A Nightmare on Elm Street was a game-changing horror movie that breathed new life into the slasher genre. It introduced us to a new horror icon that would become one of the most sinister and recognised figures in the world. But how did Freddy Krueger go from terrifying to terrible? We take a look at some of the more memorable quotes from Freddy's career so far. Feared by an entire generation of narcoleptics the once truly nightmarish star of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, and no less than seven sequels and a TV spin-off, slowly began a steady decline from one of the most feared and famed psycho’s in the movie world to the most jeered.
It’s true that New Line quite possibly squeezed every inch of bankable potential from the long running franchise and ultimately managed to over saturate the market. It even led to a ridiculous amount of merchandising which covered everything from Freddy Yo-yo’s to Elm Street lunchboxes. And we don’t know what’s more terrifying, the blatant and somewhat crass overexposure of a horror icon or the fact the majority of the movie tie-in merch was marketed towards children. And as Freddy was a murderous dead evil child molester it is an unusual move for retailers.
For it had all become a fine example of life imitating art as the concept behind the original Elm Street outing was to have Freddy’s power evolve from the fear children felt and to taking that away from him removed this very power. And it seems New Line managed to do exactly this by rushing into money-spinning sequels and milking that fine old cash cow one too many times.
One of the most saddening yet associative elements of Freddy’s ultimate demise from sinister and sickening serial killer legend to laughable gimmicky clown was his knack for an inappropriate wisecrack every now and again. And as the movies ticked on the more cringe worthy they became.
1. “What's wrong, Joey? Feeling tongue-tied?” - A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Joey, the mute, is one of the young patients staying at the Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital. He and his committed buddies all afflicted by the nightmarish and all too real hallucinations of the dream-invading monster Fred Krueger. After several encounters with the famed disfigured one our little unprepared Joey is all too easily enticed into a private room by the vision of his youthful crush Nurse Marcie (played by the smoking hot Stacey Alden).
And so begins a short scene that lives long in the mind of any exuberant adolescent who managed to catch this classic horror threequel on VHS in the late 80’s. And what just happens to be the most titillating scene in an Elm Street movie to date. Nurse Marcie proceeds to strip off her nurse’s getup and spins around to reveal her impressive 80’s horror rack to an overly excited Joey. She leans over, plants some smooches on his lips and then just as we near our arousal peak it’s just as swiftly cut off as she shoots disgusting lengths of tongue around our young victims wrists and ankles effectively pinning him to the bed. Only to switch swiftly back into the true form of the burnt faced, sweater wearing paedophile, who of course cannot help but utter another one of his memorable eye-rolling puns.
The third installment thankfully sees a return to form this time around mostly thanks to a script co-written by series creator Wes Craven and the reappearance of a more grown up Nancy Thompson (played by Heather Langenkamp), the sole surviving teen from the original movie.
2. “Welcome to prime time, bitch” - A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Next up let’s turn our attentions to what is arguably the best of the worst puns ever spoken by Freddy Krueger. Jennifer, the aspiring actress in the gang of hospitalised teen misfits, is having trouble sleeping and decides to watch a little late night television on her lonesome in the TV room. But uh-oh she’s dropped off in front of the box and allowed Freddy to enter her dreams. Suddenly Freddy is co-starring with on screen star Zsa Zsa Gabor and as Jennifer gets closer to see just what the hell is going on she’s grabbed by mechanical arms that burst from the sides of the television.
Freddy stretches and pops his noggin out of the TV box, laughably with antennae sticking out from the top of his head. He lifts up his next female victim and tells her “This is it Jennifer, your big break in TV”…and then of course adds in the “prime time” line before proceeding to smash poor little Jenny’s face into the TV.
It’s ironic really to think that this “so bad it’s great” line wasn’t even in the script. That’s right folks Freddy actor Robert Englund himself ad-libbed the line on the day. And it stuck!
3. “How’s this for a wet dream?” - A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Joey, who managed to survive the dream antics of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3’, clearly hasn’t learnt a thing! Freddy’s back causing more problems for the now overly-talkative former mute. Sadly his kills seem to be becoming a tad repetitive. Horny young lad Joey has once again been dream lured into trouble with the promise of more ogling at sweet breasted blondes. His lustful vision appears to him within his waterbed but what slashes its way out isn’t a sexy model but our anti-hero Mr Krueger. Suddenly it becomes a bloodbath and poor old Joe faces his demise. That’ll teach the oversexed teen.
Interestingly enough this inappropriate but ready quip managed to also make it into the 2010 remake of ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’. This time around it’s the re-imagined Krueger, played by Jackie Earle Haley, who speaks the line.
4. “This shrink really ought to have her head examined.” - Freddy's Nightmares
Moving away from the main movie franchise just for a moment let’s not forget the short-lived and awfully received Elm Street spin-off series “Freddy’s Nightmares”. The horror anthology had very little really to do with the main movie series. It was another attempt at a weekly non-episodic series in the vein of ‘The Twilight Zone’ or ‘Tales from the Crypt’. Each week a different story would be introduced by Freddy who was constantly on top campy form. It ran from October 1988 until March 1990 with pretty unimpressive viewing figures.
The pilot episode did actually focus on Freddy’s intriguing and wicked back story before he was murdered by the Springwood locals, which did give the series some unwarranted potential. But thereafter each episode almost took a consistent drop in quality. Mostly due to budgetary restrictions and timescales put on the production.
And it was during the first season, namely the episode “Mother’s Day” that provided this classic Freddy quippage. The parody continues.
5. “More powerful than a local madman. Its, Super Freddy!” - A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
As the series continued it weakened rather quickly. It was obvious at the time that New Line just wasn’t making the money it needed to be and churning out these quickly cobbled together sequelisations were just not going to set the cinema alight like the 1984 original had. The Dream Child unfortunately was no exception.
Comic book geek Mark is the latest high schooler who discovers that he is able to unlock his dream power. And yep you guessed it he becomes a comic book hero. His “super” alter ego being the Phantom Prowler. Which sounds more apt as a newspaper nickname for a local fellow wanted for indecent exposure than that of a formidable hero.
But when it comes to dream manipulation there’s no-one quite like Freddy who quickly turns the tables on Mark to become “Super Freddy”. A fat-necked, hulked up version of his usual form complete with swooping cape and even sporting a black decorative lightning bolt. Freddy swiftly slashes Mark apart when he turns him into nothing more a two-dimensional comic character. Ironically that statement best sums up Krueger in his last few theatrical outings.
6. “Bon Appétit bitch!” - A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Next on the menu is another helping from the fifth installment in the sadly waning franchise. This time the food focused witticism comes courtesy of a chef clothed Freddy looking to fatten up aspiring supermodel Greta. The teen makes that all too common mistake of taking a nap, this time around at a dinner party, and allows that sneaky demonic rascal to gain entry to her beautiful mind.
But what does FK have in store for her? Most of the deaths tend to have some form of relation to the characters waking life idiosyncrasies and in this scene its body conscious Greta who’ll be feasting on more than just a midnight snack. Freddy literally packs the cheeks of her face whilst he proceeds to feed the teen her very own organs in a particularly vile looking scene that is reminiscent of Monty Python’s classic Mr Creosote sequence from ‘The Meaning of Life’. Yuck!
7. “Yee-haw! This boy feels the need for speed.” - A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
In a film literally brimming over with one-liners and wisecracks it’s no surprise to see yet another entry from ‘Dream Child’ in the list. And what’s more this line comes from a scene which is jam-packed with Freddy funnies.
Dan Jordon is out for a night ride in his motor when he drifts off into slumber land once more allowing the knife-fingered Freddy to enter his dream. Get out of my dreams and into my car. First Krueger plays silly buggers with the radio then lassoes Daniel up in his seatbelt. But it’s the terrific level of idioms and zingers that come thick and fast throughout this film, with a whole heap occurring in this very sequence, which surely is the true nightmare here?
“Put your pedal to the metal”, “Bad year Dan” whilst chugging away at a bottle of wine, “Better buckle up dear”…it goes on.
And whilst still in sleep mode Dan switches to a motorcycle which is more than meets the eye as it begins to meld into his skin and veins combining his human flesh form with that of the metallic’s and mechanics of the bike he rides on. With the on-ride bonus of a Terminator’-esque Freddy face spouting and shouting more and more quick fire gags…”Fuel injection”, “Power drive”, “Fast lane” and he tops it all off with “Hey Danny, better not dream and drive”…sigh. Still, the man/bike transformation is pretty cool.
8. “Now I'm playing with power!” - Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
If was truly the final nail in the coffin for the original Nightmare on Elm Street series and this sixth and conclusive finale decided to throw everything including the kitchen sink at it. Filled with dodgy effects, dreadful dialogue self-references and cameos from Johnny Depp and Roseanne Barr, ‘The Final Nightmare’ was a giant mish-mash of general nothingness.
Freddy is sitting within one of his dreamscapes enjoying a video game that just so happens to have trapped inside it Spencer (played by 'Franklin & Bash' star Breckin Meyer), one of three troubled teens who take on the nightmare master this time around. In a particularly tacky scene filled with fourth wall breaks, eye rolling dialogue and a reference to the terrible late 80’s control accessory that was intended for use on Nintendo’s original Entertainment System. It sums up just how weak the series had become.
And what’s more incredible is that just three years later the series would be reinvigorated, reinvented and praised once more due to its new unique direction and ever so clever manner all bought forth by Wes Craven himself a decade on from bringing us the original Nightmare on Elm Street.
9. “Oh, Carlos. Lend me your ear.” - Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
As we near the end of the tiring series here with the sixth installment it’s no surprise that the comical type scripts have weakened with each and every chapter, especially in the past three efforts. Thankfully a well earned break and some originality is back in place by the time it shifts to 1994 as previously mentioned. And so original creator of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ returns triumphantly 10 years on with a self-referential real world take on the Elm Street characters and series with ‘Wes Craven’s New Nightmare’.
For now we just have to endure one final verbal pun that is a real attack on the senses. Well on the auditory side of things at least.
Carlos, who suffers from a hearing impairment, gets some teeth gritting punishment from Freddy who clearly has some unresolved issues of disability discrimination. He takes Carlos’ hearing aid and replaces it with a special souped-up insect like version that clings onto the teens ear and helps amplify everything around him. Ahhh isn’t that nice of good ole Fred?
Not quite I’m afraid as Freddy pulls out his elongated chalkboard and you guessed it continues to run his sharp shiny knife fingers across the board with deafening and sickening results. The overly amplified grating sound causes Carlos’ head to explode!
10. Freddy vs. Jason (2003) - "How sweet, dark meat"
As horror franchises have proved on more than one occasion (in fact hundreds of occasions) you cannot keep a good movie psycho down. It appears that nothing can truly stop these movie monsters and so it’s simply resurrection after resurrection. Now whether that’s via an ancient ritual, a bolt of lightning or even dog pee (yup, that happened) they’ll keep on coming back. But what happens when they come face to face with each other? In 2003 director Ronny Yu attempted to give us that answer.
‘Freddy vs. Jason’ teamed up two of the biggest horror icons of the modern era and pitted them against each other in a battle to hell (kind of). And even though Freddy had been away from theatres now for 9 whole years, in fact it’s nearer 12 if you ignore Wes Craven’s excellent ‘New Nightmare’ which never strictly featured our ‘classic’ Freddy, he was still hot to trot when it came to pulling out an eye-rolling wisecrack.
His latest remake, and bordering ever so uncomfortably on the racist, was directed to Kia played by former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland. And she gives as good as she gets when she goes on a verbal rampage with her feisty backchat spoken to an almost stunned Freddy Krueger. Soon after, however, she stops flapping her acid tongue and meets her demise in the form of the towering Jason Vorhees and his slash-happy machete.
It’s also a nod to a similar line spoken by Freddy in 1988’s ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master’ in which dark meat became fresh meat.