Last June, along with several other genre journos, I had the opportunity to visit the Chicago set of Platinum Dunes A Nightmare on Elm Street reboot. You can read my full set visit report here. Below you'll find the bulk of a very revealing conversation we had with the man behind Freddy Krueger's new glove William Dambra. Among the many topics of discussion we touch on why Freddy needs 4 gloves. Hit the jump for our full discussion and a big thanks to my fellow journos for all of their great questions!
[William Dambra sits down with a metal briefcase, with two clicks it's open and he produces the new Freddy Krueger glove and passes it around the table]
Are those real blades?
They’re steel. Actually raw steel. We made them ourselves.
Could you actually hurt somebody if you wanted?
Oh absolutely, even though they’re not, we can sharpen them, but they are very pointy. We actually made another set out of rubber in case he was really close to the actors face, we also made one out of aluminum, it’s lighter. But for the most part we’ve gone with the real glove. It’s all copper. We didn’t paint it, we didn’t do anything just the heat transfer made the different colors on the copper. It's just a regular gardening glove [beneath it]. We had to put a glove under there we had to cut holes and take the palm out cause he couldn’t close his palm all the way.
Do we find out how Freddy makes this in the film?
We don’t see the origin of it?
We don’t, we see remnants, I’ve made like fingertips and blades, and you see them on a work table. You kind of get the idea that this was his workshop. But we never actually see him making the glove.
How much does this weigh about?
About 3 or 4 pounds. I mean after a while, it gets a little heavy. But it fits his hand, it’s custom made. We made a mold of his hand and then we made some adjustments. That’s just a gardening glove. A regular leather gardening glove.
Did you go back and look at the original one to put this one together?
I watched it, cause you know it’s been 25 years, so I got a chance to watch it. But no actually, they wanted it similar, but I never really studied it to make it. You know everyone wants their own flare, everybody gave input. We must have spent four weeks on just concept drawings. Just drawings after drawings. At one point it had a thumb on it, we had a thumb, and then they decided to take that off. But it was weeks and weeks of drawings, and about a month to make it. I know that the top part, I think it was Sam’s [Bayer] idea, like how you have the veins in your hands, that veiny kind of look?
In the film does it appear as all one piece, does it slide on?
Yes. You never see him, well I don’t know if you don’t see, you always see him, when you see Freddy, you see him with the glove.
What functionality challenges did you run into?
Well, we had the joints. The joints were like a big deal, just like you move your hand, you want to be able to do that with the glove, so you end up just molding it with a lot of rivets. We riveted it together. And the joints are basically where your finger bends. I think in the original one it was just one solid piece. I kind of like this better. Because I made it is probably why I like it better. (laughs)
And I know you say you have the rubber version, but with that version did you have to make multiples?
Yeah, we have a total of, I think four gloves. And then we have all the parts, aluminum blades, and we took one of the gloves and we made it, when Freddy walks along some pipes you see some sparks, he’s going through some metal, we had one glove that really took a beating.
It looks like the blades are different sizes.
They are different. Actually, when we first made the glove, I didn’t get a chance to see Freddy, I mean Jackie, so it didn’t look right. And then we shortened them all and we said lets make some longer and shorter than others. But when we first made it, it had to be four inches, five inches longer. And it just didn’t look scary it looked kinda comical. Now, with this and his make up and everything, it’s pretty scary looking.
You said it weighs three of four pounds, how long can you keep it on?
He wears it all day. When he’s not shooting we take it off so he can drink some coffee or something. He’s only worn the rubber one once, and the aluminum one he’s never worn. He’s worn this one all the time.
Are there any props or weapons that you’ve designed for the kids to fight with?
Well nothing really other than a baseball bat, which was made of rubber, other than that nothing really.
Does Freddy have any other weapons? Besides the glove?
Uhhh, no. I don’t even know if I was supposed to tell yah. No that’s it, that’s what he wears.
Is this drastically different than the original concept (for the glove)?
There’s some drawings that are way out there. Once we started to narrow it down it didn’t change too much. At one point, I had a padlock here, but yah know just started to tweak it, and once we got a drawing, we stuck to it. We stuck to the drawing.
Did you have to change anything to accommodate how it appears on screen?
No it’s lighting. They light it, they get the little glimpses, the blades only required a little touch up, if they rusted, we shined them up a bit so you could see them.
Have you had any on set mishaps with the gloves?
No, no, no, no, no. Thank God no. We used the rubber one time, the one time we did use it, it was done cause he was running and things were going everywhere, we had blades going this way and this way, but other then that no, we haven’t had any problems.