The 9 Coolest Freddy Krueger Kills

We’ve seen every Nightmare on Elm Street movie in a row this month, so why not rank the weird and wonderful work of Freddy Krueger?!

We’ve been celebrating the life, work and legacy of Freddy Krueger all dang month with our brand new, limited podcast series, An Elm Street Nightmare. Lizzie and I have watched each and every film on the Nightmare on Elm Street series, back-to-back, so I think that diligence gives me the authority to select Freddy Krueger’s best kills of all-time. Or Coolest kills, let’s not get crazy with semantics. 

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Krueger has been the star of nine films, so we thought it appropriate to choose his nine best murders… even though three of those films (one-third of the franchise!) don’t make it anywhere near this list. If you’ve been listening to An Elm Street Nightmare, where we take a much deeper dive into the Freddy franchise, you are well aware why that’s the case. But for the rest of you, feel free to argue with me in the comments! Bear in mind we’ve provided handy Amazon links (which are 100% safe and help support us) to where you can rent each film, but we also thoroughly recommend the fantastic 7-film Blu-ray box Collection.

9. Death by Doorway
Movie: A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984
Victim: Marge Thompson

This is a silly one, but it earns its stripes simply by being unforgettable. The above is the final thing you see in Wes Craven’s original A Nightmare on Elm Street, and hell, judging how the rest of the series seems to treat Nancy’s mother’s death as a suicide, it might not even be canonical. However, and more importantly, it also establishes the Elm Street tradition of ending on something ambiguous; of all the ways to leave loose ends untied, I like the original movie’s final moment the best. This scene is also referenced in one of the few good parts from the attempted revival in 2010. 

8. Death by Puppetry
Movie: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, 1987
Victim: Phillip

Once again, we have a Freddy movie starting with a bang. At first, Freddy eschews murder and is happy to simply frame Patricia Arquette… for suicide. Whatever, after that we’re off to the Westin Hills psych ward, where we meet the coolest puppeteer in history, Philip, a man who truly deserves to die.

A little advice for dealing with Freddy Krueger: Don’t be afraid of stuff. Oh, and be sure not to like anything either. Liking or fearing something just gives Freddy something to  exploit, usually in front of your peers. Any affectation you adopt, be it emotional or recreational, is likely to end up buried with you. Such is Philip’s fate.

Dream Warriors’ first death begins like a dope ass stop-motion Tool video, but becomes famously grotesque fast. Freddy slices up Phillip’s limbs, yanks out his veins, and uses them like string to marionette him off a goddamned building. Rumor has it, this sequence scared Jim Henson to his core.

7. Death by Waterbed
Movie: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, 1988
Victim: Joey

Obviously, the Nightmare series is a nostalgic thing for kids of the 1980s. But there is nothing more fantastically 80s than the fourth film, The Dream Master. It’s not only off-the-walls insane, the whole movie feels like MTV and the Whatchamacallit commercial had a baby and hired the director of Die Hard 2 to raise it (that last part’s actually true). Freddy wearing sunglasses, karate montages, and a soundtrack featuring Fat Boys, Iron Maiden and Dramarama… the film itself may as well be acid washed!

But there is nothing, NOTHING, more emblematic of the 1980s than goddamn waterbeds. Far from practical, hygienic or posturepedic-ly recommended, this idiotic invention was everywhere in the 1980s, and has rightfully gone the way of the VCR.

Freddy killing people where they sleep had always been a staple of the Nightmare series (Hell, bed death makes up more than 50% of the 1984 original’s kills) but murdering Mark with his own Reagan-era furniture is more fucking evocative of the 1980s than a Delorean projecting the Mr. T cartoon on the Berlin wall.

6. Death by Claymation
Movie: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, 1987
Victim: Donald Thompson

You could easily call John Saxxon getting jobbed out by a skeleton during his less-than-triumphant return in Dream Warriors a let-down. And you’d be right. But we’re still talking about a stop-motion skeleton, so be prepared to lose the argument anyway.

It’s mostly heartbreaking to see such a beloved character from the first film turned into a drunken coward and get murdered by the cartoon horcrux of Freddy Kreuger, but there’s still something undeniably awesome about it. The Nightmare series is no stranger to stop-motion, or “claymation” if you want me to make fun of you, but it’s rarely used to kill anyone. Except here. To the great John Saxon. Who probably deserved better… but what the hell is better than a claymation skeleton?!

5. Death by Reflection
Movie: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, 1988
Victim: Freddy Krueger

Look, I know Freddy is never dead, and probably never will be, no matter what Robert Englund says. But he is technically killed in almost every movie (Least satisfyingly, and most ironically, in the movie titled Freddy’s Dead.) But Freddy too has his “death” scenes, and the one in Nightmare 4 makes for one of the most technically astounding visual sequences in the entire series.

Moore than anything, it’s one of the most jaw-dropping effects showcase in the entire franchise. Flesh prosthetics rip from his body. A 20-foot sternum was built so real actors could push against his stomach lining. Animatronic puppets tear Freddy’s skull in half. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, PEOPLE?!

Now, while I’ll admit that it’s a bit hokey for Freddy to be brought down by his own reflection, but in addition to being one of the coolest looking scenes, having the souls he’s taken rise up against him to pull his body apart is arguably the most fitting death for one of the greatest killers in all of horror history. If you can’t give if it up for this sequence, perhaps you are the one with no soul.

For the bestest, goriest kills in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, head on over to the NEXT PAGE

5 thoughts on “The 9 Coolest Freddy Krueger Kills

  1. Love reading stuff like this from you guys. Also, Scary Terry is literally the first time I’ve seen anything from Rick and Morty in motion, and it makes me want to see all of it.

  2. While 4 and 5 aren’t great films, at least they (for the most part) make pretty good use of the premise of the series to give us great kills – in some ways, the point we watch Freddy in the first place. That’s something Nightmare 2 and the remake are really, really bad at – none of the kills are remotely interesting or using Freddy’s abilities in cool ways. The Tina death in the original film is really cool and screwed up, but when it happens in the remake (after way too much time) it’s so boring and has none of the impact it was trying to invoke – the same can be said for the mom’s death right at the end of the movie. With what horror has been doing right this year, it’d be nice to see Freddy revisited with some actual care (both in terms of budget and talent) put into it.

  3. Very cool seeing some articles about stuff you guys care about more often on the site, will keep me checking in as I wait for the t-shirt store to get opened up. Hearing you and Lizzie talk about these movies and now seeing some of the kills has me set to watch a couple other than new nightmare the only one I could find on a streaming service. Thinking 3 and either 1 or 4 look like they will be the most fun, thanks again for the cool new show.

  4. I don’t know man, I’m on board with 8 of these. But I never liked Dan’s sequence in The Dream child. I like the part in the cab of the truck, that part is very Freddy. But the motorcycle part I felt was pretty goofy and came across like an alternate cut for Judas Priest’s Turbo Lover video. I don’t know, maybe Im in the minority, but when I showed this movie to my wife a few years ago she laughed at that scene so bad that she had no interest in the rest of the movie.

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