This year marks the 35th anniversary of the iconic A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and its sneering slasher villain Freddy Krueger. Instantly recognizable with his horrifically scarred visage, ugly green and red sweater and brown fedora, the horror movie serial killer often dispatches his victims with his signature glove, custom-fitted with sharp knives on the end of every finger.
As one of the most popular horror movie characters in recent years, here's a history of Freddy's lethal glove and its evolution over the past 35 years of Nightmare on Elm Street films.
THE INSPIRATION FOR FREDDY KRUEGER'S GLOVE
In a 2014 interview with the American Film Institute that commemorated the 30th anniversary of A Nightmare on Elm Street, filmmaker Wes Craven, who wrote and directed the series' original 1984 installment discussed his inspiration in developing a bladed glove as the main weapon for the film's villain. As a killer that stalks and murders his victims in their dreams, Craven decided that Freddy would tap into primal fears of being brutally eviscerated by a bear-like claw.
Continuing on that line of thought, Craven felt that the most basic human element was the hand and made the bladed weapon a natural extension of it by having Krueger wear the infamous glove.
THE FREDDY KRUEGER GLOVE DESIGN
Designed and constructed by Lou Carlucci, the weapon was a modified leather work glove with a metal backplate extending across the four fingers, with a blade attached to each finger. As the franchise continued, the blades attached grew bigger and more menacing while the backplate and leather base to the glove became lighter and more weathered with each subsequent film.
Despite these small changes, the glove's overall design remained largely faithful to the original incarnation as Freddy used to to slash and stab his many victims on screen. It's also worth noting that Krueger almost always wears the glove on his right hand.
HOW HAS THE FREDDY KREUGER GLOVE HAS CHANGED
Most of the variations on the glove were relatively minor over the course of the main film series and its spinoff television series, Freddy's Nightmares; save for it temporarily transforming into a set of lethal syringes in a memorable sequence from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. The most radical change would be seen in Craven's meta-commentary on the franchise in Wes Craven's New Nightmare, only the second and final entry in the franchise that was actually directed by Craven himself.
True to Craven's original intent as the weapon being an extension of Freddy's hand, this bladed incarnation wasn't a glove at all, it's part of Freddy's actual appendage. Keeping with Freddy's more frightening redesign in the film, the muscle, sinew, veins and bone are exposed while blades appear to replace Freddy's fingernails and are longer and thinner than the blades attached to the classic glove. This is also the only version of the glove with a blade attached to the thumb. Following the film, Freddy would return to his classic design and glove for the crossover monster mash Freddy vs. Jason.
FREDDY KRUEGER'S NEW GLOVE
The 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street remake starring Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy maintained the character's basic look but made the glove look much more sinister by visibly increasing the length of the blades. Instead of a backplate, the long metal extensions on each finger were attached to a cuff added to the base of the glove.
One of the most iconic weapons in horror cinema, Freddy's glove has certainly left a mark on audiences as it has been used to lethal effect on screen. With only minor modifications across the 35 years of the franchise, its classic design is a prime example of the old adage if ain't broke, don't fix it.