Thirty years ago, filmmaker Wes Craven drew inspiration from a news story about young immigrants dying in their sleep and created not only one of horror's greatest franchises, but one of the most iconic villains as well--A Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger (played by the classically trained Robert Englund). Over the course of 6 sequels, one teamup with Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees, and one remake, the razor-clawed Krueger has sliced and diced his way through the entire teenage population of Springwood, Illinois. In honor of the original film's 30th anniversary (it was released in theatres on November 9, 1984), here are Freddy's five best kills over the course of the series.
5. Grady (Robert Rusler) from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
Wes Craven's original Elm Street was an ingenious work of horror...the sequel, not so much. Rushed into production after the original's success (and without the involvement of Craven), Freddy's Revenge ignored the mythology that was established in part one and put its villain in ridiculous situations, like attacking a group of teens during a pool party IN REAL LIFE. (The creators must have forgotten the movie was called A NIGHTMARE on Elm Street.) However, the movie has redeemed itself by becoming known as the gayest horror movie ever. For example, our hero Jesse (Mark Patton) finds something inside himself that stops him from going all the way with his girlfriend, leading him to his shirtless buddy Grady's house in the middle of the night to have a heart to heart about his feelings. Of course, it's really Freddy that's literally inside of him, as cute Grady finds out the hard way. Krueger rips himself out of Jesse's body and has his bloody way with the half-naked hunk. (Scene starts at 2:03)
4. Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow) from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
Dream Warriors began Freddy's rise to the pop culture mainstream, thanks to a streak of wicked humor added by screenwriters Chuck Russell (who also directed) and Frank Darabont (who would later write and direct The Shawshank Redemption and bring The Walking Dead to television). The silent stalking was replaced with witty one-liners, like the one uttered after dispatching TV-obsessed Jennifer--"Welcome to Prime Time, bitch!"
3. Debbie (Brooke Theiss) from A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
The third film introduced a formula to Freddy's kills that would continue throughout the rest of the sequels: he would exploit his prey's fears and use it against them. In the most grotesque example, poor insect-fearing Debbie graphically transforms into a cockroach and is lead into a roach motel held by Krueger. "You can check in, but you can't check out," he says, before crushing it (and Debbie).
2. Glen (Johnny Depp) from A Nightmare on Elm Street
Aside from its reputation as a horror classic, the first Elm Street is probably best known as Johnny Depp's big screen debut. He plays Glen, boyfriend to final girl Nancy (Heather Langenkamp). Unfortunately for Glen, in the 1980s, boyfriends in slasher flicks rarely ever made it to the final frame with their significant others. After falling asleep while watching "Miss Nude America" on TV (is that even a real thing?), Glen is sucked inside of his bed, followed by a geyser of blood gushing out as his mother watches in horror.
And now for some Elm Street trivia: originally, Glen was supposed to be ejected from the bed following the blood fountain. Check out this extended take that ended on the cutting room floor. (Starts at 1:35)
1. Tina (Amanda Wyss) from A Nightmare on Elm Street
The one that started it all. Tina falls asleep next to her boyfriend Rod and is attacked by Freddy in her nightmare. He lifts her up, drags her across the ceiling and claws away at her as blood spills all the room and Rod helplessly looks on. Thirty years later and it's still just as shocking as it ever was.
Bonus: Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
The original final girl of Elm Street, Nancy returned in part 3 older and wiser, helping a new group of teenagers at a psychiatric hospital tap into their inner strengths and confront Freddy. Unfortunately for her, Krueger was able to get the best of her, posing as her recently deceased father to get close enough to stab her in the stomach. Nancy went out in a blaze of glory though, using Freddy's own glove against him and saving the life of her patient Kristen (a young Patricia Arquette).
4a and 4b
Happy Birthday Freddy!