A Nightmare On Elm Street: Ranking Freddy Krueger's Most Gruesome Kills From The Horror Franchise

Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street
(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

What’s the first thing you think of when you imagine your bed? How comfy it is? How you just want to snuggle under those sheets and fall right asleep? How about fear?That’s what Freddy Kreuger, arguably one of the most iconic horror movie villains of all time, preys on, and trust me, he has won time and time again, proving just how terrifying our nightmares can be, via an impressive performance from Robert Englund. 

With a franchise that spans ten movies, there are so many deaths from the Nightmare on Elm Street series that we could highlight in this article, but for the sake of my sanity and yours – as well as my lunch – we’re only going to talk about eight. 

From someone getting their head smashed into a TV to a literal geyser of blood, here are eight of the most gruesome kills in the franchise, ranked by how much they stunned me to silence on my couch at home. 

Kerry getting punched in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2.

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

8. Kerry Hellman’s Supposed Chest Punch (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge)

Okay, so hear me out. I don’t really know if this death is even real in this movie. We see Kerry get punched in the chest by Freddy in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, and she looks pretty dead as Freddy’s last victim of the movie. The only reason I put this at the bottom is that we don’t really know if this is real or not, considering it could just be a part of Jesse Walsh’s dream. 

However, there is no denying that this scene is shocking. It came out of nowhere and really threw me for a loop, which is why I need to put it on here, regardless of whether it's real or not. 

Nancy getting killed by Freddy in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

7. Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)

Talk about shocking. When I found out that scream queen Nancy Thompson was brought back for the third film, A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors, I was pretty surprised. Most of the time with these films, the characters change all the time to keep things fresh, as we’ve seen with several other horror franchises like Scream or the Halloween movies (besides the most recent ones, starting in 2018). 

However, Nancy coming back felt like a friend returning from the dead – literally, since I thought she was dead at the end of the first film. But, then they killed her off at the end and I felt my heart just die. I mean, at least her death wasn’t as graphic – just Freddy’s claws going through her chest, and she did get some form of revenge before she went, but still. It was such a shame and threw me for a loop. 

John Doe was the false protagonist of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

6. John Doe’s Bed Of Spikes (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare)

I really don’t need to think about this more than I have to. To be honest, I don’t like the sixth Nightmare on Elm Street specifically because I didn’t like John Doe. That’s not to say he’s a bad person, but I felt that the usage of the character as being Freddy's potential child was lazy writing and that could have been done a heck of a lot better. 

What made it even worse was that he was a false protagonist. Dude dies like halfway through the film after we’ve invested all this time into him. Not cool, movie. But you want to know what was cool? His death scene. A whole-ass bed of spikes, going through his body as he slept. 

It’s disgusting and gross in all the right ways and still gets to me years later. 

Jennifer about to get her head slammed through a television in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

5. Jennifer Caulfield’s Time In Primetime (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)

“Welcome to primetime, bitch!” These were the words Freddy Kreguer said to Jennifer Caulfield before her head was literally smashed into a television screen. 

In all honesty, I genuinely really like A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. I do think it’s one of the best films in the franchise and I really liked that Nancy was brought back, and that the kills were upped as well, and this had me howling from laughter and terror. 

Freddy's cattiness combined with the gruesome effects makes this death all the more memorable. I just can’t get over it years later. We don’t even really see that much blood, but it’s just unfathomable for me to even think about my head getting slammed into a television. Ugh.

Debbie turning into a roach in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4.

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

4. Debbie Stevens’ Turn Into A Roach (A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master)

Look, I might be biased on this one but I hate roaches, with a burning passion. I will literally welcome any bug into my house, even spiders, but roaches (and wasps) are the only things I can’t do, which is why this ranks so high. Debbie Stevens, in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, is a tough girl who doesn’t like bugs, so of course, Freddy preys on that fear. 

When she falls asleep, he turns her into a roach, and then crushes her in a roach motel. The sounds of her body squelching – God, I’m going to throw up thinking about it. It’s literally the worst way to go. At least with some of the gut punches or claws to the chest it was relatively quick. Debbie had to go through a whole transformation before she was turned into a bug and then crushed to death. Poor girl – even if the movie isn’t that good. 

Philip Anderson's body getting controlled in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

3. Phillip Anderson’s Fall (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)

Another Dream Warriors death, and this one makes me cringe in all the right and wrong ways, because ewwwww. 

In A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Phillip was a nice kid who created dolls, mostly puppets, but you know how Freddy is. He took that seriously and literally turned Phillip into a puppet in his dreams, using his tendons as if he was a puppet on a string, forced him to the roof of a hospital, then cut off his tendons, tossing Phillip onto the ground to his death. 

It’s memorable in all the right ways for how creative and yet horrifically gruesome it is, and to be honest, I could go my whole life without seeing this again. 

Tina's slashing on A Nightmare on Elm Street.

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

2. Tina’s Slashing (A Nightmare On Elm Street)

I mean, we can’t have a list about the deaths on A Nightmare on Elm Street without talking about the person who started it all, Tina Gray, the first teenager who was haunted by Freddy. Her death is arguably the saddest, because she genuinely seemed like a good person, but Freddy took her out for having sex with her boyfriend. 

In her sleep, she is dragged around, along the ceiling and the walls of her house while screaming, and Freddy slashes her fatally across her chest. By the end of her torture, she is nothing but a limp body on the ground bleeding out. It wasn’t the most gruesome death but in terms of memorability, it sticks. However, there is one that truly overrides it. 

Glen's death in his bed on A Nightmare on Elm Street.

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

1. Glen’s Death (A Nightmare On Elm Street)

He has to be number one, because this scene gave me nightmares for days on end the first time I watched it. A Nightmare on Elm Street was actor Johnny Depp’s screen debut, so imagine my surprise when I first watched this film and I saw that Depp was killed halfway through

But he wasn't just killed. Oh no; I wish he was just killed.

He was freaking devoured by his bed. Trying to stay awake, his character, Glen, does end up falling asleep. But when Freddy kills him, he doesn’t just slash him like Tina. No, I’m not even sure what Freddy did, but whatever happened it caused a literal geyser of blood to escape from the whole that Glen was sucked into, coating his room in the gooey substance. 

When someone asks me what the deaths are like in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, I always point to this one first. It’s just so gruesome and yet I can’t look away, which is why it needs to be number one. 

What are your personal favorites for deaths in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise? I don’t think these are ever going to change for me – unless another reboot comes out and we see more crazy kills. Only time will tell. I’m still waiting on Friday the 13th to get a Halloween style remake. I think Freddy Krueger deserves it, too. 

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.