18. Mark Grey (The Dream Child)
It’s one of the least gory deaths of the series, but it’s also one of the strangest. The two-dimensional drawings in black-and-white give Mark’s death the feel of a really dark A-ha music video.
17. Spencer (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare)
It was only a matter of time before Freddy stepped into the world of video games. Yes, the graphics are sub-par, but let’s not forget this was the early ’90s. (See also: the presence of Breckin Meyer.)
16. Kerry (Freddy’s Revenge)
There’s ambiguity to this scene — as in the first film, it’s unclear if Kerry’s death is actually happening or just a final scare for the audience. Either way, it’s effective, like the hand in Carrie but way grosser.
15. Joey Peterson (The Dream Master)
Congratulations, Nightmare on Elm Street. You finally made waterbeds scary. There’s also the unsettling element of Freddy transitioning from buxom naked chick to scarred psycho killer.
14. Chase Porter (Wes Craven’s New Nightmare)
The scariest thing about Chase’s death is that it looks like Freddy’s hand is going for his crotch. But even when it’s clear that’s not the case, it’s still a frightening reminder to not fall asleep behind the wheel.
13. Carlos (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare)
Let’s be clear: the giant Q-tip through the ear should have killed him. Still, there’s something fiendishly great about the way it actually happens, with Freddy’s chalkboard scraping abrasive enough to make Carlos’ head explode.
12. Nancy Thompson (Dream Warriors)
While the circumstances of Nancy’s death aren’t particularly inventive, the fact that she dies is kind of a big deal. Remember that she was the first film’s Final Girl, which should guarantee survival. Also, hasn’t she suffered enough?
11. Sheila Kopecky (The Dream Master)
As an asthmatic, there’s not much scarier than losing the ability to breathe. The fact that Sheila has to make out with Freddy first is an added indignity. He is way too fond of using his tongue.
10. Julie (Wes Craven’s New Nightmare)
Julie’s death is, of course, an homage to Tina’s (see below). That doesn’t make it any less horrible — especially since Heather’s already traumatized son is forced to witness the whole thing.
9. Coach Schneider (Freddy’s Revenge)
Look, male nudity for a change! All of Freddy’s Revenge is a queer subversion of classic horror tropes, and the murder of Coach Schneider in the gym showers is particularly homoerotic. But was it Freddy or Jesse who did the deed?
8. Phillip Anderson (Dream Warriors)
Oof, this one’s tough to watch. It’s gruesome enough to think of Freddy manipulating his victim like a puppet, but using the poor guy’s ligaments as puppet strings? That’s a new level of terrible.
7. Debbie Stevens (The Dream Master)
Everything about this sequence is gross: from Debbie losing her limbs and becoming a cockroach to Freddy squeezing her bug guts out. You could call it “Kafkaesque,” or you could just call it “nauseating.”
6. Jennifer Caulfield (Dream Warriors)
Jennifer’s final moments feature a cameo from Zsa Zsa Gabor, and frankly, we should all be so lucky. Freddy as TV is another distressing visual, especially for those of us who spend a lot of time glued to our sets.
5. Tina Gray (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Tina’s death is classic — the kind of horror movie moment that made the first Nightmare on Elm Street an instant classic. While not as gory as subsequent murders, it still holds up remarkably well.
4. Taryn White (Dream Warriors)
What’s scarier than drug abuse? I’ll tell you what: needles for fingers and track marks literally crying out for smack. Taryn’s forced OD is one of Freddy’s most disturbing (and visually arresting) kills.
3. Greta Gibson (The Dream Child)
Like so many of his murders, this one is darkly comedic. But Greta’s chipmunk cheeks, however silly on their own, are really tough to handle in the context of her being force-fed by a deranged Freddy.
2. Ron Grady (Freddy’s Revenge)
Grady’s death itself isn’t the memorable part — it’s how Freddy shows up in Grady’s bedroom. The scene in which Jesse essentially gives birth to Freddy is up there with some of Cronenberg’s iconic body horror moments.
1. Glen Lantz (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
And here it is: the ultimate Nightmare on Elm Street death. It’s hard to forget the endless fountain of blood, or Glen’s struggle as he’s pulled inside his bed. Not knowing exactly how he bites it just adds to the anxiety.