The 15 Horror Franchises With the Most Creative Kills

These 15 horror flick franchises have given the big screen the most creative kills.

Creative Kills

Image from the movie Jeepers Creepers
Image Credit: MGM.

Horror isn't for everyone. If you're not a fan of blood and gore, suspense, jump scares, and death en masse, you're better off staying clear of horror movies. However, if you appreciate the carnage that comes with them, there is undoubtedly an abundance from which to choose.

Even so, the deaths that occur in horror movies can get a little repetitive. There are only so many times a crazed killer ramming a knife into a helpless victim's body can be considered entertainment. Fortunately, some franchises have deviated from that norm.

In this piece, we'll be taking you through some horror franchises – by which we mean movies with multiple installments in their series – that are more creative with their death scenes. We'll also be providing some examples from each of them. So, if that's what you look for in a horror movie, you've come to the right place. Enjoy!

Image Credit: MGM.

1. Final Destination (2000-2011)

Image of the movie Final Destination
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

The very concept of the Final Destination franchise allows for its deaths to be overly elaborate. The movies revolve around a small group of people who use foreboding visions to avoid impending death. They then get picked off in the order they would have died by an unseen force that makes their deaths look like accidents – and there have been some incredibly inventive death scenes in the five movies.

Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

1. Final Destination (2000-2011)

Image from the movie Final Destination
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

The very first on-screen death in the franchise was a prime example. An unusual chain reaction involving dripping water caused Tod Waggner to slip and hang himself in his shower.

Another perfect example occurred in Final Destination 3. Two girls – Ashley Freund and Ashlyn Halperin – burned to death simultaneously after inadvertently getting trapped in two separate tanning beds.

Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984-2011)

Image from the movie Nightmare on Elm Street
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

Another franchise concept that lends itself perfectly to creative kills is A Nightmare on Elm Street. It's about Freddy Krueger – a child abuser who, after his suspicious death, came back to haunt the youngsters of Elm Street in the dream world. There, he has the power to do almost anything he wishes.

Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984-2011)

Image of movie the Nightmare on Elm Street
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

A great example of Freddy using that power came in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors when he killed Phillip Anderson. Using Phillip's veins as strings, Freddy manipulated him like a puppet into stepping off a high ledge.

In Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, Freddy killed Carlos Rodriguez by turning his hearing aids up, then scratching a chalkboard until the sound made his head explode.

Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

3. Saw (2004-2021)

Image from the movie Saw
Image Credit: Lionsgate Films.

The Saw franchise is mainly about John Kramer – a serial killer. He traps his sinning victims in situations that he calls “tests” or “games” to test their will to live via physical or psychological torture. If they survive, Kramer believes his victims will be “rehabilitated.” The deadly “tests” and “games” are other concepts that enable some natural creativity.

Image Credit: Lionsgate Films.

3. Saw (2004-2021)

Image from the movie Saw
Image Credit: Lionsgate Films.

One such example came in the first movie when Paul Leahy – a man who had recently attempted to kill himself – was abducted and sedated by Kramer. He awakened in a maze of razor wire and had to escape from it. However, his attempts led to the wire slicing through his body like a hot knife through butter, and he ultimately succumbed to blood loss.

Another example occurred in Saw III when Amanda Young started manipulating Kramer's traps to be inescapable. As a result, detective Allison Kerry had her ribs torn out by a device, even though she had obtained the key to unlock it from a beaker of acid.

Image Credit: Lionsgate Films.

4. Hellraiser (1987-2022)

Image from the movie Hellraiser
Image Credit: Film Futures.

Based on Clive Barker's novella The Hellbound HeartHellraiser is about the Cenobites – an order of powerful demons who used to be humans. They harvest human souls to torture in their sadistic experiments. Summoning them is achieved using the Lament Configuration – a puzzle box that opens a gateway to their Hell-like realm.

Image Credit: Film Futures.

4. Hellraiser (1987-2022)

Image from the movie Hellraiser
Image Credit: Film Futures.

The most iconic death in the franchise is a perfect example. In the first movie, having already died once and been resurrected, Frank Cotton encountered the Cenobites. The demons hooked dozens of chains to his body, then used them to rip him apart.

A great example also occurred in Hellraiser: Inferno, when Pinhead revealed to corrupt Denver police detective Joseph Thorne that he'd been in the Cenobites' realm for some time. Pinhead then flayed his head using hooks and chains and informed him that he'd endure a torturous eternity in Hell.

Image Credit: Film Futures.

5. It (1990-2019)

Image from the movie It
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Adapted from Stephen King's 1986 novel of the same name, It is about an evil entity that exploits the fears of its victims. Primarily, it appears in the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, which enables it to attract its favored victims – children. The 1990 adaptation was a two-part miniseries on ABC, although people often mistake it for a movie (hence its unique inclusion here).

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

5. It (1990-2019)

Image from the movie It
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

In the miniseries, bully Belch Huggins was pulled into a narrow pipe by Pennywise (in the form of “Deadlights”) and bent entirely in half. It's more than likely that Pennywise later ate him.

In the more recent It Chapter Two, Pennywise killed a boy known as Dean the Skateboard Kid in a hall of mirrors by elongating his jaw (kind of like a predatory snake) and devouring him.

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

6. The Hannibal Lecter Franchise (1986-2007)

Image Credit: Orion Pictures.

Based on the character who originally appeared in a series of novels (starting with Red Dragon in 1981) by Thomas Harris, the Hannibal Lecter franchise now comprises five movies. In said movies, three different actors have now played the eponymous cannibalistic serial killer with a genius mind.

Lecter loves his killings to make a statement – like when he killed his guard, Officer Boyle, in The Silence of the Lambs. He handcuffed Boyle, beat him to death, disemboweled him, then hung his body in a “butterfly” pose.

Image Credit: Orion Pictures.

6. The Hannibal Lecter Franchise (1986-2007)

Image from the movie Hannibal Lecter
Image Credit: MGM.

In Hannibal Rising, Lecter killed Enrikas Dortlich – a Lithuanian war criminal and later an officer in the Soviet Union Border Guards – in an extravagant fashion. He tied a mayonnaise-smeared rope around his neck, attached it to a horse, then decapitated him by having the horse gallop away.

Image Credit: MGM.

7. Living Dead (1968-2009)

Image from the movie Night of the Living Dead
Image Credit: Image Ten.

George A. Romero's Living Dead series of movies are legendary. They're all set during zombie apocalypses, so it's easy to imagine all the deaths being identical – humans getting chomped by hordes of the undead – but that's not the case.

The first movie in the franchise – Night of the Living Dead – saw a zombified Karen Cooper commit matricide by killing her mother, Helen. Helen had discovered Karen eating her father's remains, and Karen proceeded to kill her with a masonry trowel. Now that's twisted.

Image Credit: Image Ten.

7. Living Dead (1968-2009)

Image of the movie Night of the Living Dead
Image Credit: Image Ten.

In the more recent Land of the Dead, a zombie who had been a bridgekeeper during his life died ironically. He was decapitated by a lowering bridge when Riley Denbo positioned him below it as it was coming down.

Image Credit: Image Ten.

8. Scream (1996-2022)

Scream
Image Credit: Dimension Films.

The Scream movies are all about Sidney Prescott and her struggles against a succession of murderers who adopt the masked moniker of Ghostface. The various Ghostfaces have carried out their murders in some creative ways.

In the first Scream movie, Tatum Riley died when she attempted to escape from Ghostface (Billy Loomis, in this case) by going through a cat flap on an electric garage door. While she struggled to get through, Ghostface flicked the switch to close the garage door and crushed Tatum.

Image Credit: Dimension Films.

8. Scream (1996-2022)

Neve Campbell in Scream 2
Image Credit: Dimension Films.

At the start of Scream 2, Ghostface stabbed Phil Stevens (Nancy Loomis, in this case) in an inventive fashion. In the adjacent bathroom stall, Ghostface made strange noises that prompted Phil to put his ear on the wall and stabbed him through the head (via the wall).

Image Credit: Dimension Films.

9. Hatchet (2006-2017)

Image from the movie Hatchet
Image Credit: Anchorbay Entertainment.

The Hatchet movie plots follow groups of people on and around New Orleans' Honey Island swamp as they become targets of the vengeful, supernatural, and deformed killer Victor Crowley. Adam Green's series is known for some of the most over-the-top, violent kills in horror – which makes it perfect for this list.

Image Credit: Anchorbay Entertainment.

9. Hatchet (2006-2017)

Image from the movie Hatchet
Image Credit: Anchorbay Entertainment.

An exemplary example occurred in the first movie when Victor murdered a tourist called Marcus. The killer squeezed Marcus in a bear hug, ripped his arms off, swung his body into a tombstone, and crushed his head.

Another came in Hatchet III when Victor killed Sheriff Louis Fowler (played by Gremlins star Zach Galligan, incidentally). He pulled his head through a hole in a wall, then decapitated him with a belt sander.

Image Credit: Anchorbay Entertainment.

10. Evil Dead (1981-2013)

Image from the movie Evil Dead
Image Credit: Renaissance Pictures.

Evil Dead is about the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis AKA the “Book of the Dead.” It's a dark and ancient Sumerian text that only ever brings suffering and devastation to those who encounter it – most prominently groups of cabin inhabitants in a wooded area in Tennessee.

One elaborate death occurred in Evil Dead II when Bobby Joe was attacked and dragged to her death by evil-possessed trees. In the first movie, similar trees sexually assaulted Cheryl Williams in the franchise's most controversial scene.

Image Credit: Renaissance Pictures.

10. Evil Dead (1981-2013)

Image from the movie Evil Dead
Image Credit: Renaissance Pictures.

In the 2013 reboot of the franchise, the character of Eric endured a torrid time. He got shot multiple times by a nail gun, hit with a crowbar by his possessed friend Natalie, and stabbed by broken glass and a needle, before finally dying in a gasoline explosion.

Image Credit: Renaissance Pictures.

11. Leprechaun (1993-2018)

Image from the movie Leprechaun
Image Credit: Lionsgate Pictures.

The Leprechaun movies are about a murderous leprechaun – referred to as Lubdan Buttowski – who has magical powers (which always help when it comes to creative kills). When his gold gets stolen from him, he resorts to any means necessary to reclaim it.

Image Credit: Lionsgate Pictures.

11. Leprechaun (1993-2018)

Image from the movie Leprechaun
Image Credit: Lionsgate Pictures.

One creative death happened in Leprechaun 2 in a scene set a millennia ago. The Leprechaun used his telekinesis to lift his servant, William O'Day, into the air before snapping his neck and dropping him from a great height.

In Leprechaun 3, the Leprechaun used his magic to inflate the breasts, buttocks, and lips of a character named Loretta. She subsequently exploded and made one heck of a bloody mess.

Image Credit: Lionsgate Pictures.

12. Friday the 13th (1980-2009)

Image from the movie Friday the 13th
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

It's easy to imagine all the kills in the Friday the 13th franchise involving Jason Voorhees using a machete, but that's far from the case – Jason gets creative. The franchise, of course, focuses mainly on Jason – a supposedly dead, deformed boy who comes back to kill the promiscuous young visitors to Camp Crystal Lake.

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

12. Friday the 13th (1980-2009)

Image from the movie Friday the 13th
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

In Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, when Jason massacred the participants in a corporate game of paintball, he smashes a player named Burt face-first into a tree. He did so with such force that he tore Burt's arm off and left a simple bloodied smiley face engraved into the tree's bark.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan saw Jason leave Crystal Lake and head to New York City. On the way there, aboard the SS Lazarus, Jason murdered an unnamed young boxer by ramming a red hot sauna rock into his stomach.

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

13. Carrie (1976-2013)

Image from the movie Carrie
Image Credit: United Artists.

Based on Stephen King's 1974 novel of the same name, the Carrie franchise mainly follows the eponymous Carrie White – a shy 16-year-old who is consistently mocked and bullied at school. Carrie also possesses the power of telekinesis, which makes for some elaborate death scenes.

In the first movie, having been humiliated at her prom, Carrie went on a rampage. When two of her tormentors – Chris Hargensen and Billy Nolan – attempted to run her over, she used her telekinesis to cause their car to swerve, overturn and explode.

Image Credit: United Artists.

13. Carrie (1976-2013)

Image from the movie Carrie
Image Credit: United Artists.

In The Rage: Carrie 2 – which focused on Carrie's half-sister Rachel Lang – Rachel was humiliated at a party when her sex tape played. Then, like Carrie, she proceeded to rampage, with the character Monica Jones dying when Rachel used her telekinesis to make her glasses explode into her eyes.

Image Credit: United Artists.

14. Jeepers Creepers (2001-2017)

Image from the movie Jeepers Creepers
Image Credit: MGM.

Jeepers Creepers is all about the Creeper – a demonic serial killer that awakens every 23rd spring for twenty-three days to feast on human body parts. The consumed parts then become part of the Creeper's body.

In the first movie, the Creeper landed on a moving police car and killed the two officers inside. In one of the officer's cases – that of Trooper Robert Gideon – he pulled his head through the car's roof, decapitated him with an ax, then picked up the severed head and ate his tongue.

Image Credit: MGM.

14. Jeepers Creepers (2001-2017)

Image from the movie Jeepers Creepers
Image Credit: MGM.

In Jeepers Creepers 3, Kirk Mathers and Addison Brandon awoke in the Creeper's truck after being abducted. While Kirk attempted to escape, he accidentally activated a booby trap, causing a metal pipe to impale his skull.

Image Credit: MGM.

15. Halloween (1978-2021)

Image from the movie Halloween
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Halloween is probably the last horror franchise you expected to find on this list. Michael Myers – the psychopathic killer around which the franchise revolves – is infamous for using a kitchen knife. There is, however, so much more to the franchise than that.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch completely deviates from the Myers story and has a creative kill method. A novelty company called Silver Shamrock sold Halloween masks with a microchip containing a fragment of Stonehenge. Unfortunately, the wearer suffered fatal brain damage when the microchip was activated, and creepy crawlies emerged from their faces.

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

15. Halloween (1978-2021)

Image from the movie Halloween
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

But Myers himself is also more creative than most people think he is. In the 2018 Halloween movie, he killed two cops in quick succession. Next, Myers proceeded to behead Officer Francis, the second cop, and emptied his head of its contents. Finally, he replaced it with a flashlight, turning him into a horrifying human jack-o'-lantern!

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


Kev is a UK-based sport and entertainment writer - a job he's been doing full-time since 2013. He's produced content for a wide variety of websites and publications all over the world. He's a huge movie fan with a particular love for horror, superhero movies and 80s movies. For his sins, Kev is a fan of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.