Category Archives: Lists

Top 5 Unique (And Awesome) Deaths From The “A Nightmare On Elm Street” Franchise

When it comes to iconic slashers, there really is no one like Freddy who can cleverly dispose of those teenage pesky “piggies”, as he so lovingly refers to his victims. ThNightmare series as a whole is filled to the brim with memorable, bloody-as-hell Freddy Krueger kills; but there are a few in my eyes that stand out among the rest in the extraordinary department of death that lies in the cleverly thought out corner of Krueger’s boiler room.

Throughout the franchise, Krueger plays on his victim’s deepest fears as a final slap, er slash rather, and more so than not, the casualties are unique and even a little artistic in a twisted fuck kind of way. One has to appreciate just how different these death scenes are from any other slasher film of the 80s’ and the originality brought to the table makes for some truly unforgettable scenes from the movies. It’s these types of deaths that have led me to believe that more modern horror franchises like Saw and Final Destination have taken notes from Freddy on how to stand out in a film when tearing someone’s head off their body.

Now reading that you might say, “Holy Mother Amanda, this bitch is one disturbed individual.” This is also fine as I am at peace with this realization I myself made years ago.

Beyond the fact I may think the death scenes in ANOES can be considered poetic art, I think we can all concur to some degree on the point I’m trying to make here. Some of these scenes are just memorable as fuck and absolutely stand out among other kills in the franchise. Note I don’t think these are the OVERALL BEST, but rather the most unique as well stated in the headline. So, enough with the babble; on to my top 5 unique Freddy Krueger kills!

5. Ron Grady

Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

For the Nightmare 2 haters, I just wouldn’t be able to sleep comfortably tonight had I left this little gem out of this list, and here’s why: Ron Grady’s inanimate death may have been basic with a mere grab and slash, but it was the nail-biting tension and Jesse’s transformation that really made his fate a memorable one. Freddy’s face busting out of a scared as hell Jesse Walsh’s chest, a scene that could even rival 1979 Alien‘s chest burster sequence, is truly spectacular to witness and when it’s all over, you have a teary-eyed Jesse in the corner realizing that the Freddy entity has just made him kill his best bud in the film. It’s actually quite tragically sad in a sense when looking at this from Jesse’s mentally strained angle.

Also, the special effects are fun as fuck.

4. Carlos Rodriguez

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

 Nails on a chalkboard indeed is the GODDAMN worst; so I can only imagine how the scrapping of Freddy’s glove along the latter could be enough to induce a Scanners-like scenario. Freddy takes advantage of Carlos’ disability and turns the dial up a notch in the audible kill department by dragging him through a dream sequence that suggests our victim had an abusive childhood, which may have ultimately impaired his hearing. The torture continues with Freddy slowly and aggressively working on Carlos’ eardrums until his damn head just explodes.

Carlos always felt like one of the nicest and most likable characters of the entire series; so I always felt a little bad for this guy that was given this drawn-out and seemingly painful death. Still a cool scene tho!

3. Dan Jordan

Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

The fastest man on three legs really must have pissed Krueger off to get this kind of death. I suppose surviving the Dream Master film has its consequences, eh? The images were so brutal, or I guess too brutal for 1989 ratings, that Dan’s death scene was heavily edited to avoid an X rating from the MMPA. Luckily for us, we have the footage thanks to the fine folks of the Interwebs, as you can see below Dan’s unedited death scene in all its gruesome, twisted Ghost Rider glory. It’s truly BADASS and deserves a lot more credit.

2. Debbie Stevens

Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Debbie was about as tough as they come as far as potential Freddy foes, but alas, the fear of little roaches was her kryptonite; and Krueger used that to his full advantage ruthlessly. Debbie’s cockroach transformation to this day stands out as one of the godammn raddest excerpts from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Slowly succumbing to the insect kingdom, Krueger traps the body-building beauty inside a roach motel, where Debbie ultimately meets her fate. My only gripe beyond this visual excellence is that we never get to really see Debbie at her full potential in a face-off with Krueger. Damn you Katsaridaphobia!

1. Phillip Anderson

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

I feel like this would be almost unanimous within the Nightmare community in saying Phillip’s death from Dream Warriors was clearly the most unique, and frankly coolest of all the films.

Not only for me personally, was this the most terrifying and original- excuse me, creepy Freddy puppet everyone– of the entire franchise, but it also looks painful AS FUCK! Your tendons used as some twisted marionette show that leads you to a fatal leap off the top floor of Westin Hills- all while your friends are watching nonetheless. The whole scene is just filmed so beautifully and when I think of Dream Warriors, this is the first image that always comes to mind. Phillip being puppeteered through the hospital halls in agonizing pain with a look of absolute terror on his face is downright chilling and most definitely, the most unique way to utilize one of our victim’s hobbies against him.

Honorable Mention: All the kids at Lisa’s pool party

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

While still to this day, Freddy’s Revenge gets a monumental amount of shit, there’s no denying in a true horror sense that the pool scene in Nightmare 2 is one of the greatest in the franchise-PERIOD. It truly is the only time in the whole franchise we see Freddy go absolutely APESHIT on a bunch of kids and I respect that. Also, I really love to see his uncontrollable rage towards the youth of Springwood. Let us also have a moment of silence for the poor “fucker” that thought it would be a good idea to try and calm Mr. Krueger down.

I’ll never not think that isn’t funny.

30 Years of Goosebumps! A Brief History and Top 10 Books From the Original Series

The Summer of 1992 was memorable for at the time, this ten-year-old kid. The Summer of blockbusters including those of Batman Returns and Aladdin were fun movie-going memories among a very disappointing release of Alien 3 that just totally sucked in the eyes of this fifth-grade graduate. Beyond a handful of movies catered to someone like me releasing for the summer crowds and the introduction to a little arcade number at the gameway alleys entitled Mortal Kombat, little was grabbing my attention for this soon-to-be middle schooler who was just entering into her seriously awkward phase of existence- one of which 30 years later is still struggling to come out of. That is until one fateful day in early August of 1992.

After a round of horror movie rentals at my local Action Video, my pops and I ran into the next-door Osco Drugs to grab some soda and snacks. On every trip there, I would obviously make my way to the toy and magazine section when I came across something eye-popping. A book that stood out from the rest nestled in between some Judy Blume bullshit and something else I can’t even recall. The cover was unlike anything I had ever seen: a drippy slime-like title with tiny raised bumps etched within compared to that of a brail-like quality with a colorful yet dark and eerie picture of a haunted house on the cover splashed with a Blob purplish-pink background, (done by Tim Jacobus who has illustrated over 100 Goosebumps covers for Stine). “Welcome To Dead House” was the first entry of these books to eventually come home with me and so began the Summer of Goosebumps with many thereafter for millions of kids just like me.

I had also become completely obsessed with collecting every single book upon release and let me tell you something: Middle School Scholastic Book Fairs became even more glorious with the addition of Goosebumps and posters my friends.

1995 Scholastic Book Fair Poster

For 30 years, R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps has become a nostalgic phenomenon that has carried over to the next generation of young readers. With the addition of the 90s TV series, various Goosebumps-related literary works, and two blockbuster films, Goosebumps has become a right of passage for those seeking a gateway into the horror genre while being encouraged to read. The original book series which debuted in July of 1992, consisted of 62 original titles that were written between 1992 and 1997. Worth noting that Goosebumps was listed 15th in the list of most frequently challenged books during the 90s’ and 94th in the list of top banned/challenged books during 2000–2009. When the pearl-clutching tightwads of the American Library Association claim your books to be “too frightening for young people and depicting occult or demonic themes,” I’d say you’re doing something right.

As for my personal favorites? Well, I ruminated tirelessly over what I consider my personal top 10 books of the original series, and here are the ones that brought me, and so many others, the most joy during those awkward adolescent years (and still continue to do so).

*Some of the blurbs are a bit spoiler-y. Just a heads up.

10. Night Of The Living Dummy II #31

We just couldn’t get enough Slappy the first go-around so Stine wrote a sequel, and eventually a third, making a trilogy out of the wise-crackin’ ventriloquist dummy. Slappy invades a new family and his shenanigans begin immediately as his new “slave” Amy finds those magic words tucked away in his pocket and of course, being a kid reads them out loud not knowing she’s unleashing hell on herself and everyone surrounding her, bringing Slappy to life.

It reads just as good as the first with that Twilight Zone vibe all the way through, and hey because it’s Slappy, he gets on this list twice.

9. Attack of the Jack-O-Lanterns #48

Halloween and Goosebumps go together like peanut butter and jelly every time and “Attack of the Jack O Lanterns” is right up there with one of the greatest twist endings in a Goosebumps book. It involves two scary pumpkin-headed beings forcing kids to trick-or-treat forever and honestly, I don’t see any issue with that personally.

8. Deep Trouble #19

Being a huge fan while being simultaneously scared shitless of JAWS as a kid, it seemed like only a matter of time before Stine put out a book with a cover mocking this treasure. I’ll forgive the fact it’s sort of misleading as the Hammerhead pictured on the front isn’t the star of the story- as the tale resembles more like the movie Splash! rather than JAWS. However, it’s still a fun, and adventurous read especially curled up on the beach listening to the waves crash onto the shore.

7. Werewolf Of Fever Swamp #14

Werewolves have been always been my favorite kind of mythological creature and when this book came out, I must have read it 10 times in one year alone. Also, unlike “Deep Trouble”, the cover isn’t deceiving us as this story is actually about a goddamn werewolf in a swamp.

Worth noting that one of the main characters’ name is Grady. Perhaps a play on Stephen King’s Silver Bullet Tarkers Mills’ local smartass, Brady? Probably not, but I like to think that way. Anyway, a story about friendship, loyalty, and werewolves makes any top ten list of Goosebumps books any day of the week.

6. The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight #20

Another fantastic entry with another favorite cover of mine. “The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight” is one of the Goosebumps books that would make a really great, and terrifying horror film if done right. Scarecrows coming to life via spells from a book? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP. The ambiance of the book really sets the mood of a scary story with a farm in the boonies. But also, chocolate pancakes and Gameboy. If you know you know.

5. Say Cheese and Die! #4

“Say Cheese and Die!” is not only one of the coolest stories in the original series but also has one of the raddest illustrations for any Goosebumps book… PERIOD. Reading like a tale told by Rod Serling himself, Stine channeled his inner Twilight Zone lord on this one with a cursed camera that in turn, curses the object being photographed with something bad to happen to it in the near future. If it’s not in everyone’s top 5, are you even Goosebump-ing right?

4. Monster Blood #3

“Monster Blood” had such an impact on Goosebumps fans that it spawned three more tales devoted to the slimy substance AND makes appearances throughout Stine’s other books as well.

In the 90s, what kid wasn’t attracted to cans of mystery goo? With the success of Nickelodeon’s trademark slime, toys like GAK and Dr. Dreadful’s food slime lab were must-haves for our generation of weirdos. So, of course, we had to have a Goosebumps book of a slime that brows into blob proportions eating people! Seems like the obvious move and the correct one at that.

3. Night Of The Living Dummy #7

Slappy’s face is the stuff of fucking nightmares. Like “Monster Blood”, “Night of the Living Dummy” made a monumental impact on Goosebumps readers, appearing several times throughout the series of books and even had a pretty prominent role in the 2015 Goosebumps movie. All deserving as this little fucker is basically a pre-curser to Chucky himself. Perhaps not as homicidal, but a ventriloquist’s dummy chasing you through the house screaming you’re “his slave” is enough to guarantee a few sleepless nights.

2. One Day At Horrorland #16

A fucked up family vacation? Or the most fun one yet? A personal perspective if there ever was one. A theme park or carnival is the ideal background setting and R.L Stine brings an original tale of horror fantasy to life in such a way that no one has ever forgotten this entry from their childhood Scholastic days.

As someone who has a bit of a phobia of certain carnival rides because I’m a little bitch who thinks a lot of them look sketchy and unsafe, this further fucked up my thoughts on the matter as a kid. Even now as an adult, if a carnival cook looks at me wrong, I’m not above pinching the bastard.

1. The Haunted Mask #11

“The Haunted Mask” in my worthless, blogg-o opinion, is the Magnum Opus of the Goosebumps series as it’s every single thing we love about the books rolled into one story- and set on Halloween night!

As someone who just adores Halloween III: Season of the Witch, “The Haunted Mask” plays on the dangers of a simple Halloween mask but also summons the young readers in telling a cautionary tale that every kid should hear and heed: You yourself are perfect just as you are. As Sheriff Brackett says, “It’s Halloween. Everyone is entitled to one good scare”, and that’s exactly what Carly Beth, our main protagonist got when she lifts a mask from the sketchy back warehouse of a drug store, even though she was warned NOT to mess with them and they were not for sale. The mask soon takes over her soul because of course that’s what happens when you screw around with cursed Halloween masks. Fucking kids, man.

And besides, the illustrated mask looks like a cover of a death metal album and I’m here for it.

So there you have it. My personal top ten Goosebumps books from the original series. Thanks, R.L. Stine for 30 years and going of frights and fun while encouraging reading for young horror fans. A legend if there ever was one.

35 Years of Terror! Top 10 Horror Movies of 1987

1987: A year of historic events indeed. The first “The Simpsons” cartoon short is shown on The Tracey Ullman Show. President Ronald Reagan delivered his famous speech at the Berlin Wall. And Freddy Krueger delivered his most infamous line of the Nightmare franchise for the first time, “Welcome to Prime Time Bitch!” Also yes, I consider a Krueger one-liner as significant as the Berlin Wall speech- don’t judge me.

That being said, 1987 was a monumental year for horror. Considering the previous year 1986 and one hell of a year to follow, ’87 did a pretty bang-up job of another year full of horror flicks that we would cherish for years to come. So let’s just get right to it, but not before we give one honorary mention. There were so many damn good horror films out of this year it pains me to leave this one out so a big shout to…

The Stepfather

No one can play a psychopath step-parent like Terry O’ Quinn and that’s just how it is. Jerry Blake wants the perfect family, and he’ll kill to get it; which he does again and again as it seems like the perfect family doesn’t exist- shocker. Preying on widows and divorcees, Jerry/Henry/Bill whatever his name is that day is every bit as intimidating and sus even when trying not to be; so I find it a little insulting being a woman that these ladies aren’t tuning into that ol’ women’s intuition.

Although it would be extremely difficult today in a tech-social-media society for a homicidal maniac to be able to get away with these kinds of shenanigans, in 1987, it’s a fun ride and a gentle reminder of what once was in a pre-internet era: A bountiful time for serial killers.

Also, I like to fantasize that Terry O’ Quinn’s character of Sheriff Haller in Silver Bullet is in fact Jerry Blake gone mad with brain damage after that werewolf beating. Disappeared and began a new life as a serial killer unbeknownst of his life before. Watch them back to back and give that theory a try. Makes it that much more fun.

10. The Gate

The Gate is nothing short of bonkers nostalgia full of good old-fashioned Canadian charm and that’s exactly why we love it.

Kind of like Stranger Things meets The Goonies for a visual reference, The Gate takes that nostalgic 80s’ kids’ in danger hullabaloo and dials it into B-Movie madness with little satanic panic demons running around everywhere trying to take over the Earth thanks to a couple of curious kids digging up a portal of Hell in a suburban backyard. Because, that’s where all portals to Hell lie dormant, am I right? For context, one of the kids coincidentally finds a heavy metal LP that comes with a demonic bible of sorts that gives the kids all the information they might need should they want to open a portal to the dark realms and summon demonic forces.

That’s pretty much all you need to know to know this movie rules.

9. Prince Of Darkness

He might be best known for Halloween and The Thing, but John Carpenter’s Prince Of Darkness might be the creepiest and underrated of all his horror film entries. The score alone is overwhelmingly sadistic and unnerving and it damn well better be if you got the likes of Alice Cooper cast in your movie.

Horror genius Carpenter mixes faith, fear, and science into a delicious cocktail of horror movie cosmo when an old abandoned church a priest finds an old relic, a key, an old book, and a mysterious vat of green liquid. Mix in a group of scientists lobbying it up in the church along with a group of vagrants gathering outside the church, and the unthinkable happens: the green liquid attacks and it is the unholiest of Nickelodeon green gak you’ll see this side of Double Dare.

8. The Lost Boys

I feel like I might get a massive amount of shit from die-hard Lost Boys fans for putting this so low on the list. But, it is what it is folks. Also, I still believe the sax man in chains needed more screen time in an encore song, thanks very much.

Santa Carla is a hell of a place to live- if you’re a vampire that is. But it also makes for one hell of a movie, especially with not one, BUT TWO Coreys’ involved in trying to take down a gang of punk-rock teenage vampires. What I love most about The Lost Boys is that is a nostalgic 80s time capsule caught on film. Everything wonderful about northern Cali in the 80s’ is captured perfectly in a movie we can revisit time and again. From the mentality of teenage minds right down to the aesthetics. It’s a damn treasure for sure.

7. DOLLS

Stuart Gordon’s DOLLS was one of the first films I REALLY embraced as a kid on my own with zero influence from anyone else. Based solely on the VHS cover art alone, a rental happened and I was delighted every time I rented that movie- and it was legitimately about 98 times.

DOLLS is a creepy concept that marriages a kids’ fantasy that your toys come to life (it ain’t Toy Story folks) and the horror genre. With the visions of both Charles Band and Stuart Gordon, we get DOLLS. A movie that on the surface looks like another B-horror flick, but runs so much deeper, and scarier than that. Definitely, one of the greatest films to come out in the 80s under the radar and hold such a loyal cult following today. I mean, fans are loyal, and that’s a fact.

6. Monster Squad

The film that proved that not only the wolfman does indeed, have nards, but that also you can blow up a fuckin’ werewolf only for him to piece himself back together comes in at number five. And I feel almost sad about that but damn, 1987 was such a great year where other important films were laid on the table alongside the Squad that it just edges it out.

Monster Squad is like The Goonies on a whole ‘nother level of awesomeness with all the monsters we know from the golden age of horror, coming back and wreaking havoc on a small town with Dracula at the helm looking for his amulet so that he may obtain world domination and then destroy it. And only a small group of horror movie fans that call themselves the Monster Squad, can stop them. Also worth noting that Dracula has NEVER been more terrifying. He grabs a little girl by her chin, lifts her up, and calls her a bitch. That’s some balls I couldn’t even wrap my head around as a 5-year-old watching this; the same age as Phoebe in the film. That sort of fucked me up a little.

It’s pretty much every kid horror fan’s dream to meet a real-life monster and then become the hero to stop them to boot. Much like with The Lost Boys and The Gate, the nostalgic aesthetics of this movie pleases our senses but on a level way higher than the aforementioned. It rocks me until I drop.

5. Predator

Predator is a goddamn glorious spectacle full of the manliest of testosterone and honestly, I’ve always been here for it. The mash-up between a steroid-induced action film and a slasher movie deserves some kind of award- but I guess the best I can do is put it in the top five here of 1987.

With a cast like Carl Weathers, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and of course Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a hunting match with a technologically advanced lone alien in the jungles of the fictional Central American country of Val Verde, ( the same made-up country used for Arnold’s 1985 action gala Commando) it’s hard to not fuckin’ love everything about this movie. From the “chef’s kiss” one-liners, gory kills, and ARNOLD VS an ALIEN thirty-minute finale, Predator is everything an 80s’ action/horror film should be and more.

Now “GET TO THA’ CHOPPA, MYAHHHHHH!”

4. Creepshow 2

On rare occasion, a sequel is right on par with the original, notwithstanding a shorter version but just as good as the 1982 anthology we all love and adore.

With three stories in the horror anthology that just seems to get better as the film rolls along with a frame story of little Billy on the run from some asshole bullies in animated form, Creepshow 2 is a goddamn good time for everyone of all ages. With a screenplay by George Romero and stories by Stephen King, Creepshow has always seemed to me to be the kind of fun, and silly horror anthology that 10-year-olds would try and smugly rent under their parents’ noses at the local video shop. As a witness to this in my youth with friends who didn’t have quite as cool parents as I did, I always associated the anthology series as a youthful gateway into the horror world. To my surprise, a lot of fans don’t seem to like this installment in comparison with the original. My answer to that is simply putting it at number 4 and offering them a one-way ticket to Lake Sludge.

3. Evil Dead 2

And sometimes when a sequel is on par with the original, then there are others that even surpass their predecessor. That is mother fuckin’ Evil Dead 2.

Honestly, there’s no evidence to the contrary that Bruce Campbell is the second coming of Christ because who else can we call when the deadites are on the loose? When Ash saws off his own hand while screaming manically, I’ve never felt closer to God. Evil Dead 2 is heavy metal horror on steroids with a low budget and is better, faster, and more gnarly in every single way all while being unapologetic for what the movie actually is. Self-parodying isn’t uncommon in horror franchises, but the fact that Evil Dead 2 did it to the point that it BECAME the franchise and the most beloved, is fucking wild.

Now, swallow this.

2. Hellraiser

Jesus wept only because there was ONE other horror film that could beat out Clive Barker’s masterpiece- Hellraiser.

I can distinctly remember the time when my little brother was 9 and my parents had to pick him up from a sleepover in the middle of the night because he was scared shitless after watching a little horror movie with a friend. Can we all take a guess on what film that was? Mmmhmm. That being said, I had never seen Hellraiser myself so after this debacle, I dived right into it and never looked at a Rubix cube the same way again.

Hellraiser is beautifully chaotic in its energy to terrify and turn your stomach acid upside-down-or if you prefer, inside-out. Doug Bradley, in his very minimal screen-time, managed to make a monster of an icon out of Pinhead and has become the Robert Englund of his own character; as in, there’s just no replacing the guy. Yes, I’m well aware of the upcoming reboot with the casting of a female; which in actuality, is a lot closer to the literary version of the descriptions of the cenobites not having a binary gender identity. In fact, Pinhead is described as having a feminine-sounding voice, but I don’t care about any of that. Give me Doug, or give me death.

Yep. This is my hell.

1. A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors

Yep, I have crowned a sequel to be the Horror Champ of 1987. Wes Craven’s ANOES gave birth to one of the greatest horror icons and franchises to come out of the 20th century, and Dream Warriors is like The Godfather II to that film; continuing directly from the source at the same steady beat while expanding it much deeper than one could ever dream of, ironically. As an advocate for mental illness, Nightmare 3 is a film I hold near and dear to me; and one I can dissect and pick apart for hours with all the metaphors I’ve found in the film regarding the subject.

The film has a great story, memorable kills, and really was the birthing point of when Freddy really came into his own as a sadistic villain, that somehow you loved?! That’s some genius shit right there. Sort of how Vince Gilligan shaped Walter White in Breaking Bad, no matter how malevolent he made the character, the audiences embraced him even more. Not to mention, it coincides with the time Freddy Mania really got momentum and brought the horror phenom to the mainstream, enticing the youth of our generation to indulge in our curiosities of the horror genre. When a film and a goddamn sequel for that matter can make that kind of impact, it has to be acknowledged and respected.

Bless the Prime Time, Bitch.

Obligatory Honorary Non-Horror Mention

Robocop

Listen, I can’t even talk about films of 1987 without at the very least, giving a shout-out to part man-part machine, Robocop.

While the film itself isn’t horror per se, Robocop harbors some elemental terror in the fact that man is playing GOD over another man’s life and death. Even though the cops of Detroit signed a waiver with OCP gaining them access to their remains in the event of a tragedy, selling your soul to big corp while giving them too much power is just as relevant as is today in this terrifying age that we all live in where the monopoly of greedy corporations take away the average joes’ livelihoods all for the sake of a buck and some extra power. Pretty sick and twisted metaphors inside a badass movie that I’ve seen about 200 times and never get sick of it.

Also, seeing this guy melt as a kid and then explode into a pool of sludge was definitely one of the scariest fuckin’ things I’ve ever seen. Don’t you deny it.

So let’s make like Clarence Boddicker, sniff some wine off our fingers, and raise our glasses to a wonderful year of terror- 1987.