Ever since he kept from the dreams of Wes Craven and into the psyches of the unwitting kids of Elm Street, Freddy Krueger has been going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to imaginative murder. Cooking up creative kill scenes that wouldn’t look out of place in a Salvador Dali fever dream, the Nightmare On Elm Street series has prided itself on putting teens in the ground in the most original ways possible which has always left the franchise considered feeling a severed head and shoulders above the usual slasher fare. With a string of visionary directors and Freddy actor Robert Englund firing on all cylinders, join me now as we take a wander through the most out-there shit Freddy has ever inflicted on the children of Elm Street.
5. Drawn And Quartered – A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child (1989)
While Nightmare On Elm Street Part 5 could hardly be accused of being particularly scary, director Stephen (Predator 2, Lost In Space) Hopkins loads this gothic blowout with tons of fantasy set pieces and weird kills that prove to be a visual feast. The quirkiest of these by far is the death of Mark, the resident comic book artist of the group who’s demise is equal parts ludicrous and fucking awesome. After getting sucked into a comic book in a style that’s distractingly similar to A-Ha’s Take On Me video, Mark has to negotiate a cool black and white comic book world while avoiding a skateboarding Freddy who teases him about the death of his crush. Counteracting this by becoming The Phantom Prowler, a superhero character of his own design, Mark is check-mated by the arrival of the bulletproof SuperFreddy (“Faster than a bastard maniac!”) who finally turns his victim into paper and shreds him to pieces.
4. Breaking Into Television – A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
While hiding out in the rec room of the Springwood psychiatric unit while desperately trying to keep herself awake by burning herself with cigarettes, TV enthusiast Jennifer watches a talk show featuring Zsa Zsa Gabor and Johnny Carson. Events take a sinister turn when Johnny terminates more than just the interview when he turns into Freddy and lunges at the actress with his claw as the screen buzzes into static. Going to investigate, Jennifer is obviously stunned when the set sprouts arms and a Freddy head and snatches up the horrified teenager to cackle an iconic line (“Cut to prime time, bitch!”) before ramming her skull through the screen. Needless to say, that’s one feature you wouldn’t want your smart TV to have…
3. Blood Flood – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
When I describe Johnny Depp as being a real “geyser”, this probably isn’t what you had in mind; but during the most spectacular death from Wes Craven’s Craven’s orginal classic, you really see the young actor really have a chance to spread his talents. Dozing off in an offensively short shirt while staying up to watch Miss Nude America (?), dumb jock Glen fails in his pledge to aid final girl Nancy in her Freddy-killing efforts by dozing off only for the sleep-stalker to reach out of the bed and drag him screaming into a pit. After a beat a incredible amount of blood blows out of the hole to smear Glen’s insides all over his bedroom ceiling in an iconic moment that proves more is more when it comes to gore…
2. He’s so vein… – A Nightmare On Elm Part 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Dream Warriors features more than it’s fair share of awesome shit, so it’s unsurprising that Chuck Russell’s opus makes the list twice. Possibly the first Elm Street murder to tailor make it’s horrors to fit the interests of the victim. This time it’s puppet maker Phillip who is accosted by Freddy the K while he snores in his room in a psychiatric ward. Initially appearing in the form of a clay marionette that morphs into Freddy’s familiar visage, he slices open Phillip’s arms and legs and uses his tendons to puppeteer him out of the ward and onto the roof while in the real world it merely looks like he’s innocently sleepwalking. While his fellow inmates scream at him to wake up, a giant Freddy slashes his “strings” to let him plummet to the sidewalk below leaving the wannabe Dream Warriors mute in shock and us cheering the villian… What? It’s fucking cool!
1. Does This Bug You? – A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master (1988)
At number one is an entry from Renny Harlin’s awesomely uneven Nightmare 4, a film that wouldn’t know subtle if it stabbed it in the chest with a razor-tipped glove. Ramping up Part 3’s visuals to MTV levels of craziness, Part 4’s crown jewel turns out to be the remarkable bonkers “Roach Motel” scene in which Freddy targets tough talking, fitness freak, Debbie, the Springwood Slasher starts by challenging his victim to a test of strength by pushing down on her barbells mid-rep. Winning by breaking both her elbows, insect-phobic Debbie is understandably mortified when giant roach legs erupt from her stumps to signify her progressive transformation into a big-ass bug. Finally wandering into a large carton speared with glue which succeeds in tearing off the rest of her human skin, it’s revealed that she’s in a roach motel that’s being held by Krueger, he crushes it and her in his fist. Drawn out, bizarre and utterly awesome.