When devising the murderous instrument that a movie monster must wield, several things come to mind: a machete, a large kitchen knife, an axe, a chainsaw. Few weapons in cinema, though, strike as much fear into the hearts of unsuspecting victims than the blade glove that Freddy Krueger donned in the Nightmare on Elm Street films.
Why was that glove that substituted fingers for knives so terrifying? There have been hundreds of devious weapons used by baddies that have been just as dastardly (the bladed spheres from Phantasm come to mind). Yet, when Freddy would drag the tips of his blades along walls, causing sparks, and droplets of urine to run down the legs of his would-be victims, something visceral came about. Perhaps, it was the close vicinity in which Freddy would have to approach you in order to apply the weapon that induced the kind of terror few other instruments could manifest.
In this video interview conducted by AFI, Wes Craven goes into some detail in how the extension of the fingers — or animal claws — as weapons induced something primal in the human psyche, something that goes back to the earliest humans having to contend with clawed animals who didn’t necessitate a tool or instrument to maim and kill. The thought process behind something that seems so simple actually makes a lot of sense, and it shows you that Craven was ahead of his time when it came horrific elements. To this day, Freddy’s blades remain one of the most terrifying instruments of murder, and we have Craven to thank for that.