encounter Tina is attacked by Freddy. Chasing her around the dream world Freddy slashes her chest open and begins to drag her up the wall. We see some of this from her boyfriend’s perspective which creates a terrifying visual of Tina being killed by an unseen force.
This was the kill that established the danger of Freddy Krueger. Stalking Tina through the dream world showed us just how helpless the teens were. If that were not enough the ruthlessness of the kill showed its capability of Freddy. It was the perfect way to introduce the fedora-wearing killer to the world.