Top 10 A Nightmare on Elm Street Death Scenes

With this year marks the 35th anniversary, of the first time Freddy came into our nightmares, with the release of A Nightmare on Elm Street.  In honor of this anniversary, we’ll look back at the top 10 kills, throughout the series, excluding Jason vs Freddy and the 2010 reboot.


10. Glen: Bloody Bed Geyser

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Making his acting debut, Johnny Depp, unlike other victims on this list, you don’t see him die.  You see Freddy’s claws come up from underneath Glen and drag into a hole in his bed.  Suddenly, a gigantic blood geyser sprouts from the hole, overtaking the room.  Though it was a very dangerous scene to shot, due to people getting electrocuted as a result of the liquid hitting lights (no major injuries), it’s by far one of the most surreal deaths in a Nightmare film.


9. Taryn: Overdose

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1985)

Taryn, a recovering drug addict, gets into a knife fight with Freddy, showing no fear as she stabs him.  However, when Freddy reveals his fingers have turned into drug filled syringes, she slips into her fear, immediately giving him the power to transform her arm’s track marks, into little mouths hungry for the drugs.  He injecting her with the drugs, slowly killing her, leaving those of us with a fear of needles, cringing at the edge of our seats.


8. Carlos: Hearing Aid

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

While many of the deaths on this list, do contain an element of comedy, like a funny line from Freddy, this is a funny kill overall.  The hearing-impaired Carlos, is able to get his hearing-aid back from Freddy, but it turns into a spider like creature clinging to his ear, amplifying every noise to an unbearable level.  Acting like a Loony Toons cartoon character, Freddy taunts Carlos, by dropping pins with cartoonish sound effects.  Then, he gleefully scratches his claws on a chalkboard, leading to Carlos’ head exploding.  As irritating as that noise is, the goofy way Freddy acts during this kill is hilarious.  Its hard not to laugh during this kill scene.


7. Jennifer: Television

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

This kill bough us the most quoted Freddy line, “Welcome to prime-time, bitch”.  However, this kill could also count as two kills in one.  As Jennifer starts to drift to sleep, while watching a television interview between famed talk show host Dick Cavett and actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dick turns into Freddy, about to kill Zsa Zsa, but the screen goes static.  Then, Freddy slams Jennifer’s head into the television, shocking her to death.  A kill that worked perfectly with the bulky and potentially dangerous electronics of the era.


6. Phil: The Puppet

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

Taking advantage of Phil’s love of marinate puppets and his sleepwalking habits, Freddy rips veins out of Phil’s limbs, and controls him like a puppet.  Seeing the veins close up, makes your skin crawl.  Phil tries to resist, but is overpowered and taken to a high window, making it look like he’s going to commit suicide.  What makes this scene far more gut-wrenching, is seeing how helpless the Dream Warriors are in stopping Phil’s death.  Freddy cuts the veins like strings, and Phil falls to his death, with the Dream Warriors forced to watch their friend die.


5. Ron: Door Stabbing

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

While sleeping in Ron’s room, Jesse suddenly wakes in unbearable pain.  As Ron is unsure of how to react to Jesse, Freddy slowly rips out of Jesse’s chest and kills Ron, by stabbing him through his bedroom door.  It’s a stomach-turning Freddy entrance, with the lead up to Ron’s kill being far more terrifying than the kill itself.  The terror is increased when its revealed that Freddy possessed Jesse to kill Ron and his covered in his blood.  Freddy’s reflection can be seen in the wall mirror taunting and laughing at Jesse, making the kill that much more disturbing.


4. Freddy: Escaping Souls

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

Without a doubt the most visually complex and dramatic Freddy death.  It’s a well-done kill, combining the use of different effects, including live actors and radio-controlled limbs.  With Alice’s help, the souls of Freddy’s victim destroy him from the inside out, breaking his jaw wide open, allowing their souls to escape.  As gory as it can seem, its also a scene of triumph for the victims, as they are no longer under Freddy’s control.  And hearing the voices of the child victims, some laughing, while others cry for their mom, as they float away, also makes the defeat a that much more rewarding, and eye watering.


3. Dan: Need for Speed

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

Despite Freddy initially tormenting Dan in his truck, the real focus of this kill, is during the motorcycle ride.  As Dan tires to escape Freddy on a motorcycle, the motorcycle is really Freddy in disguise.  The motorcycle takes over Dan, painfully stabbing itself into his limbs, face, and hands, absorbing his blood, and making him a part of the motorcycle.  A kill so gruesome, it was heavily edited by the MPAA (Motion Picture of America Association) in the original film debut.  However, this controversial kill can be seen in its entirety, unedited, in all of its horrific glory.


2. Debbie: Roach Motel

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

Considered by many as the grossest kill of the Nightmare series, there are visual similarities between this scene and other iconic horror scenes.  For instance, Debbie’s slow and painful transformation into a cockroach, resembles David’s first transformation into a werewolf, in An American Werewolf in London.  You can’t help but to feel her pain and cringe, as her arms fall off, unveiling cockroach legs.  Also, like The Fly, you see and hear an insects-human hybrid’s spine-chilling call for help, knowing they cannot be saved.  After seeing Freddy squish Debbie to death, in a roach motel, you won’t be able to look at the traps the same away again.


1. Tina: Ceiling Death

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Both the first kill for the Nightmare series and the most infamous.  Tina is stabbed by Freddy in her nightmare.  An invisible Freddy, is able to cross into the real world, as he drags Tina on her bedroom’s ceiling, before dropping her lifeless body on her bed.  This iconic kill scene was filmed in a rotating set, without CGI, mystifying viewers.  Fun fact, this scene was inspired by the classic Hollywood musical star Fred Astaire’s ceiling dance, from Royal Wedding.  It is also listed by New York Magazine’s entertainment site Vulture, as one of, “The 100 Scares That Shaped Horror”, for the 1980’s.

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