Kids growing up in the ’80s sure had difficulty falling asleep, worrying this iconic slasher would be in their dreams. The dream demon, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) has entertained and frightened audiences for decades since his triumphant debut in Wes Craven‘s A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Though he hasn’t appeared on the big screen in twenty years, Freddy’s status as a pop culture and horror icon has remained strong as always. Everything from his attire to his unique finger knives is instantly recognizable. However, this wise-cracking stripe sweater-wearing slasher has stood out from other killers in the genre thanks to his memorable and darkly comedic one-liners. Whether scary or comical, these lines helped Freddy become one of the most popular villains in horror history.
10 “Welcome to my nightmare.” – Freddy vs. Jason’ (2003)
In 2003, New Line Cinema decided to give its two successful horror properties, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, an epic crossover event that would eventually become the highly profitable Freddy vs. Jason. It follows the titular slashers Freddy and Jason (Ken Kirzinger), in a brutal cinematic battle of the ages.
As Jason is set loose to target the teens of Elm Street as part of Freddy’s plan to regain his powers after being forgotten, he starts to go overboard, leading Freddy to pull his new nemesis into the dream world for a heated showdown. As the two immortal killers face off on Freddy’s turf, he gloats about having the home advantage by saying, “Welcome to my nightmare,” and proceeds to beat Jason in a vicious first round.
9 “Kung fu THIS, b***h!” – ‘Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare’ (1991)
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare may not be most fans’ favorite sequel, but it’s got some genuinely funny moments and memorable kills. It’s also highly entertaining to watch Robert Englund having an absolute ball as he plays a goofier and more mischievous version of Freddy.
After escaping her first encounter with Freddy on Elm Street, the strong and capable survivor Tracy (Lezlie Deane) fights for her life in the dream world by using her fighting skills to take Freddy head-on. Though she manages to handle her own, Freddy regains the upper hand again, spewing out one of his many cheesy pre-kill quips.
8 “It’s a boy!” – ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child’ (1989)
If there’s one cliché fans of the slasher genre instantly recognize, it’s that these killers don’t stay dead for long. Once 1989’s Nightmare on Elm Street 5 came out, this tired trope was starting to wane on fans’ interest in more sequels. However, thanks to Englund’s ability to always keep Freddy entertaining, he knew how to give the character a proper entrance.
The Dream Master, Alice (Lisa Wilcox), is trapped in the dream world and forced to witness Freddy resurrect and transform from a creepy demonic infant into his eerie original form. As he once again dawns his signature fedora and finger knives, he jokingly shouts, “It’s a boy!” to let Alice know that he’s back and just as snarky and wise-cracking as ever.
7 “How sweet, fresh meat.” – ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master’ (1988)
The Dream Master directly follows up on the events of the previous installment with a slightly beefier body count and a more significant leap toward dark comedy. Unlike the previous installments, Freddy, this time, is given the leading role with more screen time and even more memorable lines.
After dispatching her fellow Dream Warriors from the last movie, Freddy torments his old rival Kristen (Tuesday Knight) by forcing her to pull one of her new friends into her nightmare. As she eventually relents and summons her dream-gifted friend, Alice, Freddy welcomes his future victim by instilling fear into her heart by saying, “How sweet, fresh meat.”
6 “You are all my children now!” – ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’ (1985)
Freddy’s Revenge went down a darker route with plenty of brutal moments and gross-out body horrors. It showed Freddy when he was still at his most sinister stage, less worried about making spectacles and quips and more focused on terrorizing the teens of Elm Street.
Freddy returns, angrier and more power-hungry than ever before, ready to take out his wrath on the real world by possessing the body of teenager Jessie Walsh (Mark Patton). With his free ticket to slip in and out of reality, he brutally crashes a late-night pool party, horrifying the guests and claiming, “You are all my children now!”
5 “What a rush.” – ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ (1987)
Many fans often choose Dream Warriors to be the best sequel in the franchise as it perfectly balances scares with a slightly comedic tone. With a unique cast of new and returning characters and some of the series’ most memorable moments, the film is entertaining and scary from beginning to end.
In her dangerous mission to help save her friend Joey (Rodney Eastman), recovering drug addict and fellow Dream Warrior Taryn (Jennifer Rubin) finds herself alone in a battle against Freddy in a dream reminiscent of her troubled past. Though she puts up an intense fight, Freddy emerges as the victor by killing Taryn using lethal drug needles, ironically saying, “What a rush.”
4 “This… is god!” – ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ (1984)
It’s surprising how little screen time Freddy Krueger has in the ’84 original. Most of his seven minutes of screen time is spent with him mostly covered in dark shadows or dimly lit rooms to help build suspense and leave the audience’s frightened imaginations running wild by his terrifying appearance.
In the film’s iconic first kill, Tina (Amanda Wyss) falls asleep in the dream world and faces Freddy in a dark, ominous alleyway. As he walks into full view to show his burnt, disfigured face to both Tina and the audience, the frightened young woman pleads for God’s help, but Freddy shows his glove and states, “This… is god!” and proceeds to chase Tina down the alleyway.
3 “You shouldn’t have buried me, I’m not dead.” – ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master’ (1988)
Like with other slasher villains, Freddy has been defeated and resurrected countless times throughout the series. Usually, his return is never explained; other times, it’s shown through bizarre dreams ranging from creepy or gross to downright comical.
In The Dream Master, Freddy’s return features combinations of humor, horror, and impressive practical effects. As Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) finds himself trapped in a junkyard dream, he witnesses Freddy’s remains reanimating until he finally returns. Once he’s back to his strengths, Freddy wastes no time to appear intimidating and coldly states, “You shouldn’t have buried me, I’m not dead” then finishes his old killing spree.
2 “I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy.” ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ (1984)
Many fans these days view Freddy as the wise-cracking king of horror movie one-liners that the sequel films made him out to be. However, it is worth remembering how dark, unpleasant, and downright terrifying he truly was in the first film.
As Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) struggles to find a way to stop Freddy in the original film, she receives a terrifying message from the killer over the phone one night, saying, “I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy,” just before his mouth horrifyingly come out the phone to scare her. This terrifying scare leaves her shocked, and realizes her boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp) is about to be killed.
1 “Welcome to Prime Time, b***h!” – ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ (1987)
Undoubtedly, “Welcome to Prime Time, b***h!” is Freddy Krueger’s best and most quotable line in the entire film series. This improvised quip from Dream Warriors is often referenced and signaled the beginning popularity of the character’s signature pre-kill one-liners.
While sitting in a hospital break room watching TV to prepare for her acting career, Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow) begins seeing strange activity on the mounted screen. As she approaches the screen to fix it, the TV sprouts mechanical arms and lifts her u to reveal Freddy’s face emerging from the top to give her one of the most memorable kills of the franchise.
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