The Best of the Bad Guys: Freddy Krueger

With The Best of the Worst, we dig into several of the reasons why a certain horror icon rocks. First up: Freddy Krueger.

Last Updated on April 5, 2024

The episode of The Best of the Bad Guys focusing on Freddy Krueger was written, narrated, and edited by Mike Holtz.

You wanna know what makes Freddy Krueger so scary? I mean, other than his obvious need to moisturize? He’s unavoidable. As unavoidable as death, taxes and Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce news stories. All he needs to be able to heinously take you out is for you to eventually sleep… and everyone sleeps. Everyone also poops but they haven’t made that movie yet. Just a really well marketed children’s book. See, you can physically escape Michael Myers. Hell, the guy can’t even run! He power walks. Like your grandparents in the mall before the shops open in the morning. You can escape Jason Voorhees by simply wearing his dead mom’s clothing and bossing him around. Some people would just call that a nice Friday night in. Possessed? Call a priest. The only number you’re calling if ole’ Fred Krueger wants to get all up in them dreams nice and deep like is 1-800-You’re-Fucked. So where did this crispy skinned dream demon come from? What motivates him to horrifically mutilate, dismember, creep out and sometimes eat his victims souls like meatballs? Excuse me… not “like” meatballs ACTUAL SOUL MEATBALLS. Welcome to THE BEST OF THE BAD GUYS Where we take a hard look inside of the gnarliest protagonists in our favorite movies on a category-by-category basis. Where they came from, what they’ve done, what makes them tick and what they might do next. Tune in next week for our special on Ezra Miller. (Just Kidding?)

Today we’re exploring all the gruesome wonder of our fedoraed friend Freddy Krueger. We’ll take a look at Fred’s best kill, his best quote, his scariest, coolest and meanest moments throughout all nine of his feature films. Yes, even the remake where his face looks Jim from American Pie had his way with a bowl full of CGI spaghetti.

The Best of the Worst: Freddy Krueger

Let’s start with… Freddy’s Best Kill

Nobody and I mean, NOBODY kills like Freddy. In the dream world he is capable of things other horror icons could never even conjure. Especially not Jason. He can barely work a doorknob. Freddy doesn’t just kill with creativity… he gets nasty with it! Also, something he did with Jason’s mom. Over the course of just the first six films, Freddy Krueger dispatches his victims by sucking their souls out of their mouths, stuffing them with food, turning them to cockroaches, trapping them inside their own waterbeds, melting them into motorcycles, shooting them up with drugs, turning them into blood geysers, killing them in comic book form, sucking them through tiny door holes, Holy Hell, you get the point. Freddy’s got a Golden Corral Buffet of options to choose from when it comes to your favorite kills.

But what is Freddy’s best kill? That comes in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors when he takes Phillip (Bradley Gregg) for a tip toe through the tuli-OH MY GOD THAT’S THE LEDGE OF A ROOF.

In the scene, Phillip is sound asleep when Freddy inhabits one of the puppets hanging from his wall. It’s a very Wallace and Gromit moment if Wallace and Gromit were hand crafted by Satan in Hell. What’s funny about this scene is that nobody even saw Freddy doing this. He’s literally doing it for his own enjoyment! He gets bored of himself however and quickly grows to full size like my problems when I try to bury them deep down. What? Never mind. Phillip wakes up and is unable to move or scream as Freddy, while laughing removes his bed sheets and starts slashing away. The camera pans back to reveal he has cut large incisions in each thigh and forearm which sucks but is a Sunday on the golf course drinking pina coladas with the entire Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad compared to what happens next. YES, that was oddly specific. Mind your business! The tendons and muscles are pulled out from his booboos while still attached and then begin to walk him around the hospital looking like me, drunk at 3AM trying to find the water and pizza rolls. The imagery is bad enough but when you start to think about what that would feel like it puts anything you saw in Hostel, Saw or your parents’ bedrooms to shame. Well, almost.

Freddy leads Phillip to the rooftop and it isn’t to do a dramatic recreation of Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott’s Spider-Man 3 music video for “Hero”. Even Freddy has his limits when it comes to torture. Phillip, about to be walked off the edge to his death, looks up to the sky to see Freddy as big as dead Mufasa or the Stay Puft Marshmallow man in the sky, puppeteering his half-severed veins from the clouds. It’s an absolutely amazing show that really shows off what Freddy is capable of if you’re dumb enough to fall asleep on his watch. Not to mention a shot that still holds up special effects-wise today. It’s just freaky in a hard to explain way. Freddy then cuts Phillip’s veins and watches him fall to his death as his friends look on. And of course, he laughs because… well…. he’s an asshole.

The Best of the Worst: Freddy Krueger

So that was Freddy’s Best Kill… what was Freddy’s MEANEST kill?

Well, that prize belongs to the underrated A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. As Debbie (Brooke Theiss) hits the bench press. She falls asleep mid rep. Which I see all the time at the gym. Dudes just passing out mid rep like Mitch McConnell after a glass of milk. Totally checks out. In a really cool shot, Freddy shows up in the reflection of her weights. “I don’t believe in youuuuu” she says as if she’s auditioning for Hamlet. Freddy says all too earnestly “Well, I believe in you” before he starts pushing down on the barbell she’s holding up. Here’s where things get Twisted Sister on us. The weight barring down on her is so strong that her arm skin starts to slowly rip off around her elbows. In a surprisingly gooey fashion. She sits up with her arms flopping around on their hinges like an inflatable tube-man before eventually severing completely. But wait, there’s more! Out of the holes formerly known as her arms starts to grow COCKROACH ARMS. Or Tentacles. Or someth-it’s absolutely disgusting whatever it is. All the while Freddy stands there, watching and laughing. Because well… he’s an asshole.

Debbie tries to run away and finds herself in some kind of corridor that’s beginning to lift off the ground. She looks down and realizes there’s sticky yellow goo everywhere as cockroach limbs continue to grow out of her skin. She falls down and her hair sticks to the goo. As she lifts her head OH MY GOD THIS IS SO GROSS her skin rips off entirely to reveal a big sticky cockroach head. She is now a full-on cockroach. BUT WAIT THERE IS STILL MORE YET… An eyeball fully encompasses the window as we realize she is in a roach motel that Freddy is holding and staring into. He says “You can check in, but you can’t check out” before squishing it as yellow goo flies out. I haven’t eaten a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gas station handheld pie since. Or before. This is not only the most gruesome kill I can think of for obvious reasons but also the most torturous, therefore making it the meanest. Imagine having your limbs ripped off, then having them grow cockroach tentacles, and having your skin ripped off by sticky goo. Then you go, “Hey, I’m a cockroach! But I’m still alive!” Do I even want to be? Let me think about th-DEAD.

Honorable mention goes to the way Fred tortured poor Carlos (Ricky Dean Logan) in Freddy’s Dead when he mocked him for having a hearing impairment before turning his hearing aid up to level “holy shit” and torturing him that way. It’s bad. But it’s still not quite a slow cockroach transformation. There’s also that time he murdered a recovering drug addict by saying “Let’s get high” and pumping her arm veins with a lethal overdose. Did we mention Freddy’s an asshole?

Freddy’s Most Badass Moment

Freddy has quite the body count when you consider Freddy’s Dead opens with an Oregon Trail graphic saying he’s wiped out the LITERAL entire child population of Springwood, OH. But his biggest on-screen body count moment happens to also be his most badass. The pool party in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. In this scene, a large group of teens are drinking, eating, and touching each other’s body parts in all sorts of weird ways when Freddy literally jumps on the scene and starts disrespecting his surroundings. Director Jack Sholder and writer David Chaskin definitely did some disrespecting in their own right with Freddy’s Revenge when it came to the rules of the character established by his predecessor Craven… but when this scene strikes it’s all worth it, if just for the moment.

Freddy goes absolute ham sandwich on everyone at the party slicing and dicing his way through faces, stomachs and even a pool chair. Teens fall into the pool which Freddy sets ablaze, pockets of fire shoot out from all over like a KISS concert and he knocks over the grill and at least 7 to 23 adult beverages before corralling all the kids up against the fence line and telling them “You’re all my children now!” in one of the most iconic moments of the entire franchise. But he isn’t done… when one teen steps forward and does his best “Hans, bubby!” Ellis from Die Hard impression and tries to negotiate with Freddy, Freddy hilariously says “Help yourself, f*cker!” before slapping him with a fist full of knives like he owed him money.

Freddy in this moment was out there, in the open, in front of everyone (unlike poor Jesse deep down inside) and he absolutely made the most of it. None of those kids are ever going to be okay again. Even the ones he didn’t filet.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Freddy’s Best Quote!

Lest we forget Freddy’s verbal prowess. The guy had a way with his tongue. Ew! Not like that, NOT LIKE THAT! Freddy has more one liners than the Terminator himself, ranging from iconic “THIS IS GOD!” to hilarious “Rick, you little meatball!” Hell, even 2010 managed to squeak out a classic one with “We still have six more minutes to play.” Freddy has more famous quotes than the bible. So, picking the best one was tough. But it has to be the one Robert Englund himself ad-libbed: “Welcome to primetime, bitch!” which is, coincidentally what I say before I show a girl my comic book collection. Works every time.

Also fictional is the Dream Warriors scene where Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow) falls asleep watching TV and it’s really hard to blame her for it because she tried her best… I mean she was putting cigarettes out on her arms like Judd Nelson’s Dad in The Breakfast Club on Christmas. Now in dream world, she walks towards the television set nestled in the upper corner of the wall (more on that later) before Freddy’s robot arms and head pop out of the TV set and he snatches her up. “Welcome to primetime, bitch!” is yelled by Krueger before slamming her head inside of the TV. Then, he leaves her body dangling there like a human Christmas ornament. To this day, I will never understand why Neil “I definitely wear whitey tighties and cry after sex” Gordon didn’t think something strange was afoot at the Circle K when that little girl somehow Spud Webb’d herself into the TV attached to the ceiling… but a great quote none-the-less and one they used as a pre-title quote later in the franchise.

Freddy vs. Jason


From movie-to-movie Freddy’s look changes in the subtlest of ways. From his classic original look in Wes Craven’s 1984 film to A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge with his darker, slimier, oozing makeup and FX all the way to his modernized look in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Which absolutely looked badass if it weren’t for those pleather pants. Dudes legs looked like a Black Friday couch from Big Lots. Really, the look of Freddy will be in the eye of the beholder. Hell, I wouldn’t argue with you if you said the coolest Freddy has ever looked was in the original when he rips his own face off just to mess with Tina for funsies. For my money, though? He’s never looked scarier than as full-on Demon-Freddy in Freddy vs. Jason.

Not his overall look throughout the majority of the film but rather a specific short-lived scene where he goes ultra red, hovers above a boat dock like a witch and gets real-freakin-naughty with this super red, extremely demonic and gnarly sudden and new makeup There’s something about seeing Freddy turning up the anger and malevolence to 11 for a moment, mixed with the bright red flesh tones that reminds you this isn’t video game Freddy anymore. But seriously, amazing work by the FX team here.

Freddy vs. Jason

How about Freddy’s best death? Jesus Christ, is everything a competition?

The worst thing you can say about Freddy as a character (despite what some of those silly ass sequels tried to put him through) is that he’s TOO unstoppable. Even in the classic original, you have to admit the whole “just turn your back on him, show him you aren’t afraid and he’ll go away!” ending was a total cop out. In Nightmare 2 they kill him off by *checks notes* making out with him? His demise in Nightmare 3 is kind of silly when Neil “definitely rude to food service workers” Gordon slaps some holy water on his corpse and he turns into a kaleidoscope. In 4, his reflection kills him even though we’ve confirmed he’s seen it at least twice by now, in… oh you know what? Nobody can kill Freddy like Jason can so let’s just go with Freddy vs. Jason when Jason full on thunderpunches his entire chest out with his own glove and then carries his head off for some weird reason. I mean, seriously….what are you gonna do with that head Jason? Put it next to your 3rd grade swimming trophies? Just kidding. We know those don’t exist! Ouch!

That being said, Freddy winks at the camera as they walk away… still alive. Other movies have killed him more definitively, sure. But in a world where Kincaid’s dog pissing fire onto his grave can bring him back to life… has anyone REALLY ever killed Freddy? Other than the people out there right now deciding to actively not make more movies? Nah.

Which just brings me to the end of what’s best about Freddy. The facts are that he just may be the greatest horror villain of all time. He’s not very killable. He’s absolutely unescapable. His weapon of choice is original and iconic. He can be absolutely hilarious, which, in the right hands, manages to take absolutely nothing away from how frightening he can be. I SAID IN THE RIGHT HANDS, stop waving your copy of Freddy’s Dead at me, Greg! He’s creative. He has cool makeup FX and a classic costume.

Freddy Krueger is one of a kind. Still an asshole. But a one of a kind asshole.

Sample episodes of a couple of our other shows can be seen below. To see more, click over to the JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.