Behind the Glove

Posted on: November 1, 1992 at 12:01 AM

By William Schoell & Marc Shapiro

Published in The Nightmare Never Ends and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare: The Official Movie Magazine.


Jim Doyle, the mechanical-special-effects designer, was responsible for Freddy’s infamous glove. When he asked Wes Craven exactly what he wanted, Craven told him, “It’s kind of like real long fingernails. I want the glove to look like something that someone could make who has the skills of a boilermaker, because this guy worked in a boiler room.”

“Then we hunted around for knives,” Doyle says. “Greg Fonesca, the production designer, brought in some samples. We picked out this bizzare-looking steak knife. We thought that this really looked cool. We thought it would look even cooler if we turned it over and used it upside down. We had to remove the back edge and put another edge on it, because we were actually using the knife upside down.”

“We kind of took most of the edge off the back so it wouldn’t be too dangerous to deal with. Then we reground a new edge on the face. I sat down and figured what pieces of copper a guy would have in a boiler room. Like copper tube, tinner’s rivets, those kinds of things-how we could create this glove. I drew it up and we said that would work. Then we made one glove to make sure it was mechanically okay.”

Doyle eventually had three more copies made of the glove. Two of these were stunt gloves for use in long shots, and one was a ‘hero’, in Doyle’s words, “a prop that has to work very closely on camera, so it has to be real. The hero was full copper, stainless steel, the whole bit. We had to keep sharpening and dulling it down again.”

There wasn’t enough time or money to build two heroes, but there were two stunts gloves, which had plastic parts and wooden blades “so they could go through the stunts and run deadlong into things and get all chopped up.”

Special-effects man Charles Belardinelli briefly played Freddy Krueger as he made his killer glove during the front credits of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Belardinelli says, “One of the first things you see him do is cut the fingertips off this work glove. People keep arguing with me, but I know what I’m talking about. I was the one who did that.”

Jim Doyle concurs: “That’s how you can tell in 2 and 3 and parts of 4 that it is not the original glove. You can always tell from pictures of the first glove because the index-finger knife at one point had broken off. We soldered it back on, you can tell because there is a seam there.”

The glove brought in over $27 million in retails rights; for years it was part of one of the most popular Halloween costumes ever. The original glove, however, was stolen a long time ago. According to Belardinelli, “It was presented to Wes Craven. Then I think he lent it for the second movie, and it was stolen. I’ve heard through the grapevine that it might be in the Hard Rock Cafe in Australia or England, or one of those places. Then other people kept building it for the other movies. They got further and further away from the original design. As far as I’m concerned, it no longer looks anything like the original one.”

Freddy’s glove underwent a major redesign for the seventh film in the Nightmare franchise, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. For New Nightmare, FX coordinator Lou Carlucci updated and improved Freddy’s glove, which he describes as very organic. “I did the original glove on the first Nightmare, and we deliberately made that rough and primitive looking, like something that would be constructed in somebody’s home workshop,” Carlucci says. “Since this is supposed to be a new look for Freddy, Wes and everybody involved decided that the glove should be different. This hand has more muscle and bone texture to it. The blades are shiner and, in one case, are retractable. Everything about this glove has a much cleaner look to it. It’s more a natural part of his hand than a glove.”

Photos and Screenshots

Freddy Krueger's Glove: A Nightmare on Elm StreetFreddy Krueger's Glove: A Nightmare on Elm StreetFreddy Krueger's Glove: A Nightmare on Elm StreetFreddy Krueger's Glove Design: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Freddy Krueger's Glove: Wes Craven's New NightmareFreddy Krueger's Glove: Wes Craven's New NightmareFreddy Krueger's Glove: Wes Craven's New NightmareFreddy Krueger's Glove: Wes Craven's New Nightmare