Mar 11th, 2009, 06:21 AM
Eleven, twelve, drink a pot of coffee and two-liter of Mountain Dew to stay awake but still fall asleep and die a horrific and bizarre yet amusing death anyway. But that doesn’t rhyme. As you’ve probably guessed by now, this is a tribute to everyone’s favorite disfigured child abuser from the 80’s who wears only one glove. No, not Michael Jackson! I’m talking about everybody’s worst nightmare, the master of cheesy one-liners, the terror of Elm Street, the Springwood Slasher- Freddy Krueger.
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…
Three, four, better lock your door…
Five, six, grab a crucifix…
Seven, eight, gonna stay up late…
Nine, ten, never sleep again.
Yep, I’m an Elm Street fan although I’ve only seen parts 1 and 3. I’m not really a horror fan per se, but Freddy just has that special je ne sais quoi. I even had my braces done in red & green like his sweater. So when I set my mind on getting a Freddy glove, I did what any hardcore Elm Street freak would do: I decided to make my own. Sure, we’ve all tried it, but how many of us have actually succeeded in making something halfway decent? So bear with me and listen to the tale of my own personal nightmare.
Dr. Strangeglove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Dream
It was the summer of ‘07. Roughly midnight. I sat at the computer, bored half to death, when I came across the forgotten Elm Street PC game. I love games, so I decided to try it out. After an hour of fiddling with the old-school DOS prompt I managed to get it running. This was the point of no return.
I was immediately taken captive by the game (kind of like Joey,) and on that fateful night I became a Freddy fanatic. The game does a nice job of capturing the spirit of the franchise, as well as Fred’s obnoxious personality. The single best feature is probably the game-over screen; it’s just so perfectly creepy (and, true to the series, adds insult to injury. Freddy is the master of that.)
I soon read some of the other Elm Street related articles, including the one on the “Freddy’s Nightmares” tv series. That very same night I discovered it was playing on tv! This was my first real taste of Robert Englund’s work, and the first in a series of unnerving coincidences. (For the record though, I don’t think there’s a tv show in the world that couldn’t be improved by having Freddy host it.) Now I simply had to see the movie. Lucky for me, we had a copy in the school library, and I stayed up late like a silly fool to watch it. Also for the record, seeing Johnny Depp get Kruegerized was definitely one of the best moments of the film (Hmm, I should patent that word.) Most people are creeped out when Freddy flicks open his fingers to show us his handiwork at the beginning of the film, but the first thought that came to my mind when I saw that famous clawed glove was, “I WANT ONE!!!” I considered just buying one, but I figured a decent replica (screw plastic!) would be too expensive. Then I got a crazy idea in the art studio, a place somewhat akin to the boiler room with a bunch of tools and old junk lying around. But I decided to take a nap before brooding on it any further. This turned out to be a mistake…
ME (having a nightmare) : What the- where am I? What is this place?
T: Huh? Who’s there? Eww, there’s water all over the place… oh, man, where’s the bathroom?
T: What- who- wait a minute! I recognize this place! This looks like the boiler room from A Nightmare On-
T: My ears! They bleed! SWEET DIN’S FIRE! (Freddy appears around a corner)
F: Hello, Tara. And welcome… (cutting himself up)…to your nightmare.
T: Hey, that’s a cute trick. Just doesn’t impress the babes though, huh. Are you a side effect of my hormones?
F:…Aren’t you scared??
T: Pff. You can’t scare me- I went to public schools. Besides, I’m one of your biggest fans! I guess you could say you’re the “man of my dreams!” Haha!
F: Leave the jokes to me, kid. We have some business.
T: Listen, before you turn me into shish-kabob, could I, like, have your autograph or something?
F: Actually, that isn’t why I’m here. We have some important matters to discuss. Come with me.
(Freddy leads Tara into an office and sits at a large desk.)
T: I didn’t know you had an office in here.
F: Hey, I am a movie star, after all.
T: Oh. So what did you want to talk about, Mr. Krueger?
F: Please, no formalities. Just call me Freddy. Anyway, you’re a fan of mine, so you doubtlessly know: I’m not as popular as I used to be. Heck, people hardly know the difference between “Freddy” and “Jason” anymore. It’s insulting! (By the way, that was all just for drama. Jason and I are really good pals.)
T: Hey, what’s this book you’re reading?… Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul???
F: I thought it was a cookbook.
T: And who’s this a picture of? Not a bad-looking guy.
F: Oh, heh… that’s me before, uh… you know. I like to keep it around.
T: Yikes. Cool, a Rubik’s cube! Have you ever seen Hellraiser?
F: Stop touching my stuff! Ahem. So tell me, you recently attended a family reunion, right? Was anyone not there?
T: Hmm… cousin Jake kept telling stories about my crazy unnamed uncle. Supposedly he died in some horrible accident, but no one ever talks about it. Wait, don’t tell me…you killed him?
F: No, Tara. I am your uncle.
T: Man, that’s corny, even for you.
F: All jest aside, however, it’s true.
T: …My, Uncle Freddy, what long nails you have!
F: All the better to- you know. Listen up. As you’re aware, my popularity, and therefore my power, has waned in recent years. People have forgotten my name, my films, and my novel horror. I intend to change that. It’s no coincidence that you’re my fan. And I want you to revive the Krueger legacy.
T: Dare I ask how?
F: (holding up his glove) This.
F: This, my greatest icon, my favorite weapon, my custom-made instrument of terror… the stuff of nightmares.
T: I do want one. You want me to have it?
F: I’m still using mine! I want you to do what I did - make your own.
T: Make it? I’m no craftsman! I wouldn’t know where to begin.
F: Come on, it’s not that hard. You can do it, kid… and I’m gonna help you out. Because you’ve got the body… and I’ve got the brains!
Freddy discusses his plans.
T: Alright, I’ll give it a try…
F: That’s the spirit! Make me proud! And remember: you snooze…
T: Aaaa! My “Springwood High” t-shirt!
F: …YOU LOSE! HAHAHAHA!
Then I woke up. It was only a dream.
Or was it?
So the first thing I did was set to work drawing up some plans and asking around the shop for help. I searched for decent pictures of the glove and carefully reviewed the construction sequence at the beginning of the movie to glean some clues as to how this thing might be made. Only toward the end of the project did it occur to me that I could have just looked up on the internet how they made the actual one for the movie… stupid me. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3621/...723779.jpg?v=0
Some blueprints and materials, along with the pre-augmentation glove.
The most important thing, of course, would be the blades. Er, what is the technical term for those parts, anyway? Blades? Claws? Fingernails? Fingerknives…? Well, whatever - the pointy bits. I knew I needed some steel for these, so I had a friend cut out the rough outlines using the plasma cutter (which I’m not allowed to use for some reason!) from a sheet of the stuff that was lying around. It was only much later that I realized I had screwed up and used regular steel - which rusts. This was unacceptable, so we started all over again. I finally got new, stainless steel blades, plus one extra, and started grinding them down to the desired shape. I remembered that my dad has a bench grinder, so I spent many long hours in the basement making sparks and a lot of racket. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3600/...8f1cb2.jpg?v=0
Freddy is the only guy I know who does his nails with a bench grinder.
Cooling it off… the grinder generates a tremendous amount of friction and therefore, heat. So I kept a bucket of water nearby to keep things from getting too hot.
The finished blades. I’ll bet these could slice up some teenage punks quite nicely.
Oops. Those blades aren’t the ones I actually ended up using on the glove. They look good, don’t get me wrong…but true to my obsessive-compulsive nature I decided their shape wasn’t quite right. More on that later… I also was tempted to make the blades sharp, but I eventually decided against it because people are easily freaked out by that sort of thing nowadays…that and I would probably wind up slicing my own clumsy self…sigh.
So I focused on getting the plates worked out. I made some paper patterns, then cut the main part for the back of the hand out of a small, expensive sheet of copper using a jigsaw. I intended to do the same with the finger plates, but when I started hammering them I realized it was going to take a lot of work. Halloween was getting closer, and I was getting desperate.
Freddy Krueger's Day Off
By sheer chance one day my mom brought home a cheesy novelty catalogue just in time for the season, and I flipped through it just for amusement. However, I quickly discovered something that caught my attention: the officially licensed full-scale replica Elm Street glove - for only fifty bucks! This was an offer too good to refuse, so I bought it and used it with wild abandon on Halloween. I didn’t intend this as a full replacement for my homemade version, though, just a temporary fix, a handy reference, and a backup in case I proved utterly incapable of constructing one. The item is pretty sweet, and it comes with some background information and a nice picture of its creator on the box:
He’s single, ladies.
I didn’t realize you could cram that much charm onto a cardboard box. He looks vaguely ticked off, in that “Where did I leave my keys?” kind of way. The glove itself is an impressive piece of hardware - the “made in China” tag somewhat detracts from its scariness, but the fake bloodstains are a nice touch (at least I hope they’re fake… the human rights laws are a bit more lenient over there, so who knows…) Also, the fingertips are missing from the work glove for some inexplicable reason, which seems like an attempt at making Freddy like a character in a Charles Dickens novel. Hmm, I might actually read Dickens if Freddy was in it. My only real problem with the replica: IT DOESN’T FIT. I have little hands.
Sleepless In Springwood
I did glean some useful information from the box, though. The real thing is made from steak knives, copper pipe, rivets, and a work glove. I think it’s another touch of Freddy’s ironic genius, really - ordinarily the purpose of a work glove is to prevent injury. Copper pipe, rivets, steak knives… these are a few of my favorite things.
Now that I had something to go by, I bought some cheap but reliable gloves, 3mm copper/steel rivets, and a length of 1” copper pipe at the hardware store. Afterwards I discovered a random piece of pipe just lying in the basement… so I cleaned it up and decided to utilize it. I wanted to use steak knife blades on the fingers to make it as authentic as possible, but I was on a bit of a tight budget, and mother probably wouldn’t have appreciated me raiding the kitchen drawer. Plus, I had no idea how to get them out of the handles, so I turned again to the sheet of stainless steel in the shop. Remember how I said I didn’t like the ones I’d already made? Yeah. People were getting pretty annoyed with me asking them to cut stuff out at this point, so I ended up cutting the pieces out myself with dad’s jigsaw. Let me repeat that… I spent hours using a JIGSAW to cut through 1/8’’ stainless steel.
Getting jiggy with it. This is not as much fun as it looks.
This was slow, loud, and grueling work. After breaking about half a dozen blades I went for broke and purchased a special carbide-edge one specifically designed for cutting stainless steel. It was seriously worn down at the end, but it got the job done. Again I ground the pieces down till they were the right shape.
For the finger plates, I cut the pipe to length with a hacksaw and a small rotary tool to shape them…
…and then I hammered them on one of the anvils in the shop, which was much easier than trying to form the sheet metal.
Hammering one of my plates. You can see a bit of this at the beginning of the movie. What you don’t see is Freddy repeatedly hitting his thumb with the hammer.
Unfortunately, around this time we had a small accident in the shop…
“Shaun! Don’t smoke in here! We had a spill this morning, the floor is covered with -
I wasn’t aware of it, but I was in the hospital in a drug-induced coma afterwards…
Me: (dreaming again) Uhhhh? Where am I?
*Freddy appears… in a new form
Freddy snake, Freddy snake...does whatever a Freddy snake does.
T: Oooh, big snake! I like snakes! Aren’t you a cute fella! Here! (grabbing a plush toy) Play fetch, boy? Go!
F: It’s me you bimbo! Er, sorry. I was just visiting my friend Dr. Jones, heh heh heh. By the way, I have something for you…
T: Cool, a new hat!
F: Hey, you look pretty good in that. I’ve always wanted a mini-me.
T: What do you mean?
F: (holding up a mirror) You’re available in extra crispy now - see for yourself!
T: Dear Mother Brain… I look like…you…
F: No, you don’t look that good! But it’s an improvement.
T: How?… oh, that’s right, the fire… am I okay?
F: Yeah, probably. But make yourself comfy; you’re stuck here for awhile. Maybe for good.
T: Gaaah, this is awful!
F: Eh, calm down. It ain’t like you were that much of a looker anyway. And think of the money you’ll save next Halloween.
T: No, it’s not that. I just wish I had the sweater too; then it’d be perfect. As for my social life… oh, wait. Nevermind. So, what are we going to do now?
F: The question isn’t what are we going to do. The question is what aren’t we going to do. Ha ha hahaha!
T: Oh boy.
I still don’t have a Freddy sweater. What’s up with that hideous thing, anyway? Did the crew look at Robert in full makeup and say, “No, he’s not ugly enough?” Camouflage for the rose bushes, perhaps? A test for color blindness? Or maybe just a little forethought in case they ever made an Elm Street holiday special (*shudder*)? Let’s call it “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare Before Christmas.” T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the boiler room, not a creature was stirring, except…http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3617/...55fe8b.jpg?v=0
THE DREADED JOLLY CHRISTMAS INCHWORM OF DOOM!
It’s watermelon flavored! Or maybe strawberry-kiwi. Lick it and find out! Now let’s see.. I know it’s “red touches yellow, you’re a dead fellow; red touches black, you’re okay Jack“… but what’s “red touches green?” Game over, teen! Isn’t he just adorable though?!? Am I the only one who thinks this thing needs to be made into a plush toy? Make it one of those ridiculously oversized carnival game prizes. Squeeze his tail and hear him rattle off one of 16 classic phrases! Just don’t let your kid sleep with it.
Sorry. What was I talking about? Oh yeah. With my plates hammered, I cut some thin strips of copper for the rings on the underside of the fingers and soldered them on.
Parental supervision discouraged. Especially if it’s the parents of the kids you offed.
I found out the hard way that lead solder doesn’t stick to stainless steel, so I had to devise another way to attach the blades to the plates. I figured some prongs, split lengthwise and inserted into slots on the plates, would work nicely. I also spray painted the tips with bumper chrome, since I was sure I’d seen a version like this. Unfortunately I was wrong, and the slot connection wasn’t working either, so I ended up scrapping the tips altogether and making new ones.
Cut, hammer, repeat. Again I riveted the plates together and used a more careful combination of small prongs with drill-hole slots in the tips along with a rare, ultra-strength adhesive (read: super glue) to stick the blades on. No, not very professional, but I was running out of options and patience. Now all that remained was to attach the plating to the glove. I drilled holes in the appropriate spots on the main plate, with washers around the rivets to hold it in place.
My friend enjoys watching me struggle with the riveter. We can do it!
At long last, my work was finished. The final product:
The finished glove. Cue maniacal laughter.
Looks just like the movie, don’t it?
By the way, I know that Freddy wears his glove on his right hand, but I decided to put mine on the left, since I’m right handed, and it’s actually really hard to do things with this on, like, say, opening doors.http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3588/...22ec89.jpg?v=0
Heeeere’s Freddy! And yes, that is technically an Indiana Jones hat I’m wearing. Remember when he burned all those snakes in Raiders? He’s regretting it now. (And if you’re wondering about that fantastic makeup job - sorry, it’s Photoshop.)
And now it’s finally time to have some fun with this thing!
The best way to eat marshmallows.
I’ve always wanted to do this. Scary? Maybe. Annoying? Definitely.
All in all, this project took me quite a long time to complete, given that I have no prior experience in metalworking whatsoever. And I didn’t have a definitive guide to tell me exactly what to do, so a great deal of it was trial and error. Leave it to Freddy to take the generic slasher weapon and raise it to an art form. Anyone can grab the nearest knife and go on a rampage, but it takes a special brand of psycho to put this much work into their tool of choice. I think I now respect him a little more for that. I’m very pleased with the glove, though. And this one actually fits! So, exhausted, I decided to take a well-earned nap.
(Yet another dream)
T: Krueger? I’m here!….
T: Hm. He’s not here…
T: Hi Fred.
F: Darn it, work with me here! Scream!
T: Sorry. Um, I have… I’m finished, I guess.
F: Lemme see it. Mmm-hmmmm. Not bad, for a beginner. I’m pleased with your work, so far.
T: Now what do I do?
F: I'll leave that up to you. I’d recommend becoming a serial killer and terrorizing the neighborhood, but that’s just me. Hmmm…you still need something…
T: A sweat-
F: No! Stick around and I’ll give you a little instruction in the art of the nightmare.
F: Well, my work here is done. See you around.
T: Where are you going now?
F: (pause) I’m going to Disneyland!
T: Oh, the humanity! Well, goodbye, I guess. I’ll miss you, sort of. It’s been…like a dream these past few months- now I think I understand. That’s how you work, isn’t it? So strange, but yes, it’s all only a dream…
*Wake up & smell the coffee*
So after learning how to deliver witty one-liners and slash with style, I took Fred’s advice and became a cereal killer. Cheerios, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Raisin Bran - I took them all one by one and stashed the boxes in the basement. For some reason, though, I just couldn’t bring myself to kill Boo Berry… I dunno.
Well, that’s the story. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and - hey, I smell pizza! *sniff* Mmmm, I want some of th- hey! Why’s it so dark all of a sudden? What’s going on? I-I can’t move… help!
It’s all fun and games until someone gets turned into a pizza topping.
* Wha-? Huh? Whew, it was just a nightmare… Anyway, that’s what happened… I think. But it’s getting late now, so you should go to bed. Sleep tight, sweet dreams, and remember…
WE’LL BE WAITING FOR YOU.
With thanks to:
The I-mockery staff for inspiration and support
My friends, for their help and patience
My dad, for lending me his tools
The shop teacher, for help and advice
And Freddy, for… encouragement
Krue-ger-ize, v. 1) To terminate in the manner or style of Freddy Krueger; death by nightmare 2) To burn something beyond recognition or usefulness, e.g., food, 3) To make something look like Freddy Krueger (see above pictures.)