How can you escape death when all it does is wait for you to fall asleep? This question of human vulnerability led the late filmmaker Wes Craven on a journey that culminated in one of cinema’s most deleterious and recognizable horror film icons: Freddy Krueger. The man in the Christmas sweater and dirty brown hat is every bit as important to the horror genre as Darth Vader is to science fiction.
What ultimately separated the Elm Street ventures from other macabre movie franchises like Friday the 13th and Halloween was the creativity with which Krueger disposed of his victims, and the fantasy-based elements of the kids’ extravagant nightmares. The gimmick of dying in the dream world equating to death in reality spelled doom for those trying to outrun Krueger’s wrath.
After nine feature films and a calamitous television series that is best left buried in the past, the Elm Street series was more hit than miss.
With that in mind, here are the Fearsome Fates: Top 10 Deaths from the Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise.
10. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (Carlos)
“Nice hearing from you, Carlos” – Only Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) was worse in the Elm Street saga than Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991). However, the lackluster sixth installment of the franchise gives fans one very memorable, bone-chilling death sequence. Carlos (Ricky Dean Logan) is attacked by Freddy and the youth has his ears cleansed courtesy of a monstrous Q-tip. Carlos is deaf and loses his hearing aid in the scuffle. Carlos manages to retrieve it only to have the hearing aid meld with his head and ear.
Everything Carlos hears is amplified thanks to Freddy’s torturous hearing aid. Krueger pulls out a chalkboard and then scrapes his sharp claws across it to create an unbearably loud symphony of screeching, which results in Carlos’ head exploding. Freddy blows the kid’s mind, literally.
9. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Taryn)
“Let’s get high” – Director Chuck Russell and writer Frank Darabont’s much-needed assistance on the Elm Street series marked the beginnings of much more creative carnage, in terms of Freddy’s surreal means of disposing of his victims. While trying to join Kristen (Patricia Arquette) in the dream world, young Taryn (Jennifer Rubin) is separated from her fellow Dream Warriors. With her punk-rock hairdo and knives, the former junkie does battle with Krueger.
Just as Taryn thinks she has gained the upper hand, Freddy turns the tables on her. Krueger reveals that all of his fingers have been replaced with drug-filled syringes. Taryn gasps when she finds tiny little mouths have replaced her drug scars. Freddy injects all of the needles into her arm and pumps her full of the fatal cocktail. Taryn’s screams, as Freddy smirks, “What a rush.”
8. A Nightmare on Elm Street (Glen)
“I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy” – Johnny Depp made his acting debut in the original Nightmare (1984), but his character of Glen didn’t fair too well. Skeptical of the existence of child killer Fred Krueger, Glen comes to the same grisly fate as the other children of Elm Street even though his stalwart girlfriend Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) implores that he doesn’t go to sleep. Glen welcomes his nightly slumber anyway.
Freddy’s glove emerges from the youth’s mattress, latches onto Glen, and pulls him into the bed. Blood explodes from the hole and cascades like a violent waterfall. In uncut footage from the scene, the bed even spits Glen back up with his body slathered in blood.
Wes Craven felt the scene was scarier and more effective without knowing what Glen’s corpse looked like, and it certainly makes one of the following scenes, which occurs between Lt. Thompson (John Saxon) and his officer, much more eerie as they discuss the crime scene’s gruesome atmosphere.
7. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (Greta)
“Bon appetit, bitch” – Greta (Erika Anderson) is an aspiring model who watches her weight. When Greta’s mom throws a dinner party the teenager has absolutely no appetite, because her friend Dan Jordan (Danny Hassel) has been killed in an accident. Greta falls asleep during the dinner and Freddy takes full advantage. Krueger shows up in a chef’s hat and proceeds to force feed Greta, in a monstrous-looking high chair.
Greta tries to spit out the pulsating food, but Freddy continues to shove it down her throat. With each passing bite, Greta’s jowls grow more grotesque. Engorged, Greta falls into Freddy’s arms and she eventually chokes to death. This could easily have been No. 1 on our list, if the scene had not been butchered by censors.
The horrifying truth revealed in Stephen Hopkins’ director’s cut: Freddy is feeding Greta to herself! Greta’s stomach has been cut open and Freddy is scooping up her insides and forcing them down the teen’s throat. It’s a chilling and nauseating death sequence, in what is sadly one of the weaker installments of the franchise.
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (Debbie)
“You can check in, but you can’t check out” – What happens when you team the winsome actress Brooke Theiss with special effects artist “Screaming Mad” George – aka Joji Tani? You get one of the most bizarre death sequences in Nightmare history. Poor Debbie (Theiss), a fitness guru, is really only afraid of one little thing – cockroaches. Naturally, Freddy turns Debbie’s worst fear against her.
While working out, Deb dozes off. She seems to still be in her home gym when Freddy suddenly appears. In a test of strength, Freddy grabs the bar, loaded with weight Deb is trying to bench press, and slowly forces it down toward her. Deb loses the fight and her elbows bend and crack open, under the immense pressure. Her arms are quickly replaced by the legs of a cockroach.
Deb slowly continues her bizarre metamorphosis, until she becomes an oversized bug. Trapped in a roach motel, Deb watches in horror, as Freddy smashes the trap in his hand. Deb’s bug-like guts, and the innards of the roach motel, spew out as Krueger cackles in triumph.
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (Dan)
“Better not dream and drive” – In the tradition of surviving Elm Street children making it to the sequel, Dread Central presents for your approval Dan Jordan (Danny Hassel). After the events of The Dream Master, Alice (Lisa Wilcox) and her boyfriend Dan are expecting a little bundle of joy. But before they can celebrate the baby’s birth, the couple must endure the wrath of Freddy Krueger once more. Surprisingly, Alice begins dreaming while she is awake. While working a shift at the Crave Inn, Alice comes face to face with both Freddy and his mother, Amanda Kruger (Beatrice Boepple).
Frightened, Alice calls Dan and begs him to join her immediately. Dan ditches his friends at a high school swim party, jumps in his truck and races to his love. Dan falls asleep on route and is confronted by Freddy. The two engage in a high speed race down a busy highway, while Krueger drives like a bat out of hell. Freddy violently shifts gears and Dan is thrown through the windshield.
Frantic to get to Alice, Dan absconds with a motorcycle parked out front of the school gym. But the teen is still asleep and now at the mercy of Freddy’s demonic cycle. The bike begins to merge with Dan and the two become a weird cyborg/motorcycle concoction. Sadly, the nightmare and reality ends when Dan crashes just yards shy of reaching Alice. Like so many other horror film sequences, this one was mercilessly chopped by the ratings board.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (Tina)
“Tina, watch this” – Filmmaker Wes Craven’s original Nightmare remains the seminal work that spewed into a cavalcade of money-making sequels, merchandise and a brief series on television. And while the first Elm Street venture is much darker than many of the other films in the series, its first death scene did not lack creativity. Tina (Amanda Wyss) is having bad dreams. After a particularly scary nightmare, Tina, not wanting to be alone while her mother is out of town, invites her best friend Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) and her beau Glen (Johnny Depp) to spend the night.
Tina’s boyfriend Rod (Nick Corri, aka Jsu Garcia) shows up unannounced and takes her mind off those pesky dreams with a sexual romp. However, the hours following take a dark and ominous turn when the lovers fall asleep. Freddy returns to Tina’s nightmare but this time he does away with her. The sequence is one of pure fantasy and horrific brutality. Tina’s stomach is sliced opened. Blood spews and the teen screams for Rod’s help, as she is helplessly dragged up the walls and across the ceiling of her mother’s bedroom.
Rod is forced to watch, as his girlfriend is gutted like a fish and tossed around the room. Sadly, what is transpiring in Tina’s nightmare is happening in reality, too. Tina is slain and Rod is arrested, leaving it to Nancy to figure out how to stop Freddy before there’s no one left to sleep.
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (Joey)
“How’s this for a wet dream?” – After defeating Freddy in Dream Warriors, the three remaining Elm Street children quickly succumb to Krueger’s revenge. After Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) puts up a valiant, but ultimately useless effort, Freddy moves onto Joey (Rodney Eastman). Joey’s weakness has always been women and while he watches MTV from his waterbed, Joey doses off.
He seems to wake up, as his bed begins to violently thrash about. Joey pulls back his comforter to see the sexy and quite naked Hope Marie Carlton. Enamored, Joey watches as Hope swims away into the unseen depths of the waterbed. Suddenly, Freddy comes exploding through the clear mattress.
He grabs Joey and cackles. The pair wrestle, but the best Joey can do is scream for fellow dream warrior Kristen (Tuesday Knight). Freddy slices and dices, as Joey vanishes and the water in his bed turns blood red. It’s one of the most creative deaths in the series and it comes with a great zinger.
2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Jennifer)
“Welcome to prime time, bitch!” – Mental patient Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow) cons the orderly Max (Laurence Fishburne) into letting her watch a little T.V. after hours. Jennifer dreams of going to Hollywood and becoming an actress, but this time her nightmare man awaits.
The television screen is static, so Jennifer changes the channels. Without any success, she hits the T.V. A pair of mechanized Freddy arms bursts free from the side of the hanging television set and snatches up the frightened girl.
Krueger’s head then emerges from the top of T.V. He smiles and barks at her, “This is it, Jennifer – your big break in T.V.” After Jennifer screams some more, Mr. K utters that now most famous line, “Welcome to prime time, bitch,” as he slams her head into the television screen. Max returns to find Jennifer’s corpse hanging head-first from the T.V.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Phillip)
“He was wide awake, all the way down” – Phillip (Bradley Gregg) is just another of the tortured teens incarcerated in Nightmare 3. Sadly, audiences do not have the chance to discover Phillip’s dream power, because he is immediately snuffed out by the guy in the dirty red and green sweater.
Phillip does exhibit an artistic talent for carving puppets, not to mention a proclivity for sleepwalking. Freddy exploits both. In Phillip’s nightmare, Freddy comes to life in the vessel of one of his unfinished puppets. Phillip watches in horror, as Kruger grows to his natural life-size form. Freddy then slashes open Phillip’s arms and legs, pulls out his bloody veins and transforms the boy into one grotesquely deformed puppet.
Krueger directs Phillip, as a puppet master would guide his marionette, and sends the teen hurling off the top of the mental hospital. The other kids watch as their friend plummets to his death, and the method suggests not murder but suicide.
Which deaths were your favorites? Were there any that didn’t make our list you’d like to have seen included? Sound off on social media!
10 Recent Almost Horror Movies for Genre Fans
I can’t count the number of times I’ve said, “Well, it’s almost a horror movie…”
We’re living in a golden age of horror with enough new films and classic reissues to offer genre fans endless hours of entertainment. But just because you can watch horror exclusively doesn’t mean you should. Too much exposure to gore and jump scares can leave even the most enthusiastic horror aficionados feeling jaded; believe me, I know what I’m talking about.
My Dread Central colleague Mike Sprague recent penned the editorial Why Horror Fans Should Watch Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. He points out how there’s a nebulous divide separating bleak dramas like Super Dark Times, which is considered a horror movie, from others that are thematically similar but separated from the genre.
I’ve always had a somewhat liberal definition of horror, believing it’s more than a genre classification. Horror is a feeling, one most commonly associated with a confrontation with, or realization of, mortality. In other words, anything is horror if it taps into your primal fear of death. With this attitude, the entirety of cinema becomes horror’s stomping ground.
Watching a variety of films from all genres will make you a more rounded and educated horror fan while rekindling your love for the more extreme subgenres. I’m not suggesting you go out and rent a bunch of musicals and romances if that’s just not your cup of tea. What I can do, however, is steer you towards some non-horror films that approach but never cross the genre’s most drastic borders. I hope you find them all both thrilling and entertaining.
Nocturnal Animals, IMDB Classification: Crime, Drama, Romance
Normally, a film containing kidnapping and rape would be off-limits to mainstream moviegoers, no matter what its genre classification. But Nocturnal Animals approaches these concepts with a level of detachment that makes it tolerable. While we understand that actors and actresses are merely characters playing parts, this film has a telescoping effect, delivering a fiction within a fiction.
With all the hallmarks of a revenge horror, Nocturnal Animals is nonetheless a meditation on guilt and regret, one that could make anyone second-guess his or her decisions in life. And while it definitely delivers some heavy subject matter, it never uses graphic imagery or unnecessary on-screen violence to convey its messages.
127 Hours, IMDB Classification: Adventure, Biography, Drama
Ghost and slashers are terrifying, but truth is always scarier than fiction. And a movie about a guy with his arm stuck beneath a rock might seem mundane, but knowing that someone actually endured this trauma creates a visceral intensity most horror movies can’t match.
Like Carrie, 99% of those going to see 127 Hours already know how it’s going to end; yet, this only adds to the suspense as the film creeps towards its inevitable outcome. But part of its success is that it’s immensely entertaining, even ion its most harrowing and depressing moments. The film culminates with 90 seconds of pure body horror but results in a conclusion that’s poignant, triumphant, and inspiring.
Jungle, IMDB Classification: Action, Adventure, Biography
Also described as a biographical survival drama, Jungle is based on the true story of modern-day adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg who, along with a couple compadres, became hopelessly lost in the Amazon rainforest back in the 1980s. It’s a real-life journey into The Heart of Darkness with a set-up and premise that puts it alongside horror heavyweights like Cannibal Holocaust and The Green Inferno.
Though Ghinsberg never crossed paths with dangerous cannibals, the nightmare he endured is beyond anything most of us can even imagine. And Jungle is engrossing for its accurate portrayal of the realities of extreme survival (much unlike Holocaust and Inferno). Emotionally, Jungle carries the same weight as Alive, another biographical survival drama; still, it’s differentiated by a triumph of spirit that makes it both thrilling and inspirational.
Bullet Head, IMDB Classification: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Describes as Reservoir Dogs meets Cujo, Bullet Head is as intense as both yet completely unique and nowhere near as horrifying. Yes, it’s sometimes hard to watch and, yes, it’s tragic, but Bullet Head is a movie for animal lovers—especially dogs. While the plot hinges on an underground dogfighting ring, and the camera takes us all the way into the bloody arena, viewers are never subjected to depictions of violence against animals. People, sure, but not animals.
Though punctuated by scenes of intense action, Bullet Head is primarily dialog-driven and includes several extended flashback scenes. And it uses some great creative techniques, like giving us a POV from the dog’s point of view. Bullet Head gave me all the feels, so I can’t recommend it highly enough. And though there’s no need to warn against blood or violence, it might just break your heart.
Side Note: Bullet Head ends with the statement: “A portion of the proceeds of this movie will go toward eliminating dog fighting, rehabilitating its canine victims, and promoting awareness and education about the humane treatment of man’s best friend.” So, enjoy this one knowing your money is also going to a worthy cause.
Good Time, IMDB Classification: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Just as Kristen Stewart was able to shake her Twilight legacy through a series of great performances in serious movies, Robert Patterson officially ditches any remnant of his sparkly, vampiric past with a gripping turn in Good Time.
The film follows Connie Nikas (Patterson) for several intense hours following a botched bank robbery. It would be a comedy of errors if it wasn’t so harrowing. Through a series of desperate actions and blind luck, the crook attempts to elude capture, all while trying to prevent his disabled brother/cohort from ending up on Riker’s Island. It’s a chaotic ride with some genuinely disturbing moments, but Good Time has both heart and soul—something sorely lacking from many genre offerings.
One of my personal favorites of 2017 just skirted the boundaries of straight-up horror, but every genre fan should be more than willing to see anything featuring Jane Levy, am I right? No, she’s not the star, but the rising Scream Queen does deliver her most unhinged role since Mia in 2013’s Evil Dead. The cast is led by Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood as Ruth and Tony, an unlikely (and unqualified) crimefighting duo.
When police prove ineffectual following a home break-in, Ruth and Tony take matters into their own hands—and quickly find themselves in way over their heads. There are some bleak moments, and the film addresses some heavy issues, but it’s mostly a hysterical dark comedy that sees underdogs refusing to take shit, rising up after a lifetime of petty indignities.
And did I mention Jane Levy?
The Beguiled, IMDB Classification: Drama, Thriller
2017’s The Beguiled is the second film adaptation of Thomas P. Cullinan 1966 Civil War-themed novel; directed by Sofia Coppola and anchored by performances from Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning, it oozes with tension and sexual deceptions.
When a wounded Union soldier is taken in by the remaining residents of an all-girls boarding school in Confederate Virginia, repressed desires and pre-established hierarchies collide with shocking consequences. What might have seemed like Heaven for Corporal McBurney (played by Colin Farrell) becomes hellish as his situation starts to resemble that of Paul Sheldon in Stephen King’s Misery.
The Beguiled is slow burn, but the intensity hits a fever pitch; engrossing performances and a moody aesthetic should captivate even the most action-hungry horror fans.
Okja, IMDB Classification: Action, Adventure, Drama
Babe meets Jurassic Park in this wildly imaginative, multicultural film from Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer). Don’t believe grumblings claiming there’s an anti-meat agenda; Okja merely asks viewers to think about where their food comes from. Of course, it does so by creating scenes reminiscent of the Holocaust. So yeah, it’s heavy.
But it’s all about the journey and, ultimately, this is one of triumph through perseverance, a story that celebrates the emotional bonds between humans and animals. There are madcap dystopian elements throughout Okja that are more akin to the psychedelic imaginings of Terry Gilliam than the utilitarian Snowpiercer. It’s almost like a live-action anime and though it has a grand scope, it hinges on down-to-Earth themes of family and home.
Swiss Army Man, IMDB Classification: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
I took some guff for including Swiss Army Man on my list of Best Horror Movies of 2016, and I understand why. On paper, the story of a man spending weeks alone with a corpse sounds grotesque, but filmmakers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert delivered an often hysterical, thoroughly poignant, intellectually steeped examination of social detachment—with farts. Indeed, Swiss Army Man is closer to a bromance than a horror flick.
Of course, a movie that features a man living with a corpse can’t be all dancing and butterflies; there’s an emotional component to Swiss Army Man that I found absolutely devastating. Beyond themes of misguided love and misplaced affections, there’s a stark reality revealed when all illusions are finally abandoned. It’s proof that healing doesn’t always bring a happy ending, merely a chance for a new beginning. What happens next is up to us.
The Falling, IMDB Classification: Drama, Mystery
There’s a whole subset of horror movies that take place at girls’ boarding schools and, in many ways, The Falling fits in with films like The Moth Diaries, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and The Woods. When a fainting plague sends staff and students into a panic, genre fans can’t be faulted for detecting hints of virus horror or supernatural intrusions. Indeed, the woods surrounding the school, along with familiar Gothic elements merge for a compelling narrative and a haunting mystery.
But whether there’s a scientific explanation or demonic forces at work is never revealed; instead, The Falling is a suspenseful examination of shared hysteria, pack mentality, and deviant social behaviors. The concentration of adolescence creates a powder keg of sexual awakenings, social maneuverings, and budding psychoses.
Making the film more than simply noteworthy is a knock-out performance from Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”) as Lydia Lamont, the young woman at the center of the school’s disturbing epidemic. I can’t wait to check her out in The New Mutants come 2019.
10 Famous Hard Rockers Who Were in Horror Movies
Horror fans got a kick out of news that Metallica’s James Hetfield is playing Officer Bob in the Ted Bundy biopic Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, directed by Joe Berlinger. While this is the rocker’s first foray into acting, cinema is littered with examples of musicians who attempted to make this transition. In the 1980s, Mick Jagger, Sting, and David Bowie all made numerous appearances in movies, including horror flicks.
The trend continues today, but there’s something about metal musicians in movies that feels… funny. I mean, metal is a brutal, mean, and often ugly artform—and those who make a living in this arena often reflect these traits physically. The thought of these ambassadors of antiestablishment on movie sets, jumping to the whims of a director, feels kind of like a let-down!
Then again, horror is the perfect genre for these creators of cacophony, and more metal musicians have popped up in genre flicks than you probably realize. Below, in no particular order, are 10 frontmen who rock hard on stages and on celluloid. While we’d never suggest these guys quit their day jobs, their contributions to the horror genre are definitely appreciated.
To be clear, we’re talking about appearances where musicians are playing roles, not showing up in cameos as themselves.
Considering Alice Cooper’s sound and aesthetic are heavily inspired by classic horror movies, it seems natural that he’d make some notable appearances over his decades-long career. Some have been comic cameos, but Alice flexed his acting chops as Robert Englund’s adoptive father in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. It was a small role, but one that oozed pure evil, giving us insight into the origins of Freddy’s psychosis.
His appearance as a “street schitzo” in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness is also worth noting. He even made it into the trailer; check him out above at the 0:34 mark!
Henry Rollins from Black Flag/The Rollins Band
On stage, Henry Rollins is a tightly wound ball of rage, a throbbing and percussive vocalist exuding a lifetime’s worth of frustration. But he was able to contain and channel that explosiveness into a measured yet intense performance in 2015’s vampire horror He Never Died. Rollins didn’t just appear in the film—he stars in it, meaning the film’s success hinged on his performance.
Both the film and the musician/actor garnered immense praise and Rollins will reteam with writer/director Jason Krawczyk when He Never Died Part 2 goes into production this summer.
Rollins actually has an extensive creative filmography, with small parts in numerous horror movies including Lost Highway, Feast, and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End.
Considering Marilyn Manson is known for his completely unhinged stage performances fueled by drugs and alcohol (a persona he maintains in between concerts), it’s hard to believe he’d have the discipline necessary to carry an actor’s weight in a film. But he proved himself a capable thespian—and I’m not talking about his bit-part as a sex fiend in Jawbreaker!
The shock-rocker played Pope in 2016’s Let Me Make You a Martyr, a complex and gritty horror movie written and directed by Corey Asraf and John Swab. The fact that Pope is a serial killer seems natural for a man named Manson, but the character is seething and controlled, requiring focused skill to communicate. Without a shred of his hallmark antics, Manson delivered a smoldering performance that dripped with arresting suspense.
Gene Simons from KISS and Ozzy Osbourne
As the fire-breathing, blood-spitting bass player and co-vocalist for KISS, Gene Simmons is the personification of horror. The same can be said for the incomparable, bat-decapitating madman Ozzy Osbourne. Both rockers have been destroying stages worldwide for over 4 decades and, somehow, found themselves with bit-parts in the same horror movie back in 1986.
Trick or Treat, directed by Charles Martin Smith, is a heavy metal-themed horror comedy that’s none too good. The appearances of Gene and Ozzy may be the only reason to seek out this clunker! Simmons is rather forgettable as a radio DJ named Nuke, but Osbourne is hysterical in an obviously ironic turn as a metal-hating evangelist.
Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit
He did it all for the nookie, riding high on the short-lived rap/rock craze of the late 1990s! But Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst’s offstage antics and a nasty reputation transformed him into a social pariah, a status reflected in tanking album sales. The singer’s been attempting to make a name for himself as an actor for over a decade now with little success to show for his efforts.
A notable exception is the horror drama Population 436, directed by Michelle MacLaren and released straight-to-DVD in 2006. It’s a Southern Gothic with hints of folk horror (something rare in American films), taking place in a town that maintains an exact population for nefarious reasons. Like Hetfield in Extremely Wicked, Durst plays a lawman and the irony is obvious. Still, Durst delivers a decent performance as a conflicted pillar of an insular community.
The only non-vocalist on this list, Flea is nonetheless one of the most famous bass players in modern rock. He’s also been popping up in movies for decades beginning with an uncredited appearance in 1983’s The Outsiders; other notable Flea films include Suburbia, Dudes, Point Break, Mototama, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
As far as horror goes, Flea had a tiny part as Bob Summerfield in Gus Van Sant’s ill-advised, shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. He also played Jester the Alien in the obscure sci-fi Stranded, directed by Fleming B. Fuller and released in 1987; this film only exists on VHS, making it a sought-after rarity.
With his untamed mane, wild makeup, and sharp teeth Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider no doubt invaded the nightmares of more than a few kids who grew up in the 1980s. But he took an ambitious leap into horror movies in earnest with 1998’s Strangeland as the schizophrenic, highly modified sadist Captain Howdy. Snider didn’t merely accept a role, he wrote the film; and though it’s often overlooked by mainstream horror fans, Strangeland has a sizable cult following.
He’s connected to another horror film, although you could watch it 100 times and never realize it. In Adam Green’s chilling chair-lift thriller Frozen, Snider’s the guy who yells (from offscreen) “Last chair is through!” That means this guy’s responsible for a lot of heartache!
Linkin Park were Kings of Nu Metal for over a decade and the soaring vocals of Chester Bennington were a huge component of the band’s winning formula. Though his career was spotted by publicized battles with alcohol and drug addiction, his 2017 suicide shocked millions of fans worldwide; at 41, he still had a long career ahead of him, in music or acting.
Bennington planed Evan, a member of the skinhead gang murdered by Jigsaw protégé Mark Hoffman in Saw: The Final Chapter. Directed by Kevin Greutert, it’s one of the most brutal and over-the-top installments of the franchise, and Evan’s death sees the thug super-glued into a devious trap.
Most horror fans know Corey Taylor as the pyro-psychotic vocalist for the nightmarish outfit Slipknot (where he’s simply known as Number Eight). Though he’s donned many terrifying and unnerving masks for his onstage antics over the years, he went latex-free for a role in Fear Clinic, where he appeared alongside genre icon Robert England and Fiona Dourif (Cult of Chucky, Curse of Chucky).
Taylor also had a bit-part as Frankie in Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens, although at this rate, everyone with an IMDb page will have appeared in a Sharknado movie by the end of the decade!
Ash vs. Everyone: Eight of the Most Exciting Evil Dead/Army of Darkness Crossover Comics
To the excitement of fans everywhere, long before he even returned in the exceptional “Ash vs. Evil Dead” TV series, Ash Williams found a second life in comic books. His comic history began with the Army of Darkness adaptation by Dark Horse, painted by John Bolton and overseen by Sam Raimi. But it really took off in 2005, when Dynamite obtained the Army of Darkness license and published their first sequel miniseries, Ashes 2 Ashes, about Ash accidentally transporting himself back to the day before he went to the cabin and then trying to stop himself from ever reading the book.
Since then, there have been several more miniseries as well as a few ongoing titles and, well, a whole lot of crossovers. In the 10+ years since Ash firmly planted his feet in comics, he’s teamed up with—or more often, butted heads with—just about everyone. From some of the most classic heroes in comics to some of the biggest horror movie icons, to other Sam Raimi creations and even other characters Bruce Campbell has played.
Narrowing down the most memorable crossovers can be difficult, of course. But the best of them tend to be the ones that actually challenge and sometimes even question Ash as a character. They’re not just about fighting someone he’s never fought before. One of the most appealing things about Ash is that you can put him in just about any situation.
He’s always going to be Ash. He’s always going to think he’s the toughest, even the smartest guy in the room, he’s always going to have that ego trip that will leave every character around him rolling their eyes. He’s always going to sarcastically comment on what he sees. These crossovers, if anything, prove what a successful character he is by showing how well he can be placed into virtually any scenario.
Having said that, most of the following crossovers are absolutely big, dumb fun. And a few of them are genuinely exciting, innovative takes on both the character and the mythology… that also happen to be big, dumb fun.
Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness
OK, so Ash finds himself in the Marvel Universe, which is a great concept in and of itself. But it’s not the main Marvel Universe, as it turns out, it’s the Marvel Zombies Universe. Created by Mark Millar in the pages of Ultimate Fantastic Four, this is a world ravaged by a zombie plague that affected its superheroes, causing them to cannibalize one another. This is obviously a Marvel timeline that’s much more Ash’s speed and so he attempts to help the survivors with the aid of the classic chainsaw/boomstick combo.
This miniseries features several insane, delightful moments like Ash fighting an undead Howard the Duck, unsuccessfully hitting on Dazzler, using the Necronomicon to purposefully raise an army of Deadites to combat the unending hordes of hungry dead heroes, and Dr. Doom opening the doors of his castle as a safe haven to survivors, only for Ash to realize that this safe haven excludes the sick or the elderly.
Darkman vs. Army of Darkness
The idea of putting Darkman and Ash together is all kinds of genius. First and foremost, they’re obviously two Sam Raimi creations—both of them the heroes of cinematic trilogies, even—but they’re also polar opposite characters. Darkman is obviously dark. He was affected by his trauma in a serious way, defined by it, whereas Ash has spent his entire life avoiding his trauma.
The crossover also sees Peyton Westlake’s long-lost love Julie (who he’s been spying on since the event of Darkman III) being turned into a Deadite, referred to by other Deadites as “The Queen of Darkness.” As death isn’t quite as permanent in the Evil Dead universe, the comic takes advantage of this to bring back Darkman franchise villain, Durant.
Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: Nightmare Warriors
The second Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash crossover miniseries deserves a mention of its own because of how genuinely insane it is. Whereas the first comic was a sincere combination of the three characters, based off of the actual treatment for the film had it been able to move forward, Nightmare Warriors is entirely its own beast. The story not only unites Ash with nearly every survivor of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series, but involves Freddy becoming a cosmic entity with unlimited power and Jason returning to human form with luxurious hair as a reward for leading a Deadite invasion on Washington, DC.
Baby Jacob from Dream Child and Baby Stephanie from Jason Goes to Hell (both now teenagers) hook up, and Freddy’s Dead protagonist Maggie, as well as Stephanie, wind up joining their respective family businesses and going evil to the point of basically being sexy female versions of Freddy and Jason. It’s not better than the first miniseries by any stretch, but it’s so ungodly bizarre that it absolutely warrants a look.
Army of Darkness: Ash vs. The Classic Monsters
Imagine The Monster Squad with one manchild instead of a group of children. That’s the beauty of Ash vs. The Classic Monsters. As a fan of all of these characters, especially one who considers the modern icons as a part of a longer legacy dating back to the Universal days, it’s great to see Ash interact with these old-school monsters.
Much like The Monster Squad, Dracula serves as the primarily villain for this storyline. Werewolves, mummies, vampires and Frankenstein’s Monster all turn in appearances as well. On top of that, Evil Ash makes a return appearance, teaming up with Dracula and the others to try and take Ash down. It weaves Evil Dead into so many other landscape horror mythologies in a neat way.
Army of Darkness/Xena: Warrior Princess: Why Not?
This crossover manages to top Darkman vs. Army of Darkness by not only having two Sam Raimi helmed properties collide, but throwing two Bruce Campbell characters into the mix as well. Campbell, of course, played Autoclys on the show and you better believe the four-issue comic series has a field day with that. The plot, however, is the real kicker here as it might be the strangest set-up of any of the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness crossovers.
The Wise Man from Army of Darkness flings himself into the present to warn Ash that one of the Mini-Ashes from the windmill sequence of that film got ahold of the Necronomicon and transported himself into the distant past of Xena where he has used Ash’s crafty modern engineering skills for evil, creating all kinds of ridiculous weapons. The crossover was so successful that it spawned two sequels, the most recent of which was released in 2016.
Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator
Evil Dead and Re-Animator are perfectly matched for a crossover. They’re both cult classic franchises of similar stature. They’re also both extremely similar franchises as well, both in terms of tone and style as well as the tongue-in-cheek, often outrageous amounts of gore. Seeing Combs’ interpretation of Herbert West, as well as Ash as we know him and love him interacting is awesome. They’re two completely different characters in just about every way.
The neat thing that this crossover does, though, is that it uses West and Re-Animator to introduce the larger H.P. Lovecraft mythology as well. It’s a nice nod, because the name of the Necronomicon hails from Lovecraft’s stories, so West seeking the book to unlock bigger mysteries of life and death is perfectly fitting. It’s super cheesy, but in a way that feels completely appropriate and delightful.
Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash
Hack/Slash is a wonderful comic so deep-rooted in ‘80s horror lore that it has crossed over with the likes of Child’s Play, Vampirella, Re-Animator and Hatchet. But when it comes to Ash, Cassie Hack and her partner Vlad are butting heads with another likeminded hero. The fact that Cassie is young and attractive and Ash is Ash makes for a great personality clash, because she is exactly the kind of person who would not put up with any of his obnoxious flirtation or advances.
But even despite that, they’re incredibly similar characters. Both of them have alienated themselves from their trauma, put up an isolationist wall, even though they deal with their lack of dealing with their problems in very separate ways. The crossover is great because it’s fun and really well-paced, but it also genuinely reveals things about both characters by pitting them against one another. Definitely one of the best.
Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash
This is the big one. Easily the most famous Evil Dead crossover, it has the added bonus of at least at one point being considered as a feature film. Obviously it didn’t pan out, but we’ve still got the crossover based on Jeff Katz’ treatment for what the film could have been. It’s Freddy, Jason and Ash as we know them and love them. It’s a direct sequel to Freddy vs. Jason. It deals, like “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” with Ash being older than the last time we saw him.
On top of that, though, it also gives fans the snowy Friday the 13th they’ve always wanted to see, as the comic is set at Crystal Lake in the dead of winter. In fact, it’s set around the Christmas season, which makes for a few great gags and even gives the whole thing a bigger “event” kind of feel. There’s also a great climactic showdown between the three title characters on the icy lake.
- Josh Gastronomicon Myers Sweet!
- Tarman_85 I just read that Bruce isn't interested in continuing on with the character. https://twitter.com/GroovyBruce/status/988510246829109249?s=17
- Steven Millan The most important question to ask Dario Argento during his HorrorCon UK appearance is what is the status of THE SANDMAN(his crowdfunded project),which once seemed ready to film until Dario had a...
- FortesqueX I bet there'll be a bunch of hillbillies.
- FlixtheCat You're very kind.
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